The 50 Greatest Films of All Time by Sight & Sound

"846 critics, programmers, academics and distributors have voted – and the 50-year reign of Kane is over. Our critics’ poll has a new number one."

- Sight & Sound

Weight: 100

Films (52)

1. Vertigo

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock | PG | 128 min | 1958|

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.

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2. Citizen Kane

Directed by Orson Welles | 119 min | 1941|

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

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3. Tokyo Story

Directed by Yasujirô Ozu | 136 min | 1953|

An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them.

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4. The Rules of the Game

Directed by Jean Renoir | 110 min | 1939|

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.

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5. Sunrise

Directed by F.W. Murnau | 94 min | 1927|

A married farmer falls under the spell of a slatternly woman from the city, who tries to convince him to drown his wife.

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6. 2001: A Space Odyssey

Directed by Stanley Kubrick | G | 149 min | 1968|

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.

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7. The Searchers

Directed by John Ford | 119 min | 1956|

A Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from an Indian tribe.

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8. Man with a Movie Camera

Directed by Dziga Vertov | 68 min | 1929|

A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention.

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9. The Passion of Joan of Arc

Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer | 114 min | 1928|

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.


Directed by Federico Fellini | 138 min | 1963|

A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies.

11. Battleship Potemkin

Directed by Sergei M. Eisenstein | 66 min | 1925|

A dramatized account of a great Russian naval mutiny and a resulting street demonstration which brought on a police massacre.

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12. L'Atalante

Directed by Jean Vigo | 89 min | 1934|

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.

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13. Breathless

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard | 90 min | 1960|

A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.

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14. Apocalypse Now

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola | R | 153 min | 1979|

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.

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15. Late Spring

Directed by Yasujirô Ozu | 108 min | 1949|

Noriko is twenty-seven years old and still living with her widowed father. Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay at home caring for her father.

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16. Au Hasard Balthazar

Directed by Robert Bresson | 95 min | 1966|

The story of a mistreated donkey and the people around him. A study on saintliness and a sister piece to Bresson's Mouchette.

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17. Seven Samurai

Directed by Akira Kurosawa | 207 min | 1954|

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

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18. Persona

Directed by Ingmar Bergman | 83 min | 1966|

A nurse is put in charge of an actress who can't talk and finds that the actress's persona is melding with hers.

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19. The Mirror

Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky | N/A | 108 min | 1975|

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.

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20. Singin' in the Rain

Directed by Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly | 103 min | 1952|

A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

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21. L'Avventura

Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni | 143 min | 1960|

A woman disappears during a Mediterranean boating trip. During the search, her lover and her best friend become attracted to each other.

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22. Contempt

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard | 102 min | 1963|

Screenwriter Paul Javal's marriage to his wife Camille disintegrates during movie production as she spends time with the producer. Layered conflicts between art and business ensue.

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23. The Godfather

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola | R | 175 min | 1972|

The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

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24. Ordet

Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer | 126 min | 1955|

People believe in the dead Christ, but not in the living.

25. In the Mood for Love

Directed by Kar-Wai Wong | PG | 98 min | 2000|

Two neighbors, a woman and a man, form a strong bond after both suspect extramarital activities of their spouses. However, they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs.

26. Rashomon

Directed by Akira Kurosawa | 88 min | 1950|

A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view.

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27. Andrei Rublev

Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky | 205 min | 1966|

The life, times and afflictions of the fifteenth-century Russian iconographer.

28. Mulholland Drive

Directed by David Lynch | R | 147 min | 2001|

After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.

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29. Stalker

Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky | 163 min | 1979|

A guide leads two men through an area known as the Zone to find a room that grants wishes.

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30. Shoah

Directed by Claude Lanzmann | 566 min | 1985|

Claude Lanzmann's epic documentary recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with witnesses - perpetrators as well as survivors.

31. The Godfather: Part II

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola | R | 202 min | 1974|

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.

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32. Taxi Driver

Directed by Martin Scorsese | R | 113 min | 1976|

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.

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33. Bicycle Thieves

Directed by Vittorio De Sica | 89 min | 1948|

Set in Post-WWII Italy, a working class man's bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it.

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34. The General

Directed by Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton | 67 min | 1926|

When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines.

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35. Metropolis

Directed by Fritz Lang | 153 min | 1927|

In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.

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36. Psycho

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock | R | 109 min | 1960|

A Phoenix secretary steals $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

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37. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels

Directed by Chantal Akerman | 201 min | 1975|

A lonely widowed housewife does her daily chores, takes care of her apartment where she lives with her teenage son, and turns the occasional trick to make ends meet. However, something happens that changes her safe routine.

38. Satantango

Directed by Béla Tarr | N/A | 450 min | 1994|

Plotting on a payment they are about to receive, residents of a collapsing collective farm see their plans turn into desolation when they discover that Irimiás, a former co-worker who they thought was dead, is coming back to the village.

39. The 400 Blows

Directed by François Truffaut | 99 min | 1959|

Moving story of a young boy who, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.

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40. La Dolce Vita

Directed by Federico Fellini | 174 min | 1960|

A series of stories following a week in the life of a philandering paparazzo journalist living in Rome.

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41. Journey to Italy

Directed by Roberto Rossellini | 97 min | 1954|

Catherine and Alexander, wealthy and sophisticated, drive to Naples to dispose of a deceased uncle's villa. There's a coolness in their relationship and aspects of Naples add to the strain....

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42. Pather Panchali

Directed by Satyajit Ray | 125 min | 1955|

Impoverished priest Harihar Ray, dreaming of a better life for himself and his family, leaves his rural Bengal village in search of work.

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43. Some Like It Hot

Directed by Billy Wilder | 120 min | 1959|

When two musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.

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44. Gertrud

Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer | 116 min | 1964|

In the elegant world of artists and musicians, Gertrud ends her marriage to Gustav and takes a lover, the composer Erland Jansson

45. Pierrot le Fou

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard | 110 min | 1965|

Pierrot escapes his boring society and travels from Paris to the Mediterranean Sea with Marianne, a girl chased by hit-men from Algeria. They lead an unorthodox life, always on the run.

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46. Playtime

Directed by Jacques Tati | 115 min | 1967|

Monsieur Hulot curiously wanders around a high-tech Paris, paralleling a trip with a group of American tourists. Meanwhile, a nightclub/restaurant prepares its opening night, but it's still under construction.

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47. Close-Up

Directed by Abbas Kiarostami | 98 min | 1990|

Pretending to be Mohsen Makhmalbaf making his next movie, Hossain Sabzian enters the home of a well-to-do family in Tehran, promising it a prominent part in his next movie. The actual ...

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48. The Battle of Algiers

Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo | 121 min | 1966|

In the 1950s, fear and violence escalate as the people of Algiers fight for independence from the French government.

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49. Histoire(s) du cinéma: Toutes les histoires

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard | N/A | 51 min | 1988|


50. City Lights

Directed by Charles Chaplin | 87 min | 1931|

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.

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51. Ugetsu

Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi | 96 min | 1953|

A fantastic tale of war, love, family and ambition set in the midst of the Japanese Civil Wars of the sixteenth century.

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52. La Jetée

Directed by Chris Marker | 28 min | 1962|

Time travel, still images, a past, present and future and the aftermath of World War III. The tale of a man, a slave, sent back and forth, in and out of time, to find a solution to the ...

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