“I was a little surprised,” said Nick James, the editor of Sight & Sound magazine, which carries out the poll. “I remember hoping last time that Citizen Kane would get knocked off and it never happened, so yes I was surprised. And delighted.”

Vertigo’s achievement is all the more impressive because the poll, which is considered one of the most authoritative, was bigger and more international this year than ever before, with 846 critics and writers having their say.

James said Vertigo’s victory reflected changes in the culture of film criticism.