Two years after shaking up the chin-stroking world of cinephiles, when the results of their once-every-decade Greatest Films Of All Time list knocked Orson Welles‘ "Citizen Kane" off the top spot, with Alfred Hitchcock‘s "Vertigo" taking its place, Sight & Sound is back with another list that probably won’t be as Earth shattering. They are turning their ranking system to documentaries and it’s safe to say no one is going to riot in the streets over these results.
With votes from 340 critics, programmers and filmmakers, the magazine has dropped the top 50 docs of all time, and the top ten certainly plays it pretty safe. These are all well-regarded, historic, acclaimed and important works that you probably saw in film school and/or have already been told are well-regarded, historic, acclaimed and important. That said, Dziga Vertov‘s silent "Man With A Movie Camera" is still pretty dazzling today (we’ve include the whole movie for you to watch below) and if there’s one surprise, it’s Agnes Varda‘s 2000 effort "The Gleaners And I" cracking the top ten. I’ll definitely have to add that to my must-watch pile.
1. Man With A Movie Camera, (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
2. Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985)
3. Sans Soleil, (Chris Marker, 1982)
4. Night And Fog (Alain Resnais, 1955)
5. The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris, 1989)
6. Chronicle Of A Summer (Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin, 1961)
7. Nanook Of The North (Robert Flaherty, 1922)
8. The Gleaners And I (Agnès Varda, 2000)
9. Don’t Look Back (D.A. Pennebaker, 1967)
10. Grey Gardens (Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer, 1975)