The rise (and inevitable fall) of Citizen Kane as the greatest movie ever made
20 mins | Jan 10, 2021
Stories behind its production and what followed upon release have granted the film a myth-like status. How did Orson Welles’s film become so firmly established at the top of the canon in the first place? In this must-listen piece for cinema and history aficionados, Bilge Ebiri takes a deep dive for Vulture into the unique lore of Citizen Kane, its dominant cinematic superiority... and why it may all be coming to an end over the coming years. "Sight & Sound’s 1962 poll is generally regarded as the first official indication of Kane’s emergence as the greatest movie of all time, where it just edged out L’Avventura and Rules of the Game to overtake the No. 1 spot. There had been yet another Brussels poll of filmmakers a few years earlier — in 1958, at the Brussels World’s Fair. There, Kane came in ninth place, one of only three sound films to place in the Top 12. It would go on to dominate the Sight & Sound poll in 1972, 1982, 1992, and 2002. (Along the way, it would top lots of other surveys as well.) Looking at the polls and individual ballots over the years, you can see Kane’s influence growing, as it’s increasingly featured on the lists of international critics — starting with the British, then moving on to other continental critics as well as American ones, then expanding even further abroad."