‘Citizen Kane’ Finally Falls in Latest Sight & Sound Poll; ‘Vertigo’ Is Now Greatest Film of All…

By  · Published on August 1st, 2012

‘Citizen Kane’ Finally Falls in Latest Sight & Sound Poll; ‘Vertigo’ Is Now Greatest Film of All Time

Whoa. After weeks of anticipation, the seventh Sight & Sound Poll has finally revealed the results of its 2012 poll, and those results kick off with one eye-popping surprise. After fifty years of supremacy, Orson WellesCitizen Kane has fallen from its top spot on the critics’ poll (with 846 critics voting), with no less than Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo taking the top prize. Citizen Kane has held the number one spot since 1952, but Vertigo has steadily been creeping up the list for years now. It first appeared as a close runner-up in 1972, before moving on to the list in the 7th spot in 1982, followed by a jump to 4th in 1992 and a heel-nipping 2nd in 2002.

The critics’ list also includes three new entries – The Searchers, Man With the Movie Camera, and The Passion of Joan of Arc, effectively jettisoning old standbys like Battleship Potemkin, Singin’ in the Rain, and The Godfather.

Meanwhile, the directors’ list (in only its third incarnation, and with 358 directors voting) also booted Citizen Kane from their number one, instead bestowing the honor on Ozu Yasujiro’s Tokyo Story, with 2001: A Space Odyssey shutting Welles out from even the second spot. The directors also held on to The Godfather and 8 1/2, but changed things up considerably by including new entries like Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, and The Mirror, and leaving off old favorites like Raging Bull, Seven Samurai, and Rashomon (amongst others).

The BFI posted the results with comments from the poll’s various voters, which you check out HERE (be aware, the site currently appears to be going up and down due to extreme traffic) for one heck of a read. But we won’t hold back the winners from you, so check them out (with still more commentary and reference points) after the break.

Critics’ Picks

1. Vertigo
2. Citizen Kane
3. Tokyo Story
4. The Rules of the Game
5. Sunrise
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
7. The Searchers
8. Man With a Movie Camera
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc
10. 8 1/2

Directors’ Picks

1. Tokyo Story
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey
2. Citizen Kane
4. 8 1/2
5. Taxi Driver
6. Apocalypse Now
7. The Godfather
7. Vertigo
9. The Mirror
10. Bicycle Thieves

The game has changed.

When it comes to something like the Sight & Sound poll, it’s essential to refer back to previous lists and their results, so let’s take a look at the 2002 round-up:

Critics’ Picks

1. Citizen Kane
2. Vertigo
3. The Rules of the Game
4. The Godfather and The Godfather Part II
5. Tokyo Story
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
7. Battleship Potemkin
7. Sunrise
9. 8 1/2
10. Singin’ in the Rain

Directors’ Picks

1. Citizen Kane
2. The Godfather and The Godfather Part II
3. 8 1/2
4. Lawrence of Arabia
5. Dr. Strangelove
6. Bicycle Thieves
6. Raging Bull
6. Vertigo
9. Rashomon
9. The Rules of the Game
9. Seven Samurai

While change on the critics’ list takes much time, change does indeed happen. Meanwhile, the directors seem content to just go hog-wild and vote for whatever the heck they feel like, with little concern for previous years (just how it should be).

We published our own round-up of the 10 Greatest Movies of All Time (According to the Internet) back in May and, interestingly enough, Citizen Kane still reigned supreme, with Vertigo actually taking the final slot in our top ten. Other shared picks included The Godfather, 8 1/2, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Shockingly enough, Sight & Sound didn’t include some of our other choices, like Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Casablanca (which has actually never appeared on the top 10 list).

FSR’s 10 Greatest Movies of All Time (According to the Internet)

1. Citizen Kane
2. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
3. The Godfather
4. Raiders of the Lost Ark
5. Casablanca
6. 8 1/2 (tie)
6. Back to the Future (tie)
8. 2001: A Space Odyssey
9. Bicycle Thieves
10. Vertigo

Just two weeks ago on our own dear Reject Radio, first-time Sight & Sound voter, film critic Guy Lodge, explained to Cole Abaius his thought process as it related to his voting, which should (probably) be your first listen before we start really examining this list.

That all said, as this is certainly the best time to sound off on this list, what do you think of this latest Sight & Sound poll? What about it surprised you? What didn’t? What film deserves less love? What film deserves a higher place on the list?

And, of course, what do you think are the 10 Greatest Films of All Time?