#1 Posted by frankfartmouth (1018 posts) -

This may not seem like a big deal to some, but I guess being a film school graduate--and soon to be media studies grad student--it seemed like a pretty big deal to me. A little background: the Sight and Sound critics' and directors' poll is conducted every ten years by the great British film mag Sight and Sound. It is probably the single most respected critics' poll in existence. It relies solely on polling the top film scholars, directors, and other notable film professionals on their ten favorite films all time, then the films that appear the most times are ranked in order from 1 to 10. Very simple, which is one of the reasons it's so influential. For the past 50 years, Citizen Kane has topped every poll, usually in commanding fashion. But no longer. This decade's just-released poll has Hitchcock's Vertigo topping the list.

A lot of people will say big deal, I'm sure, but it's a pretty big event to me because it shows that the makeup of the critical mass is changing, which may itself herald a coming shift in focus on the production side of things. In other words, we may start seeing some new things, some new perspectives. The French New Wave critics played a big role in creating changes in Hollywood filmmaking in the late 60s and early 70s, which is one of the coolest eras of filmmaking ever. So it's really not just some dumb list put together by stuffed shirts. It can affect things.

At the very least, it may mean people will have to start referring to Ocarina as the Vertigo of gaming, rather than the Citizen Kane.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think polls like this are meaningless? Or do you think this may actually signal a significant shift in the industry?

Here's the link: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/vertigo-citizen-kane-greatest-film-of-all-time-357266?_r=true

#2 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@frankfartmouth said:

At the very least, it may mean people will have to start referring to Ocarina as the Vertigo of gaming, rather than the Citizen Kane.

I'd say that's impossible, since not a ton of people have seen Vertigo, but I can't imagine a lot of people having seen Citizen Kane, either. Hopefully, Ocarina of Time is referred to as The Dark Knight Rises of gaming in time, mainly because I can't think of anything else right now.

#3 Posted by MikkaQ (10344 posts) -

Rear Window and North By Northwest are significantly better than Vertigo anyway, so this list is already a wash for me.

#4 Posted by YI_Orange (1172 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@frankfartmouth said:

At the very least, it may mean people will have to start referring to Ocarina as the Vertigo of gaming, rather than the Citizen Kane.

I'd say that's impossible, since not a ton of people have seen Vertigo, but I can't imagine a lot of people having seen Citizen Kane, either. Hopefully, Ocarina of Time is referred to as The Dark Knight Rises of gaming in time, mainly because I can't think of anything else right now.

Or how about, The Ocarina of Time of Video Games? I'd bet the majority of people having that discussion are probably going to understand Ocarina of Time's significance better than Citizen Kane's

#5 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@YI_Orange:

So you're saying we should wait for a pot-hating tycoon to see a great game and destroy any chance of success in its time before we can call a game the Citizen Kane of games?

#6 Posted by CaLe (4058 posts) -

Why are old films being ranked higher than newer ones when clearly huge advancements have been made in all areas? Doesn't make sense to me. Old shit shouldn't be lauded just because it's old.

#7 Posted by GunstarRed (5486 posts) -

@MikkaQ said:

Rear Window and North By Northwest are significantly better than Vertigo anyway, so this list is already a wash for me.

This is pretty much what I was thinking.

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#8 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11421 posts) -

I have not seen Citizen Kane, but I wouldn't even call Vertigo a good movie, let alone the best ever made, so I disagree with this.

#9 Edited by Little_Socrates (5718 posts) -

Having not seen either film, I don't know whether to agree or disagree. I've seen a half-hour of Vertigo, and it is some slow build-up, for sure. Some beautiful art direction in that film, though.

That said, wait a decade and we'll see if Vertigo manages to hold the top spot for a significant amount of time. It could well be a fluke.

#10 Posted by mtcantor (951 posts) -

I don't think either of these are the best movie ever made. Then again all of these lists are bullshit because only my opinion is correct.

#11 Posted by Veektarius (5032 posts) -

The Manchurian Candidate might be the best movie ever made, so why didn't it win the poll?

#12 Posted by ShadowConqueror (3091 posts) -

I personally think Citizen Kane is better than Vertigo, but I don't consider either of them the best film ever.

#13 Posted by sissylion (675 posts) -

@CaLe said:

Why are old films being ranked higher than newer ones when clearly huge advancements have been made in all areas? Doesn't make sense to me. Old shit shouldn't be lauded just because it's old.

Older movies had to rely on writing and character development more than new ones do because they didn't have the crutches of special effects. There are great old movies, there are great new movies, but compare Gone With the Wind being the highest-grossing movie of 1939 with Avatar being the highest-grossing film of 2009.

#14 Posted by felakuti4life (147 posts) -

Citizen Kane is the birth of modern cinematography. However, I would say Vertigo has definitely aged better than it

#15 Posted by stinky (1555 posts) -

@CaLe said:

Why are old films being ranked higher than newer ones when clearly huge advancements have been made in all areas? Doesn't make sense to me. Old shit shouldn't be lauded just because it's old.

what are the artistic advance that have been made in all areas?

#16 Posted by CaLe (4058 posts) -

@stinky said:

@CaLe said:

Why are old films being ranked higher than newer ones when clearly huge advancements have been made in all areas? Doesn't make sense to me. Old shit shouldn't be lauded just because it's old.

what are the artistic advance that have been made in all areas?

I have no idea. I just know I generally enjoy newer movies a hell of a lot more than older movies. I watch old movies with all these great ratings and they can barely hold my attention.

#17 Posted by stinky (1555 posts) -

@frankfartmouth:

this doesn't see so significant to me, whereas the last list change from ebert actually included a new movie among the ranks, The Tree of Life.

http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2012/04/the_greatest_films_of_all_time.html

much more interesting than a slot change.

#18 Posted by Subject2Change (2966 posts) -

Film degrees are a waste of time, two is even a bigger waste. Coming from someone with one, who has been in TV/Film for over 4 years now.

#19 Posted by WarlordPayne (706 posts) -

I found Vertigo to be extremely boring and kind of dumb. As people have pointed out it isn't even Hitchcock's best, so this seems like a pretty ridiculous decision.

#20 Posted by DeF (4979 posts) -

@frankfartmouth: Even as a fellow student of media studies, I ascribe no weight to any poll in itself. It's more that reactions like yours that spawn discussion surrounding this topic are ultimately more important. Why do these people choose these films? I don't believe scholars and whatnot to be exempt from peer pressure and habitual assessments. Scenarios like "Well, if I don't put film X on that list it might cost me some credibility among my peers so there you go film X." So far, I have never seen Citizen Kane but from what I've read about it, it supposedly pioneered a lot of the visual language and filming techniques we're accustomed to now. I have also never seen Vertigo, but I suspect its strengths lie more in the stylistic field than in the technical department? I think changes in rankings light these are only natural and to be expected once the relevance of entries increases or decreases.

Switching mediums, I similarly don't believe that Super Mario Bros, Super Mario 64, Ocarina of Time or Half Life 2 will keep being referred to as the best video games have to offer just because they pioneered significant elements and were highly influential. Back to the films list, you might just find that the people who voted started realizing that "Hey, maybe I find it less important now that Citizen Kane introduced X. But boy do I still like how Vertigo handles Y!"

I have very little respect for repeated, almost unanimous praise, especially from what one might call the "elite" (those very highly regarded scholars, directors, etc.). To me that does not suggest truth or fact but rather compliance. It's a case-by-case thing, obviously but a list like this still doesn't mean much. Why is this poll so highly respected? Just because it always has been? Are they asking the same people who might have the exact same taste as they did 10, 20 years ago? Who exactly does regard this poll so highly? Do these people even know who voted? Do they know why those films were ultimately chosen (I haven't seen the actual poll)?

Finally, I believe the comparison with the French New Wave Critics doesn't apply in 2012. The hive-mind of the internet seems far more influential at this point in time than what high-brow critics and scholars may or may not think is good.

#21 Posted by Hunter5024 (5982 posts) -

@CaLe said:

Why are old films being ranked higher than newer ones when clearly huge advancements have been made in all areas? Doesn't make sense to me. Old shit shouldn't be lauded just because it's old.

Because people have trouble distinguishing between when someone did something first, and when someone did something best. They don't know where to draw the line between influential, and good. It's the same reason you'll see games like the original Legend of Zelda or Mario Bros win greatest game of all time lists, when they have sequels that are clearly superior games.

#22 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

I still have a shrinkwrapped copy of an imported Criterion edition DVD of Vertigo from a decade back, when I was heavily into watching films. Guess I just ran out of steam after a couple of years, and have since lost the interest in the format for the most parts. I prefer the mini-series format for pretty much everything. If only that was were the movie industry was going. Direct digital distribution of high production value 6-24 episodes long miniseries.

Just think of how much more awesome a 200 million dollar miniseries could be, over a 200 million dollar film.

#23 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

@CaLe said:

Why are old films being ranked higher than newer ones when clearly huge advancements have been made in all areas? Doesn't make sense to me. Old shit shouldn't be lauded just because it's old.

That's why.

#24 Posted by NinjaHunter (973 posts) -

@CaLe said:

@stinky said:

@CaLe said:

Why are old films being ranked higher than newer ones when clearly huge advancements have been made in all areas? Doesn't make sense to me. Old shit shouldn't be lauded just because it's old.

what are the artistic advance that have been made in all areas?

I have no idea. I just know I generally enjoy newer movies a hell of a lot more than older movies. I watch old movies with all these great ratings and they can barely hold my attention.

I think that has less to do with the quality of the films and more with the fact that you're just more use to how modern films are paced. If you watch a film from like 30 or 40 years ago you'll probably notice that they take more time to get into the story or to set up the world. Also look at the differences at how they were shot. Modern films have more quick cuts or just cuts in general than films did back then. Which helps keep peoples attention and with the rate peoples attention span is shortening, modern films kind of need that.

#25 Edited by Apathylad (3067 posts) -

@TheDudeOfGaming: Bad movies aren't a modern invention. I'm sure there are some old movies that were bad at the time of release, or old movies that used to be good but don't hold up well.

I preferred Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life, but that's just me.

#26 Posted by ThePickle (4170 posts) -

any answer that isn't seven samurai is the wrong answer

#27 Posted by Red (5994 posts) -

This poll has reminded me I need to watch more Hitchcock. For some reason none of his movies are on Netflix anymore. Anyways, I find all of these polls to be ridiculously stuffy and pretentious. Anyone who says The Passion of Joan of Arc is their favorite movie just wants people to think they're cool.

However, I've always understood the fascination with Hitchcock and Welles.

#28 Posted by NTM (7555 posts) -

And for that reason, I watched Vertigo last night. It was a fine movie, but it also makes me think "Really? How can this be the best, or even considered one of the greatest film of all time?" I don't think Citizen Kane is the best either, but still. A lot of these films people say are the best aren't really the best movies. It just seems like their films from our past that we shouldn't forget, and so they're considered the best. I mean, just look at all the films there are out there; is this really the best, or even in the top ten? Not for me at least.

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#29 Posted by NTM (7555 posts) -

@sissylion said:

@CaLe said:

Why are old films being ranked higher than newer ones when clearly huge advancements have been made in all areas? Doesn't make sense to me. Old shit shouldn't be lauded just because it's old.

Older movies had to rely on writing and character development more than new ones do because they didn't have the crutches of special effects. There are great old movies, there are great new movies, but compare Gone With the Wind being the highest-grossing movie of 1939 with Avatar being the highest-grossing film of 2009.

Well I wouldn't say Avatar, but maybe compare it to James Cameron's other film, Titanic. I love Avatar (although I didn't initially), and for me, I like it better than Gone With the Wind, it just interests me more, but I understand why it's so liked.

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#30 Posted by frankfartmouth (1018 posts) -

@stinky said:

@frankfartmouth:

this doesn't see so significant to me, whereas the last list change from ebert actually included a new movie among the ranks, The Tree of Life.

http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2012/04/the_greatest_films_of_all_time.html

much more interesting than a slot change.

That is more interesting. I was kind of hoping the list itself would have some entries along those lines. Bold of him to throw that up there without the "test of time" bearing it out.

@Subject2Change said:

Film degrees are a waste of time, two is even a bigger waste. Coming from someone with one, who has been in TV/Film for over 4 years now.

My B.A. has been mostly worthless. The most immediately useful thing about it was the internship I did with a local production house that led to work for a few years, but that's fizzled out now. I'm kind of changing gears for grad school and going more academic. I don't regret my choice overall, but there are definitely times when I think I should have stuck to computer science.

@DeF:

All good points. There's certainly a lot of unnecessary pomp and elitism behind polls like these, but I wouldn't go as far as you in dismissing it. I think when you ask 800 renowned directors what their ten favorite movies are, the results are-- maybe not useful--but pretty damn interesting, at least to a film buff. And to answer a few of your questions, yes, you can see exactly what everybody voted for on each of these polls, and they do shake up the respondents quite a bit. But there's no doubt that it's ultimately just a sort of silly game to pore over this stuff. But I am a gamer, so it's OK with me.

#31 Edited by HadesTimes (827 posts) -

Isn't Vertigo in color? I don't think that should make it comparable to Citizen Kane... But I enjoyed Kane more. I don't think Vertigo was Hitchcock's strongest film. I would venture that Psycho or even Strangers on a Train were better. I personally believe that color killed Hitchcock's film style. I know it sounds crazy but the quality of his work seemed to deteriorate once the movies were in color. But that's my op. Don't get me wrong the movies in color were STILL great movies, just not as good as the b/w movies.

#32 Posted by theANCIENTgray (78 posts) -

@MikkaQ said:

Rear Window and North By Northwest are significantly better than Vertigo anyway, so this list is already a wash for me.

Have to agree with that sentiment. Hell, I'd take Frenzy and Rope over Vertigo.

#33 Edited by BoG (5192 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: Uh, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that a lot of people have seen Vertigo. It's a Hitchcock classic. I've watched it more than any other Hitchcock film, save Psycho (My personal favorite). And, uh... I've never seen Citizen Kane. I rented it, but the DVD was scratched.

@sissylion said:

@CaLe said:

Why are old films being ranked higher than newer ones when clearly huge advancements have been made in all areas? Doesn't make sense to me. Old shit shouldn't be lauded just because it's old.

Older movies had to rely on writing and character development more than new ones do because they didn't have the crutches of special effects. There are great old movies, there are great new movies, but compare Gone With the Wind being the highest-grossing movie of 1939 with Avatar being the highest-grossing film of 2009.

There's this, coupled with the influence that older films have on new ones. Others have mentioned Citizen Kane as pioneering techniques. New films owe a lot to older ones.

It would help if you told us what kind of films you like, though. Usually, when someone says "Old movies just don't hold my attention," I conculde they must be Michael Bay fans.

#34 Posted by ajamafalous (12167 posts) -
@Hunter5024 said:

@CaLe said:

Why are old films being ranked higher than newer ones when clearly huge advancements have been made in all areas? Doesn't make sense to me. Old shit shouldn't be lauded just because it's old.

Because people have trouble distinguishing between when someone did something first, and when someone did something best. They don't know where to draw the line between influential, and good. It's the same reason you'll see games like the original Legend of Zelda or Mario Bros win greatest game of all time lists, when they have sequels that are clearly superior games.

I think this is the reason.
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#35 Posted by Svenzon (733 posts) -

The poll is okay, I guess. All of the movies on it were hugely important and deserve respect. As for the number one spot, I like Citizen Kane a whole lot more than Vertigo, that's for sure. I've seen Kane several times and I think it's holds up well even today. Vertigo was pretty much the point at which I gave up on Hitchcock. I respect the man for pioneering a lot of techniques, but his movies were too dry and often too silly for me to care.

#36 Posted by Soap (3646 posts) -

The list is wrong, the greatest movie ever made is Memento, or The Dark Knight, or Inception.

I dunno, something by Nolan.

#37 Posted by CaLe (4058 posts) -

@BoG said:

It would help if you told us what kind of films you like, though. Usually, when someone says "Old movies just don't hold my attention," I conculde they must be Michael Bay fans.

Why Michael Bay? He did transformers right? I saw the first one and didn't like it. I like a lot of Korean movies: My Sassy Girl, Old Boy, I Saw the Devil, A Bittersweet Life. Some of my favourite Western movies would be: Heat, Shawshank, Godfather, Alien, Shining, Shutter Island, Memento. Then some Japanese movies I like would be: Confessions, Memories of Matsuko, Battle Royale, 19, Villain, Ichi the Killer. I've enjoyed a bunch of old Robert Redford movies, but that's about as far back as I can go without just getting completely bored.

#38 Posted by Karkarov (3293 posts) -

These type of changes are inevitable. The old critics pass away, retire, what have you, and new names make it into the poll. One day, shocking I know, neither of these films will make the list.

#39 Posted by Artigkar (189 posts) -

Reading the lists that they have posted there on that site made me realize something. I have not seen many films released before the 1970s, I dunno why.