Once a decade Sight & Sound asks critics to select filmy4wab the Greatest Films of All Time. In our biggest ever ballot , performed in 2012, 846 critics, programmers and curators from around the sector nominated ten exceptional movies ever made – and the consequences gave us a brand new top film, ending the 50-12 months reign of Citizen Kane.
Updated: 28 June 2021
Sight and Sound
Kim Novak in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, the pinnacle movie in our 2012 Greatest Films of All Time poll
Alfred Hitchcock, USA 1958
A former detective with a fear of heights is employed to observe a lady seemingly possessed through the beyond in Alfred Hitchcock’s undying mystery about obsession.
“The accession of Vertigo to the top spot on this poll is infrequently in the nature of a coup d’état. Tying for 11th place in 1972, Hitchcock’s masterpiece step by step inched up the ballot over the next 3 many years, and by using 2002 become surely the heir apparent to the lengthy-ruling Citizen Kane. Still, even ardent Wellesians ought to feel gratified on the modest revolution – if only for the evidence that film canons (and the variations of records they legitimate) are not absolutely fossilised.
“There can be no large significance inside the naked reality that a couple of movies made in California 17 years aside have traded numerical ratings on a whimsically impressionistic listing. Yet the human urge to interpret hazard phenomena will not be denied, and Vertigo is a crafty, duplicitous system for spinning which means…”
— Peter Matthews’s opening to his commemorative ballot essay Vertigo rises: the finest movie of all time?
Read: Forever falling: Miguel Marías’s advocation for Vertigo as the greatest film of all time
Watch Kim Novak speak Vertigo
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2. Citizen Kane
Orson Welles, USA 1941
Citizen Kane (1941)
Given notable freedom by way of Hollywood studio RKO for his debut film, boy wonder Welles created a modernist masterpiece this is regularly voted the nice movie ever made.
See all 157 votes for Citizen Kane
“Kane and Vertigo don’t top the chart by way of divine right. But those films are just nonetheless the best at doing what splendid cinema should do: extending the regular into the visionary.”
— Nigel Andrews
“All celluloid existence is present in Citizen Kane; seeing it for the primary or umpteenth time remains a revelation.”
— Trevor Johnston
Read: The mark of Kane: David Thomson on Kane’s lengthy reign because the Greatest Film of All Time
3. Tokyo Story
Ozu Yasujiro, Japan 1953
Tokyo Story (1953)
The very last part of Ozu Yasujiro’s loosely connected ‘Noriko’ trilogy is a devastating story of aged grandparents dismissed by their self-concerned circle of relatives.
“Ozu used to liken himself to a “tofu-maker”, in connection with the manner his films – as a minimum the put up-conflict ones – have been all versions on a small quantity of subject matters. So why is it Tokyo Story that is acclaimed by way of maximum as his masterpiece? DVD releases have made to be had such prewar movies as I Was Born, But…, and but the Ozu vote has no longer been split, and Tokyo Story has honestly climbed locations on the grounds that 2002. It may additionally certainly be that in Tokyo Story this maximum Japanese tofu-maker refined his artwork to the factor of perfection, and crafted a absolutely common movie approximately family, time and loss.”
— James Bell
See all 107 votes for Tokyo Story
Read: The grasp of time: Thom Andersen on Ozu Yasujirô
Watch Tokyo Story on BFI Player
four. La Règle du jeu
Jean Renoir, France 1939
Made at the cusp of WWII, Jean Renoir’s satire of the top-center classes turned into banned as demoralising by way of the French government for two decades after its launch
“Only Renoir has controlled to specific on movie the most multiplied perception of naturalism, examining this international from a perspective that is dark, merciless however goal, before going on to obtain the serenity of the paintings of his antique age. With him, one has no qualms about the use of superlatives: La Règle du jeu is pretty surely the finest French film with the aid of the finest of French administrators.”
— Olivier Père
See all 100 votes for La Règle du Jeu
Watch La Règle du jeu on BFI Player
5. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
F.W. Murnau, USA 1927
Lured to Hollywood by way of producer William Fox, German Expressionist filmmaker F.W. Murnau created one of the silent cinema’s ultimate and most luminous masterpieces.
“When F.W. Murnau left Germany for America in 1926, did cinema foresee what become coming? Did it sense that alternate was across the nook – that now became the time to replenish on myth, delirium and spectacle earlier than speakme actors wrenched the artform towards fact? Many things make this movie greater than just a morality tale approximately temptation and lust, a fable approximately a young husband so crazy with desire for a metropolis girl that he contemplates drowning his wife, an elemental but candy tale of a husband and spouse rediscovering their love for every different. Sunrise became an instance – possibly by no means once more repeated on the same scale – of unfettered imagination and the clout of the studio gadget running together instead of at move purposes.”
— Isabel Stevens
See all ninety three votes for Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
Read: Where first of all F.W. Murnau
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick, UK/USA 1968
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Stanley Kubrick took technology fiction cinema in a grandly intelligent new route with this epic story of guy’s quest for information.
“2001: A Space Odyssey is a stand-alongside monument, a extremely good visionary bounce, unsurpassed in its imaginative and prescient of guy and the universe. It become a announcement that got here at a time which now seems some thing like the top of humanity’s technological optimism.”
— Roger Ebert
See all 90 votes for 2001: A Space Odyssey