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Sight & Sound Poll

It is the most respected of guides: a census of cinema’s best, as voted for by the most respected names in the business. Here's a selection.

For this poll, Scorsese, Coppola and Woody Allen joined Miranda July, Roy Andersson, Mia Hansen-Løve and 350 others to nominate the Greatest Films of All Time. This selection all feature in the Top 250.

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The Passion of Joan of Arc
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The Passion of Joan of Arc

Biopic192780 minsDirector: Carl Th. Dreyer

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

Napoléon Pt 1
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Napoléon Pt 1

Biopic1927177 minsDirector: Abel Gance

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

Napoléon Pt 2
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Napoléon Pt 2

Biopic1927156 minsDirector: Abel Gance

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

Aguirre - Wrath of God
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Aguirre - Wrath of God

Historical drama197294 minsDirector: Werner Herzog

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.

Tokyo Story
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Tokyo Story

Drama1953136 minsDirector: Yasujiro Ozu

A constant fixture in critics' polls, Yasujiro Ozu's most enduring masterpiece is a beautifully nuanced exploration of filial duty, expectation and regret.

Battleship Potemkin
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Battleship Potemkin

Historical drama192569 minsDirector: Sergei M. Eisenstein

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.

Red Desert
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Red Desert

Drama1964117 minsDirector: Michelangelo Antonioni

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

Breathless / À bout de souffle
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Breathless / À bout de souffle

Film noir196090 minsDirector: Jean-Luc Godard

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

Bicycle Thieves
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Bicycle Thieves

Drama194889 minsDirector: Vittorio De Sica

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.

Le Mépris
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Le Mépris

Drama1963103 minsDirector: Jean-Luc Godard

Jean-Luc Godard conducts an autopsy of love and the creative process, as a boorish film producer dismantles a seemingly strong marriage.

Ordet.
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Ordet.

Drama1955125 minsDirector: Carl Th. Dreyer

Carl Theodor Dreyer’s beautifully photographed tale explores the religious intolerance and familial tensions within a Danish farming family.

Metropolis
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Metropolis

Science Fiction1927150 minsDirector: Fritz Lang

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

Seven Samurai
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Seven Samurai

Drama1954207 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

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

Shoah (First Era)
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Shoah (First Era)

Documentary1985274 minsDirector: Claude Lanzmann

Claude Lanzmann's monumental chronicle of the Holocaust has been acclaimed by many as the greatest documentary ever made.

Shoah (Second Era)
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Shoah (Second Era)

Documentary1985293 minsDirector: Claude Lanzmann

Claude Lanzmann's monumental chronicle of the Holocaust has been acclaimed by many as the greatest documentary ever made.

Late Spring
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Late Spring

Drama1949108 minsDirector: Yasujiro Ozu

Yasujiro Ozu's influential masterpiece is a tender meditation on family politics, sacrifice and the status quo.

Journey to Italy
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Journey to Italy

Drama195486 minsDirector: Roberto Rossellini

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

Rashomon
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Rashomon

Crime195088 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

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.

A Woman Under the Influence
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A Woman Under the Influence

Drama1974146 minsDirector: John Cassavetes

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.

Partie de Campagne
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Partie de Campagne

Period drama193639 minsDirector: Jean Renoir

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.

La Règle du jeu
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La Règle du jeu

Drama1939102 minsDirector: Jean Renoir

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.

Fear Eats the Soul
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Fear Eats the Soul

Melodrama197493 minsDirector: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Fassbinder’s international breakthrough, this unconventional love story combines lucid social analysis with devastating emotional power.

L'Age D'Or
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L'Age D'Or

Animation & Artists Moving Image193063 minsDirector: Luis Buñuel

Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali unite for this masterpiece of cinematic surrealism remains as brilliantly witty and shocking as ever, more than 80 years on.

Un Chien Andalou
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Un Chien Andalou

Animation & Artists Moving Image192816 minsDirector: Luis Buñuel

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

Celine and Julie Go Boating
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Celine and Julie Go Boating

Drama1974194 minsDirector: Jacques Rivette

Jacques Rivette's exhilarating combination of theatricality, paranoia and 'la vie Parisienne' follows two young women as they enter a mysterious realm upon eating a magic sweet.

A Canterbury Tale
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A Canterbury Tale

War1944125 minsDirector: Michael Powell

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.

Spring in a Small Town
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Spring in a Small Town

Romance194898 minsDirector: Fei Mu

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

The Third Man
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The Third Man

Thriller1949104 minsDirector: Carol Reed

Carol Reed's timeless classic, one of the greatest British films, lavishly marries a perfect script, an unforgettable theme tune and the star power of Orson Welles.

Floating Clouds
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Floating Clouds

Drama1955123 minsDirector: Mikio Naruse

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

Faces
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Faces

Drama1968130 minsDirector: John Cassavetes

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

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
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The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

War1943164 minsDirector: Michael Powell

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.

A Matter of Life and Death
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A Matter of Life and Death

Fantasy1946104 minsDirector: Michael Powell

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s timeless romantic fantasy, with David Niven as an airman trapped between life and death.

Black Narcissus
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Black Narcissus

Drama1947101 minsDirector: Michael Powell

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

Rome, Open City
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Rome, Open City

War1945103 minsDirector: Roberto Rossellini

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

PAISÀ
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PAISÀ

War1946126 minsDirector: Roberto Rossellini

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

Germany, Year Zero
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Germany, Year Zero

War194873 minsDirector: Roberto Rossellini

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

The Red Shoes
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The Red Shoes

Drama1948135 minsDirector: Michael Powell

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

Distant Voices Still Lives
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Distant Voices Still Lives

Biopic198881 minsDirector: Terence Davies

Terence Davies' debut feature is a remarkable evocation of working-class family life in the 40s and 50s and a visionary exploration of memory.

Brief Encounter
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Brief Encounter

Romance194586 minsDirector: David Lean

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

Madame de...
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Madame de...

Drama1953100 minsDirector: Max Ophuls

Max Ophuls' intricately constructed and elegantly designed drama is a searing study of fateful passion wound up in deceits, deals and desires.

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
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The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

Gangster1976109 minsDirector: John Cassavetes

John Cassavetes’s uncompromising character study of a gangster, with Ben Gazzara as the small-time club owner whose life begins to spin out of control.

Opening Night
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Opening Night

Drama1977144 minsDirector: John Cassavetes

John Cassavetes’s emotionally charged film stands as one of the great American movies about theatre and the art of performance.

Vivre sa vie
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Vivre sa vie

Drama196283 minsDirector: Jean-Luc Godard

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

Ikiru
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Ikiru

Drama1952143 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

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.

Vertigo from Sight & Sound Poll

More Sight & Sound Poll films in our Rentals collection.