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

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)


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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