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Citizen Kane (1941)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Mystery  |  5 September 1941 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 278,209 users  
Reviews: 1,176 user | 230 critic

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.



(original screen play), (original screen play), 3 more credits »
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Top Rated Movies #65 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Erskine Sanford ...
William Alland ...
George Coulouris ...
Fortunio Bonanova ...
Gus Schilling ...
Philip Van Zandt ...
Mr. Rawlston
Georgia Backus ...
Miss Anderson
Harry Shannon ...
Kane's Father


A group of reporters are trying to decipher the last word ever spoken by Charles Foster Kane, the millionaire newspaper tycoon: "Rosebud." The film begins with a news reel detailing Kane's life for the masses, and then from there, we are shown flashbacks from Kane's life. As the reporters investigate further, the viewers see a display of a fascinating man's rise to fame, and how he eventually fell off the top of the world. Written by Zack H.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The classic story of power and the press. See more »


Drama | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 September 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$686,033 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The voice of the newsreel announcer at the beginning of the film is provided by William Alland, who plays the reporter Mr. Thompson. See more »


During the picnic scene towards the end, Welles had to shoot against a back-projection because a location shoot was too costly and time-consuming. The stock footage used for the exterior was taken from King Kong, hence on closer inspection the four birds that fly by are in fact very definite pterodactyls. RKO told Welles to take the pterodactyls out of the shot, but he liked them, and decided to keep them. See more »


[first lines]
Charles Foster Kane: Rosebud...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film's opening title card is presented in complete silence, briefly with no music. See more »


Referenced in Mad: FROST/Undercover Claus (2011) See more »


from RKO's The Flying Irishman (1939)
Music by Roy Webb
Performed in a "News On The March" sequence
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Undoubtedly the greatest American film ever created.
19 July 2001 | by (Princeton, New Jersey) – See all my reviews

Citizen Kane, the film, is many things. It is a brilliantly crafted series of flashbacks and remembrances. It is an engaging story of a dynamic man in a dynamic world. It is a remarkable statement for the wide range of time periods that it covers. It is a deceptively simple story centering on perhaps the most meaningful word in all of moviedom. Behind all that, Citizen Kane is the American cinema. There is not a major director today who has not been influenced by the genius Orson Welles put forth in his debut masterpiece. The film centers around a group of reporters investigating the origin of the dying newspaper tycoon (loosely based on William Randolph Hearst), Charles Foster Kane's last word: Rosebud. The movie begins with an unforgettable newsreel montage summarizing the man's life.

From there on, the viewer is thrown into a gloriously chaotic world of flashbacks upon flashbacks, in which the viewer slowly learns just about everything about Charles Foster Kane's enthralling life. From his trying childhood to his rise to power to the pinnacle of his success to his marital difficulties to his fall from grace, the story of Charles Foster Kane is presented for the viewer in a way that few other movies can offer: magically. Citizen Kane, undeniably, is THE triumph of the American cinema, and one of the greatest films every created.

142 of 259 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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