The greatest movies ever shown?

A couple of days ago, Sight and Sound, the prestigious magazine published by the British Film Institute, re-issued its list of the greatest movies of all time and made some headlines with a change at the top.

“Citizen Kane,” Orson Welles’ undeniably great 1941 story of a newspaper tycoon, has long set atop the list, which is made up through a poll of cinema experts. But the new list moved “Kane” down a notch in favor of “Vertigo,” Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 psychological thriller.

My tastes are more pedestrian than those BFI and Sight and Sound poll, obviously. Of the top 10, I’ve seen “Citizen Kane,” “Vertigo,” “2001” and “The Searchers” – my foreign film experience has been limited, frankly to Kurosawa classics and the more offbeat genre outings – and agree those all belong pretty near the top.

But “Vertigo” the greatest movie of all time?

There are different measures of great, obviously. But I think I’d include other Hitchcock films, notably “Strangers on a Train” or “Rear Window,” as avidly as I’d include “Vertigo.”

Anyway. People love lists and love to debate the greatest movies, music, books and other works of art.

Ultimately, it’s all personal. I’m not going to complain one bit if you want to include “The Empire Strikes Back” at the top of your personal list. It would be pretty high on mine too.

The new top 10, according to Sight and Sound:

1. “Vertigo”
2. “Citizen Kane”
3. “Tokyo Story”
4. “La Regle du jeu” (“The Rules of the Game”)
5. “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans”
6. “2001: A Space Odyssey”
7. “The Searchers”
8. “Man with a Movie Camera”
9. “The Passion of Joan of Arc”
10. “8 1/2″


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