The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II have been shit-canned by the dweebs who vote in the Sight and Sound “greatest films of all time” poll, which publishes its list of toppers every ten years and has just released the 2012 results. Francis Coppola‘s twin crime classics occupied the fourth place slot in the 2002 poll, but a new rule was imposed for the 2012 ballot — i.e., “related films that are considered part of a larger whole are to be treated as separate films for voting purposes.” Apparently none felt that either film was strong enough on its own so that was that.
But the 2012 poll delivered good news, at least, to fans of Alfred Hitchcock‘s Vertigo, which finally pushed past Orson Welles‘ Citizen Kane to take the top position. If the Sight and Sound poll wasn’t regarded as some kind of anecdotal tabulation of fringe-dweeb thinking — a far cry from what it used to mean in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s — the fall of Citizen Kane would be close to an earth-shaking headline. Kane sat at the top of the list for 50 years — a full half-century! — and now it’s been deposed. Kane is over, long live Scotty Ferguson.
The other films on the S&S 2012 Top Ten list were the usual venerated hand-me-downs….Yasujiro Ozu‘s Tokyo Story, Jean Renoir‘s The Rules of the Game, F.W. Murnau‘s Sunrise, Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey, John Ford‘s The Searchers, Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera (which I’ve never even seen), Carl Dreyer‘s The Passion of Joan of Arc and Federico Fellini‘s 8 1/2.
These salutations have changed very little over the decades. They’ve just been passed along from decade to decade, from older critics to younger critics. It’s like being in the mafia, except you’ll never hear about a pair of Young Turk film critics striding into a Little Italy restaurant and metaphorically shot-gunning a couple of older critics like Carmine Galante got it in 1979. The bottom line is that it’s much easier to go along with the crowd than stand alone and think boldly for yourself. Which isn’t to say or even imply that Vertigo, Citizen Kane, Tokyo Story, et. al. aren’t truly great films. Of course they are. But we’re sick of seeing them just sit there on this list, decade after decade after decade.