Vertigo Breaks the Citizen Kane 50 year Streak at Number One!

Posted on Wednesday, August 1, 2012 by fillups

Since 1952, the International Film Magazine Sight & Sound has been asking top film critics around the world every ten years to list their favorite films.  For the first time since 1962, a film other than Citizen Kane has topped their acclaimed list. 

Hitchcock's moody, dreamlike, Vertigo finally was named the best film of all time!

Check out all the Sight and Sound Top Ten at a SCCLD Library!


 1. Vertigo

Hitchcock's dream trance of a film about death and obsession makes stunning use of its San Francisco locations.  Never has the city seemed so haunted.

A stunning achievement.

Citizen Kane

2. Citizen Kane

Orson Welles towering film about the rise of Charles Foster Kane has thrilled audiences with its innovative camera work, hard charging energy and incredibly entertaining looks at a life lived in the spotlight.

The film has topped Sight & Sounds poll for over 50 years, an incredible achievement by any standard.

Tokyo story

3. Tokyo story

Yasujiro Ozu's film is often considered one of the greatest of all Japanese films.  It starts with two elderly parents visiting their adult children and through Ozu's quiet meditative approach to film making becomes much more. This film's depiction of intergenerational conflict has resonated with audiences across the world and through decades. 

The Rules of the game

4. The Rules of the game

Jean Renoir's masterpiece scandalized French audiences when it was first released (theatregoers actually trashed some of the theaters it played at).  It's hard to see now how this comedy of errors about the various goings on between the aristocracy and the servants could cause audiences to react so savagely.  What remains is Renoir's humane look at the foibles of a very human cast of characters.

Sunrise Sunrise Movie

5.  Sunrise Sunrise

F.W. Murnau's silent classic about a farmer who cheats on his wife and moves to the big city.  The film won Academy Awards for Janet Gaynor as Best Actress and Best Cinematography.  The film's timelessness and beauty are staggering when one considers that it was produced in 1927 and still manages to capture a modern audience's attention and respect.

2001 2001

6. 2001

Stanley Kubrick's controversial, visionary epic film about space travel and humanity's evolution.  Poetic and confounding the film was tremendously popular in the sixties and had audiences trying to figure out what it all actually meant.  The meaning might not be any clearer today but audiences can still enjoy Kubrick's incredible command of the cinematic form in this stunning visual treat.

The Searchers The Searchers

7. The Searchers

John Ford's dark Western epic about a man's (John Wayne) search for his niece who has been captured by American Indians. As he searches without stop his motivations become more and more questionable.  This is the most morally ambiguous of all Ford's Westerns and shows him at the height of directorial skill.

Man with the movie camera 

8. Man with the movie camera

This 1929 film from Russian director Dziga Vertov about a man with a camera slung over his shoulder who is documenting urban life in the Soviet Union.  It is a dazzling and inventive film that is really a document on how a film from that time would be made. 

The passion of Joan of Arc

9. The passion of Joan of Arc

Carl Dreyer's silent film features one of the greatest performances in screen history.  Maria Falconetti is shown in excruciating close up throughout the film and her expressiveness is breathtaking.  The film's rigorous attention to faces is still powerful and haunting.

8 1/2

10. 8 1/2

Fellini's autobiographical account of his struggle with writer's block weaves its way in and out of the past and in and out of his fantasies.  The film manages almost to be a stream of consciousness.  The black and white cinematography is almost magical as are the transitions between reality and thought. 

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Tagged: Alfred Hitchcock, Carl Dreyer, Dziga Vertov, F. W. Murnau, Federico Fellini, Jean Renoir, John Ford, Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick, Yasujirō Ozu, Movies, Critics, Movies, Top Ten