The 10 Best Movies of All Time, According to a Sight & Sound Poll
Don't miss these great movies!
Every 10 years, the British Film Institute publishes a list of the "100 Greatest Films of All Time" in its publication Sight & Sound. This is an opportunity for critics to weigh in on a film with major cultural impact. In compiling this list, more than 1,500 film professionals were consulted, including critics, archivists and programmers.
The list has been published every 10 years since 1952. Jeanne Dielman's "23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles," the first film directed by a woman, ended up at number one. Other notable films included in the selection include 2001: A Space Odyssey and Singin' in the Rain. Each of these titles had a unique influence on cinema that can still be felt today.
Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles is an in-depth character study of Jeanne Daleman (Delphine Seyrig), a widow whose life unravels over the course of the story. Director Chantal Akerman critically examines female empowerment in a society that strictly restricts female roles. As the audience gets to know Jenny better, her actions become easier to understand.
The film gained notoriety time, and is considered by many to be a feminist work of art. It analyzed sex and sexuality through then-controversial female lens. However, it has been re-examined in this day and age, especially how its narrative incorporates feminist themes.
Vertigo is a psychological thriller by Alfred Hitchcock. The film follows a police detective (James Stewart) who develops a fear of heights after the death of an officer. The twists and turns are old fashioned Hitchcock, and the story itself gets more complicated as it unfolds.
The way the story can unfold and keep the audience guessing is still a blueprint. Plus, in the decades since its release, the film has been analyzed for its portrayal of men's obsession with the women around them. With modern sensitivity to stalking and consent (or disagreement), the story takes on new meaning for a modern audience.
Citizen Kane (1941)
Orsen Wells' Citizen Kane has long been considered the pinnacle of filmmaking. This is a semi-biographical story that reflects the legacy of media and business moguls William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Pulitzer, Samuel Insur, and Harold McCormick. Starring Orson Welles himself, the film tells the story of fictional tycoon Charles Foster Kane.
There are many reasons why this film is considered one of the greatest. It sends a powerful message about the consequences and realities of mass media manipulation. The movie also comes at a particularly opportune time, just before World War II, when many were considering the costs and benefits of isolation versus intervention in world affairs. These questions have been asked ever since and are still relevant today.
Tokyo Story (1954)
Yasujirō Ozu's Tokyo Story tells the story of the Hirayama family in post-World War II Japan. The film explores theme of family dysfunction and how a family can find a way to reconnect while they themselves grow and develop while their country emerges from World War II. Additionally, viewers can look forward to meditations on their own fate.
Tokyo Story's longevity owes much to its capture of family life in post-World War II Japan. This is another movie that lets the story unfold slowly. So much exposition is revealed through dialogue rather than display. While this may not be to everyone's taste, This structure forces the audience to sit and watch each reveal and each element of the story.
In the Mood For Love (2000)
In the Mood for Love is a Wong Kar-wai film starring Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung. This is the story of two people who seemed destined to be separated. The story spans multiple countries and there are many missed opportunities for connection between the protagonists. The film will be remembered for the moving performances of the two leads.
This movie is about life, and the cruelty of time passing. It's such a human story in every way, which may be why it has such a lasting impact. The theme of broken love, and the eternal question of what could have happened, still resonates with audiences to this day. The movie is an almost brutal commentary on the depths of loneliness, which can make it a heartbreaking watch.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
One of director Stanley Kubrick's most iconic films is 2001: A Space Odyssey. In a way, the film is both a futuristic horror film and a commentary on humanity's relationship with technology. The story tells the story of astronauts fighting the dangers of space as well as the dangers of technology. The villain HAL in the movie is More of a concept as an artificial intelligence program.
The film has a controversial legacy. For some audiences today, it's just remembered as too intellectual and esoteric to really enjoy. Much of the film's influence revolves around the technical innovations it made for filmmaking. Fans point to the film as a poignant meditation on human fragility and our infinite smallness compared to the larger universe.
Beau Travail (1998)
Beau Travail, one of two films directed by women in the top 10 on this list, is a French drama directed by Claire Denis. The film is based on the novella "Billy Budd" by Herman Melville. The film tells the story of members of the French Foreign Legion stationed in Di Djibouti.
Beau Travail is still known for his innovative photography and use of landscape. The film is also considered a visionary adaptation of a literary work. Colonialism and male relations are also critically examined in the context of a patriarchal society. It must also be noted that the dance scene at the end is considered one of the most iconic scenes in film history.
Mulholland Drive (2001)
Mulholland Drive is a surreal thriller From David Lynch, starring Naomi Watts and Laura Haring. It's mind-bending nightmare fuel as each new twist unfolds. The story happened after a car accident. What follows is sure to make any viewer question the reality upon which the story is based.
Lynch has been known to be vague about the significance of his project. He has been known to encourage speculation about the exact meaning of the story. Many have attempted to distill the meaning of alternate versions of reality. There's something to be said about a character's evolution in particular, and her idealization of her own life.
Man With a Movie Camera (1929)
Man With a Movie Camera is a silent documentary by Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov. It was filmed by Vertov's brother Mikhail Kaufman and edited by his wife Yelizaveta Svilova. There is no story. Instead, the viewers are Soviet citizens, going about their daily lives and interacting with the technology of the time.
Man with a Camera experimented with various filmmaking techniques. This is a personal, intimate look at everyday life in the Soviet Union. This is an early example of documentary filmmaking having to find a way to show the subject matter authentically.
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
this The romantic comedy is a classic about movies, especially Hollywood in the '20s. Singing in the Rain, starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor, recounts the transition from silent films to "movies with sound."
Many of the reasons the film was beloved are still evident today. Hollywood has always loved movies that reflected the industry itself and the people within it. At the end of the day, it's pretty darn fascinating.