The Second Annual Village Voice Film Poll (Bonus: The First Poll, Too!)


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February 10, 1966, Vol. XI, No. 17


By Andrew Sarris

The Second Annual Village Voice Readers’ 10-best poll, held this year in conjunction with my Films in Focus program on WBAI, received entries from all across the United States and Canada, more entries, in fact, than last year. I am deeply gratified by the continuing diversity and independent spirit reflected in the selections, and I frankly enjoy this annual dialogue with my readers (and now my listeners). The one saddening note is that some of last year’s contributors to the poll are now writing from army posts around the country, and I wish them all a safe and speedy return to civilian life.

In the course of events, this column must mourn also the death of Buster Keaton. I suppose I will always remember Buster most vividly for that moment in “The General” when he threatens to throttle his Southern Belle sweetheart after she does something inanely impractical. His hands reach out and stop short in one comically fluid gesture, and the plot action resumes in the midst of the audience’s surprise and delight at one of the most beautiful boy-girl gestures in the history of the cinema.

I should make one preliminary observation on the vexing question of negative entries in the poll. In fact, many 10-worst lists were submitted. I have not tabulated these anti-lists simply because such an innovation in the poll should be announced in advance so as to be fair to everyone. Next year, however, I may add a 10-worst poll as an optional accessory to the 10-best poll. Then we really should have some fun. For the time being, here are the 10-best results:

1. Darling
2. The Red Desert
3. The Married Woman
4. The Knack
5. What’s New Pussycat?
6. Gertrud
7. The Pawnbroker
8. The Collector
9. Help!
10. Repulsion
11. These Are the Damned

12. Alphaville
13. The Ipcress File
14. Before the Revolution
15. Contempt
16. La Terra Trema
17. The Hill
18. Diary of a Chambermaid
19. Le Petit Soldat
20. Trial of Joan of Arc
21. Juliet of the Spirits
22. Bunny Lake is Missing
23. Nobody Waved Goodbye
24. Life Upside Down
25. The Cincinnati Kid
26. The Train

27. Red Line 7000
28. Red Beard
29. To Die in Madrid
30. Cat Ballou
31. The Fascist
31. Nothing But a Man
33. Umbrellas of Cherbourg
34. King Rat
35. The Leather Boys
36. In Harm’s Way
37. Muriel
38. The Art of Vision
39. La Tia Tula

40. Moment of Truth
41. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
42. Thomas the Impostor
43. Marriage Italian Style
44. Variety Lights
45. Shop on High Street
46. Mickey One
47. Salt of the Earth
48. The Brig
49. The Fiances

49. World Without Sun
51. Bus Riley’s Back in Town
52. Wild Seed
53. Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte
54. Family Diary
55. Soft Skin
56. Sandra
57. Beach Blanket Bingo
58. A High Wind in Jamaica
58. Major Dundee
58. Onibaba
58. Scorpio Rising
62. Eva
63. Camille Without Camellias
64. The Koumiko Mystery

64. Young Cassidy
66. The Great Race
66. Kiss Me Stupid
68. All These Women
68. Shakespeare Wallah
70. Doctor Zhivago
70. Ordet
72. The Family Jewels
72. The Railroad Man
72. Il Successo
72. Tomb of Ligeia
72. Viva Maria
77. Between Two Worlds
77. Once a Thief
77. Symphony for a Massacre

80. Kwaidan
80. Les Vampyres
82. The Loved One
83. Across the River
83. Cheyenne Autumn
83. Oh Dem Watermelons
86. Thunderball
87. Mirage
88. The Bedford Incident
89. John Goldfarb, Please Come Home
89. Von Ryan’s Express
91. Casanova 70

91. Charulata
91. Tokyo Olympiad
94. The Tenth Victim
95. The Wedding March
96. Bay of Angels
97. Chronicle of a Summer
97. Goldfinger
97. Ship of Fools
100. Lord Jim
101. Baby, the Rain Must Fall
101. A Hard Day’s Night
101. Naked Kiss
104. A Boy Ten Feet Tall

The following films received only one mention:

Ace in the Hole
The Americanization of Emily
Anticipation of the Night
The Bad Sleep Well
Banana Peel
Beauty No. 2
Beckett film with Keaton
The Birds
Black Rainbow
Blow Job
Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife
Le Bonheur
The Bus
The Catered Affair
Chant d’Amour
Die! Die! My Darling
Docks of New York
Dog Star Man
Double-Barrelled Detective Story
East of Eden
The Easy Life
The Exterminating Angel
Fail Safe
15 Song Traits
Des Fusils et une Fille
Hallelujah the Hills
Heaven and Earth Magic
High and Low
How to Murder Your Wife
Italian Straw Hat
Ivan the Terrible
Joyless Street
The Killers
Krimhilde’s Revenge
Kustom Kar Kommandos
The L-Shaped Room
The Last Clean Shirt
Life at the Top
Love Has Many Faces
Male Hunt
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
La Muette (Chabrol) from “Six in Paris”
My Life to Live
The Nanny
Normal Love
Now About These Women
Nunca Pasa Nada
Of Human Bondage
The Organizer
The Overcoat
The Passion According to St. Matthew
Peeping Tom
Phantom of the Opera
Poor Little Rich Girl
The Pumpkin Eater
Prelude: Dog Star Man
The Reward
Rouch episode from “Six in Paris”
The Rounders
The Sandpiper
Sands of the Kalahari
Saragossa Manuscript
Seduced and Abandoned
Seven Chances
Seven Women
Song No. 16
The Sons of Katie Elder
The Swindle
Tarzan and Jane Regained Sort Of
Tokyo Story
The Trial
Le Trou
La Viaccia
Vice and Virtue
White Voices
The Winner
Woman Is a Woman
Woman in the Dunes
Zero de Conduite
Zorba the Greek
and all the films of Josef von Sternberg

[Yikes! Somehow, during our Clip Jobs project, we missed the Voice‘s first film poll, which appeared in the January 21, 1965 issue. We’ve included it on the next page. — T.O.]

The First Annual Village Voice Film Poll…

The Voice‘s First Annual Film Poll, published January 21, 1965

1. Dr. Strangelove
2. A Hard Day’s Night
3. The Servant
4. Contempt
5. A Woman Is a Woman
6. The Organizer
7. The Silence
8. Seduced and Abandoned
9. The Soft Skin
10. That Man from Rio
11. Cheyenne Autumn
12. Mafioso
13. Woman in the Dunes
14. The Fire Within
15. Umbrellas of Cherbourg
16. Girl with the Green Eyes

17. The Fiances
18. Becket
19. Marnie
20. Band of Outsiders
21. The Easy Life
22. Nothing But the Best
23. The Luck of Ginger Coffey
24. Shot in the Dark
25. From Russia with Love
26. Seance on a Wet Afternoon
27. Topkapi
28. Man’s Favorite Sport
29. To Love
30. The Life of Oharu
31. Bay of Angels

32. My Fair Lady
33. Il Bidone
34. The Night Watch
35. The Cool World
36. Harakiri
37. The World of Henry Orient
38. Lilith
39. The Crime of Monsieur Lange
40. The Pink Panther
41. To Be Alive
42. Masque of the Red Death
43. The Americanization of Emily
44. Les Abysses
44. My Life to Live
46. Seven Days in May
46. Zorba the Greek
48. The Best Man
49. Salvatore Giuliano
49. Viva Las Vegas
51. Night of the Iguana
52. The Killers
53. Divorce Italian Style

53. One Potato, Two Potato
53. Scorpio Rising
56. The Naked Kiss
57. The Pumpkin Eater
58. Before the Revolution
58. Disorderly Orderly
58. Fail Safe
61. World Without Sun
62. Youngblood Hawke
63. The Taira Clan
64. Goldfinger
64. Goodbye Charlie
64. The Unsinkable Molly Brown
67. Mary Poppins
68. Marriage Italian Style
69. La Bonne Soupe
69. Cartouche

Each of the following films appeared on only one list:

Adorable Julie
America, America
Anatomy of a Marriage
Babo 73
Bandits of Orgosolo
Between Heaven and Hell
Billy Liar
The Brig
Un Chant d’Amour
Chateau en Suede
Children of Paradise
Chronicles of a Summer
Circus World
The Comedy of Terrors
Dementia 13
Diary of a Chambermaid
The Doll
8 1/2
Family Diary
The Grand Olympics
The Guest
He Rides Tall
Hercules in the Haunted World
Hidden Fortress
High and Low
The Insect Woman
Kitten with a Whip
The Last Clean Shirt
The Last Man on Earth
Let’s Talk About Women
Love with a Proper Stranger
Moderato Cantabile
Monsieur Verdoux
The Moonspinners
Normal Love
Open the Door and See All the People
Pajama Party
The Parson’s Wife
Party Girls and the Candidate
The Patsy
People on Sunday
Point of Order
Il Posto
The Queen of Sheba Meets the Atom Man
Rio Conehos
The Secret Invasion
Shell Shock
La Strada
Stray Dog
Sunday in New York
Sweet and Sour
Los Tarantos
Thin Red Line
13 Most Beautiful Boys
To Be or Not to Bed
Tom Jones
The Troublemaker
Voyage to the End of the Universe
Window Water Baby Moving
The Women
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne
A Distant Trumpet
Ensign Pulver
Nine Days of One Year
The Visit
and the complete works of Andy Warhol but nary a vote for Andy Warhol’s choice for top film, “The Carpetbaggers.”

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]