Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Sight And Sound Top 250 By The Numbers: And The Auteur With The Most Films Is...

by The Playlist
August 17, 2012 12:56 PM
  • |

Who’s the greatest auteur in cinema? Is it Alfred Hitchock, who stands tall with Vertigo” as #1 in the Sight And Sound’s 2012 Greatest Films Of All Time List, and has five films on the entire list (which is now 250 films long)? It is Orson Welles, who had “Citizen Kane” at the number #1 slot for five decades? Or is it Ozu Yasujirō, who was listed as the top auteur by all the directors polled in this list?

Or is it Robert Bresson? By the numbers, the French filmmaker has more movies than any other director in the entire Top 250. With only 13 films to his name, Bresson (check out our retrospective of his oeuvre earlier this year that you should definitely read) tops the Sight And Sound Top 250 list with seven films (three within the top 100 and one in the top 20). Tying for second place (if you want to even call it that), you've got the dynamic duo of Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger, Jean-Luc Godard, Luis Buñuel and Howard Hawks.

Powell/Pressburger, the British/Hungarian team known as The Archers, who were somewhat thwarted in the top 100 (only 2 films at the bottom of the list), came back with a vengeance overall. Jean-Luc Godard (2 films in the top 25) and the late, great Luis Buñuel, also have six films apiece on this list. Curiously enough, Howard Hawks also joined the elite six-films-on-the-list club, but the American craftsman had only one film in the more prestigious Top 100 films.

We’ve broken down the numbers on the Sight And Sound list below. Surely there’s more info to dissect and slice and dice, but this is, we feel, a good overview. Read on....

SEVEN Films On The List
Robert Bresson: (“Au Hasard Balthazar,” “Pickpocket,” “A Man Escaped," "Mouchette,” “L'Argent,” “Diary O A Country Priest,” “The Devil Probably)

SIX Films On The List
Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger ("A Matter Of Life And Death," "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp," "A Canterbury Tale," "The Red Shoes," "Black Narcissus," "I Know Where I'm Going!")
Luis Buñuel: ("Un Chien Andalou," "Los Olvidados," "Viridiana," "L'Age d'Or," "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie," "The Exterminating Angel,")
Jean-Luc Godard (“Breathless,” “Le Mepris,” “Pierrot le Fou,” “Histoire Du Cinema,” “Two or “Three Things I Know About Her…”, “Vivre Sa Vie”)
Howard Hawks ("Rio Bravo, "Bringing Up Baby," "Only Angels Have Wings," "His Girl Friday," "The Big Sleep," "Red River")

FIVE Films On The List
Michealangelo Antonioni (“L'Avventura,” “Blow Up,” “The Passenger,” “L'Eclisse,” “Red Desert”)
Ingmar Bergman: (“Persona,” “Wild Strawberries,” “Fanny & Alexander,” “The Seventh Seal,” “Cries & Whispers”)
Stanley Kubrick: ("2001: A Space Odyssey," "Barry Lyndon," "Dr. Strangelove," "The Shining," "Clockwork Orange")
Alfred Hitchcock: (“Vertigo,” “Rear Window,” “North By Northwest,” “Notorious,” “Psycho”)
Carl Theodor Dreyer ("Passion of Joan of Arc," "Ordet," "Gertrud," "Vampyr," "Days Of Wrath")

FOUR Films On The List
Andrei Tarkovsky (“Mirror,” “Andrei Rublev,” “Stalker,” “Solaris”)
Orson Welles (“Citizen Kane,” “Touch of Evil,” “The Magnificent Ambersons,” “Chimes at Midnight”)
Ozu Yasujirō ("Late Spring," "Tokyo Story," "I Was Born, But...," "An Autumn Afternoon")
Jean Renoir (“The Rules Of The Game,” “Grand Illusion,” “A Day in the Country,” “The River”)
Federico Fellini (“8 ½”, “La Dolce Vita,” “Amacord,” “La Strada”)
Francis Ford Coppola (‘Apocalypse Now,” “The Godfather,” “The Godfather Part II,” “The Conversation”)
Charlie Chaplin ("City Lights," "Modern Times," "The Great Dictator," "The Gold Rush,")
Terrence Malick (“Badlands,” “Days Of Heaven,” “The Thin Red Line,” “The Tree Of Life”)
Roberto Rossellini ("Rome Open City," "Paisà," "Germany Year Zero," "Journey to Italy"
Kenji Mizoguchi ("Ugetsu," "Sansho The Baliff," "The Story of the Late Chrysanthemums," "The Life of Oharu")
F. W. Murnau ("Sunrise," "Nosferatu," "The Last Laugh," "Tabu")
John Ford ("The Searchers," "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "The Grapes of Wrath," "My Darling Clementine")

It’s interesting to note: While easily the greatest known Japanese director, the Emperor, Akira Kurosawa only has three films on the list (“Seven Samurai,” “Rashomon,” “Ikiru”) while the much lesser known Kenji Mizoguchi and Ozu Yasujirō have four apiece.

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    


  • Dale Lloyd | August 30, 2012 6:15 PMReply

    I noticed this error on the list: Cries and Whispers (1957). Should be 1972.

  • Fry | August 19, 2012 1:37 PMReply

    How many female filmmakers made it to the top 100?: Only two. Chantal Akerman (36 with Jeanne Dielman) and Claire Denis (78 with Beau Travail). And out of the 250 films?: Six more, Maya Deren (though she shares credit Alexander Hammid, 102 with Meshes of the Afternoon), Vera Chytilová (202 with Daisies), Agnès Varda (202 with Cleo from 5 to 7), Barbara Loden (202 with Wanda), Jane Campion (235 with The Piano), Forough Farrokhzad (235 with The House is Black). Total number of women in the entire list: 8.

  • Michael Koller | August 19, 2012 6:34 AMReply

    So how come Joseph Von Sternberg with NINE films in the list isn't listed at all????

  • Edward | August 20, 2012 7:40 AM

    Dude, what are you talking about? There are exactly ZERO JVS films in the top 250. They're not going by the list of EVERY film that got like 1 vote.

  • Edward Copeland | August 18, 2012 3:30 PMReply

    Unless they've fixed it since, on the day they announced the critics' list, they had Singin' in the Rain as a 1951 release. Pretty unforgivable since it's not like its 60th anniversary this year hasn't received any press.

  • Bill Blackwell | August 18, 2012 11:32 AMReply

    5 Oldest Living Directors:
    Second should be eighty-eight year old Stanley Donen (Singin' in the Rain).
    Dancing, Elaine May, and the will to outlive Debbie Reynolds keep him vital.
    If you're going to list Man with a Movie Camera and Histoire du cinema as "documentaries," shouldn't Sans Soleil join them?

  • Dood | August 17, 2012 10:48 PMReply

    I see no Snow White, the first animated feature ever made, and no Toy Story, the first computer animated feature made. Animation is represented only by a few films. Never gets enough respect. It seems that a lot of these films are chosen only to recognize movements and figures in film rather than the films themselves. I know it is a type of populist vote, but I think some other filmmakers and medium of films could be better represented.

  • Leo Farah | August 17, 2012 9:47 PMReply

    Manuel de Oliveira is the oldest director on the list, with his 1978 film Amor de Perdição.

  • @Leo | August 18, 2012 11:23 AM

    Manoel de Oliveira's Doomed Love (Amor de Perdição ) is not actually in the top 250, fyi.

  • Steve Crook | August 17, 2012 6:03 PMReply

    Michael Powell got 7 titles in the Top 250 because Peeping Tom is in there as well.


  • Steve Crook | August 17, 2012 6:08 PM

    OK, as you were. Ignore that. Peeping Tom is in the All Films list on the Sight & Sound page about the Top 250. But it isn't in the 250

  • StephenM | August 17, 2012 4:03 PMReply

    I believe Jean-Luc Godard has the most films mentioned by voters overall, at 27. John Ford is second with 22. I think Hitchcock is third with 19. (Though I'm remembering this from counting late last night, so you probably ought to check my numbers.)

  • Forrest Cardamenis | August 17, 2012 7:52 PM

    I remember seeing Bunuel with a lot of films, too. I think upwards of 20.

  • Brian Z | August 17, 2012 4:00 PMReply

    Wasn't the ET re-release with the changed footage 2002?

  • Wes | August 17, 2012 3:01 PMReply

    I need to see more Luis Buñuel (I've seen 3) and Roberto Rosselini (I've seen 1).

  • wes | August 17, 2012 2:53 PMReply

    I only see six films listed for Bresson and the Archers... Did I miss something?

  • The Playlist | August 17, 2012 3:42 PM

    Bresson has 7, you're right about the archers, i've goofed and corrected. Stared at that list all day long yesterday and that along with the broken search clearly broke my brain, thanks Wes.

  • wes | August 17, 2012 2:54 PM

    edit: I only see six films for the Archers...

  • Duddi | August 17, 2012 2:12 PMReply

    Wow, i just noticed what a GREAT movie they've missed - "AMADEUS" - is not included, that makes the list kind of weak ' : - (

  • Forrest Cardamenis | August 17, 2012 1:47 PMReply

    The search is broken, but if you look up the director of any of those other films I mentioned, after you click and get to the page where it says how many votes there are, there should be a mini-scroller on the right side where you can see all the films that tie for #235. There's probably 20 or 30 more that could be displayed in the top 250 but aren't because of lack of room.

  • Forrest Cardamenis | August 17, 2012 1:54 PM

    This was meant as a reply to my previous comment (and its reply), sorry about that.

  • Fitra | August 17, 2012 1:36 PMReply

    I think all of Malick's films are featured on the list, including one mention for The New World. Maybe he's the only filmmaker in history of cinema whose total oeuvre is selected by at least one participant. But then again, he only has five films, though it will eventually change soon!

    The more films he makes, we are all the richer for it. More power to him.

  • Forrest Cardamenis | August 17, 2012 1:26 PMReply

    Hawks does have a film (Rio Bravo) in the top 100, at #63. There are also a number of titles that also tied at #235 but aren't displayed on the top 250 that should get their due (and factor into the count for films from each decade), receiving as many votes as some that did appear. Among them are Weerasethakul's "Willfully Yours," The Big Lebowski, The White Ribbon, two Kiarostami's (Where Is My Friend's House and The Wind Will Carry Us), Hou's "The Puppetmaster," Belle De Jour, Flowers of Shanghai, All About My Mother, Throne of Blood (which ties Kurosawa with his compatriots), a pair of Cassavetes films, and more.

  • The Playlist | August 17, 2012 1:35 PM

    Thanks Forrest. Amended the Hawks mention. Making matters worse is the search function on that S&S page is pretty much broken.

  • Paul | August 17, 2012 12:59 PMReply

    Geez. It's just a list, why hold it up on such a holy grail to dissect endlessly? Can't believe you waste this much time with it, so many useless features.

  • wes | August 17, 2012 2:49 PM

    It is fun. I agree!

  • The Playlist | August 17, 2012 1:08 PM

    It's fun for us to parse. It lets us engage in classic film cinephilia which we don't get to do a lot on the site outside of Criterion releases and things like that. But yes, please change the channel if it is useless to you. I hear there's a Vin Diesel marathon on AMC.

Email Updates