After half a century of being revered as the greatest film ever made, Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” has been toppled off its throne “Vertigo,” according to the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound magazine. The magazine asks critics to list their top 10 films every decade, ranking films throughout history based on the poll. Since 1962, “Citizen Kane” has sat atop the poll, unchallenged, until now.
Tuesday brought the announcement of 2012’s poll results, which named Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 thriller “Vertigo” the greatest film ever made, with “Citizen Kane” falling to the second slot. James Stewart, Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes star in “Vertigo,” which tells the tale of a detective hired by an acquaintance to follow his wife through San Francisco. The detective, Scottie (played by Stewart), ultimately falls in love with his mark, only to watch as she commits suicide, paralyzed by his own fear of heights. It is from there that the real mystery of the film begins.
Another shocking result from the poll is the complete omission of Francis Coppola’s Godfather films. In the 2002 poll, “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II” had occupied the fourth slot in the poll, but a recent rule change prohibited the films from being listed together. As a result, critics were split between which of the two films they preferred, leaving both stranded on the outside of the top 10.
The 2012 Sight & Sound Critics Poll
1. “Vertigo” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
2. “Citizen Kane” (Orson Welles, 1941)
3. “Tokyo Story” (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953)
4. “The Rules of the Game” (Jean Renoir, 1939)
5. “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans” (F.W. Murnau, 1927)
6. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
7. “The Searchers” (John Ford, 1956)
8. “Man With a Movie Camera” (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
9. “The Passion of Joan of Arc” (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928)
10. “8 1/2” (Federico Fellini, 1963)