Down 514 this week

RKO 281 (1999)

TV Movie  |  R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  20 November 1999 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 4,836 users  
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 »
Watch Trailer
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

The 25 Most Immersive Worlds in Cinema

Highly immersive cinematic worlds can carry a movie, and we've rounded up the best of the best.

See the full list

Related News

R.I.P. Edward Herrmann
| Dark Horizons
R.I.P. Edward Herrmann
| Dark Horizons

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 44 titles
created 07 Mar 2013
a list of 49 titles
created 20 Sep 2013
a list of 47 titles
created 23 Oct 2013
a list of 46 titles
created 07 Dec 2013
a list of 41 titles
created 18 Feb 2014

Related Items

Search for "RKO 281" on

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.

User Polls

Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 13 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    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
Dinner with Friends (TV Movie 2001)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A husband and wife reevaluate their marriage after their closest friends, another couple decide to split up after twelve years.

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Andie MacDowell, Greg Kinnear
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
Comedy | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The career of Shakespeare's Sir John Falstaff as roistering companion to young Prince Hal, circa 1400-1413.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Margaret Rutherford
Path to War (TV Movie 2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In the mid-1960s, President Johnson and his foreign-policy team debate the decision to withdraw from or escalate the war in Vietnam.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Michael Gambon, Donald Sutherland, Alec Baldwin
The Gathering Storm (TV Movie 2002)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A love story offering an intimate look inside the marriage of Winston and Clementine Churchill during a particularly troubled, though little-known, moment in their lives.

Director: Richard Loncraine
Stars: Albert Finney, Vanessa Redgrave, Jim Broadbent
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
    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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The story behind the making of the 5 "Planet of the Apes" movies.

Directors: Kevin Burns, David Comtois
Stars: Roddy McDowall, Mort Abrahams, Charlton Heston
Normal (TV Movie 2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A Midwestern husband and father announces his plan to have a sex change operation.

Director: Jane Anderson
Stars: Richard Bull, Mary Seibel, Danny Goldring
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An in-depth look at the rise and fall of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, including interviews with the scandalized, former politician.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: Eliot Spitzer, Michael Schwendeman, Kim Allen
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Orson Welles, a reporter with a love noncorresponded, creates the panic in the U.S.A. when relaying the impact of a meteorite against New York.

Director: Robert Figueras
Stars: Carsten Hayes, David Weinberg, Rufus Graham


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


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 »


Orson Welles: I expected better of you, Mank.
Herman Mankiewicz: Me too, but I got used to it.
See more »


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


Chattanooga Choo Choo
Written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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...

14 of 18 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
Big big welles yokurdan
Some Graphic Sexual Content ? witajkt1
Discuss RKO 281 (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: