The Greatest 50 Films of All Time

The “International Film Magazine,” also known as “Sight & Sound,” recently updated their list of the ‘The 50 Greatest Films of All Time List” in 2012. The top title was held by Welles’ “Citizen Kane,” for 50 years. The new list, released in 2012, saw Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” taking the reigns. Below, we present the revised “Sight & Sound” list, with reviews to the films on the list reviewers at “The Movie Buff” has seen.


A scene from Orsen Welles’ 1940 award-winning film “Citizen Kane.”

Top 50 Movies of All Time – Sight & Sound
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1. Vertigo (1958)
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film about a retired San Francisco detective (James Stewart), who suffers from acrophobia and becomes obsessed with his old friend’s wife (Kim Novack) while investigating her strange activities.

2. Citizen Kane (1941) read review
Orson Welles’ classic film that follows the life of a publishing tycoon as reporter’s attempt to piece together the meaning of his final words.

3. Tokyo Story (1953)
A story of an old couple who visits their children and grandchildren in the city, but find their family has no time for them.

4. La Règle du jeu (1939)
A portrait of French Bourgeois life as the rich and their servants rendezvous at a French chateau.

5. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
A farmer becomes intwined with a woman from the city who tries to convince him to drown his wife.

6.  2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) read review
Director Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film about humanity discovering an artificial object and setting off on a quest with the aid of H.A.L. 9000, a sophisticated computer system.

7. The Searchers (1956)
The story of a Civil War who attempts to rescue his niece from Indian tribes.

8. Man With a Movie Camera (1939)
A documentary-esque look at city life from a man who walks around a city, filming city life with his camera.

9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1927)
A film that chronicles the trial of Joan of Arch for heresy and those who bid her to recant statements of her holy visions.

10. 8 1/2
The 1963 film from Federico Fellini that explores a film director as he tackles the creative process. 

11. Battleship Potemkin (1925)
A film by Sergei S Eisenstein about a naval mutiny and a resulting massacre that takes place during a street demonstration.

12. L’Atlante (1934)
Jean Vigo directs this film about a newly married couple that travels along with the captain’s first mate on a ship called ‘L’Atalante.’

13. Breathless (1960)
A film by Jean-Luc Goddard about a young thief who kills a policeman and attempt to hide in Italy, trying to persuade a girl to hid with him.

14. Apocalypse Now (1979)
Francis Ford Coppala’s Vietnam War epic about a team sent in to assassinate a renegade Colonel.

15. Late Spring (1949)
A young woman is pulled between others wanting her to marry, and her desire to stay home and take care of her father.

16.  Au hassard Balthazar (1966)
A film about a mistreated Donkey and the people around him. Directed by Robert Bresson.

17. Seven Samurai (1954)
A village that falls under attack by bandits recruits the help of seven unemployed samurai to help them.

17. Persona (1966)
A nurse must take care of an actress who can’t talk and finds her own persona melding with her.

19. Mirror (1974)
Director Andrei Tarkovsky draws on pre World War II and childhood memories to make this impressionistic film.

20. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, this is a film about a silent film production company and cast that make a transition to sound.

21. L’Avventura (1960)
A woman disappears on a boating trip, and her lover and best friend become attracted to each other while looking for her.

21. Le mépris (1963)
A screenwriter’s marriage to his wife begins to fall apart during movie production in this layered look at the conflicts between art and business.

21. The Godfather (1972) read review
Francis Ford Coppola directs this film of an aging mobster who attempts to transfer the control of his empire to his reluctant sons.

24. Ordet (1955)
Problems with a girl’s pregnancy brings a rational doctor, who brings to focus a family’s views on faith.

24. In the Mood for Love (2000)
A film about two neighbors who bond over their respective partner’s infidelities, but vow to keep their bond plutonic as to not commit the same wrongs.

26. Rashomon (1950)
A terrible crime and its aftermath are reviewed from different points of view in this film.

26. Andrei Rublev (1966)
A film about the life, times, and struggles of a Russian iconographer.

28. Mulholland Drive (2001)
David Lynch directs this film centering on a car crash, and a woman with amnesia who meets a perky Hollywood hopeful and searches for clues to the accident.

29. Stalker (1979)
A guide leads two men through an area called ‘The Zone’ to find a room that grants wishes.

29. Shoa (1985)
The 9 1/2 hour documentary by director Claude Lanzmann about the Holocaust -using only interviews, and no archival footage.

31. The Godfather Part II (1974)
Also directed by Francis Ford Coppola, this sequel shows mobster Vito Corleone’s early life and focuses on his son, Michael, as he expands his dynasty.

31. Taxi Driver (1976) read review
A profile of an unstable war veteran who drives a taxi in New York City and the violence and decadence around him.

33. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
A man and a boy search for a stolen bicycle that is imperative to his career.

34. The General (1926)
A film that depicts a man’s search for his stolen locomotive, working his way through enemy Union spies.

35. Metropolis (1927)
This silent film highlights the struggles of the working class with the elite when a son of a city planner falls in love with a working class prophet.

35. Psycho (1960) read review
Alfred Hitchcock’s film about a criminal on the run who encounters the mad Norman Bates at a lonely and desolate hotel.

35. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
A housewife and mother of teenage son’s life is disrupted when an event happens to break her safe routine.

35. Sátántangó (1994)
A movie about a small Hungarian village who learns of a large some of money to be delivered to some of its residents. Talk of the return of another village member, presumed dead, causes unrest as they fear he will take the money to rebuild their community.

39. The 400 Blows (1959)
A misunderstood youth leaves without attention, and is drawn into a life of crime in this film by François Truffaut.

39. La dolce vita (1960)
A film that follows a week in the life of a philandering paparazzo living in Rome.

41. Journey to Italy (1954)
A trip to Italy to by a wealthy couple to dispose of a deceased uncle’s villa highlights problems in their relationship, and causes both to review the past and confront unspoken relationship problems.

42. Pather Panchali (1955)
The story of Apu, a young boy living in a small Indian village. From poor parents, the film chronicles the struggles of the family as it tries to make ends meet.

42. Some Like it Hot (1959)
Starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon. Two musicians witness a mob hit and hit the road posing as an all-female rock band.

42. Gertrud (1964)
In a world of artists and musicians, Gertrud ends her marriage and takes a lover, the composer Erlan Jansson.

42. Pierrot le Fou (1965)
Pierrot escapes a boring life and travels across the Mediterranean with Marianne, a woman on the run from hitmen from Algeria.

42. Play Time (1967)
Ennui leads two friends to sexually experiment on each other. When they include one’s husband in the proceedings, the other husband threatens their marriages and their friendships.

42. Close-Up (1990)
Pretending to be Moshen Makhamalbaf, a man enters the home of a well-to-do family under the pretense of making his next film. The man’s guise is discovered with less-than-diserable results.

48. The Battle of Algiers (1966)
A chronicle of fear and violence as the people of Algeria fight for independence against the French government.

48. Moments choisis des histoire(s) du cinéma (2005)
Filmmaker Jean-Luc Goddard takes viewers on a tour and montage of cinema history.

50. City Lights (1931)
Charlie Chaplin stars in this comedy as The Tramp struggles to help a blind flower girl that he has also fallen in love with.

50. Ugetsu Monogatari (1953)
A film of love, war, and family that is set in the Japanese Civil Wars of the 16th Century. Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi.

50. La Jetée (1962)
A movie about a man, a slave, who is sent back and forth through time to find a solution to the world’s fate. 

The Greatest 50 Films of All Time
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