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‘Vertigo’ Takes Top Slot From ‘Citizen Kane’ in Sight and Sound Critics Poll

Warner Brothers/Universal

For fifty years Sight and Sound’s critic poll crowned ‘Citizen Kane’ the number one film of all time. Their polling- which is done every decade – has had fluctuations elsewhere, but ‘Kane’ stayed on top for half a century. Until today, when it went to second place behind Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo.’

Here are the new listings, first the critic’s list:

  1. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
  2. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
  3. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
  4. La Regle du jeu (aka Rules of the Game, Renoir, 1939)
  5. Sunrise: a Song for 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)

And here is Sight and Sound Director’s Top 10:

  1. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
  2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
  3. (tied for second) Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
  4. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
  5. Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1980)
  6. Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979)
  7. The Godfather (Coppola, 1972)
  8. (tied for seventh) Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
  9. Mirror (Tarkovsky, 1974)
  10. Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)

More of the lists and ballots will be revealed on Sight and Sound’s website over the next couple of days, currently they have the critic’s top fifty list up, with 2000′s ‘In the Mood for Love’ the highest placing film in the last twenty years at 24, followed by ‘Mulholland Dr.’ at 28. ‘The Godfather’ might have placed higher, but previously the first two of the series were voted for as one, but the rules have changed and they no longer allow that.

The most positive thing that could come from this is that people may no longer view ‘Kane’ as homework, which is often thrown at films that are deemed the greatest of all time. ‘Kane’ is a fun melodrama on top of its brilliance, and though these lists have some titles that might be deigned stodgy or slowly paced, all are emotionally effecting.

There is a lot of overlap, but the critics prefer ‘Rules of the Game,’ ‘Sunrise,’ ‘The Searchers,’ ‘The Man with the Movie Camera’ and ‘The Passion of Joan of Ark’ while filmmakers gave more love to ‘Taxi Driver,’ ‘Apocalypse Now,’ ‘The Godfather,’ ‘Mirror’ and ‘Bicycle Thieves’ (which means there was a five film overlap). Delving into the fifty list, you’re looking at some of the most respected and arguably greatest films in cinema history, so if you’re looking for movies to watch that are truly great this list is essential. And yes, there is no Christopher Nolan in the 50.

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