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Citizen Kane (1941)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Mystery  |  5 September 1941 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 278,527 users  
Reviews: 1,177 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


Some called him a hero. Others called him a heel... 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?


Both Orson Welles' and Herman J. Mankiewicz's Oscar statuettes were auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Memorabilia. Welles' statuette sold for $861,542 on December 20, 2011. Mankiewicz's statuette sold for $588,455 on February 28, 2012. See more »


When Kane is talking to drunk Leland, he puts his right hand in the pocket. In the next shot, after he walks away from Leland, his hand appears out of the pocket. See more »


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

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Most of the principal actors in "CITIZEN KANE" are new to motion pictures. The Mercury Theatre is proud to introduce them. See more »


Referenced in Nostalgia Critic: To Boldly Flee: Part VIII (2012) See more »


Charlie Kane
(1941) (uncredited)
Music based on "A Poco No" by Pepe Guízar (1935)
Lyrics by Herman Ruby
Sung by Charles Bennett
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

See it for what it is
21 April 2004 | by (Morgantown, WV) – See all my reviews

OK look, let me settle something between those who love and hate this film. A lot of people hail this film because it is technically brilliant and ground breaking. Director Orson Welles did a lot of things visually that no one had ever done before. Nearly every film maker was in some way influenced by this movie. This movie also had a great impact in its time. The title character was based on media giant William Randolph Hearst. He was that generations Donald Trump. He opposed this film so much he did everything in its power to stop its release and almost succeeded. Lastly this film contains some of the strongest and most common themes in literature; Life versus death. It is for these reasons why this film is so revered.

On the contrary people who hate this film mainly complain that it is boring. Which is a legitimate complaint. The story is slow compared to today's standards, and there is no real Hearst character alive today in which to relate. So yes, the story on the surface is outdated. However, this does not make it a bad movie. It was not made as a Matrix/Star Wars type of movie which can be enjoyed even at surface level. This is not pure entertainment. Remember there is more to film than storytelling. This film was designed to be cinematically beautiful and to tell a basic story of love and redemption. There is much more to the story than the thinly veiled attack on Hearst, one just needs to look deeper. Look at Shakespeare or Hawthorne for example, their literary works are universally loved. Yet, many people blow them off because they refuse to look past the outdated language into the beautiful prose and simple ubiquitous themes. Just because something is outdated does not mean it lacks worth in today's world.

My advice to those who did not like it the first time or have not seen it yet is simple. Watch it again for what it is. Do not expect to be on the edge of your seat for two hours. Watch it for the cinematography that alone makes this film among the best (I don't agree with AFI's number one ranking but I think it still ranks high). Look deeper into the story and try to connect with it on some level. At the very least appreciate how influential this film was and where the industry would be without it. If you can do this, then maybe some of the naysayers will change their minds. Again, you do not have to love Citizen Kane, but at least respect it for what it is.

536 of 828 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Can the "average" modern movie goer fairly evaluate Citizen Kane? DarkLordBrannon
Citizen Kane or Casablanca? powermandan
Stop pretending to like it if you don't! Rizzyay
How come Vertigo replaced this as #1 on the Sight & Sound poll? thefly50
Similar movies to Citizen Kane Citizen41
Boring jonathonanthonygraham24
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