MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 4,981 this week

RKO 281 (1999)

TV Movie  -   -  Biography | Drama  -  20 November 1999 (USA)
7.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 4,672 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 27 critic

Orson Welles produces his greatest film, Citizen Kane (1941), despite the opposition of the film's de facto subject, William Randolph Hearst.

Director:

Writers:

, (documentary "The Battle Over Citizen Kane"), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: October

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in October.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 23 titles
created 03 Jun 2011
 
a list of 27 titles
created 26 Jun 2011
 
a list of 45 titles
created 25 Jan 2013
 
a list of 49 titles
created 20 Sep 2013
 
a list of 47 titles
created 11 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "RKO 281" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: RKO 281 (TV Movie 1999)

RKO 281 (TV Movie 1999) on IMDb 7.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of RKO 281.
Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 7 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Young Dr. Freud (TV Movie 2002)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Traces the first thirty-four years in the life of Sigmund Freud.

Director: David Grubin
Stars: Blair Brown, Liev Schreiber, Michele Pawk
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

As the seasons change in a Connecticut town, two men of different age and backgrounds who work together outdoors for the local park system, share thoughts and feelings that gradually deepen... See full summary »

Director: Tom Gilroy
Stars: Campbell Scott, Ned Beatty, Liev Schreiber
Bats (1999)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.6/10 X  

Genetically mutated bats escape and it's up to a bat expert and the local sheriff to stop them.

Director: Louis Morneau
Stars: Lou Diamond Phillips, Dina Meyer, Bob Gunton
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

This film is based on a true story about a British teenager who allegedly poisoned family, friends, and co-workers. Graham is highly intelligent, but completely amoral. He becomes ... See full summary »

Director: Benjamin Ross
Stars: Hugh O'Conor, Antony Sher, Tobias Arnold
His and Hers (1997)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

After Carol accidentally chops off Glenn's finger in the kitchen, she decides that she is not giving it back to him until he confesses all his affairs.

Director: Hal Salwen
Stars: Liev Schreiber, Caroleen Feeney, Michael Rispoli
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Semi-true story of the Hollywood murder that occurred at a star-studded gathering aboard William Randolph Hearst's yacht in 1924.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Cary Elwes, Edward Herrmann
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Russian political elite hires American consultants to help with President Yeltsin's re-election campaign when his approval rating is down to single digits.

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Anthony LaPaglia, Liev Schreiber
Citizen Kane (1941)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

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

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore
Poppy Shakespeare (TV Movie 2008)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

N has been a day patient at north London's Dorothy Fish day hospital for 13 years - her ambition is never to leave. Then she meets glamourous new patient Poppy Shakespeare, an ad agency receptionist convinced she's not mad.

Director: Benjamin Ross
Stars: Naomie Harris, Anna Maxwell Martin, Kolade Agboke
Tornado! (TV Movie 1996)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

An accountant sent to produce an evaluation of a tornado research project, and the scientist running the project pursue tornadoes and each other.

Director: Noel Nosseck
Stars: Bruce Campbell, Shannon Sturges, Ernie Hudson
Elephant (TV Short 1993)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Shows the effects of a rear seat passenger not wearing a seat belt in a crash at 30 miles an hour. The passenger is thrown forward with the force of a three and a half ton elephant crushing the driver.

Director: Chris Hartwill
Stars: Al Gregg, Wayne Michaels, Lee Sheward
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
George Schaefer
...
...
...
Anastasia Hille ...
...
Simeon Andrews ...
William Armstrong ...
Mr. Lewis
Jay Benedict ...
...
Edit

Storyline

Coming to Hollywood as a celebrated boy genius featuring a spectacular career arc in New York including his "War of the Worlds" radio hoax, Orson Welles is stymied on the subject for his first film. After a dinner party at Hearst Castle, during which he has a verbal altercation with Hearst, Welles decides to do a movie about Hearst. It takes him some time to convince co-writer Herman Mankiewicz and the studio, but Welles eventually gets the script and the green light, keeping the subject very hush-hush with the press. When a rough cut is screened, Hearst gets wind of the movie's theme and begins a campaign to see that it is not only never publicly screened, but destroyed. Written by Greg Bulmash <greg@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some graphic sexual images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

20 November 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

RKO 281: The Battle Over Citizen Kane  »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

16:9
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In the shot of Orson cutting the Citizen Kane script, one of Kane's lines is "Who knows what lurks in the hearts of evil men? The Shadow knows!" This was the classic introduction played at the beginning of every episode of Welles' famous radio program, "The Shadow". See more »

Goofs

Louella Parsons storms out of a screening of "Citizen Kane" before it's finished. However, she later tells Hearst that "Rosebud" is a sled, even though that fact is only revealed in the last moment of the film. See more »

Quotes

[Addressing the RKO shareholders]
Orson Welles: Good afternoon. Today a man from Germany invaded Greece. He's already swallowed Poland, Denmark, Norway, and Belgium. He's bombing London as I speak. Everywhere this man goes he crushes the life and the freedom of his subjects. He sews yellow stars on their lapels, he takes their voices. In this country, we still have our voices. We can argue with them, and we can sing, and we can be heard because we are, for the moment, free. No one can tell us what to say or ...
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 57th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Finale
from Citizen Kane (1941)
Music by Bernard Herrmann
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

I want more from this film!
8 February 2003 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

The key to enjoying this film is in being able to divorce yourself from the idea that this is an accurate representation of the making of Citizen Kane. RKO 281 as a stand-alone film is not bad, though the short running time left me feeling like I'd only seen the primary colors of what could've been a rich piece of fiction.

And it does feel more like fiction than truth.

Watching RKO 281 as a Welles enthusiast was a struggle. Welles himself was such a unique *presence*, a magician in more ways than one, and Liev Schreiber just doesn't evoke the god-like charisma and fury that were manifestations of Welles' particular genius. I would've preferred Vincent D'Onofrio (who pulled off an excellent Welles in Ed Wood after only two weeks of preparation) or even Oliver Platt. It is important to get the "character" of Welles RIGHT in a movie about his masterpiece. If RKO 281 failed egregiously on any level, it's this one.

Though this film is about the MAKING of Citizen Kane, it doesn't address why Citizen Kane had such an impact later in its life. We know that Welles had to fight very hard to save his picture against a variety of political agendas. However, a hard-won battle does not a classic film make...on its own. The only clues we get from RKO character Welles are his passionate and other-worldly exclamations along the lines of, "I just KNOW this is the MOMENT for this story!--Everything I AM is in this film!", etc. It's too mystical for me, and I think it does an injustice to the efforts of Welles and his collaborators to suggest that it was simply the luck (and maliciousness towards Hearst) of a spoiled boy wonder that made what is widely considered to be the best movie of all time.

Welles was in a unique position during that era. He had carte blanche in the movie studios--a status unprecedented before or since--and had the means to create his vision fully to his specifications. Getting the picture *released* was nothing short of a miracle, however, and I think it would've been interesting to dive into yet another layer of what Citizen Kane represents: Art for Art's sake. It's heartbreaking to note that Welles' subsequent film The Magnificent Ambersons was butchered beyond recognition by the studio--those who were fortunate enough to view Welles original (and now lost) cut thought that Ambersons was his true masterpiece, that Citizen Kane was merely a warm-up (!!!). Can you just imagine what this man could've accomplished if only...?

Which brings me to William Randolph Hearst. RKO 281 barely scratches the surface of how powerful Hearst was at the time. The residual effects of his attempt to stop Citizen Kane's release were felt by the film industry (and by Welles in particular) for many years after, and I would've liked to see the nature of this confrontation more clearly.

I've often said that Citizen Kane was Orson Welles' bane and salvation, for we see in hindsight that he sacrificed himself (and ultimately his future)

to earn a beautiful and tragic place in cinematic history. Overall, I wanted an edgier, darker, and more complex account of RKO 281. If I remove all pre-conceived notions and expectations, I find that this docudrama is interesting and fun to watch, but ultimately, I cannot help being drawn back to what made this 1999 film possible: the tumultuous triumph of a long-shot movie as envisioned by a temperamental, inexperienced genius. There are many shadowy folds to the real story of Citizen Kane, and RKO 281 feels like a bowl of plastic fruit in comparison.


10 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Poor acting and a poor script sunsetparade
Randy Orton? josh-davey
another movie about orson wells... jumpinjosh49
citizen kane roscoe911
Some Graphic Sexual Content ? witajkt1
Big big welles yokurdan
Discuss RKO 281 (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?