Much of the hullabaloo surrounding the 2012 list concerns the dethroning of Orson Welles' Citizen Kane from the number one slot, a position it had held, uninterrupted, since 1962. Prior to this year, the only other film to sit at the very top of the poll was Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thieves in 1952.
But now Orson Welles must relinquish his title—perhaps as reluctantly as he eased his grip on that half-empty bottle of Paul Masson during commercial tapings—to Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. One fat man eclipsed by another.
Below you will find the complete results from the Sight and Sound best film poll. I have placed my peevish commentary after the list so that you might entertain your own opinions for a few seconds until you receive the correct ones.
1. Vertigo (1958), Alfred Hitchcock.
2. Citizen Kane (1941), Orson Welles.
3. Tokyo Story (1953), Yasujiro Ozu.
4. The Rules of the Game (1939), Jean Renoir.
5. Sunrise (1927), F.W. Murnau.*
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Stanley Kubrick.
7. The Searchers (1956), John Ford.
8. Man with a Movie Camera (1929), Dziga Vertov.
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1927), Carl Theodor Dreyer.
10. 8½ (1963), Federico Fellini.
11. Battleship Potemkin (1925), Sergei Eisenstein.
12. L'Atlante (1934), Jean Vigo.*
13. Breathless (1960), Jean-Luc Godard.
14. Apocalypse Now (1979), Francis Ford Coppola.
15. Late Spring (1949), Yasujiro Ozu.
16. Au hasard Balthazar (1966), Robert Bresson.
17. [tie] Seven Samurai (1954), Akira Kurosawa.
17. [tie] Persona (1966), Ingmar Bergman.
19. Mirror (1973), Andrei Tarkovsky.
20. Singin' in the Rain (1951), Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly.
21. [tie] L'avventura (1960), Michelangelo Antonioni.
21. [tie] Contempt (1963), Jean-Luc Godard.
21. [tie] The Godfather (1972) Francis Ford Coppola.
24. [tie] Ordet (1955), Carl Theodor Dreyer.
24. [tie] In the Mood for Love (2000), Wong Kar-Wai.
26. [tie] Rashomon (1950), Akira Kurosawa.
26. [tie] Andrei Rublev (1966), Andrei Tarkovsky.
28. Mulholland Dr. (2001), David Lynch.
29. [tie] Stalker (1979), Andrei Tarkovsky.
29. [tie] Shoah (1985), Claude Lanzmann.
31. [tie] The Godfather Part II (1974), Francis Ford Coppola.
31. [tie] Taxi Driver (1976), Martin Scorcese.
33. Bicycle Thieves (1948), Vittorio De Sica.
34. The General (1926), Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman.
35. [tie] Metropolis (1927), Fritz Lang.
35. [tie] Psycho (1960), Alfred Hitchcock.
35. [tie] Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles (1975), Chantal Akerman.*
35. [tie] Satantango (1994), Bela Tarr.
39. [tie] The 400 Blows (1959), Francois Truffaut.
39. [tie] La Dolce Vita (1960), Federico Fellini.
41. Journey to Italy (1954), Roberto Rossellini.*
42. [tie] Pather Panchali (1955), Satyajit Ray.*
42. [tie] Some Like It Hot (1959), Billy Wilder.
42. [tie] Getrud (1964), Carl Theodor Dreyer.
42. [tie] Pierrot le fou (1965), Jean-Luc Godard.
42. [tie] Playtime (1967), Jacques Tati.
42. [tie] Close-Up (1990), Abbas Kiarostami.
48. [tie] The Battle of Algiers (1966), Gillo Pontecorvo.
48. [tie] Histoire(s) du Cinema (1998), Jean-Luc Godard.*
50. [tie] City Lights (1931), Charlie Chaplin.*
50. [tie] Ugetsu (1953), Mizoguchi Kenji.*
50. [tie] La Jetee (1962), Chris Marker.
The original list and other related bullshit can be found HERE at the British Film Institute website.
I have not seen the films followed by an asterisk (eight in total), so I am not qualified to comment on their validity—although I did watch the first hour (of four-and-a-half hours) of Histoire(s) du Cinema and wasn't exactly champing at the bit to get back to it. (And this is coming from a big Godard fan.)
Meanwhile, I've never even heard of Pather Panchali—and at the risk of displaying my ethnocentrism, I probably would have been content living in ignorance.
Comments, Observations, and Tirades:
- THREE TARKOVSKY FILMS? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? I MEAN, SERIOUSLY. IS THIS SOME KIND OF PRACTICAL JOKE? WHO FUCKING VOTES FOR THIS BULLSHIT LIST ANYWAY? I'm picturing some wormy-looking fiftysomething guy with a van dyke beard who always wears a tweed sport coat and a clashing bow tie. He probably carries around a beaten-up tan leather satchel in which he keeps antibacterial wipes in case he has to go to the restroom anywhere but in the apartment where he lives with his schizophrenic brother and an appraised collection of Native American art. I especially want to single out the assholes who voted for Mirror. This message is for you: FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING FUCKHEADED FUCKERS!
- I've seen all three Carl Theodor Dreyer films on the list, and—admittedly—The Passion of Joan of Arc is a masterpiece, but I recall absolutely nothing about Ordet and Gertrud other than that I saw them when they came out in the Criterion Collection. I actually remember Funny Farm with Chevy Chase in more detail than I remember these films.
- There is only one Ingmar Bergman film on this list. Sure, I could be really immature about this and launch into another expletive-filled rant of no rational merit, but really what I want is for these people to look deep into depths of their souls, into that freshly-Windexed mirror called the human conscience. Are you perfectly okay with leaving Cries and Whispers off this list? How about The Seventh Seal? And Fanny and Alexander? If you can get a good night sleep with these sins of omission on your consciences, well, then... I guess you must be PURE EVIL.
- I'm kind of impressed that the critics didn't cave into political correctness and include Do the Right Thing on the list. (It was number 51, wasn't it?)
- Why don't people understand how torturously boring Seven Samurai is? Okay. So this town has to hire some samurai to protect it from ne'er-do-wells. I get it. But do we (the audience) have to sit through the plodding details of the recruitment of all seven of them? And then on top of that, we have to sit through a long and surprisingly unsuspenseful battle between the criminals and the samurai? Dude... this move is three-and-a-half hours! And you can pretty much guess everything that will happen in the first half hour. Akira—I love you, man. You made some top shelf films, like Throne of Blood, Ikiru, and Ran, but it's a shame that your career is almost synonymous with this tedious, narratively rote film.
- I'll admit it. Vertigo is a very good film. I certainly don't harbor any ill-will for it, despite the fact that Jimmy Stewart is its leading man. But Vertigo isn't even my favorite Hitchcock film, let alone my favorite film of all time.
- Two Ozu films? I don't get it. Make me understand. I want to understand.
- I think I've probably spouted off enough about Bela Tarr's Satantango, a seven-and-a-half hour film of epic nothingness, so I won't bore you by repeating my criticisms—that it's self-indulgent, pretentious, and a terminal case of the Emperor's New Clothes (spearheaded by the late Susan Sontag—that reliably naked Empress of High Art herself)—and I'll just leave you with the observation that people are craycray.