Polls and surveys

Browse all our Greatest Films of All Time polls, our annual roundups and more.

Smile (1974)

Smile (1974)

The conducting of polls and the forming of canons has long been meat and drink to Sight & Sound. Throughout the world, wherever the magazine is known, it is often best known for the prestigious critics’ Top Ten Films poll (of all time) that the magazine conducts every ten years. This first took place in 1952, the only time the poll wasn’t won by Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane – Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves took the honours that year – and was most recently done in 2002, when Kane beat Hitchcock’s Vertigo by two votes and I had the privilege myself of discussing the result on all the major UK television news programmes. From 1992 onwards we added an equally successful concurrent ten-year poll for film director’s choices of the Top Ten Films, and they too have selected Kane as their winner.

More recently, over the last six years or so, we have taken survey polls of a more relaxed kind on a range of subjects listed below and have asked each year a more restricted list than our major poll’s for their Film of the Year. Canon-forming of this kind is for us not a dusty matter of building statues to the dead but a living form of constant re-assessment that shows us how tastes in film evolve and change almost on a screening by screening basis.

Nick James, editor

The greatest films – and documentaries – of all time

See our annual roundups from pre-2012

Annual roundups

  • 2018 in cinema: all our coverage

    2018 in cinema: all our coverage

    Browse our polls and round-ups of the year’s best new movies.

  • 2017 in review: all our coverage

    2017 in review: all our coverage

  • 2016 in review: all our coverage

    2016 in review: all our coverage

    Browse our online polls and round-ups of the year’s best new movies, documentaries, indie animation and (re)issues on DVD and Blu-ray.

  • 2015 in review

    2015 in review

    Our roundups and overviews of the year’s highlights in cinema, covering new features and DVDs, documentary and animation.

  • 2014 in review

    2014 in review

    The year’s best in new features, home-cinema releases and revivals, documentaries, animation and more…

  • 2013 in review

    2013 in review

    The year’s best new features, documentaries and home-cinema releases.

  • 2012 in review

    2012 in review

    The year’s best new features, documentaries and home-cinema releases.

  • The best films of 2011

    The best films of 2011

    In a strong year for arthouse cinema, Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life is the clear winner of the S&S poll of international critics’ best films of 2011, says Nick James.
    Monday 5 December 2011

  • The best films of 2010

    The best films of 2010

    David Fincher and Apichatpong Weerasethakul vying for the top spot in the S&S annual poll proves at least that auteur cinema is alive and well across the globe, says Nick James.
    Thursday 31 December 2009

  • The DVDs of 2010

    The DVDs of 2010

    24 critics and curators choose their releases – and rediscoveries – of the year. Introduced by James Bell.
    Tuesday 21 December 2010

  • The films of 2009

    The films of 2009

    A Prophet, The Hurt Locker and 35 Shots of Rum lead our favourite releases of the year. Jonathan Romney discerns a French resurgence and an unprecedentedly strong showing by women directors.
    Tuesday 6 January 2009

  • The films of 2008

    The films of 2008

    Hunger was a clear winner in a year of unexpectedly terrific films, says Nick James.
    Wednesday 31 December 2008

  • The films of 2007

    The films of 2007

    4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Inland Empire and Zodiac top our list in one of the best years for all-round quality in recent memory.
    Thursday 9 June 2016

  • The best films of 2006

    The best films of 2006

    The year of Hidden, Volver and more.
    Sunday 31 December 2006

See more of our surveys from pre-2012

Other surveys

  • TV special: Home cinema

    TV special: Home cinema

    At a time when television drama is reckoned to be superior to most film releases, we look at how 50 top-drawer film directors, from Robert Altman to Orson Welles, made their impact on the smaller screen. Introduced by Henry K. Miller.


    Wednesday 14 August 2013

    Polls and surveys

  • The Film Book poll

    The Film Book poll

    Which are the most inspirational five books about film ever written? This was the question we asked 51 leading critics and writers and the results may surprise you…

    Polls and surveys

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