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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.


Orson Welles


Herman J. Mankiewicz (original screen play), Orson Welles (original screen play)
1,135 ( 6)
Top Rated Movies #72 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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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 ... The Headwaiter / Screening Room Reporter
Philip Van Zandt ... Mr. Rawlston
Georgia Backus ... Miss Anderson
Harry Shannon ... Kane's Father


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


It's Terrific! See more »


Drama | Mystery


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook





Release Date:

5 September 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »


Box Office


$839,727 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$216,239, 5 May 1991, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to Orson Welles, the nightclub set was available after another film had wrapped and that filming took 10 to 12 days to complete. For these scenes Welles had Dorothy Comingore's throat sprayed with chemicals to give her voice a harsh, raspy tone. See more »


The Russian newspaper lists Charles's first initial as C. In Russian, that letter is pronounced S. There is another letter in Russian, that looks like an upside-down lowercase h, that is pronounced CH. Either that letter, or K for the Russian form Karl, should have been used as his first initial. See more »


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

Crazy Credits

The end credits show previous scenes from the film showcasing the Mercury Theatre performers. See more »

Alternate Versions

Some of the Turner prints have the famous RKO logo removed and replaced with the Turner logo. See more »


References Rebecca (1940) See more »


Aria from Salammbo
(1941) (uncredited)
Music by Bernard Herrmann
Lyrics by John Houseman
Sung by Dorothy Comingore (dubbed by Jean Forward)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Childhood Ultimately makes the Determination
30 October 2006 | by dataconflossmoorSee all my reviews

More movie review lists have awarded "Citizen Kane" the honor of being the best film ever made than any other film whatsoever..Deservedly so!! Why?... The superb character portrayals... Charles Foster Kane (based on William Randolph Hearst) was a character which sparked a lot of controversy in the movie industry back in 1941!! This film did not even win best picture that year, that award was given to "How Green was My Valley". Reluctance to allow a film like "Citizen Kane" to be released, evoked a formidable indication that people had a perception of the silver screen as the purveyor of the stilted panacea which provided glossy entertainment for the movie audience!! The ugly depiction of abhorrent human nature that "Citizen Kane" so succinctly illustrated, left a scar on the manufactured illusions of movies during this era!! So many film's entertainment agenda during the '30's and '40's were fortified by high budget fantasy!! These illusions orchestrated a premise of escapism that the moviegoers grew accustomed to!! (Wizard of Oz is a stellar example)...Nevertheless, "Citizen Kane" hit the big screen, and from there, received unprecedented critical acclaim!!

What was the attraction?.... Charles Foster Kane was a neglected and irascible man who concocted a myriad of avoidable vulnerabilities in his life. His childhood became a pitfall of doom and despair which left an indelible mark on him!! His empathy for the working class people inevitably translated to his perception of them as chattel, and that he must be the ameliorated recipient of their gratitude!! His fame and fortune was predicated on the idea that the banal proletariat be relegated to the pathetic plight of a marketable commodity!! So many concepts were avant-gard in this movie, this is why they were widely unacceptable!! Concepts such as: The life of a corporate mogul being the culprit to making Charles Foster Kane fall prey to vanity and social entitlement!! He became a victim of megalomania, this was his ultimate downfall!! The dark human emotions and vindictiveness of politicians seeking election and/or re-election manifested themselves through very authentic reactions from the characters in this film!! The perennial egocentric demeanor which afflicted Charles Foster Kane throughout the entire movie, signified a pejorative compassion which was totally self centered!!!

The character portrayal of Charles Foster Kane by Orson Wells was outstanding..Genuine feelings that were related to selfishness and avarice in this movie simply astounded me!! People have to consider the year this movie was made (1941) to fully appreciate the ideas which were thrown out at the movie audience!! No matter how reprehensible Charles Foster Kane was, he was also NEWS!!! This will always be the way of the world!! This newspaper king wound up being utterly thwarted by a form of convoluted justice!!! Leaving a largess of artwork behind, merely pointed out to everyone that his priorities purported a horrid arrogance!! The onus was on the movie audience to get acquainted with the despicable aspects of negative emotional qualities that Charles Foster Kane masqueraded around like coveted trophies!! Ultimately, his childhood put a lethal spin on his adverse reactions to everything, and played a significant role in this movie!! I strongly recommend to anyone who is interested in movies, that they see this film!! "Godfather" "Shawshank Redemption" "Lord of the Rings" (Fellowship of the Ring) and "Gold Rush" have all been selected as the greatest movie ever made by one critic's list or another, but, not nearly as often as "Citizen Kane" though!!! "Citizen Kane" is an absolutely remarkable movie!!

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