Top 10 lists are nothing to shake a stick at.Sight and Sound magazine publishes a “Top Ten Films of All Time” list every decade and go to great lengths to get an exhaustive list. A select group of international film critics submit their own top ten lists that are then compiled into one overall master top ten list. The first Sight & Sound Top 10 was published in 1952 and just a couple of weeks ago, the 2012 list was finally published. With the 2012 list came a new rule: Each film that is a part of a series must be counted as a separate film in and of itself. For instance, in 2002, The Godfather Parts I and II were included as 1 film and took up the #2 spot on the list. In 2012, each film must be counted separately.

Here is the 2012 list:
1) Vertigo (1958)
2) Citizen Kane (1941)
3) Tokyo Story (1953)
4) La Regle du jeu (1939)
5) Sunrise (1927)
6) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
7) The Searchers (1956)
8) Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
9) Passion of Joan of Arc (1927)
10) 8 ½ (1963)

You’ll notice one glaring difference and it’s pretty ridiculous adjustment if you ask me. Vertigo is a great film, but by no means the best ever. In fact, it’s not even Hitchcock’s best so I’m still wondering about this one. Also, there’s nothing from the last 44 years….so basically, lots of Classic Films.  Here are the Top 250 films.  A few of my initial thoughts…

Gone with the Wind (#235) is so old that I’m afraid being this low on the list means it could already be too late.
Rear Window (#53) is better than Vertigo (#1).
Why is Barry Lyndon (#59) over Dr. Stranglelove (#117)?
Apocalypse Now (#14) over Seven Samurai (#17)?
Breathless (#13) over The Godfather (#21)?
Why is There Will Be Blood (#202) so low?
What is Mulholland Drive (#28) doing here?
Where are the Coen Brothers?!

Future Movement
If Vertigo can go from not making the Top 10 in 1992 to replacing Citizen Kane, a film that had been #1 since 1962, then what other films will make similar moves in future lists?

On the Rise
There Will Be Blood (#202) – one day it will be in the Top 10
Tree of Life (#102) – garnered immediate appreciation that will only grow
Wall-E (#202) – Pixar’s representation will increase over time. If not for Wall-E, then for the Toy Story’s.
A Clockwork Orange (#235) and Dr. Strangelove (#117) – Kubrick’s subject matter here only gets more poignant as time goes by
Spirited Away (#202) or My Neighbour Totoro (#154) – over time, one of these will move up the list in appreciation for the director, Miyazaki Hayao.

On the Fall
Killer of Sheep (#202) – only on here because of its highly praised re-release in 2007.
The Shining (#154) or Barry Lyndon (#59) – Kubrick has 5 on the list.
Mulholland Drive (#28) – does David Lynch need 3 films on this list?
The Night of the Hunter (#63) – appreciated after its time, but not one of the best ever made
North by Northwest (#53) – Hitchcock has 5 films & this is overrated anyways

The Mind of a Voter
Peruse this site for a look at most, if not all, of the Top 10 ballots of the participating critics. Months ago, Roger Ebert revealed both his top ten that he submitted to the Sight & Sound poll as well as his reasoning for his selections, which sort of equates to a “Best of” from certain directors:

Rober Ebert’s Sight & Sound Top 10 for 2012
– Aguirre, Wrath of God (Herzog)
– Apocalypse Now (Coppola)
– Citizen Kane (Welles)
– La Dolce Vita (Fellini)
– The General (Keaton)
– Raging Bull (Scorsese)
– 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick)
– Tokyo Story (Ozu)
– The Tree of Life (Malick)
– Vertigo (Hitchcock)

Past Sight & Sound Top 10 Lists
2002
1. Citizen Kane
2. Vertigo
3. The Rules of the Game
4. The Godfather Parts I and II
5. Tokyo Story
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
7. Battleship Potemkin
7. Sunrise (tie)
9. 8 ½
10. Singin’ in the Rain

1992
1. Citizen Kane (Welles)
2. 8 ½ (Fellini)
2. Raging Bull (Scorsese)
4. La strada (Fellini)
5. L’Atalante (Vigo)
6. The Godfather (Coppola)
6. Modern Times (Chaplin)
6. Vertigo (Hitchcock)
9. The Godfather Part II (Coppola)
10. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer)
10. Rashomon (Kurosawa)
10. Seven Samurai (Kurosawa)

1982
1. Citizen Kane (Welles)
2. La Règle du jeu (Renoir)
3. Seven Samurai (Kurosawa)
3. Singin’ in the Rain (Kelly, Donen)
5. 8½ (Fellini)
6. Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein)
7. L’avventura (Antonioni)
7. The Magnificent Ambersons (Welles)
7. Vertigo (Hitchcock)
10. The General (Keaton)
10. The Searchers (Ford)

1972
1. Citizen Kane (Welles)
2. La Règle du jeu (Renoir)
3. Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein)
4. 8½ (Fellini)
5. L’avventura (Antonioni)
5. Persona (Bergman)
7. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer)
8. The General (Keaton)
8. The Magnificent Ambersons (Welles)
10. Ugetsu Monogatari (Mizoguchi)
10. Wild Strawberries (Bergman)

1962
1. Citizen Kane (Welles) – not until rerelease did it make it on there
2. L’avventura (Antonioni)
3. La Règle du jeu (Renoir)
4. Greed (von Stroheim)
4. Ugetsu Monogatari (Mizoguchi)
6. Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein)
7. Bicycle Thieves (De Sica)
7. Ivan the Terrible (Eisenstein)
9. La terra trema (Visconti)
10. L’Atalante (Vigo)

1952
1. Bicycle Thieves (De Sica)
2. City Lights (Chaplin)
2. The Gold Rush (Chaplin)
4. Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein)
5. Intolerance (Griffith)
5. Louisiana Story (Flaherty)
7. Greed (von Stroheim)
7. Le Jour se lève (Carné)
7. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer)
10. Brief Encounter (Lean)
10. La Règle du jeu (Renoir)

Which films would make your top 10?

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