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Citizen Kane (1941)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Mystery  |  5 September 1941 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 278,359 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


I hate him! I love him! He's a scoundrel! He's a saint! He's crazy! He's a genius! 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 movie's line "Rosebud." was voted as the #17 greatest movie quote by the American Film Institute. See more »


In the newsreel, the announcer states how a defaulting boarder had left the deed to a supposedly worthless mine (the Colorado Lode) to Mary Kane in 1868, then begins his next sentence, "Fifty-seven years later, before a Congressional committee," as the film cuts to an old newsreel of Thatcher testifying before the committee. Fifty-seven years after 1868 would be 1925. As "talking" pictures were at best still in the experimental stage and in any case not in use in 1925, it would not be realistic that the newsreel of Thatcher testifying before Congress would have sound. Similarly, the sequence immediately following Thatcher's testimony, stated by the announcer as "that same month in Union Square", depicting the radical speaker denouncing Kane, would also not have had sound. See more »


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

Crazy Credits

Orson Welles's name is listed last and among the list of featured roles, instead of leading roles, saving his name as best for last. See more »


Referenced in The Vampire Diaries: Handle with Care (2013) See more »


from RKO's Gunga Din (1939)
Music by Alfred Newman
Performed in a "News On The March" sequence
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A great piece of cinema, a magnificent example of storytelling
21 October 2004 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

I've heard so much told about Citizen Kane and Orson Welles, so I finally decided to get the film, and find out if it really is all that it's cracked up to be... I must say, it's great. The plot is great, and the way it's told is amazing. The story is first summed up in a matter of minutes, about 15, to be more accurate, and then the rest of the film has characters telling the story through flashbacks and retelling. We hear just about every opinion about Charles Foster Kane, apart from his own. The story is told after his death, and we see everything important that leads up to it, and only in the very end do we understand him, only then do we fully understand who he was, and what made him so. The ending also reveals one of the very most important things in any man or woman... one thing that everyone needs and knows of. I won't reveal it here, as it would almost be a crime to spoil the experience of this film to anyone. The acting is excellent; Welles himself is stellar as Kane, and his impressive appearance, along with his commanding voice, makes the character a forceful sight, nay, experience. The characters are well-written and credible. The character of Kane is probably the most well-rounded and perfectly built up I've seen in a movie, ever. The cinematography is excellent... the editing is great. I can't praise the angles, pans, zooms and transitions enough... it just has to be experienced. Now, for the one thing I can criticize in the film; the pacing. It's only two hours long, but it feels like much, much more. There were portions of the film where it felt like it didn't move at all. When there weren't great dialog or something equally as good in the film, it dragged terribly. There were too many scenes where the dialog seemed pointless, as well, I think. It didn't seem to be leading to anything. However, this criticism is so minor, due to the ending more than making up for it, that I still give this film a perfect score. I can't do anything but agree with its placing at the top of the top #250 films of all time, here on IMDb. As I'm writing this, it's #11. That's pretty much what it deserves, in my opinion. Not higher, not lower. Not the greatest film of all time(that pretty much still belongs to The Godfather, I think... at least, I haven't seen a better film than that, yet), but definitely far up there. I recommend this to any fan of film in general, and anyone who thinks they can understand it; it has a truly profound point that any man(and woman) should know of(preferably through seeing the film for themselves). Don't let the fact that it's old and black & white deter you from seeing this masterpiece. A true cinematic masterpiece, in every sense of the word. 10/10

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