SHOCK: Vertigo is the New ‘Best Movie Ever Made?’

The results of this decade's Sight and Sound poll are finally here, and for the first time in 50 years Citizen Kane is not #1.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani


As a film-centric website (or rather, a film-centric channel for a larger website), we've run a lot of lists. But while The Top 25 Movie Explosions (Part 1 and Part 2), The Top Seven Badass Movie Presidents and The Top Ten Most Offensive Kids movies are all well and good, we also know that there's only one list that really matters: Sight and Sound's poll of the greatest movies of all time, released every ten years and compiled from the most prominent and respected minds in the film industry, across the whole world. This decade's list is finally in, and it's a legitimate shocker for cinephiles everywhere: according to the largest cross-section of film critics, filmmakers and industry insiders ever gathered for the Sight and Sound poll, Citizen Kane is no longer "The Greatest Film Ever Made." That honor now belongs to Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo.

Citizen Kane's position as the best film of all time has become such a ubiquitous notion that it's kind of considered a little joke amongst the critical community. Perhaps that's what knocked it back down to the #2 slot, but that's just speculation. There's no denying that Vertigo is an excellent motion picture (it's been a mainstay on Sight and Sound's top ten since 1982), this is the first time in 50 years that Citizen Kane has not ranked #1 on the celebrated poll. Until today, the only other film to rank at #1 was Vittorio De Sica's 1948 drama Bicycle Thieves, which has since dropped out of the top ten altogether. (This year, Bicycle Thieves ranks at #33, right behind Taxi Driver and The Godfather Part II – which are tied at #31 – and just above Buster Keaton's comedy classic The General.)

We'll be dedicated this weekend's episode of The B-Movies Podcast entirely to the new Sight and Sound poll (reserving just a little time to discuss the week's new releases, Total Recall and The Babymakers), so we shall reserve some of our commentary for that time. We've included the new "Top 25 Films Ever Made" below, but you can see the complete list in much more detail at the British Film Institute's website. If you haven't seen any of these motion pictures, your weekend plans have just been made for you.

1. Vertigo (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)

2. Citizen Kane (dir. Orson Welles, 1941)

3. Tokyo Story (dir. Ozu Yasujiro, 1953)

4. La Regle du jeu (dir. Jean Renoir, 1939)

5. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (dir. F.W. Murnau, 1927)

6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1968)

7. The Searchers (dir. John Ford, 1956)

8. Man with a Movie Camera (dir. Dziga Vertov, 1939)

9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (dir. Carl Dreyer, 1927)

10. 8 1/2 (dir. Federico Fellini, 1963)

11. Battleship Potemkin (dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1925)

12. L'Atalante (dir. Jean Vigo, 1934)

13. Breathless (dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)

14. Apocalypse Now (dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)

15. Late Spring (dir. Ozu Yasujiro, 1949)

16. Au Hazard Balthazar (dir. Robert Bresson, 1966)

17. Seven Samurai (dir. Kurosawa Akira, 1954) and Persona (dir. Ingmar Bergman, 1966) – (TIE)

19. Mirror (dir. Andrei Tarkovksy, 1974)

20. Singin' in the Rain (dirs. Stanely Donen & Gene Kelly, 1951)

21. L'avventura (dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960) and Le Mepris (dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1963) and The Godfather (dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1972) – (TIE)

24. Ordet (dir. Carl Dreyer, 1955) and In the Mood for Love (dir. Wong Kar-Wai, 2000) – (TIE)

Are you pissed about Citizen Kane? Did your pick for "Best Film Ever" not make the list? Let us know your reactions in the comments below!