Sight and Sound released its preliminary poll findings of the top 10 films in history. The big news is that Citizen Kane was finally booted from its 50 year roost at the top by Vertigo. These are both great films, but I wouldn’t vote either of them in the top 10. Here is the overall vote:
2. Citizen Kane
3. Tokyo Story
4. Rules of the Game (what is the deal with only not translating French film titles in the film world?)
7. The Searchers
8. Man with a Movie Camera
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc
10. 8 1/2
I don’t have any huge problems with this list I guess. I’m not really a huge fan of 2001 but I understand its influence. Man with a Movie Camera is interesting but the 8th best movie ever? And I watched 8 1/2 again recently and was less impressed by it. Side note: has any beloved director 25 years ago seen his stock drop as quickly as Fellini. Really, most of his movies are not very good.
Anyway, here are the director and critics list separated out. Interesting that Vertigo is #1 among critics and #8 among directors and it still is #1 overall. Eventually, Sight and Sound will release everyone’s vote so we’ll see if the directors just split their votes among so many films that it was diluted or whether there was just more critics voting.
Now let’s get to the real issue–my top 10.
1. The Seventh Seal (Bergman)
2. The Seven Samurai (Kurosawa)
To me, these two are far and away the best films in history. The other 8 could change more or less by the day.
3. Tokyo Story (Ozu)
4. Once Upon a Time in the West (Leone)
5. Sullivan’s Travels (Sturges)
6. The Wild Bunch (Peckinpah)
7. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer)
8. The General (Keaton)
9. Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (Lang)
10. The Battle of Algiers (Pontecorvo)
There are at least 20 films that could easily go in those 8 spots, but those are the choices I’m making after this beer.
Richard Brody worried that this poll was becoming ossified with long dead directors. He suggested a secondary poll of films directed by directors born in 1940 or after. I think that’s a great idea. Here’s mine, without thinking too hard about order:
1. Raging Bull (Scorsese)
2. In the Mood for Love (Wong)
3. Yi-Yi (Yang)
4. Talk to Her (Almodovar)
5. Brokeback Mountain (Lee)
6. The Thin Red Line (Malick)
7. Porco Rosso (Miyazaki)
8. Red (Kieslowski)
9. The Big Lebowski (Coen)
10. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (Mungiu)
Have fun telling me how stupid my opinions are.
Note that Coppola was born in 1939 so The Godfather Part 1 doesn’t make it. And The Godfather Part II is overrated so wouldn’t have made it anyway (can we spend another 13 minutes passing around the golden phone!).