Sight & Sound 2012 Poll: The greatest films of all time

Vertigo topples Citizen Kane in the 2012 Poll

A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature 

Sight and Sound Magazine Greatest Films 2012

Anyone passionate about cinema is ought to know about the Sight & Sound Film Poll that's conducted once in 10 years (since 1952) by the prestigious Sight & Sound magazinea British monthly film magazine published by the British Film Institute (BFI). Sight & Sound invites film critics from all across the globe to participate in the poll where they are required to pick the greatest (based on their interpretation) films of all time. Based on the poll results a consolidated list is documented which is widely regarded as a touchstone to measure the quality of contemporary world cinema, especially from the critical point of view. The list is also a great means for the masses to get acquainted with the best of cinema. 

In, 1952 the top honor went to Vittorio De Sica's neo-realistic masterpiece Bicycle Thieves (1948). From 1962 to 2002,  Orson Welles' magnum opus Citizen Kane (1941) topped the charts on five consecutive occasions. For the 2012 edition of the poll, the invitations were extended to over 1,000 participants which included critics, programmers, academics, distributors, writers and other cinephiles. Of the 846 top-ten lists that were received, 191 (the highest number) had Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958) positioned  at the numero uno spot. 

Sight & Sound Top 10:

1). Vertigo (1958), Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Vertigo, Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart, Kim Novak, Sight & Sound Top 10

2). Citizen Kane (1941), Directed by Orson Welles
Citizen Kane, Directed by Orson Welles, starring Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton, Sight & Sound Top 10

3). Tokyo Story (1953), Directed by Yasujirô Ozu
Tokyo Story, Directed by Yasujirô Ozu, Japan, Sight & Sound Top 10

4). La Règle du jeu (1939), Directed by Jean Renoir
La Règle du jeu, Directed by Jean Renoir, Sight & Sound Top 10

5). Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), Directed by F.W.Murnau
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, Directed by F.W.Murnau, Sight & Sound Top 10

6). 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Directed by Stanley Kubrick
2001: A Space Odyssey, Directed by Stanley Kubrick, Sight & Sound Top 10

7). The Searchers (1956), Directed by John Ford
The Searchers, Directed by John Ford, Sight & Sound Top 10

8). Man with a Movie Camera (1929), Directed by Dziga Vertov
Man with a Movie Camera, Directed by Dziga Vertov, Sight & Sound Top 10

9). Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer 
 Passion of Joan of Arc, Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer, Sight & Sound Top 10

10). 8½ (1963), Directed by Federico Fellini
8½, Directed by Federico Fellini, Sight & Sound Top 10

Speaking of polls, I was recently invited by Mr. Iain Stott of "100 Evenings Illuminated" to participate in the 2012 edition of his annual Film Poll. Renowned personalities like Miguel Marías, Jean-Michel Frodon, Paul Vecchiali, Larry Karaszewski, David Sterritt, etc. have been associated with the previous editions of the poll.   

To checkout what I picked, click here

To checkout complete results of the poll, click here

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your feedback is highly appreciated!  

— Murtaza Ali

Here is the list of remaining films that made it to the Top 100 of the 2012 Sight & Sound List (in alphabetical order):

Aguirre, Wrath of God (1972)
Aguirre, Wrath of God, starring Klaus Kinski, directed by Werner Herzog, Sight & Sound List

Andrei Rublev (1966)

Andrei Rublev, Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, Sight & Sound List

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Apocalypse Now (1979), starring Martin Sheen, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Sight & Sound List

L'Atalante (1934)

L'Atalante, Directed by Jean Vigo, Sight & Sound List

Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)

Au Hasard Balthazar, directed by Robert Bresson, Sight & Sound List

L'Avventura (1960)

L'Avventura starring Monica Vitti, Gabriele Ferzetti, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, Sight & Sound List

Barry Lyndon (1975)

Barry Lyndon, starring Ryan O'Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee, Hardy Krüger, Directed by Stanley Kubrick, Sight & Sound List

The Battle of Algiers (1966)

The Battle of Algiers, Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, Sight & Sound List

Battleship Potemkin (1925)

Battleship Potemkin, Directed by Sergei M. Eisenstein, Sight & Sound List

Beau Travail (1999)

Beau Travail, Directed by Claire Denis, Sight & Sound List

Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Bicycle Thieves, Italian Neorealism, Directed by Vittorio De Sica, Sight & Sound List

Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner (1982), Directed by Ridley Scott, starring Harrison Ford

Blue Velvet (1986)

Blue Velvet (1986), Directed by David Lynch, starring Dennis Hopper, Isabella Rossellini

Breathless (1960)

Breathless (1960) aka À bout de souffle, French, Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

A Brighter Summer Day (1991)

A Brighter Summer Day (1991), Directed by Edward Yang

Casablanca (1942)

Casablanca (1942), Directed by Michael Curtiz, starring Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart

Un Chien Andalou (1929)

Un Chien Andalou (1929), Directed by Luis Bunuel

Chinatown (1974)
Chinatown (1974), Directed by Roman Polanski, starring Jack Nicholson, John Huston

City Lights (1931)

City Lights (1931), Directed by Charles Chaplin, Silent-era masterpiece

Close-Up (1990)

Close-Up (1990), Directed by Abbas Kiarostami

The Colour of Pomegranates (1968)

The Colour of Pomegranates (1968), Directed by Sergei Parajanov

La Dolce Vita (1960)

La Dolce Vita (1960), Directed by Federico Fellini

L'Eclisse (1962)

L'Eclisse (1962), Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni

Les Enfants du Paradis (1945)

Fanny & Alexander (1982)

The 400 Blows (1959)

The General (1927)

Gertrud (1964)

The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather: Part II (1974)

La Grande Illusion (1937)

Greed (1924)

Histoire(s) du Cinéma (1998)

Imitation of Life (1959)

In the Mood for Love (2000)

Intolerance (1916)

Jeanne Dielman (1975)

La Jetée (1962)

Journey to Italy (1954)

Late Spring (1949)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

The Leopard (1963)

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)

M (1931)

Madame de… (1953)

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

La Maman et la Putain (1973)

A Man Escaped (1956)

A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

Le Mépris (1963)

Metropolis (1927)

Mirror (1975)

Modern Times (1936)

Mulholland Dr. (2001)

Nashville (1975)

The Night of the Hunter (1955)

North by Northwest (1959)

Once upon a Time in the West (1968)

A One and a Two (2000)

Ordet (1955)

Partie de Campagne (1936)

Pather Panchali (1955)

Persona (1966)

Pickpocket (1959)

Pierrot le Fou (1965)

Play Time (1967)

Psycho (1960)

Raging Bull (1980)

Rashomon (1950)

Rear Window (1954)

Rio Bravo (1959)

Rio Bravo (1959), Directed by Howard Hawks, starring John Wayne

Sans Soleil (1983)

Sans Soleil (1983), Directed by Chris Marker

Sansho Dayu (1954)

Sansho Dayu (1954) aka Sansho the Bailiff (1954), Japan, Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi

Sátántangó (1994)

Sátántangó (1994), Directed by Béla Tarr

Seven Samurai (1954)

Seven Samurai (1954), Directed by Akira Kurosawa, starring Toshiro Mifune, Japan

The Seventh Seal (1957)

The Seventh Seal (1957), Directed by Ingmar Bergan, Sweden

Sherlock Jr. (1924)

Sherlock Jr. (1924), Directed by Buster Keaton

Shoah (1985)

Shoah (1985), Directed by Claude Lanzmann

Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Singin' in the Rain (1952), Directed by Gene Kelly

Some Like It Hot (1959)

Some Like It Hot (1959), Directed by Billy Wilder

The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

The Spirit of the Beehive (1973), Directed by Víctor Erice

Stalker (1979)

Stalker (1979), Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, Russia

Sunset Blvd. (1950)

Sunset Blvd. (1950), starring Gloria Swanson, Directed by Billy Wilder

Taxi Driver (1976)

The Third Man (1949)

The Third Man (1949), Directed by Martin Scorsese

Tokyo Story (1953)

Tokyo Story (1953), Directed by Yasujirô Ozu

Touch of Evil (1958)

Touch of Evil (1958), Directed by Orson Welles

Touki-Bouki (1973)

Touki-Bouki (1973), Directed by  Djibril Diop Mambéty

Ugetsu Monogatari (1953)

Ugetsu Monogatari (1953), Japan, Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi

The Wild Bunch (1969)

The Wild Bunch (1969), Directed by Sam Peckinpah, starring William Holden

Wild Strawberries (1957)

Wild Strawberries (1957), Directed by Ingmar Bergman

Note: Citizen Kane (1941), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Andrei Rublev (1966), Bicycle Thieves (1948), The Godfather (1972), The Godfather: Part II (1974), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), Rashomon (1950), Seven Samurai (1954), Stalker (1979), and The Seventh Seal (1957) were reviewed earlier on this blog.

Complete List of Reviews

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  1. Great list. Was not aware of your being a contributor to the S&S top 10 list. Kudos.

  2. Actually, I am not... I only contributed to an independent poll conducted by Mr. Iain Stott.

  3. Terrific set of collection... great post thanks for sharing... []

  4. Thanks for those kind words... I am really glad that you liked it!!! :-)

  5. Wow! Great work posting this list! And though I have to confess I had a
    difficult time watching a few of them (Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive and
    Fanny & Alexander, for example), I am happy to see Pather Panchali
    and a great selection of some fabulous French films are featured. I
    would add to these French films the Marius trilogy (Cesar, Marius &
    Fanny) by Pagnol and a couple of Latin American films too (am glad to
    see Buñuel in your alternative 100) plus a good selection of Indian
    films! Great connecting with you!

  6. Well, the feeling is mutual... I am equally delighted to have got connected to you. I am yet to watch the Marius trilogy... and thank you for bringing it up. Bunuel happens to be an all time favorite of mine... it's quite sad that he isn't as popular as the likes of Bergman, Kurosawa and Fellini. Also, I agree that some movies on the list require a lot of patience, but patience does have its rewards!!! :-)

  7. Absolutely awesome....!!! Great work.

  8. Hey there, the sight & sound poll of 2012, this one, brought me to Tokyo Story (1953), ranked no.3 on the list. You should see this masterpiece that possesses elemental humanity and mighty emotional power imbued with the universal truth, and review it. I did, check it out on mu blog if you got the time.


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