The Greatest Films of All Time (AKA My Sight & Sound Poll Ballot, If I’d Had One)
Every ten years, the British film magazine Sight & Sound polls hundreds of film critics and directors in order to create near-definitive lists of the best movies ever made. In 2012, critics named Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo as the finest motion picture of all time. Directors chose Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story as their top pick.
The 2022 list is officially here — and the winners are Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles for the critics and 2001: A Space Odyssey for the directors. This time, the magazine (which is affiliated with the venerated British Film Institute) arrived at their answers by polling 1639 “film critics, programmers, curators, archivists and academics” and 480 filmmakers.
I wasn’t among them. And I’m not going to lie: Being confronted with the fact that I’m not considered to be among the 1600 most knowledgable film critics in the world sent me into an existential crisis from which I have not fully recovered. I didn’t necessarily expect to be invited (at least until I heard how many people participated) but as a film dork who obsessed over the Sight & Sound film list every decade since 1992, I had already put years of thought into who I would vote for if I received a ballot.
So while it counts for absolutely nothing, I thought I would share what I would have picked had I been invited to participate. Below, is my hypothetical ballot, along with a little of the methodology behind my choices. Again, I have nothing to do with Sight & Sound or their poll. But if I had been asked, here’s how I would have responded.
My Sight & Sound Poll Ballot (If I’d Had One)
You can read Sight & Sound’s full 2022 film critic and director polls here.