The Sight and Sound Top Ten Greatest Films of All Time

As chosen by 846 critics, programmers, academics and distributors, the Sight and Sound ‘greatest film of all time’ poll results are in. The top ten list is as follows,

1. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
2. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
3. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
4. La Règle du jeu (Renoir, 1939)
5. Sunrise: a Song of Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
7. The Searchers (Ford, 1956)
8. Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1927)
10. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)

Aside from the ‘dethroning’ of Citizen Kane from the top spot – after fifty years at the top of the S&S list – there is little too surprising about the top ten. It’s hard to make the case that any of these ten films are not exceptional films worthy of praise but they are also exactly the films one would expect, given the accepted film canon that is passed down from one cinephile generation to the next.

The Sight and Sound poll is a list that as a cinephile I have paid close attention to though not as a definitive list of the greatest films ever made but as a list of must-sees. Following the 2002 list I immediately took to filling in any gaps in my cinematic knowledge by watching any I had not seen previously and I will soon be watching the few films I have not seen from the latest top one hundred film list.

Perhaps this is the best use these lists offer, to provide one with a list of must-see films. Sure, film top tens are generally based on conventional wisdom and lack surprising choices but they do provide great starting points for budding film fans and a reminder to even seasoned cinephiles of accepted ‘classics’ that may need ticking off.