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‘Vertigo’ Replaces ‘Citizen Kane’ On Sight & Sound Greatest Of All Time List

'Vertigo' Replaces 'Citizen Kane' On Sight & Sound Greatest Of All Time List

There are film enthusiasts, cinema lovers and movie fans, and then there are those that read Sight & Sound. The most vaunted publication devoted to all things movies has drafted their once-a-decade list that determines what is the Greatest Movie Of All Time, and Orson Welles has to move over for another helmer fond of the buffet table.

Alfred Hitchcock‘s “Vertigo” has replaced “Citizen Kane” on top of the list, sending shockwaves through the movie community, with riots taking place in multiplexes around the country. Okay, not really, but it does knock Welles off his longstanding peg at the top, placing him in the #2 slot. It has been a long, slow climb for the movie up the list, first appearing in 1982 at #7 before growing in esteem as the years passed by. At the time of its release, critics were largely indifferent to the movie, but it has since gone on to become one of Hitchcock’s most highly regarded efforts and hugely influential as well. 

846 movie experts were called up to hand in their lists to determine the Top 50, but separately, 358 film directors (including Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen and Mike Leigh) were asked to submit their greatest list and the results are quite different. Yasujirō Ozu‘s “Tokyo Story” tops the list, with “Vertigo” ranking at #7 while Andrei Tarkovsky gets a nod for “Mirror” as do more contemporary efforts like “Taxi Driver” and “Apocalypse Now.”

Check out both top tens below and if you haven’t seen some of them, get them on your Netflix queue ASAP. [THR/BFI]

Sight & Sound The Critics’ Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time

1. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
2. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
3. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
4. La Règle du jeu (Renoir, 1939)
5. Sunrise: a Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
7. The Searchers (Ford, 1956)
8. Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1927)
10. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
11. Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925)
12. L’Atalante (Jean Vigo, 1934)
13. Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)
14. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
15. Late Spring (Ozu Yasujiro, 1949)
16. Au hasard Balthazar (Robert Bresson, 1966)
17. Seven Samurai (Kurosawa Akira, 1954)
17. Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)
19. Mirror (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1974)
19. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly, 1951)
21. L’avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960)
21. Le Mépris (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963)
21. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
24. Ordet (Carl Dreyer, 1955)
24. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-Wai, 2000)
26. Rashomon (Kurosawa Akira, 1950)
26. Andrei Rublev (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1966)
28. Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch, 2001)
29. Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979)
29. Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985)
31. The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
31. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
33. Bicycle Thieves (Vittoria De Sica, 1948)
34. The General (Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman, 1926)
35. Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)
35. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
35. Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman, 1975)
35. Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994)
39. The 400 Blows (François Truffaut, 1959)
39. La dolce vita (Federico Fellini, 1960)
41. Journey to Italy (Roberto Rossellini, 1954)
42. Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray, 1955)
42. Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)
42. Gertrud (Carl Dreyer, 1964)
42. Pierrot le fou (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965)
42. Play Time (Jacques Tati, 1967)
42. Close-Up (Abbas Kiarostami, 1990)
48. The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966)
48. Histoire(s) du cinéma (Jean-Luc Godard, 1998)
50. City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)
50. Ugetsu monogatari (Mizoguchi Kenji, 1953)
50. La Jetée (Chris Marker, 1962)

The Directors’ Top 10 Greatest Films of All Time
Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
=2 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
=2 Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1980)
Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979)
=7 The Godfather (Coppola, 1972)
=7 Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
Mirror (Tarkovsky, 1974)
Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)

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Griffith’s Birth Of A nation should be on here, but I wouldn’t doubt that it will never make these kinds of lists again due to selective political correctness.

Hermes Birkin

The relationship between web designer and client is always a delicate one. Web designers just can't help wanting their own creative vision, but clients may have different, sometimes odd ideas.


Why are there three #50's and 2 movies both being at the #29 spot. List doesn't even make sense.

Edward Copeland

I know Sight & Sound got Singin' in the Rain's release year wrong, but you should at least correct it to 1952. On the directors' list, I didn't see the S&S version to see if they really screwed up bad enough to have Taxi Driver's year correct (1976) on the top 50 but wrong (1980) on the directors' top 10. Makes me suspicious that the directors' list should be Raging Bull.


it's ok to say kike and spic and chinx but not ok to say nigger? now who's been racist?


what no sandniggers on the list???


what no towel heads on the list??????


what no chinx on the list???


what no kikes on the list???


what no spics on the list??


I’m a racist douchebag, so I’ve had my comment edited.


May I exaggerate and also cite the following in case people have forgotten them or not seen them? M, Gaslight, I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Quai des Orfevres, Cat People, Lubitsch’s To Be or Not To Be, The Shop Around the Corner, Bringing Up Baby, Scenes from a Marriage, Cries and Whispers, Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, Divorce Italian Style, Seduced and Abandoned, Police Python 357, Viva Zapata (great black-and-white), While the City Sleeps, The Big Country, East of Eden, Sitting Pretty, Ju Dou, Good Fellas, In the Heat of the Night (Rod Steiger should NOT be forgotten), To Kill a Mockingbird, The Late Show, True Confessions, A Wedding, Cassavetes’ Gloria, The Hill, The Wind and the Lion

Brandon Vera

Oh wait did you hear that….I think I just heard the moment this list disappeared up it's on ass like most of the people who compiled it!!!

Brandon Vera

Oh and for the record…Mulholland Dr should be on a worst list not best! The movie was a total mess and the fact it is on here alone cements my opinion that the list is a farce!

Brandon Vera

This list is total bullsh*t…and if the people who compiled it believe that this is the best 50 movies of all time then I hope I never met any of them as they probably take themselves way too serious! LOL


Sight and Sound pretends it's still relevant, world shrugs.


After winning his Oscar for "The Bridge On The River Kwai", while appreciative of the honor, Alec Guiness said "I have no idea how anyone can truly determine what is the best art".

That is so true!! All these lists are completely ridiculous.

Alain DeWitt

I am sorry but this is movie critic snobbery at its finest. 95% of the movie going public won't have even heard of half the movies on this list. And the fact that the incomprehensible mess that is 'Mulholland Dr.' is on this list discredits the list in its entirety.


Man Godard and Dreyer are having a resurgence. Overall a good list with some films out of order in my opinion. It sucks that The Decalogue as a whole can't be count because of the new rule.


David Lean doesn't make the top 50? Really? And Godard has four films?


when it comes to art, these lists become so ridiculous. It's like establishing a list of the best symphonies of all times: can we say that Mozart's #40 is better than Beethoven's #9 or Schubert is better or worse of any of those two? Utterly ridiculous

DC Lee

Re: 'Vertigo' Replaces 'Citizen Kane' On Sight & Sound Greatest Of All Time List


Joel Lillo

"Best" and "worst" are so subjective. I've gotten to the point where I won't argue with anyone who talks about "Tommy Boy" as their favorite movie of all time. I have argued with my son that the Dark Knight is a bit overrated. When he argues back at me, it reminds me of the days when I thought my opinion was the only right opinion about movies, music, drama, and television.


Battleship Potemkin is not only over an hour long it is most likely the most influence
Film of all time
But they did forget bio-dome


…. white people.


I've only seen 15 on this list and none of them are favourites of mine. I don't know how these are chosen by so called experts, objectively or subjectively , base on technical know-how or emotionally or a combination of factors. Who knows, but I know what I like. My two top movies over sixty years for anyone interested are Silence of The Lambs and Once Upon a Time in the West.

Cesar Querales

Another comment :
That means that Singing in the Rain is better that the Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries or Mephisto.


On a side-note: the late Chris Marker loved Vertigo … and La Jetée [#50] literally quotes Vertigo [#1], beside both film use the timeloop and the spiral.

Cesar Querales

@Rodrigo agree Kieslowski The Decalogs are not there but I'm glad Ozu went up in the top spot of director's list Tokyo Story is up there finally. and I don't see Ali- Fear eats the Soul by Fassbinder either
The greatest movie list changes like time change. Some movies like Ford's The Searchers or Murnau's Sunrise have dethroned classics like Intolerance and Stagecoach that long reigned in the lists of many critics for years. Hey no Glauber Rocha,John Waters or Jarmush either..


I need to see more Dreyer. I still haven't seen Shoah, Jeanne Dielman…, Sátántangó, Voyage to Italy, any Satyajit Ray, or Histoire(s) du cinéma.


These lists seem to get more ridiculous the more they come out. Greatest of all time? Should be Greatest Until We Release the Next Greatest List. I can understand new movies causing lists to be retooled, but an old movie knocking another old movie out of place? And Vertigo? Rear Window was a superior film imho. Maybe Scorsese's vote got added weight. But no Lawrence of Arabia or Empire Strikes Back on the list? pshaw! At least In The Mood For Love is in there…


Youve probably only seen the running sequence. Thats an hour into the movie


Battleship Potkemin is barely a film; it's maybe 25 minutes long.


Kinda bummed there's no Kieslowski on here. He would crack my top 10.

Edward Davis

Nice to see so much Tarkovsky on this list.


….Mulholland Drive at number 28?!?!? Don't get me wrong, it's a really good movie, but the majority of people wouldn't even consider that Lynch's best movie (Blue Velvet, easily), let alone ahead of Taxi Driver and The Godfather Part II.


Top 10 of 20th Century:
1. Persona (Bergman)
2. Vertigo (Hitchock)
3. Citizen Kane (Welles)
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick)
5. Solaris (Tarkovsky)
6. Raging Bull (Scorsese)
7. Apocalypse Now (Coppola)
8. Fargo (Coen Bros)
9. Chinatown (Polanski)
10. Lawrence of Arabia (Lean)

Top 10 of 21st Century
1. No Country for Old Men (Coen Bros)
2. Royal Tenenbaums (Anderson)
3. Tree of Life (Malick)
4. Inglourious Basterds (Tarantino)
5. There Will Be Blood (Anderson)
6. In the Mood for Love (Kar-Wai)
7. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (Lee)
8. Talk to Her (Almodovar)
9. Hero (Yimou)
10. Children of Men (Cuaron)


I agree with many of these positions but the most recent movie on this list is from 1979 (Taxe Driver is from 1976 by the way), how long those it take to have enough longevity to be considered? And where de the hell is Bergman? And I still wonder why exactly Tokyo Story is that well loved…

Michael Chase Walker

"Those guys are fags…" (Spucoli). Not only is Vertigo NOT better than Citizen Kane, it's not even one of Hitch's better films. Monotonous interminable car scenes, cliché psychic, bogus plot, wooden acting, ridiculously hammy monologues, c'mon. There are a few classic moments, but Greatest of all time?

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