The Sight & Sound top ten greatest films list has been revealed tonight. So, without further or do, here’s the list.
The Critics’ List1. 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 (Vertov, 1929)
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1928)
10. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
While it’s a shame to see the mighty Kane toppled, it’s not unexpected. Echoing the thoughts of several online commentators we’re inclined to believe that a break from being the “official” Greatest Film Of All Time™ might actually do the Welles film some good. It’ll certainly help to soften the stigma that the film holds for some approaching the film for a first time. But alas, Vertigo is certainly a worthy succesor to the throne, and a film we’ll be taking an in-depth look at over the next few days. The single most noteworthy thing about the whole list is the inclusion of a whopping three silent films in the top ten. Hugo and The Artist did their jobs it would seem…
Of course, all lists are arbitrary, but it’s the ones that are produced with a greater care and attention to detail that do actually prove useful. Many of the people in our own Twitter feed tonight cited past iterations of the list to have been great indicators as to where to go when first exploring the cinema.
Looking beyond the initial top ten we’re delighted to see Breathless, Jean Vigo and Bresson all featuring in the top 20, with Breathless the first of a mammoth four Godard titles that have made the cut (Pierrot Le Fou, Le mépris and Histoire(s) du cinema round out the Godard titles), making the French director the most celebrated filmmaker of all. Mulholland Dr., a rare modern work in the list (more on that later) and a bunch of Dreyer’s also please.
There are a couple of notable omissions, of which there would always be thanks to the collaborate nature of the list, but while we’re currently licking our wounds over the lack of Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood making the list, and a complete lack of Terrence Malick across the top fifty, one might have always have considered those to be longshots at best. It’s the sight of a lone Charlie Chaplin feature that comes as one of the more unexpected surprises, and at number fifty at that! (Keaton beats Chaplin too, for the record, with The General faring significantly better than City Lights) There’s very little British cinema across the whole 100 (2001 aside, The Third Man is the highest rated film from these isles at a whopping 74), with no room for Powell & Pressburger at all.
The directors list throws up a couple of interesting deviations. Here’s the list -1. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
3. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
4. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
5. Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1976)
6. Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979)
7. The Godfather (Coppola, 1972)
8. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
9. The Mirror (Tarkovsky, 1975)
10. Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)
The Ozu sitting at the top is the greatest surprise, although one might be inclined to suggest that current filmmaking trends do line up more closely with the aesthetics of Tokyo Story than they do the Welles film. The biggest jump between lists is Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, which came in relatively lowly on the critics list. That film is endemic of the great influence of the New Hollywood over the director’s too, with three films from that particular period present. However, there are no French films, which is interesting given the domination of the Gallic over the critics choices.