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Sight and Sound Greatest Films Poll

Every decade, voters decide the greatest films ever made...

The Sight and Sound poll is eclectic and compelling, and in 2012 for the first time in sixty years, that man with a sled was bumped from the top spot.

Our selection from the overall list shows the breadth and brilliance of world cinema.

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Sight and Sound Greatest Films Poll
View Vertigo
Vertigo
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Vertigo 1958 PG

Hitchcock’s timeless thriller about a former detective with a fear of heights who is hired to follow a woman who seems possessed by the past.

128 mins USA Director. Alfred Hitchcock

View Le Mépris
Le Mépris

Le Mépris 1963 15

Jean-Luc Godard’s caustic look at compromised creativity in the filmmaking world has superb images, music and acting from Piccoli, Bardot and Palance

103 mins France Director. Jean-Luc Godard

View La Règle du jeu
La Règle du jeu
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La Règle du jeu 1939 PG

Renoir's depiction of an intransigent society teetering towards disaster was derided upon release and only later acclaimed as one of cinema’s most vital films.

84 mins France

View Man With a Movie Camera
Man With a Movie Camera
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Man With a Movie Camera 1929 U

Dazzling document of Soviet life, by Dziga Vertov, showing a living city and the people and machines that propel it.

67 mins Director. Dziga Vertov

View The Passion of Joan of Arc
The Passion of Joan of Arc
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The Passion of Joan of Arc 1927 PG

An unassailable giant of silent cinema, Carl Dreyer's deeply moving biopic features one of the most powerful performances ever captured on film.

80 mins France Director. Carl Th. Dreyer

View 8½
8½
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1963 15

Fellini triumphantly conjured himself out of a bad case of creative block with this magnum opus about a film director experiencing creative block.

138 mins Italy Director. Federico Fellini

View Battleship Potemkin
Battleship Potemkin
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Battleship Potemkin 1925 PG

A fixture in the critical canon almost since its premiere, Eisenstein’s film about a 1905 naval mutiny was revolutionary in both form and content.

68 mins USSR Director. Sergei M. Eisenstein

View Breathless / À bout de souffle
Breathless / À bout de souffle
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Breathless / À bout de souffle 1960 PG

Jean-Luc Godard’s extraordinary debut feature, an insouciant and iconoclastic crime film that paved the way for the French New Wave.

90 mins France Director. Jean-Luc Godard

View Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now
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Apocalypse Now 1979 15

Transplanting Joseph Conrad’s colonial-era novel Heart of Darkness to Vietnam, Coppola created a mesmerising fantasia on the spectacle of war.

141 mins USA Director. Francis Ford Coppola

View Napoleon (acts 1&2)
Napoleon (acts 1&2)
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Napoleon (acts 1&2) 1927 PG

Abel Gance’s silent epic, one of the most magnificent – and hitherto inaccessible – spectacles in all cinema, is finally restored in this stunning new digital restoration.

177 mins France Director. Abel Gance

View Napoleon (acts 3&4)
Napoleon (acts 3&4)
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Napoleon (acts 3&4) 1927 PG

The second part of Abel Gance’s monumental silent masterpiece, featuring its infamous ‘triptych’ widescreen finale.

155 mins France Director. Abel Gance

View Seven Samurai
Seven Samurai
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Seven Samurai 1954 PG

Farmers hire a band of samurai to defend them against marauding bandits in Kurosawa’s influential epic, a touchstone for action movies ever since.

200 mins Japan Director. Akira Kurosawa

View Rashomon
Rashomon

Rashomon 1950 12

Credited with bringing Japanese cinema to worldwide audiences, Akira Kurosawa’s breakthrough tells the story of a murder in the woods from four differing perspectives.

88 mins Japan Director. Akira Kurosawa

View Bicycle Thieves
Bicycle Thieves
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Bicycle Thieves 1948 U

Vittorio De Sica’s story of a father and son searching for a stolen bicycle on the streets of Rome is a classic of post-war Italian cinema.

88 mins Italy Director. Vittorio De Sica

View Psycho
Psycho
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Psycho 1960 15

Blood! Blood! Hitchcock’s masterpiece was his most successful film; a sensation in its time that continues to terrify.

109 mins USA Director. Alfred Hitchcock

View Metropolis
Metropolis
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Metropolis 1927 PG

Fritz Lang’s expressionist dystopia is one of the first science fiction feature films, and is arguably the most influential.

150 mins Germany

View Journey to Italy
Journey to Italy
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Journey to Italy 1954 PG

Roberto Rossellini's acerbic but finally very moving masterpiece about marital crisis boasts great performances from Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders

106 mins Italy

View Do the Right Thing
Do the Right Thing
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Do the Right Thing 1989 15

Spike Lee’s awesome cinematic sucker-punch remains one of the great films about race relations.

114 mins USA Director. Spike Lee

View The Battle of Algiers
The Battle of Algiers
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The Battle of Algiers 1966 15

Gillo Pontecorvo’s masterpiece about the last years of French colonial rule in Algeria, seen from the perspective of both the revolutionaries and the French authorities.

121 mins Italy Director. Gillo Pontecorvo

View Rear Window
Rear Window
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Rear Window 1954 PG

Alfred Hitchcock’s masterly thriller stars James Stewart as an invalided photographer who spots something fishy outside his rear window.

112 mins USA Director. Alfred Hitchcock

View M
M
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M 1931 PG

Peter Lorre is unforgettable as the compulsive child murderer on the run from both police and criminals alike, in Fritz Lang’s seminal crime film.

99 mins Germany Director. Fritz Lang

View Touch of Evil
Touch of Evil
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Touch of Evil 1958 12

Orson Welles’ final Hollywood film and the last great Film Noir, a sweat-drenched Mexican border saga with one of cinema’s most celebrated openings.

95 mins USA Director. Orson Welles

View Partie de Campagne
Partie de Campagne

Partie de Campagne 1936 PG

On a country picnic, a young girl leaves her family for a while and succumbs to an all-too-brief romance in Jean Renoir's sensuous tribute to the countryside.

40 mins France Director. Jean Renoir

View Aguirre - Wrath of God
Aguirre - Wrath of God

Aguirre - Wrath of God 1972 PG

This early masterpiece from Werner Herzog stars Klaus Kinski as a power-crazed explorer in sixteenth-century South America who leads a band of conquistadors through the Amazon in search of El Dorado.

93 mins Federal Republic of Germany Director. Werner Herzog

View Un Chien Andalou
Un Chien Andalou

Un Chien Andalou 1928 15

A scabrous study of desire, the subconscious and anti-clericalism - Buñuel and Dalí’s provocative first film is a classic of Surrealist cinema.

17 mins France Director. Luis Buñuel

View The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
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The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp 1943 U

Powell and Pressburger’s masterpiece follows the rise and fall of a career soldier, from dashing and brave young officer in the Boer War to a pompous and old-fashioned Colonel by the time of World War Two.

163 mins United Kingdom Director. Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

View The Lady Eve
The Lady Eve
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The Lady Eve 1941 U

A female con artist falls in love with her target in Preston Sturges’s comedy, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda.

90 mins USA Director. Preston Sturges

View A Canterbury Tale
A Canterbury Tale
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A Canterbury Tale 1944 U

Powell and Pressburger's most personal film combines a Chaucer-inspired pilgrimage with a war-time celebration of English landscape and values to create a gem of British cinema.

124 mins United Kingdom Director. Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

View Rome, Open City
Rome, Open City

Rome, Open City 1945 12

Roberto Rossellini’s landmark of Italian neorealism often cited as one of the greatest films ever made.

103 mins Italy Director. Roberto Rossellini

View The Red Shoes
The Red Shoes

The Red Shoes 1948 U

Moira Shearer’s ballerina is torn between love and her career in Powell and Pressburger’s hugely influential melodrama.

133 mins United Kingdom Director. Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell

View Spring in a Small Town
Spring in a Small Town
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Spring in a Small Town 1948 U

Fei Mu’s newly restored 1948 masterpiece, a piercingly poignant study of adulterous desire, was once voted the greatest Chinese film ever made.

People's Republic of China Director. Fei Mu

View Ikiru
Ikiru

Ikiru 1952 PG

Takashi Shimura is superb as a bureaucrat diagnosed with cancer in Akira Kurosawa’s lyrical and moving film about how we find meaning in our lives.

137 mins Japan Director. Akira Kurosawa

View Celine and Julie Go Boating
Celine and Julie Go Boating

Celine and Julie Go Boating 1974 12

Jacques Rivette's rarely seen yet most commercially successful film is an exhilarating combination of theatricality, paranoia and la vie Parisienne.

193 mins France Director. Jacques Rivette

View A Woman Under the Influence
A Woman Under the Influence

A Woman Under the Influence 1974 15

John Cassavetes's powerful drama stars Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk as a blue-collar couple struggling to cope with the wife's slide into mental illness.

156 mins USA Director. John Cassavetes

View Brief Encounter
Brief Encounter
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Brief Encounter 1945 PG

Noël Coward’s tale of a love affair, thrillingly played out with tight British reserve.

86 mins United Kingdom Director. David Lean

View Black Narcissus
Black Narcissus

Black Narcissus 1947 U

Tensions grow when a group of nuns open a convent in the Himalayas in Powell and Pressburger's remarkable melodrama, starring Deborah Kerr.

100 mins United Kingdom Director. Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell

View A Trip to the Moon
A Trip to the Moon
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A Trip to the Moon 1902 U

A classic of early sci-fi providing an awe-inspiring and delightful account of man’s first mission to the Moon.

13 mins France Director. Georges Méliès

View E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
E.T.  The Extra-Terrestrial
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E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 1982 U

Devotion meets imagination in Spielberg's ultimate crowd-pleaser, part of our new Sci-Fi Collection.

115 mins USA Director. Steven Spielberg

View Faces
Faces

Faces 1968 15

Richard and his wife Maria seek solace from their disintegrating marriage in the arms of other lovers in John Cassavetes's powerful 1968 feature.

130 mins USA Director. John Cassavetes

View Red Desert
Red Desert

Red Desert 1964 12

Antonioni's mid-career masterpiece stars Monica Vitti as an emotionally anguished young woman embarking on a tentative affair with a businessman (Richard Harris).

117 mins Italy Director. Michelangelo Antonioni

View Videodrome
Videodrome
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Videodrome 1983 18

James Woods and Debbie Harry star in David Cronenberg’s mind-melting sci-fi about media domination.

87 mins Canada Director. David Cronenberg

View Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
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Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives 2010 12

Apichatpong's Cannes prizewinner, about an ailing man revisiting his past, is a measured, lyrical evocation of mysterious beauty and quiet humanity

113 mins Director. Apichatpong Weerasethakul

View Paisà
Paisà

Paisà 1946 PG

Roberto Rossellini’s ambitious and enormously moving follow-up to his breakthrough Rome, Open City.

125 mins Italy Director. Roberto Rossellini

View Germany, Year Zero
Germany, Year Zero

Germany, Year Zero 1948 PG

The concluding part of Roberto Rossellini’s celebrated War Trilogy, set amid the war-torn ruins of Berlin.

73 mins Italy Director. Roberto Rossellini

View Floating Clouds
Floating Clouds

Floating Clouds 1955 12

Mikio Naruse’s masterpiece about a wandering woman trying to find her identity amid the devastation of post-war Japan.

118 mins Japan Director. Mikio Naruse

View Vivre sa vie
Vivre sa vie
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Vivre sa vie 1962 15

Anna Karina shines in Jean-Luc Godard’s critically acclaimed account of a Parisian woman's slow descent into prostitution.

85 mins France Director. Jean-Luc Godard

View Imitation of Life
Imitation of Life
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Imitation of Life 1959 12

Douglas Sirk’s final Hollywood film is a masterpiece of melodrama, for which Juanita Moore became the fifth African-American Oscar-nominee.

125 mins USA Director. Douglas Sirk

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