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Notes on the 2012 Sight & Sound Greatest Films Poll

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire August 2, 2012 at 1:10PM

Trivia, accounting, and instant streaming links for the most prestigious top ten list ever.
7
"Citizen Kane."
"Citizen Kane."

I'm still wading through the 2012 edition of Sight & Sound's Greatest Films of All Time Critics Poll. Once they release the full list of movies nominated and the ballots from all the critics and directors, it may be a more appropriate time to make sweeping generalizations about the state of the world film canon and shifting tastes (then again, that may not be a more appropriate time, but we'll do it anyway). I love studying this poll and its results so much, I've actually been doing something I hate: math. I've been crunching numbers, looking at what's been added and subtracted in the last ten years, and what movies and filmmakers have fallen in and out of favor. I put them all together in the list of notes you'll find below. I've also gathered links for every film from the Top 50 that's available on Netflix Watch Instantly and Hulu Plus (you're welcome). 

Criticwire's Notes on the 2012 Sight & Sound Greatest Films of All Time

The Oldest Movie Added To the Poll: "Late Spring" (1949)
The Oldest Movie Dropped From the Poll: "Intolerance" (1916)
The Most Recent Movie Added To the Poll: "Mulholland Drive" (2001)
The Most Recent Movies Dropped From the Poll: "Blade Runner" and "Fanny and Alexander" (1982)
The Highest Ranking Film That Didn't Appear at All in 2002: "Apocalypse Now" (Ranked #15)
The Highest Ranking Film From 2002 That Doesn't Appear at All in 2012: "Touch of Evil" (Ranked #15)
The Director With the Most Films in the 2002 Poll: Jean-Luc Godard (4; "Breathless," "Contempt," "Pierrot le Fou," "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her.")
The Director With the Most Films in the 2012 Poll: Jean-Luc Godard (4; "Breathless," "Contempt," "Pierrot le Fou," "Histoire(s) du Cinema.")
The Director With the Most New Entries in 2012: Francis Ford Coppola (3; on a technicality. In 2002 "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II" were counted together; this year, they ranked separately.)
The Director With the Most Lost Entries in the 2012 Poll: Orson Welles (2; "Touch of Evil," "The Magnificent Ambersons.") and Ingmar Bergman ("Fanny and Alexander;" "The Seventh Seal.")
Average Age of Release of the Films on the 2002 Critics' Top Ten: 1943
Average Age of Release of the Films on the 2012 Critics' Top Ten: 1946
Average Age of Release of the Films on the 2002 Directors' Top Ten: 1963
Average Age of Release of the Films on the 2012 Directors' Top Ten: 1963

The Sight & Sound Greatest Films of All Time Available on Streaming

Top 50 Titles Available on Netflix Watch Instantly: 7 ("8 1/2," "Battleship Potekmkin," "Apocalypse Now," "Persona," "In the Mood For Love," "Bicycle Thieves," "Metropolis.") 
Top 50 Titles Available on Hulu Plus: 23 ("Tokyo Story," "The Rules of the Game," "The Passion of Joan of Arc," "L'Atalante," "Breathless," "Late Spring," "Au Hasard Balthazar," "Seven Samurai," "L'Avventura," "Ordet," "Rashomon," "Andrei Rublev," "The General," "Metropolis," "Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles," "The 400 Blows," "Gertrud," "Playtime," "Close-up," "The Battle of Algiers," "City Lights," "Ugetsu Monogatari," "La Jetée.")

Additional Notes:
-In 2002, "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II" were counted as one film, and placed 4th. This year, they were counted separately, and came in 23rd and 31st, respectively. If you combined their votes as Sight & Sound did in 2002, they would have ranked 7th.

-Three titles from the 1990s made the list: Abbas Kiarostami's "Close-up" (1990), Bela Tarr's "Sátántangó" (1994), and Jean-Luc Godard's "Histoire(s) du Cinema" (1998). Two films from the 2000s made the cut: Wong Kar-wai's "In the Mood For Love" (2000) and David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" (2001).

-Unless I'm making a bone-headed omission, there's just one female director in the top 50: Chantal Akerman, who made "Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles."

This article is related to: Sight & Sound Film Poll


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