Vertigo hits the dizzy heights as critics name it best film of all time

  • @MrNickClark

Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 thriller Vertigo is the greatest film of all time, according to an once-in-a-decade poll of critics which has deposed Citizen Kane from the top spot.

The poll by the BFI's Sight & Sound magazine is something of an event in the film world, held every 10 years since 1952. Orson Welles's masterpiece had topped each list except the first, when Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thieves took the title.

Nick James, editor of Sight & Sound, said the list reflected a change in "the culture of film criticism", adding the experts had moved away from films "that strive to be great art".

The rise of Vertigo shows how Hitchcock's "reputation has steadily increased over time," according to Sight & Sound. "He is now regarded as a master film-maker, innovator and genius."

Mr James called Vertigo "the ultimate critics' film" adding it is "full of spellbinding moments of awful poignancy that show how foolish, tender and cruel we can be when we're in love".

The evidence of the resurgence of silent films was clear from the Sight & Sound poll, in which three silent films made the top 10. Sunrise: a Song of Two Humans, directed by F W Murnau, improved its position from seventh to fifth.

The most recent film to make the list was David Lynch's Mulholland Drive made in 2001, which was in 28th place, while Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love was a new entry at No 24.

Movies: The top ten

1 Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)

2 Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)

3 Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)

4 La Règle du Jeu (Renoir, 1939)

5 Sunrise: A Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)

6 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)

7 The Searchers (Ford, 1956)

8 Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)

9 The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1927)

10 8½ (Federico Fellini, 1963)