Sight and Sound greatest films poll

This year, quite to my excitement, I was asked to participate in Sight and Sound magazine’s once-per-decade poll of film critics to determine “The Ten Greatest Films of All Time.” (Previous decades’ results can be found here).

Making lists of this sort is always somewhat arbitrary. I added to the arbitrariness by saying only one film per director. In any case, six months from now the list I would make might well be quite different. Also, when I make a list like this, I inevitably forget and leave something out; there are always omissions that I later regret. Nonetheless, here is the list that I sent in this week:

  1. Vertigo (Hitchcock)
  2. Sansho the Bailiff (Mizoguchi)
  3. The Nutty Professor (Jerry Lewis)
  4. Rules of the Game (Renoir)
  5. Two or Three Things I Know About Her (Godard)
  6. Ordet (Dreyer)
  7. Red Desert (Antonioni)
  8. Golden Eighties (Akerman)
  9. Imitation of Life (Sirk)
  10. Mouchette (Bresson)

Notes: Fassbinder is my all-time favorite director, but I couldn’t decide on a particular single film. Probably I should have included Berlin Alexanderplatz, but since it is a long TV miniseries, I am not sure that it would count. — I also hesitated over which Bresson film to include; I could see voting instead for A Man Escaped or Au Hazard Balthasar or The Devil Probably or L’argent.– I also regret the non-inclusion of a few runner-ups (runners-up?): Andrei Rublev (or maybe Stalker), Playtime, Celine and Julie Go Boating, India Song, The Devil is a Woman, Shock Corridor, Beau Travail, Daisies, WR:Mysteries of the Organism, Three Crowns of the Sailor, Teorema.

10 thoughts on “Sight and Sound greatest films poll”

  1. Great choices. I can’t believe “Agguire, the Wrath of God”- probably my all-time favorirte- didn’t make even the extended lists in 2002. Any idea when this final list will be features in the magazine?

  2. I would move Nutty Professor to the first spot but I am sure you have your reasons

  3. Interesting list, Steve. Here is Sean Cubitt’s:

    Pyaasa – Guru Dutt

    La Regle du Jeu — Jean Renoir

    Infernal Affairs — Andrew Lau and Alan Mak

    Closely Observed Trains – Jiri Menzel

    The General — Buster Keaton

    Histoire(s) du cinéma – Jean-Luc Godard

    Yellow Earth – Chen Kaige

    Princess Mononoke — Hayao Miyazaki

    Mothlight — Stan Brakhage

    The Wild Bunch – Sam Peckinpah

  4. I can see IMITATION OF LIFE for Sirk, though it is my third favorite, after WRITTEN ON THE WIND and ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS. I do think it makes the strongest impression on students, of these three.

  5. Shaviro, long time no blog! Will you be back soon? I’m curious if you have any thoughts on Avengers, actually–the politics of it were kind of nauseating, to say the least, and the way people are cultishly attracted to it despite proclaiming it as average or ok in most areas is very odd.

  6. Good list, really. Id have Fassbender for sure though, and maybe year of 13 moons….as it feels like a best of list film choice (though I think Fox and HIs Friends is actually better). Bresson Id maybe make Pickpocket, but thats just me. Army of Shadows over rules of the game…..but anyway, fine list.

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