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

  • The best films of 2016

    The best films of 2016

    We asked 163 critics and curators to name their five top movies of the year – and atop what may be our most diverse annual poll yet, the runaway winner is a German comedy…
    Friday 2 December 2016

  • The 20 best films of 2015

    The 20 best films of 2015

    The top movies of the year, as chosen by 168 critics from around the world.
    Friday 27 November 2015

  • The 20 best films of 2014

    The 20 best films of 2014

    The best films of the year – the overground, the underground, the widely released and the still emerging, from oldtimers and first-timers – as chosen by 112 of our international contributors and colleagues.
    Friday 28 November 2014

  • The 10 best films of 2013

    The 10 best films of 2013

    Our January issue looks back at the year in cinema with the help of over one hundred international critics, curators and academics. As a preview, here’s our voters’ top ten, plus in-house selections and highlights.
    Monday 25 November 2013

  • The best films of 2012

    The best films of 2012

    We asked over 90 international critics to nominate their top five films and their highlights of 2012…
    Monday 3 December 2012

  • 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 DVDs of 2011

    The DVDs of 2011

    23 critics and curators choose their releases – and rediscoveries – of the year.
    Tuesday 10 January 2012

  • 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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