Sight and Sound Critics’ Poll: Greatest Films of All Time
Once every decade, “Sight and Sound” magazine has polled film critics from around the world and issued a list of the 100 greatest films of all time. Ever since the first poll in 1952, the “Sight and Sound” list has played a central role in film culture, sending movie lovers on obsessive viewing quests to watch them all, as well as catalyzing debates around the assumptions and biases that shape the canon. With over 1,600 critics contributing ballots, 2022’s edition is the most expansive yet, resulting in a list that includes old favorites like TOKYO STORY, THE RULES OF THE GAME, and SEVEN SAMURAI and new entries such as WANDA and CHUNGKING EXPRESS—as well as a new champion in the number-one spot, now occupied by Chantal Akerman’s singular masterpiece JEANNE DIELMAN, 23, QUAI DU COMMERCE, 1080 BRUXELLES. Drawing from Janus Films’s library of essential art-house classics, we’re pleased to be able to present so many of the poll’s selections—you won’t find as many of the consensus greats on any other streaming service.
Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
Directed by Chantal Akerman • 1975 • Belgium
Starring Delphine Seyrig, Jan Decorte
A singular work in film history, Chantal Akerman’s JEANNE DIELMAN, 23, QUAI DU COMMERCE, 1080 BRUXELLES meticulously details, with a sense of impending doom, the daily routine of a middle-aged widow, whose chores ...
Directed by Yasujiro Ozu • 1953 • Japan
Starring Chishu Ryu, Chieko Higashiyama, Setsuko Hara
A profoundly stirring evocation of elemental humanity and universal heartbreak, TOKYO STORY is the crowning achievement of the unparalleled Yasujiro Ozu. The film, which follows an aging couple’s journe...
In the Mood for Love
Directed by Wong Kar Wai • 2000 • Hong Kong
Starring Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Maggie Cheung Man-yuk
Hong Kong, 1962: Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) and Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung Man-yuk) move into neighboring apartments on the same day. Their encounters are formal and polite—until a discovery abo...
Directed by Claire Denis • 1999 • France
Starring Denis Lavant, Michel Subor, Grégoire Colin
With her ravishingly sensual take on Herman Melville’s “Billy Budd, Sailor,” Claire Denis firmly established herself as one of the great visual tone poets of our time. Amid the azure waters and sunbaked ...
Directed by David Lynch • 2001 • United States
Starring Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux
A love story in the city of dreams . . .
Blonde Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) has only just arrived in Hollywood to become a movie star when she meets an enigmatic brunette with amnesia (Laura Harring)...
The Rules of the Game
Directed by Jean Renoir • 1939 • France
Considered one of the greatest films ever made, The Rules of the Game (La règle du jeu), by Jean Renoir, is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners in which a weekend at a marquis' country château lays bare some ugly tr...
Cléo from 5 to 7
Directed by Agnès Varda • 1962 • France
Starring Corinne Marchand, Antoine Bourseiller, Dominique Davray
Agnès Varda eloquently captures Paris in the sixties with this real-time portrait of a singer (Corinne Marchand) set adrift in the city as she awaits test results of a biopsy. A chronicle of ...
Meshes of the Afternoon
Directed by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid • 1943 • United States
Starring Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid
Cinematic trance-maker Maya Deren and her husband Alexander Hammid launched an underground revolution with this avant-garde landmark—shot in their Hollywood home, but a world away from the co...
Directed by Abbas Kiarostami • 1990 • Iran
Starring Hossein Sabzian, Abolfazi Ahankhah, Mahrokh Ahankhah
Internationally revered Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has created some of the most inventive and transcendent cinema of the past thirty years, and CLOSE-UP is his most radical, brilliant...
Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1966 • Sweden
Starring Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson
By the midsixties, Ingmar Bergman had already conjured many of the cinema’s most unforgettable images. But with the radical PERSONA, he attained new levels of visual poetry. In the first of a series of legendary perf...
Directed by Akira Kurosawa • 1954 • Japan
Starring Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima
One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, SEVEN SAMURAI (SHICHININ NO SAMURAI) tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to pro...
The Passion of Joan of Arc
Directed by Carl Th. Dreyer • 1928 • France
Starring Renée Falconetti, Eugène Silvain, André Berley
Spiritual rapture and institutional hypocrisy come to stark, vivid life in one of the most transcendent masterpieces of the silent era. Chronicling the trial of Joan of Arc in the hours leading up...
Directed by Yasujiro Ozu • 1949 • Japan
Starring Chishu Ryu, Setsuko Hara, Yumeji Tsukioka
One of the most powerful of Yasujiro Ozu’s family portraits, LATE SPRING (BANSHUN) tells the story of a widowed father who feels compelled to marry off his beloved only daughter. Eminent Ozu players Chishu...
Directed by Jacques Tati • 1967 • France
Starring Jacques Tati, Barbara Dennek, Georges Montant
Jacques Tati’s gloriously choreographed, nearly wordless comedies about confusion in an age of high technology reached their apotheosis with PLAYTIME. For this monumental achievement, a nearly three-y...
Au hasard Balthazar
Directed by Robert Bresson • 1966 • France
Starring Anne Wiazemsky, Walter Green, François Lafarge
A profound masterpiece from one of the most revered filmmakers in the history of cinema, Robert Bresson’s AU HASARD BALTHAZAR follows the donkey Balthazar as he is passed from owner to owner, some ...
Directed by Věra Chytilová • 1966 • Czechoslovakia
Starring Ivana Karbanová, Jitka Cerhová, Marie Češková
If the entire world is bad, why shouldn’t we be? Adopting this insolent attitude as their guiding philosophy, a pair of hedonistic young women (Ivana Karbanová and Jitka Cerhová), both named...
Directed by Federico Fellini • 1963 • Italy
Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido Anselmi, a director whose new project is collapsing around him, along with his life. One of the greatest films about film ever made, Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (Otto e mezzo) turns one man's artistic crisis into a grand e...
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky • 1974 • Soviet Union
Starring Margarita Terekhova, Filipp Yankovskiy, Ignat Daniltsev
A subtly ravishing passage through the halls of time and memory, this sublime reflection on twentieth-century Russian history by Andrei Tarkovsky (STALKER) is as much a poem compos...
Directed by Jean Vigo • 1934 • France
In Jean Vigo's hands, an unassuming tale of conjugal love becomes an achingly romantic reverie of desire and hope. Jean (Jean Dasté), a barge captain, marries Juliette (Dita Parlo), an innocent country girl, and the two climb aboard Jean's boat, the L'Atalan...
Directed by Satyajit Ray • 1955 • India
Starring Subir Banerjee, Kanu Banerjee, Karuna Banerjee
With the release in 1955 of Satyajit Ray’s debut, PATHER PANCHALI, an eloquent and important new cinematic voice made itself heard all over the world. A depiction of rural Bengali life in a style insp...
Directed by Charles Chaplin • 1931 • United States
Starring Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Harry Myers
CITY LIGHTS, the most cherished film by Charlie Chaplin, is also his ultimate Little Tramp chronicle. The writer-director-star achieved new levels of grace, in both physical comedy and dra...
Directed by Fritz Lang • 1931 • Germany
A simple, haunting musical phrase whistled offscreen tells us that a young girl will be killed. "Who Is the Murderer?" pleads a nearby placard as serial killer Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre) closes in on little Elsie Beckmann... In his harrowing masterwork M, ...
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard • France • 1960
Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger
There was before BREATHLESS, and there was after BREATHLESS. Jean-Luc Godard burst onto the film scene in 1960 with this jazzy, free-form, and sexy homage to the American film genres that inspi...
Directed by Vittorio De Sica • 1948 • Italy
Starring Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell
Hailed around the world as one of the greatest movies ever made, the Academy Award-winning BICYCLE THIEVES, directed by Vittorio De Sica, defined an era in cinema. In poverty-stricken postwar ...