Sight and Sound Critics’ Poll: Greatest Films of All Time

Sight and Sound Critics’ Poll: Greatest Films of All Time

53 Episodes

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.

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Sight and Sound Critics’ Poll: Greatest Films of All Time
  • Stalker

    Episode 1

    Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky • 1979 • Russian Federation

    Andrei Tarkovsky’s final Soviet feature is a metaphys­ical journey through an enigmatic postapocalyptic landscape, and a rarefied cinematic experience like no other. A hired guide—the Stalker—leads a writer and a professor into the heart...

  • The Battle of Algiers

    Episode 2

    Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo • 1966 • Algeria, Italy
    Starring Brahim Haggiag, Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef

    One of the most influential political films in history, THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, by Gillo Pontecorvo, vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the o...

  • Ordet

    Episode 3

    Directed by Carl Th. Dreyer • 1955 • Denmark
    Starring Henrik Malberg, Emil Hass Christensen, Cay Kristiansen

    A farmer’s family is torn apart by faith, sanctity, and love—one child believes he’s Jesus Christ, a second proclaims himself agnostic, and the third falls in love with a fundamentalist’s...

  • Wanda

    Episode 4

    Directed by Barbara Loden • 1970 • United States
    Starring Barbara Loden, Michael Higgins

    With her first and only feature film—a hard-luck drama she wrote, directed, and starred in—Barbara Loden turned in a groundbreaking work of American independent cinema, bringing to life a kind of characte...

  • The 400 Blows

    Episode 5

    Directed by François Truffaut • 1959 • France
    Starring Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Rémy

    François Truffaut’s first feature is also his most personal. Told through the eyes of Truffaut’s cinematic counterpart, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), THE 400 BLOWS sensitively re-creates t...

  • Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

    Episode 6

    Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder • 1974 • West Germany
    Starring Brigitte Mira, El Hedi ben Salem, Barbara Valentin

    The wildly prolific German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder paid homage to his cinematic hero Douglas Sirk with this update of that filmmaker’s 1955 ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS. A ...

  • News from Home

    Episode 7

    Directed by Chantal Akerman • 1976 • United States

    Following her time living in New York in the early 1970s, Chantal Akerman returned to the city to create one of her most elegantly minimalist and profoundly affecting meditations on dislocation and estrangement. Over a series of exactingly compo...

  • Battleship Potemkin

    Episode 8

    Directed by Sergei Eisenstein • 1925 • Soviet Union

    This incredibly influential Soviet silent film depicts a crew mutiny on the Russian Battleship Potemkin.

  • The Apartment

    Episode 9

    Directed by Billy Wilder • 1960 • United States
    Starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray

    Jack Lemmon stars in one of Billy Wilder’s most beloved films as C. C. Baxter, a company man anxious to please his superiors at the New York insurance firm where he works—enough to let his boss...

  • Sans Soleil

    Episode 10

    Directed by Chris Marker • 1983 • France

    Chris Marker, filmmaker, poet, novelist, photographer, editor, and now videographer and digital multimedia artist, has been challenging moviegoers, philosophers, and himself for years with his complex queries about time, memory, and the rapid advancement ...

  • Daughters of the Dust

    Episode 11

    Directed by Julie Dash • 1991 • United States
    Starring Cora Lee Day, Alva Rogers, Barbara O. Jones

    Julie Dash’s rapturous vision of black womanhood and vanishing ways of life in the turn-of-the-century South was the first film directed by an African American woman to receive a wide release. In 1...

  • Touki bouki

    Episode 12

    Directed by Djibril Diop Mambéty • 1973 • Senegal

    With a stunning mix of the surreal and the naturalistic, Djibril Diop Mambéty paints a vivid, fractured portrait of Senegal in the early 1970s. In this French New Wave-influenced fantasy-drama, two young lovers long to leave Dakar for the glamour...

  • Andrei Rublev

    Episode 13

    Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky • 1966 • Soviet Union
    Starring Anatoly Solonitsyn, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolai Grinko

    Tracing the life of a renowned icon painter, the second feature by Andrei Tarkovsky vividly conjures the murky world of medieval Russia. This dreamlike and remarkably tactile film follow...

  • La Jetée

    Episode 14

    Directed by Chris Marker • 1963 • France

    Chris Marker, filmmaker, poet, novelist, photographer, editor, and now videographer and digital multimedia artist, has been challenging moviegoers, philosophers, and himself for years with his complex queries about time, memory, and the rapid advancement ...

  • The Red Shoes

    Episode 15

    Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger • 1948 • United Kingdom
    Starring Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring

    THE RED SHOES, the singular fantasia from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, is cinema’s quintessential backstage drama, as well as one of the most glorious Tech...

  • The Gleaners and I

    Episode 16

    Directed by Agnès Varda • 2000 • France
    Starring Agnès Varda

    Agnès Varda’s extraordinary late-career renaissance began with this wonderfully idiosyncratic, self-reflexive documentary in which the French cinema icon explores the world of modern-day gleaners: those living on the margins who surviv...

  • L’avventura

    Episode 17

    Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni • 1960 • France, Italy
    Starring Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti

    Michelangelo Antonioni invented a new film grammar with this masterwork. An iconic piece of challenging 1960s cinema and a gripping narrative on its own terms, L’AVVENTURA concerns the enigmatic di...

  • Journey to Italy

    Episode 18

    Directed by Roberto Rossellini • 1954 • Italy
    Starring Ingrid Bergman, George Sanders

    Among the most influential films of the postwar era, Roberto Rossellini’s JOURNEY TO ITALY (VIAGGIO IN ITALIA) charts the declining marriage of a couple from England (Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders) on a tri...

  • Sansho the Bailiff

    Episode 19

    Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi • 1954 • Japan

    When an idealistic governor disobeys the reigning feudal lord, he is cast into exile, his wife and children left to fend for themselves and eventually wrenched apart by vicious slave traders. Under Kenji Mizoguchi's dazzling direction, this classic Japa...

  • A Brighter Summer Day

    Episode 20

    Directed by Edward Yang • 1991 • Taiwan

    Among the most praised and sought-after titles in all contemporary film, this singular masterpiece of Taiwanese cinema, directed by Edward Yang, finally comes to home video in the United States. Set in the early sixties in Taiwan, A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY is ...

  • Modern Times

    Episode 21

    Directed by Charles Chaplin • 1936 • United States
    Starring Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman

    MODERN TIMES, Charlie Chaplin’s last outing as the Little Tramp, puts the iconic character to work as a giddily inept factory employee who becomes smitten with a gorgeous gamine (Paulette...

  • Céline and Julie Go Boating

    Episode 22

    Directed by Jacques Rivette • 1974 • France
    Starring Juliet Berto, Dominique Labourier, Bulle Ogier

    Whiling away a summer in Paris, director Jacques Rivette, working in close collaboration with his stars and coconspirators Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier, set out to rewrite the rules of cin...

  • The Spirit of the Beehive

    Episode 23

    Directed by Víctor Erice • 1973 • Spain
    Starring Ana Torrent, Isabel Tellería, Fernando Fernán Gómez

    Criterion is proud to present Víctor Erice’s spellbinding THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE (EL ESPÍRITU DE LA COLMENA), widely regarded as the greatest Spanish film of the 1970s. In a small Castilian vi...

  • Chungking Express

    Episode 24

    Directed by Wong Kar Wai • 1994 • Hong Kong
    Starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Faye Wong, Takeshi Kaneshiro

    The whiplash, double-pronged CHUNGKING EXPRESS is one of the defining works of 1990s cinema and the film that made Wong Kar Wai an instant icon. Two heartsick Hong Kong cops (Takeshi Kaneshiro ...