RKO 281 (1999)

TV Movie  |  R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  20 November 1999 (USA)
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Reviews: 49 user | 24 critic

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



, (documentary "The Battle Over Citizen Kane"), 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 13 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »



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


Coming to Hollywood as a celebrated boy genius featuring a spectacular career arc in New York including his radio hoax War of the Worlds, 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 William Randolph Hearst, Welles decides to do a movie about Hearst. It takes him some time to convince co-writer Herman J. Mankiewicz and the studio, but Welles eventually gets the script and the green light, keeping the subject very hush-hush with the press. The movie is about an aging newspaper publisher who controlled his enemies as ruthlessly as he controlled his friends; and whose mistress was destined for fame. 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


The true, behind-the-scenes story of the making of the greatest movie of all time, Citizen Kane. See more »


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

20 November 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

RKO 281: The Battle Over Citizen Kane  »

Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


In the fictitious scene where Orson Welles has dinner at San Simeon, he tells the other guests that he was, as a teenage boy traveling in Europe before beginning his acting career, taught the art of bullfighting by the great matador Manolete. As Manolete was two years younger than Welles and did not begin to achieve any renown in the bullring until after the Spanish Civil War (that is to say, at about the time this scene is supposed to be taking place), this is impossible. See more »


When Welles and Mankiewicz are discussing the origin of the word "Rosebud", it is clear that both actors are mouthing the word "vagina", but in the audio, they both say "pussy". See more »


Marion Davies: [to Hearst] I swear, you and that guy Disney, in love with the damn rats.
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References The Long Voyage Home (1940) See more »


from Citizen Kane (1941)
Music by Bernard Herrmann
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User Reviews

entertaining, but seems too simple
2 October 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I didn't know the history of the making of Citizen Kane, and while I enjoyed this movie quite a bit, I still doubt that I know much about it. The movie is attractive, I imagine that it's more or less factually correct, and the cast is generally good, but it doesn't feel "real". Hardly anything is ever as black and white as most of the movie, and even more to the point, the character doesn't manage to capture any of the "zing" that Wells had even as an old man. It's fun, but don't expect too much...

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