The Greatest Films Of All Time (Sight and Sound Top 10)

Every ten years, the British film magazine Sight & Sound polls a number of film critics and directors worldwide and compiles the lists for the definitive list of the world's greatest films.

This is a list of every film that has been voted to the Sight and Sound top 10 poll, from 1952 to 2012. The Sight and Sound poll is generally regarded as the most important film poll.

Includes the Critics Poll (top 10) and the Directors Poll (top 10).
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1.
Bicycle Thieves (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Set in Post-WWII Italy, a working class man's bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it. (89 mins.)
“ 1952 critics poll (#1)
1962 critics poll (tied for #6)
2002 directors poll (#6)
2012 directors poll (# 10) ” - JMGuer
 
2.
City Lights (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically. (87 mins.)
Director: Charles Chaplin
“ 1952 critics poll (# 2) ” - JMGuer
 
3.
The Gold Rush (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A prospector goes to the Klondike in search of gold and finds it and more. (95 mins.)
Director: Charles Chaplin
“ 1952 critics poll (tied for # 2) ” - JMGuer
 
4.
Battleship Potemkin (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A dramatized account of a great Russian naval mutiny and a resulting street demonstration which brought on a police massacre. (75 mins.)
Director: S.M. Eisenstein
“ 1952 critics poll (# 4)
1962 critics poll (# 6)
1972 critics poll (# 3)
1982 critics poll (# 6)
1992 critics poll (# 6)
2002 critics poll (# 7) ” - JMGuer
 
5.
Louisiana Story (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
The idyllic life of a young Cajun boy and his pet raccoon is disrupted when the tranquility of the bayou is broken by an oil well drilling near his home. (78 mins.)
Director: Robert Flaherty
“ 1952 critics poll (# 5) ” - JMGuer
 
6.
Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history. (163 mins.)
Director: D.W. Griffith
“ 1952 critics poll (tied for # 5) ” - JMGuer
 
7.
Greed (1924)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved. (140 mins.)
“ 1952 critics poll (# 7)
1962 critics poll (# 4) ” - JMGuer
 
8.
Le Jour se Leve (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After committing a murder, a man locks himself in his apartment and recollects the events the led him to the killing. (93 mins.)
Director: Marcel Carné
“ 1952 critics poll (tied for # 7) ” - JMGuer
 
9.
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A chronicle of the trial of Jeanne d'Arc on charges of heresy, and the efforts of her ecclesiastical jurists to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions. (110 mins.)
Director: Carl Th. Dreyer
“ 1952 critics poll (tied for # 7)
1972 critics poll (# 7)
1992 critics poll (tied for # 6)
1992 directors poll (# 9)
2012 critics poll (# 9) ” - JMGuer
 
10.
Brief Encounter (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Meeting a stranger in a railway station, a woman is tempted to cheat on her husband. (86 mins.)
Director: David Lean
“ 1952 critics poll (# 10) ” - JMGuer
 
11.
Le Million (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An impoverished painter and his rival engage in a race across Paris to recover a jacket concealing a winning lottery ticket. (81 mins.)
Director: René Clair
“ 1952 critics poll (tied for # 10) ” - JMGuer
 
12.
The Rules of the Game (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II, as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French chateau. (110 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
“ 1952 critics poll (tied for # 10)
1962 critics poll (# 3)
1972 critics poll (# 2)
1982 critics poll (# 2)
1992 critics poll (# 2)
2002 critics poll (# 3)
2002 directors poll (# 9)
2012 critics poll (# 4)

The only film to make the top 10 of all 7 editions (1952-2012) of the Critics Poll. ” - JMGuer
 
13.
Citizen Kane (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance. (119 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
“ 1962 critics poll (# 1)
1972 critics poll (# 1)
1982 critics poll (# 1)
1992 critics poll (# 1)
1992 directors poll (# 1)
2002 critics poll (# 1)
2002 directors poll (# 1)
2012 critics poll (# 2)
2012 directors poll (# 3) ” - JMGuer
 
14.
L'Avventura (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A woman disappears during a Mediterranean boating trip. During the search, her lover and her best friend become attracted to each other. (143 mins.)
“ 1962 critics poll (# 2)
1972 critics poll (# 5)
1982 critics poll (# 7) ” - JMGuer
 
15.
Ugetsu (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A fantastic tale of war, love, family and ambition set in the midst of the Japanese Civil Wars of the sixteenth century. (96 mins.)
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
“ 1962 critics poll (tied for # 4)
1972 critics poll (# 10) ” - JMGuer
 
16.
Ivan the Terrible, Part I (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
During the early part of his reign, Ivan the Terrible faces betrayal from the aristocracy and even his closest friends as he seeks to unite the Russian people. (103 mins.)
“ 1962 critics poll (tied for # 6) - Parts 1 & 2 ” - JMGuer
 
17.
Ivan the Terrible, Part II (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
As Ivan the Terrible attempts to consolidate his power by establishing a personal army, his political rivals, the Russian boyars, plot to assassinate their Tsar. (88 mins.)
“ 1962 critics poll (tied for # 6) - Parts 1 & 2 ” - JMGuer
 
18.
La Terra Trema (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In rural Sicily, the fishermen live at the mercy of the greedy wholesalers. One family risks everything to buy their own boat and operate independently. (160 mins.)
“ 1962 critics poll (# 9) ” - JMGuer
 
19.
L'Atalante (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Newly married couple Juliette and a ship captain Jean struggle through marriage as they travel on the L'atalante along with the captain's first mate Le père Jules and a cabin boy. (89 mins.)
Director: Jean Vigo
“ 1962 critics poll (# 10)
1992 critics poll (tied for # 6)
1992 directors poll (# 6) ” - JMGuer
 
20.
(1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies. (138 mins.)
“ 1972 critics poll (# 4)
1982 critics poll (# 5)
1992 directors poll (# 2)
2002 critics poll (# 9)
2002 directors poll (# 3)
2012 critics poll (# 10)
2012 directors poll (# 4) ” - JMGuer
 
21.
Persona (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A nurse is put in charge of an actress who can't talk and finds that the actress's persona is melding with hers. (85 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
“ 1972 critics poll (tied for # 5) ” - JMGuer
 
22.
The General (1926)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines. (67 mins.)
“ 1972 critics poll (# 8)
1982 critics poll (# 10) ” - JMGuer
 
23.
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved. (88 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
“ 1972 critics poll (tied for # 8)
1982 critics poll (tied for # 7) ” - JMGuer
 
24.
Wild Strawberries (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
After living a life marked by coldness, an aging professor is forced to confront the emptiness of his existence. (91 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
“ 1972 critics poll (tied for # 10) ” - JMGuer
 
25.
Seven Samurai (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves. (207 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
“ 1982 critics poll (# 3)
1992 directors poll (tied for # 9)
2002 directors poll (tied for # 9) ” - JMGuer
 
26.
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound. (103 mins.)
“ 1982 critics poll (tied for # 3)
2002 critics poll (# 10) ” - JMGuer
 
27.
Vertigo (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her. (128 mins.)
“ 1982 critics poll (tied for # 7)
1992 critics poll (# 4)
1992 directors poll (tied for # 7)
2002 critics poll (# 2)
2002 directors poll (# 8)
2012 critics poll (# 1)
2012 directors poll (# 7) ” - JMGuer
 
28.
The Searchers (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from an Indian tribe. (119 mins.)
Director: John Ford
“ 1982 critics poll (tied for # 10)
1992 critics poll (# 5)
2012 critics poll (# 7) ” - JMGuer
 
29.
Tokyo Story (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them. (136 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
“ 1992 critics poll (# 3)
2002 critics poll (# 5)
2012 critics poll (# 3)
2012 directors poll (# 1) ” - JMGuer
 
30.
Pather Panchali (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Impoverished priest Harihar Ray, dreaming of a better life for himself and his family, leaves his rural Bengal village in search of work. (125 mins.)
Director: Satyajit Ray
“ 1992 critics poll (tied for # 6) ” - JMGuer
 
31.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest. (149 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ 1992 critics poll (# 10)
2002 critics poll (# 6)
2012 critics poll (# 6)
2012 directors poll (# 2) ” - JMGuer
 
32.
The Godfather (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.2/10 X  
The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son. (175 mins.)
“ 1992 directors poll (# 4) - Parts 1 & 2
2002 critics poll (# 4) - Parts 1 & 2
2002 directors poll (# 2) - Parts 1 & 2
2012 directors poll (# 7) ” - JMGuer
 
33.
The Godfather: Part II (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York is portrayed while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on his crime syndicate stretching from Lake Tahoe, Nevada to pre-revolution 1958 Cuba. (202 mins.)
“ 1992 directors poll (# 4) - Parts 1 & 2
2002 critics poll (# 4) - Parts 1 & 2
2002 directors poll (# 2) - Parts 1 & 2 ” - JMGuer
 
34.
Raging Bull (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An emotionally self-destructive boxer's journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside it. (129 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
“ 1992 directors poll (tied for # 2)
2002 directors poll (# 7) ” - JMGuer
 
35.
La Strada (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A care-free girl is sold to a traveling entertainer, consequently enduring physical and emotional pain along the way. (108 mins.)
“ 1992 directors poll (# 5) ” - JMGuer
 
36.
Modern Times (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman. (87 mins.)
Director: Charlie Chaplin
“ 1992 directors poll (# 7) ” - JMGuer
 
37.
Rashomon (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view. (88 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
“ 1992 directors poll (tied for # 9)
2002 directors poll (tied for # 9) ” - JMGuer
 
38.
Sunrise (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A married farmer falls under the spell of a slatternly woman from the city, who tries to convince him to drown his wife. (94 mins.)
Director: F.W. Murnau
“ 2002 critics poll (# 8)
2012 critics poll (# 5) ” - JMGuer
 
39.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and lead the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks. (216 mins.)
Director: David Lean
“ 2002 directors poll (# 4) ” - JMGuer
 
40.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically try to stop. (95 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ 2002 directors poll (# 5) ” - JMGuer
 
41.
Man with a Movie Camera (1929 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention. (68 mins.)
Director: Dziga Vertov
“ 2012 critics poll (# 8) ” - JMGuer
 
42.
Taxi Driver (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A mentally unstable Vietnam War veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process. (113 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
“ 2012 directors poll (# 5) ” - JMGuer
 
43.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe. (153 mins.)
Director: Francis Coppola
“ 2012 directors poll (# 6) ” - JMGuer
 
44.
The Mirror (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A dying man in his forties remembers his past. His childhood, his mother, the war, personal moments and things that tell of the recent history of all the Russian nation. (108 mins.)
“ 2012 directors poll (# 9) ” - JMGuer