You know the saying… “It’s no Citizen Kane”? Well, it’s time to push that saying to the rubbish pile because after fifty years of being ranked as the Greatest Film of All Time by the British Film Institute’s highly influential decennial Sight & Sound poll, Orson Welles’ groundbreaking faux biopic has been piped at the post by another film. The movie that inherits that title is now Alfred Hitchcock’s dark and dreamy psychological thriller Vertigo.
Widely regarded as the Master of Suspense’s magnum opus, Vertigo’s ascension to the top of the rankings is a case study of how time can change a stature of a film. Opening to mixed responses on its release in 1958, the film’s quality was drastically reassessed in the decades that succeeded it. It first appeared on the Top 10 in the 1982 poll, placing seventh, in 1992 it jumped up to fourth place, and in the 2002 iteration, it placed at number two – just fives shy of Citizen Kane.
Voted on by more than 800 critics and film experts around the globe, the Sight & Sound poll is generally regarded as the premiere list in world cinema. For the rest of the Top 10 and the entire top 50, visit the BFI’s website [BFI]