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Vertigo replaces Citizen Kane as the greatest movie of all time, according to the British Film Institute

08.01.2012

After a reign of 50 years as the British Film Institute's greatest movie of all time, Orson Welles' CITIZEN KANE has lost that honor to Alfred Hitchcock's VERTIGO.

The BFI conducts a poll every decade through their magazine, Sights & Sounds. They have both a critic poll and a director poll for the top ten films of all time. The last five surveys have held KANE as the best movie of all time, much like the American Film Institute's list. But, the change from KANE to VERTIGO is merely swapping two great movies for one another. While I hold CITIZEN KANE to the same regard as most people (unlike our recent Unpopular Opinion article), I also love VERTIGO as well. Both are great movies. If you haven't seen one or the other (or both, you heathen!) then I implore you to check them out.

Here are the 2012 BFI lists.

The Critics Top 10

1.  VERTIGO (Hitchcock, 1958)

2.  CITIZEN KANE (Welles, 1941)

3.  TOKYO STORY (Ozu, 1953)

4.  LA REGLE 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)

The only film unfamiliar to me on that list is LA REGLE DU JEU. I have seen all the rest. That is a really great list. The second list is the one voted on by directors, which shares some films with the critical list. But, it goes to show that directors and critics are not always of the same mind.

The Directors Top 10

1.TOKYO STORY (Ozu, 1953)

(tie)2. 2001: A SPACE ODYSEEY (Kubrick, 1968)

(tie)2. CITIZEN KANE (Welles, 1941)

4.  8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)

5.  TAXI DRIVER (Scorsese, 1980)

6.  APOCALYPSE NOW (Coppola, 1979)

(tie)7. THE GODFATHER (Coppola, 1972)

(tie)7.  VERTIGO (Hitchcock, 1958)

9.  MIRRROR (Tarkovsky, 1974)

10.  BICYCLE THIEVES (De Sica, 1948)

The directors who voted seem to have a more eclectic list while the critics kept theirs more conservative.  But, clearly TOKYO STORY is a big movie for BFI voters.

What do you think of this pair of lists?  Do you agree or disagree with the BFI voters?

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6:51AM on 08/02/2012
Good call. Vertigo is perfection.
Good call. Vertigo is perfection.
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+2
3:10AM on 08/02/2012

vertigo deserves

i think Vertigo is the first psychological thriller.i recently rewatched it,its perfect.its also technically brilliant with the famous vertigo shot and hallucinatory dreams.do the voters wantedly snub the commercial films?and the avg. age of voters is close to where one loses their 'Sight and sound'
i think Vertigo is the first psychological thriller.i recently rewatched it,its perfect.its also technically brilliant with the famous vertigo shot and hallucinatory dreams.do the voters wantedly snub the commercial films?and the avg. age of voters is close to where one loses their 'Sight and sound'
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3:02AM on 08/02/2012

Everyone complains about only

From the BFI Homepage:
"So does 2012 – the first poll to be conducted since the internet became almost certainly the main channel of communication about films – mark a revolution in taste, such as happened in 1962? Back then a brand-new film, Antonioni’s L’avventura, vaulted into second place. If there was going to be an equivalent today, it might have been Malick’s The Tree of Life, "
From the BFI Homepage:
"So does 2012 – the first poll to be conducted since the internet became almost certainly the main channel of communication about films – mark a revolution in taste, such as happened in 1962? Back then a brand-new film, Antonioni’s L’avventura, vaulted into second place. If there was going to be an equivalent today, it might have been Malick’s The Tree of Life, "
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3:01AM on 08/02/2012

Everyone complains about only

From the BFI Homepage:
"So does 2012 – the first poll to be conducted since the internet became almost certainly the main channel of communication about films – mark a revolution in taste, such as happened in 1962? Back then a brand-new film, Antonioni’s L’avventura, vaulted into second place. If there was going to be an equivalent today, it might have been Malick’s The Tree of Life, "
From the BFI Homepage:
"So does 2012 – the first poll to be conducted since the internet became almost certainly the main channel of communication about films – mark a revolution in taste, such as happened in 1962? Back then a brand-new film, Antonioni’s L’avventura, vaulted into second place. If there was going to be an equivalent today, it might have been Malick’s The Tree of Life, "
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3:02AM on 08/02/2012
Sorry the title was cut off...
Sorry the title was cut off...
9:36PM on 08/01/2012
Ha! The directors' picks read like a list of what every recently released film wishes it was. :P
Ha! The directors' picks read like a list of what every recently released film wishes it was. :P
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9:32PM on 08/01/2012
Ha! The directors' picks read like a list of what every recently released film wishes it was. :P
Ha! The directors' picks read like a list of what every recently released film wishes it was. :P
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9:08PM on 08/01/2012

Two films from the 1920s?

Pretentious much?
Pretentious much?
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9:23PM on 08/01/2012
That assumes that they don't really like those movies. You'd be hard-pressed to prove that.
That assumes that they don't really like those movies. You'd be hard-pressed to prove that.
9:31PM on 08/01/2012
There is not one film on the critics' list made past 1968. They are ignoring half of film history.
There is not one film on the critics' list made past 1968. They are ignoring half of film history.
10:40PM on 08/01/2012
I don't agree with the choices either, and their list favors older films, but that still doesn't prove pretentiousness. Unless you're just using the word loosely to trivialize the opinions of people you don't agree with.
I don't agree with the choices either, and their list favors older films, but that still doesn't prove pretentiousness. Unless you're just using the word loosely to trivialize the opinions of people you don't agree with.
9:02PM on 08/01/2012
Yep, that is indeed the kind of list film snobs would put together.
Yep, that is indeed the kind of list film snobs would put together.
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6:21PM on 08/01/2012
VERTIGO is one of my favorite Hitchcock fiilm, but I can't deny that after the cliffhanger it drags a bit, and the end is very sudden (always thought there's an epilogue or a final scene missing). Its still is one of the best thriller I've seen, but just never understood the "extra" love it gets from the critics MORE than other Hitchcock movies. To me atleast, REAR WINDOW is better (both as a thriller and a movie). Still, its always great to have a genre film on top of all time best list, not
VERTIGO is one of my favorite Hitchcock fiilm, but I can't deny that after the cliffhanger it drags a bit, and the end is very sudden (always thought there's an epilogue or a final scene missing). Its still is one of the best thriller I've seen, but just never understood the "extra" love it gets from the critics MORE than other Hitchcock movies. To me atleast, REAR WINDOW is better (both as a thriller and a movie). Still, its always great to have a genre film on top of all time best list, not to mention Hitchcock film. :P
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9:22PM on 08/01/2012
I think the way the story twists in on itself - and the crazy cinematography (even by Hitchcock's high standards) are what sets it apart from his other films. Rear Window is great - but its a smaller movie. Vertigo is like some weird Film Noir epic/Acid trip. I'll be honest, speaking of film noir - I'd put Chinatown above both of these films. Then again, I'd probably put Unforgiven at the very top - so I'm sure I wouldn't fit in with this voting body.
I think the way the story twists in on itself - and the crazy cinematography (even by Hitchcock's high standards) are what sets it apart from his other films. Rear Window is great - but its a smaller movie. Vertigo is like some weird Film Noir epic/Acid trip. I'll be honest, speaking of film noir - I'd put Chinatown above both of these films. Then again, I'd probably put Unforgiven at the very top - so I'm sure I wouldn't fit in with this voting body.
10:37PM on 08/01/2012
Yeah, I guess I can see your point. Though Chinatown is great as a film-noir / crime mystery, but I never perticularly liked its "doesn't matter" ending.... To me, it devalues everything that went earlier and the great lengths Gittes went on to uncover the truth and justice, I don't know, maybe I'm just a stickler for more "resolution" kind of movies. Thats why inspite of being a first rate noir film, its never one of my personal favorites. And as for Unforgiven, it is one my all time favorite
Yeah, I guess I can see your point. Though Chinatown is great as a film-noir / crime mystery, but I never perticularly liked its "doesn't matter" ending.... To me, it devalues everything that went earlier and the great lengths Gittes went on to uncover the truth and justice, I don't know, maybe I'm just a stickler for more "resolution" kind of movies. Thats why inspite of being a first rate noir film, its never one of my personal favorites. And as for Unforgiven, it is one my all time favorite (along with Eastwood's several others like Josey Wales, Dollars trilogy, High Plains Drifter, Kelly's Heroes and Dirty Harry), but I'd put WALL-E on the very top of my personal list, so guess I'm even waaay outer league with this voting circle. :P
5:55PM on 08/01/2012

Where's...

Gigli???
Gigli???
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-10
5:20PM on 08/01/2012
I have never seen Kane, but I thought Vertigo was pretty lame.
I have never seen Kane, but I thought Vertigo was pretty lame.
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+9
4:39PM on 08/01/2012
Where is Howard the Duck!?
Where is Howard the Duck!?
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4:14PM on 08/01/2012

I wholeheartedly endorse this

I love me some Citizen Kane, but Vertigo is better, IMO.
I love me some Citizen Kane, but Vertigo is better, IMO.
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