Sight & Sound 2012 Top 10 Poll Results vs My Prediction Prior to the Poll (ARCHIVED)

  • 1. Citizen Kane-Welles (1941)
  • 2. Vertigo-Hitchcock (1958)
  • 3. 2001: A Space Odyssey-Kubrick (1968)
  • 4. The Rules of the Game-Renoir (1939)
  • 5. The Godfather-Coppola (1972)
  • 6. 8 1/2-Fellini (1963)
  • 7. Battleship Potemkin-Eisenstein (1925)
  • 8. The Seven Samurai-Kurosawa (1955)
  • 9. Taxi Driver-Scorsese (1976)
  • 10. Apocalypse Now-Coppola (1979)

  • 1. Vertigo-Hitchcock (1958) (222 votes)
  • 2. Citizen Kane-Welles (1941) (198 votes)
  • 3. Tokyo Story-Ozu (1953) (155 votes)
  • 4. 2001: A Space Odyssey-Kubrick (1968) (132 votes)
  • 5. The Rules of the Game-Renoir (1939) (117 votes)
  • 6. Sunrise-Murnau (1927) (110 votes)
  • 7. 8 1/2-Fellini (1963) (104 votes)
  • 8. The Searchers-Ford (1955) (89 votes)
  • 9. Apocalypse Now-Coppola (1979) (86 votes)
  • 10. Breathless-Godard (1959) (84 votes)
  • 11. Man with a Movie Camera-Vertov (1929) (79 votes)
  • 12. The Passion of Joan of Arc-Dreyer (1927) (78 votes)
  • 13. Mirror-Tarkovsky (1974) (77 votes)
  • 14. L’Atalante-Vigo (1934) (75 votes)
  • 15. The Godfather-Coppola (1972) (74 votes)
  • 16. Persona-Bergman (1966) (73 votes)
  • 17. Taxi Driver-Scorsese (1976) (72 votes)
  • 18. The Battleship Potemkin-Eisenstein (1925) (71 votes)
  • 19. The Seven Samurai-Kurosawa (1954) (70 votes)
  • 20. Au Hasard Balthazar-Bresson (1966) (67 votes)
  • 21. Andrei Rublev-Tarkovsky (1966) (66 votes)
  • 21. Bicycle Thieves-De Sica (1948) (66 votes)
  • 23. Rashomon-Kurosawa (1950) (63 votes)
  • 24. Ordet-Dreyer (1955) (61 votes)
  • 25. The 400 Blows-Truffaut (1959) (58 votes)
  • 26. L’Avventura-Antonioni (1961) (57 votes)
  • 27. Contempt-Godard (1963) (55 votes)
  • 27. Singin’ in the Rain-Kelly/Donen (1951) (55 votes)
  • 29. Late Spring-Ozu (1949) (54 votes)
  • 29. Raging Bull-Scorsese (1980) (54 votes)
  • 31. Stalker-Tarkovsky (1979) (53 votes)
  • 32. The Godfather, Part 2-Coppola (1974) (52 votes)
  • 33. In the Mood For Love-Kar-Wai (2000) (51 votes)
  • 34. Shoah-Lanzmann (1985) (50 votes)
  • 35. Mulholland Dr-Lynch (2003) (48 votes)
  • 36. La Dolce Vita-Fellini (1960) (46 votes)
  • 36. Psycho-Hitchcock (1960) (46 votes)
  • 38. The Battle of Algiers-Pontecorvo (1966) (45 votes)
  • 39. Barry Lyndon-Kubrick (1975) (44 votes)
  • 39. Close Up-Kiarostami (1989) (44 votes)
  • 39. Playtime-Tati (1967) (44 votes)
  • 39. Some Like It Hot-Wilder (1959) (44 votes)
  • 43. City Lights-Chaplin (1931) (43 votes)
  • 43. The General-Keaton (1926) (43 votes)
  • 43. Pather Panchali-Ray (1955) (43 votes)
  • 46. Gertrud-Dreyer (1964) (41 votes)
  • 46. Journey to Italy-Rossellini (1954) (41 votes)
  • 46. Touch of Evil-Welles (1958) (41 votes)
  • 49. Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles-Akerman (1975) (40 votes)
  • 49. Satantango-Tarr (1994) (40 votes)
  • 50. Metropolis-Lang (1927) (39 votes)
  • 50. Rear Window-Hitchcock (1954) (39 votes)

  • 1. Vertigo-Hitchcock (1958) (191 votes)
  • 2. Citizen Kane-Welles (1941) (157 votes)
  • 3. Tokyo Story-Ozu (1953) (107 votes)
  • 4. The Rules of the Game-Renoir (1939) (100 votes)
  • 5. Sunrise-Murnau (1927) (93 votes)
  • 6. 2001: A Space Odyssey-Kubrick (1968) (90 votes)
  • 7. The Searchers-Ford (1956) (78 votes)
  • 8. A Man with a Movie Camera-Vertov (1939) (68 votes)
  • 9. The Passion of Joan of Arc-Dreyer (1927) (65 votes)
  • 10. 8 1/2-Fellini (1963) (64 votes)
  • 11. Battleship Potemkin-Eisenstein (1925) (63 votes)
  • 12. L’Atalante-Vigo (1934) (58 votes)
  • 13. Breathless-Godard (1960) (57 votes)
  • 14. Apocalypse Now-Coppola (1979) (53 votes)
  • 15. Late Spring-Ozu (1949) (50 votes)
  • 16. Au hasard Balthazar-Bresson (1966) (49 votes)
  • 17. Seven Samurai-Kurosawa (1954) (48 votes)
  • 17. Persona-Bergman (1966) (48 votes)
  • 19. Mirror-Tarkovsky (1974) (47 votes)
  • 20. Singin’ in the Rain-Donen & Kelly (1951) (46 votes)
  • 21. L’avventura-Antonioni (1960) (43 votes)
  • 21. Le Mépris-Godard (1963) (43 votes)
  • 21. The Godfather-Coppola (1972) (43 votes)
  • 24. Ordet-Dreyer (1955) (42 votes)
  • 24. In the Mood for Love-Kar-Wai (2000) (42 votes)
  • 26. Rashomon-Kurosawa (1950) (41 votes)
  • 26. Andrei Rublev-Tarkovsky, (1966) (41 votes)
  • 28. Mulholland Dr.-Lynch (2001) (40 votes)
  • 29. Stalker-Tarkovsky (1979) (39 votes)
  • 29. Shoah-Lanzmann (1985) (39 votes)
  • 31. The Godfather Part II-Coppola (1974) (38 votes)
  • 31. Taxi Driver-Scorsese (1976) (38 votes)
  • 33. Bicycle Thieves-De Sica (1948) (37 votes)
  • 34. The General-Keaton & Bruckman (1926) (35 votes)
  • 35. Metropolis-Lang (1927) (34 votes)
  • 35. Psycho-Hitchcock (1960) (34 votes)
  • 35. Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles-Akerman (1975) (34 votes)
  • 35. Sátántangó-Tarr (1994) (34 votes)
  • 39. The 400 Blows-Truffaut (1959) (33 votes)
  • 39. La dolce vita-Fellini (1960) (33 votes)
  • 41. Journey to Italy-Rossellini (1954) (32 votes)
  • 42. Pather Panchali-Ray (1955) (31 votes)
  • 42. Some Like It Hot-Wilder (1959) (31 votes)
  • 42. Gertrud-Dreyer (1964) (31 votes)
  • 42. Pierrot le fou-Godard (1965) (31 votes)
  • 42. Play Time-Tati (1967) (31 votes)
  • 42. Close-Up-Kiarostami (1990) (31 votes)
  • 48. The Battle of Algiers-Pontecorvo (1966) (30 votes)
  • 48. Histoire(s) du cinéma-Godard (1998) (30 votes)
  • 50. City Lights-Chaplin (1931) (29 votes)
  • 50. Ugetsu monogatari-Mizoguchi (1953) (29 votes)
  • 50. La Jetee-Marker (1962) (29 votes)

  • 1. Tokyo Story-Ozu (1953) (48 votes)
  • 2. 2001: A Space Odyssey-Kubrick (1968) (42 votes)
  • 3. Citizen Kane-Welles (1941) (41 votes)
  • 4. 8 ½-Fellini (1963) (40 votes)
  • 5. Taxi Driver-Scorsese (1976) (34 votes)
  • 6. Apocalypse Now-Coppola (1979) (33 votes)
  • 7. The Godfather-Coppola (1972) (31 votes)
  • 7. Vertigo-Hitchcock (1958) (31 votes)
  • 9. Mirror-Tarkovsky (1974) (30 votes)
  • 10. Bicycle Thieves-De Sica (1948) (29 votes)

This was the Critics Poll in 2002:

1. Citizen Kane (Welles) 46
2. Vertigo (Hitchcock) 41
3. La Régle du jeu (Renoir) 30
4. The Godfather and The Godfather Part II (Coppola) 23
5. Tokyo Story (Ozu) 22
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick) 21
7. Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein) 19
8. Sunrise (Murnau) 19
9. 8½ (Fellini) 18
10. Singin’ in the Rain (Kelly, Donen) 17

Taxi Driver is a bold guess, since it was only 35th last year, with 6 votes. And a film needed 17 voices for the top 10. But Taxi Driver was Scorsese's only film in the top 60 and his films are bound to rank better this time, that's true. Still, I think Raging Bull stands a better chance. If The Godfathers stay as high as you predict now (4th), I doubt there'll be enough votes left for Apocalypse Now to enter the top 10.
Though M was better ranked last time (24th / 8 votes), I do agree that Metropolis (27th / 7 votes) is Lang's dark horse. In Godard's case I think Le mépris/Contempt (22nd / 9 votes) stands a higher chance than A Bout de souffle/Breathless (15th / 11 votes).
I have my doubts for Dr. Strangelove (not in the top 60), The Wild Bunch (not in the top 60) & Mirror (45th / 5 votes), but Blade Runner (45th / 5 votes), Blue Velvet (not in the top 60) & Pulp Fiction (not in the top 60) could be dark horses indeed. Although I think they won't make it to the top 10.
I still think Singin' in the Rain en Tokyo Story stand a chance to stay in, but I fear that Sunrise might disappear. Which reminded me: I forgot to vote for it in your All time poll. I'll post a comment about it on that page.

I think your arguments are totally valid. My choices are 1/3 "educated guesses", 1/3 "shot in the dark", 1/3 "hope that some new life will be added to the top 10" though at the end of the day I don't really care all that much.

Re: Dr Strangelove - I chose it mainly because Kubrick's reputation has become immense since he passed away and it's usually his second highest rated/ranked film. I also think The Shining will see a steep rise as its reputation has grown quite a bit in the last decade. I think Scorsese's reputation is definitely on the rise (he is the director most directly borrowed from by major directors from 1992 on. Off the top of my head: Tarantino, PT Anderson, Aronofsky) and Taxi Driver is the film of his that seems to be garnering the most additional acclaim over the past 10+ years. However we may see a case of splitting votes between Raging Bull and Taxi Driver limiting the position of each. I agree with your assessment that there may not be enough votes for both Coppola selections in the top 10, though Apocalypse Now has become so strongly regarded in the last 15 years that I think it may just squeeze in. If I was betting money on it I'd probably guess that Tokyo Story would stay in...but...part of me also thinks Ozu has gradually gone out of style compared to Scorsese/Coppola (who, along with Kubrick, have heavily influenced this generation of filmmakers) and the perennial importance and love for Welles (who's Touch of Evil all but invented our recent Pulp Fiction-esque cinematic landscape and each decade grows in critical stature [as it should] + the recent highly regarded box set was universally hailed and released just in time for voters). However, it's probably a safer bet that all 3 of those (Apocalypse Now, Taxi Driver and Touch of Evil) will get close but no cigar.

One of the main problems I have taking Ozu out is that a Japanese film always seems to make it into the top 10...

Anyways, on all these points, I think its very possible that I may be a decade early in my predictions. These critical tides tend to turn way too slow for me... ):

Has Tarkovsky ever made their list?

Not top ten, but Andrei Rublev once made the top 15 I think... and The Mirror has recently been getting closer. His reputation in general has been on the rise for awhile now. Perhaps someday he'll be in the company of Welles, Hitchcock, Kubrick...

I haven't seen the full results and number of votes from the directors poll yet, so I can't tell exactly how close my prediction would be if the total votes from the two polls were combined. I'll update this as soon as I get them. Looks like I did pretty well though.

What I don't get is why most of the news and announcements around the internet are already saying how Vertigo won, when it seems like, if the votes were combined (critics' poll + director's poll), Citizen Kane may have retained its top position. Perhaps its number of votes at #2 on the director's poll (compared to 7th for Vertigo) weren't enough to make up its 34 vote gap in the critic's poll? Maybe Tokyo Story is actually the overall winner (though highly doubtful with having to make up an 84 vote gap on Vertigo, and a 50 vote gap on Citizen Kane, in the critic's poll)? Guess we'll know soon enough...

In any case, not that this stuff shifts my opinion on certain movies or anything, but it's fun to argue and analyze nonetheless. And more importantly, promotes and introduces many viewers to films they might not have watched otherwise. Vertigo is a great film, and even if I think Citizen Kane is far, far superior in just about every way (as well as being a much deeper, more profound film), Vertigo is as fine a choice as many for a poll such as this.

I assume this is what the above post is referring to??? I had even realized the list had dropped, and it seems that is indeed the critics poll. It's--in the bigger picture--a fairly dull list; I think five of the top ten are staggering masterpieces, but overall it's demonstrative of how institutionalized the cinematic canon is. But, I suppose, this kind of aggregate list is the last place where daring selections can occur (and survive). Minus The Searchers (good film, but let's be serious) it's not a bad top ten though. I'm not sure which I prefer between the critic's and the director's top ten.

Edit: Wow both lists are already in your own posting, why is reading so hard... =(


Re: Searchers ... while great, it does have flaws that unavoidably hinder it (the supporting male actor is possibly the worst performance in a great film). Which is important because he is supposed to add tension in opposition to Wayne's persona (and in some cases, the butt of comedy relief), but in both, he fails with a stupid and talentless performance (and not in an endearing way either). Plus I think it's non sequitor to the tone and a little bit of a cop out of Ford to inject comedy relief to de-emphasize the drama and emotional devastation, the film's greatest strength. With the exception of its last act, the first half is much better than the second... but that's enough criticism - it's still far better than most films. Ford's direction is often superb, its visual poetry is undeniably beautiful, and the suspenseful portions, as well as the ambiguity, boiling anger and desperation in Wayne is all very compelling.

Re: the overall list ... yes, it was less surprising/eventful than I was holding out some hope for ... Vertigo winning made things a little more interesting than usual, but do that many critics really think it's better than a staggering masterpiece like Kane? Or was it more of a concerted effort towards change at the top? ... The list now seems less "official" (not that it ever was) than ever because so many critics had separate agendas for their choices outside of just voting for what they think are the best films - even more "serious" critics like Rosenbaum arbitrarily vote for a totally different set of films each decade to avoid repetition. A nice way to draw attention to more great films but it's simply an inaccurate vote if he's voting for the "10 best films" ... still, the list manages to turn out better than any other consensus list (off the top of my head). Not counting the listology one I oversaw, of course :)

To correct, I think S & S should expand the # of choices a critic/director can submit to 20 or 25 or so. Yes, a film like Kane would've probably got 500 votes or something in this format, but if it's the consensus best film, it's the consensus best film. More importantly, because voters wouldn't be so limited, they'd feel less tendency to make up silly rules such as "one film per director" or "one each for 10 different countries", etc.

Secondly, S & S should send out a criterion that matches the stated intention of the poll, such as: "Vote for the films you actually think are the greatest ever made. Please treat this seriously and without serving any other agenda."

Simple solutions that I think would get more accurate results, if not necessarily more interesting/surprising.

I have an idea for something like a "challenge" version of this poll, and I wanted to know what you think.
I've come up with some rules and restrictions just to see what people would come up with under them:
Only one per director.
Only up to two per country (and at cover least 3 continents).
Only up to two per decade.
Must have at least one directed by a woman.
Must have at least one directed by a homosexual/lesbian.

I was just thinking that, even if someone might have to fiddle with their list and choose some things farther down, it could yield some interesting choices/ordering. Just a weird, very very very highly arbitrary experiment. What do you think?

(For the record, my top ten under this becomes:
01 Stalker. Andrei Tarkovsky. 1979. Russia.
02 Late Spring. Yasujiro Ozu. 1949. Japan.
03 Faces. John Cassavetes. 1968. USA.
04 Shadows Of Our Forgotten Ancestors. Sergei Parajanov. 1964. Russia.
05 Sink Or Swim. Su Friedrich. 1990. USA.
06 The Passion of Joan Of Arc. Carl Dreyer. 1928. France.
07 The Bicycle Thieves. Vittorio De Sica. 1948. Italy
08 Ugetsu Monogatari (Tales Of Moonlight and Rain). Kenji Mizoguchi. 1953. Japan.
09 The Rules Of The Game. Jean Renoir. 1939. France.
10 Dogville. Lars Von Trier. 2003. Denmark.
Putting myself through those hoops just made me notice how almost the entirety of my whole top-25 are just from four countries: USA, France, Japan, and Russia)

I'm not too into it (right now at least, maybe later), but it might yield some interesting results, eh? :) I say run with it and see what happens. It would have to be headlined as something else other than "10 best films of all time" though.

Might get some people to stretch their tastes a bit, which is always good :)

I honestly think that the reason Vertigo ousted the far superior Citizen Kane is because of the BFI having a Hitchcock retrospective basically throughout the year. With 2012 seemingly being S&S's Year of Alfred, and with Vertigo being the main contender and easiest choice to vote for for some reason it seems pretty legit that a British magazine would prefer a British director to be on top at the time of their commemorative year. I fully expect Kane to be back on top in 2022, unless the massively overrated In The Mood for Love keeps getting votes haha.

I know its early but does anyone have any predictions for the 2022 poll? With many of the 'established' critics possibly not being with us, will we see a slew of more modern films climbing up the list? There Will Be Blood, The Tree of Life? And will a great director have passed on (Godard anyone?) leaving their work to be reappraised to the point of mounting a challenge for the top? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the future.

I've got 10 years to change my mind, and who knows what will come out between now and then, but at the moment I think Apocalypse Now will continue to ascend (within top 8) as well as Mulholland Drive (probably not quite top 10 though). I also predict 2001 will be in the top 3.

I personally think Citizen Kane got beat because (1) Vertigo is an amazing film (2) Vertigo is a much easier film to fully comprehend and it seems like less and less people in this day and age have really experienced the true depths of Kane (3) Due to that, a gradual backlash towards Kane had been growing and finally peaked enough for Vertigo to take advantage.

I think Kane will unquestionably be back in the top spot if viewers are willing to put forth the effort to really learn what Welles meant in each aspect of the film (Ebert's commentary provides enough "clues" to get one off to a really good start).

If done, it is very difficult to imagine someone loving film and not finding Kane overwhelmingly extraordinary in every way -- certainly more than virtually any other film, including those as great as Vertigo.

Got any predictions for a full top 10?

Maybe... ???

1. Citizen Kane-Welles
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey-Kubrick
3. Vertigo-Hitchcock
4. The Rules of the Game-Renoir
5. Sunrise-Murnau
6. Tokyo Story-Ozu
7. 8 1/2-Fellini
8. Apocalypse Now-Coppola
9. Taxi Driver-Scorsese
10. Mirror-Tarkovsky

I do not know. But shooting in the dark, I think Vertigo will continue in the top, Roger Ebert said that there comes a time when voters tired of always vote in the same film, Kane is 50 years at the top, many people who voted for him have died, soon the new voters are younger people who definitely will vote in the films of the decade 60-70. Leaving the old ones without vote. Also the fact that Hitchcock is british magazine and always cherish the directors of his country. I think in the next two editions, Apocalypse Now will grow, as well as the latest movies, but I see Apocalypse Now as the major listed among the latest movies. The Godfather was away but I see still standing reputation. Perhaps the two films in the top 20 maybe. Apocalypse Now was also well regarded among the directors.
I also assume that: 2001 may soon challenge Kane and Vertigo. Rules of the Game can drop 6-8 maybe. Tokyo Story and Sunrise could be just moments, I think the latter may fall out. Overall it is. Vertigo is now the king, Kane does not think back to the top soon, same thing happen to AFI The Godfather will replace Kane, 2017 or 2027, but is likely.

But one of the reasons why I think Vertigo remain in the top is the amount of votes.
1982 to 1992 he was on the rise but not a threat to Kane. In 2002 he came in dethroning 2 Rules of Game and The Godfather. 45 votes against 41. It was expected that this list he overcame equaled or Kane, but he was not exceeded by 5-10 votes were 34 votes, and a rise like the Vertigo, now that will not stop. Again kicking in the dark: I think 2022 will look like this:

1.Vertigem - 285 votes
2.Kane - 236 votes

Sorry I missed this when you posted it! Thanks for your insights. Pretty sure I agree with everything you said!