'Citizen Kane' Is No Longer the Greatest Film Ever Made

Since its inception in 1962, the Sight & Sound movie poll has attempted to determine by a vote of critics the following, nearly impossible to answer question: what the greatest movie of all time? And for those 50 years, every decade when the vote was held, the answer was "Citizen Kane."

But the king has been dethroned, as this year's poll has crowned a new winner: Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo." The thriller had been gaining ground on "Kane" for a while, and in fact only lost to "Kane" by a margin of five votes the last time the poll went out in 2002.

The straw that broke Orson Welles' back was the increase in voting members this year, as the pool expanded to more than 800 voters. That's a huge leap from the 145 voters in 2002, and is likely to cause some fluctuations.

Here's the top ten list, by the way:

  1. "Vertigo"
  2. "Citizen Kane"
  3. "Tokyo Story"
  4. "Rules of the Game"
  5. "Sunrise"
  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"

Notice anything amiss? Yep, "The Godfather" and, for that matter, "The Godfather Part II" are missing. That's because the two movies were originally bundled as one to avoid split votes, apparently for good reason as it was the split vote that kept either movie from cracking the top 10.

That serves as a reminder that polls can be a bit of bunk, but when you're judging something this subjective, it's really the only way. There's no metric to measure what's the greatest movie of all time, so why not just ask around and tally the results? If you asked me, "Vertigo" would not top this list. It's a great movie, yes, but it's not even my favorite Hitchcock.

(It's "Rear Window," if you're curious).

What do you think of the list? Did any of your favorites fail to make the cut? Let's all yell at Sight & Sound in the comments below, shall we?