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

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, (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

Cast overview, first billed only:
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George Schaefer
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Simeon Andrews ...
William Armstrong ...
Mr. Lewis
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Storyline

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

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What went on the screen was nothing compared to what went on behind the scenes. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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Release Date:

20 November 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

RKO 281: The Battle Over Citizen Kane  »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)
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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was originally planned as a theatrical film. The original cast consisted of Edward Norton as Orson Welles, Marlon Brando as William Randolph Hearst, Madonna as Marion Davies, Dustin Hoffman as Herman J. Mankiewicz, Meryl Streep as Louella Parsons. Ridley Scott was slated to direct. But studios passed on the film because of the projected $40 million budget. Scott dropped out as director. Brando and Hoffman also dropped out. Gene Hackman was considered to replace Brando and Al Pacino was considered to replace Hoffman. Eventually, the project was scaled down to a television movie and the entire cast was replaced. See more »

Goofs

Cinematographer Gregg Toland instructs Orson Welles about lenses, camera settings, and filming techniques in a screening room. He tells Orson that he used a certain technique in his movie, "Long Voyage" (at 0:27:54). Toland's movie is actually titled, "The Long Voyage Home". See more »

Quotes

Herman Mankiewicz: Listen to me, you child. He doesn't worry about legalities. Do you know why? Because he has more power than you could even hope to imagine.
Orson Welles: All the more reason to do it.
Herman Mankiewicz: Because he insulted you at a dinner party?
Orson Welles: Because he's a hypocrite. Because he's a... a real turncoat. Because he claims to care about the common man when nothing could be further from the truth.
Herman Mankiewicz: Oh, he's a journalist. He owns Hollywood. We're the shit on his shoes. You better go back to Broadway, kiddo.
Orson Welles: I expected more from ...
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Connections

Referenced in Brief Film Reviews: My DVD/Blu-Ray Collection (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

I Can't Get Started
Written by Ira Gershwin and Vernon Duke
Performed by Bunny Berigan
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label of BMG Entertainment
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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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