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Citizen Kane (1941)

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

Director:

Orson Welles

Writers:

Herman J. Mankiewicz (original screen play), Orson Welles (original screen play)
Popularity
1,360 ( 45)
Top Rated Movies #72 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Cotten ... Jedediah Leland / Screening Room Reporter
Dorothy Comingore ... Susan Alexander Kane
Agnes Moorehead ... Mary Kane
Ruth Warrick ... Emily Monroe Norton Kane
Ray Collins ... James W. Gettys
Erskine Sanford ... Herbert Carter / Screening Room Reporter
Everett Sloane ... Mr. Bernstein
William Alland William Alland ... Jerry Thompson
Paul Stewart ... Raymond
George Coulouris ... Walter Parks Thatcher
Fortunio Bonanova ... Matiste
Gus Schilling Gus Schilling ... The Headwaiter / Screening Room Reporter
Philip Van Zandt ... Mr. Rawlston
Georgia Backus ... Miss Anderson
Harry Shannon ... Kane's Father
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The classic story of power and the press. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 September 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$839,727 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$216,239, 5 May 1991, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,585,634
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an attempt to recoup some of its losses after its initial box-office flop, RKO distributed this film in January 1942 on a double bill with The Little Foxes (1941) starring Bette Davis. See more »

Goofs

In the first shots of the Breakfast table sequence, Emily's dress covers her shoulder in long shots, but is lower, leaving her shoulders bare, in close-ups. See more »

Quotes

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

Crazy Credits

In a very rare move the director's credit is shown on the same card as the cinematographer's. This was Orson Welles's personal decision to show his thanks to cinematographer Toland for his enormous contributions to the film, meaning equal rights. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Dirties (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Theme
(uncredited)
from RKO's Music for Madame (1937)
Music by Nathaniel Shilkret
Performed in a "News On The March" sequence
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
See it for what it is
21 April 2004 | by gobosoxSee all my reviews

OK look, let me settle something between those who love and hate this film. A lot of people hail this film because it is technically brilliant and ground breaking. Director Orson Welles did a lot of things visually that no one had ever done before. Nearly every film maker was in some way influenced by this movie. This movie also had a great impact in its time. The title character was based on media giant William Randolph Hearst. He was that generations Donald Trump. He opposed this film so much he did everything in its power to stop its release and almost succeeded. Lastly this film contains some of the strongest and most common themes in literature; Life versus death. It is for these reasons why this film is so revered.

On the contrary people who hate this film mainly complain that it is boring. Which is a legitimate complaint. The story is slow compared to today's standards, and there is no real Hearst character alive today in which to relate. So yes, the story on the surface is outdated. However, this does not make it a bad movie. It was not made as a Matrix/Star Wars type of movie which can be enjoyed even at surface level. This is not pure entertainment. Remember there is more to film than storytelling. This film was designed to be cinematically beautiful and to tell a basic story of love and redemption. There is much more to the story than the thinly veiled attack on Hearst, one just needs to look deeper. Look at Shakespeare or Hawthorne for example, their literary works are universally loved. Yet, many people blow them off because they refuse to look past the outdated language into the beautiful prose and simple ubiquitous themes. Just because something is outdated does not mean it lacks worth in today's world.

My advice to those who did not like it the first time or have not seen it yet is simple. Watch it again for what it is. Do not expect to be on the edge of your seat for two hours. Watch it for the cinematography that alone makes this film among the best (I don't agree with AFI's number one ranking but I think it still ranks high). Look deeper into the story and try to connect with it on some level. At the very least appreciate how influential this film was and where the industry would be without it. If you can do this, then maybe some of the naysayers will change their minds. Again, you do not have to love Citizen Kane, but at least respect it for what it is.


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