54 user 84 critic

F for Fake (1973)

A documentary about fraud and fakery.


Orson Welles, Gary Graver (uncredited) | 2 more credits »


Orson Welles
3 wins. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Orson Welles ... Self - Narrator (voice)
Oja Kodar ... Self - The Girl
François Reichenbach François Reichenbach ... Self - Special Participant
Elmyr de Hory ... Self
Clifford Irving ... Self
Laurence Harvey ... Self
Edith Irving Edith Irving ... Self
David Walsh David Walsh ... Self
Paul Stewart ... Self - Special Participant
Richard Wilson Richard Wilson ... Self - Special Participant
Joseph Cotten ... Self - Special Participant
Howard Hughes ... Self (archive footage)
Richard Drewett Richard Drewett ... Self - Associate Producer
Alexander Welles Alexander Welles ... Special Participant (as Sasa Devcic)
Gary Graver Gary Graver ... Special Participant


Orson Welles' free-form documentary about fakery focusses on the notorious art forger Elmyr de Hory and Elmyr's biographer, Clifford Irving, who also wrote the celebrated fraudulent Howard Hughes autobiography, then touches on the reclusive Hughes and Welles' own career (which started with a faked resume and a phony Martian invasion). On the way, Welles plays a few tricks of his own on the audience. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Welles filmed a trailer that lasted for nine minutes and featured several shots of a topless Oja Kodar. The trailer was rejected by the US distributors. See more »


The word "practitioners" is misspelled "practioners" in the opening credits. See more »


Orson Welles: Like all Hungarians, he told the best Hungarian jokes. The omelet, you know that, don't you? Sure. It's a classic. It's in our Hungarian cookbook. To make an omelet, it says, first: steal an egg.
Elmyr de Hory: Well, naturally. To be Hungarian, it is not a nationality, it is a profession.
Orson Welles: But the truth about Hungarians, which they do try to cover up, is that they are not any more crooked than the rest of us. But not the way they like to tell it! Of all the Hungarian friends I've ever had, I can't remember one ...
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Featured in Histoire(s) du cinéma: Toutes les histoires (1989) See more »

User Reviews

Hard to Believe This Was Welles Final
12 April 2012 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

F for Fake (1973)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Orson Welles' final major picture started off as a documentary on art forger Elmyr de Hory but when that project led to an interview with Clifford Irving, the man who wrote the fake Howard Hughes biography, the documentary took a new turn and decided to look at fakes all around. This really isn't your typical documentary and many critics of the film will say it makes very little sense and all in all is nothing more than an incoherent mess. I wouldn't go that far but I think F FOR FAKE is certainly more style than actual substance. I say that because Welles visual style here is something that you didn't see in documentaries at the time and I'd say that nothing that followed really looked the same. The documentary has an avant garde feel to it and most of them comes from the editing. The editing goes all over the place with all sorts of weird edits, different styles of cameras being used and the editing usually takes the story and tells it in a different time frame and I think this is where people get lost. The look of the film is certainly something impressive and you really can turn the volume down and be entertained just by the look that Welles made. However, this "style" is so good that it really takes away from the stories being told and I think it really kills most of the interest in the subjects. I think the way the story goes back and forth does make the film incoherent but this is also due to the fact that the material just isn't worth following. I think had Welles made a more traditional documentary then the story would have been more entertaining. As is, the story just gets lost in the style and in the end you really don't learn anything about either man. We even get a quick clip about The War of the World hoax that landed Welles not in jail but in Hollywood. What actually keeps the film entertaining is the performance of Welles being himself and hosting. He comes off so good and charming that it at least keeps you awake even when the story itself goes under. F FOR FAKE is considered by some to be horrid while others see it as another Welles masterpiece. I'm in the middle thinking it shows some signs of greatness but in the end it's just too rough around the edges to really work.

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France | Iran | West Germany


English | French | Spanish

Release Date:

12 March 1975 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

F for Fake See more »

Filming Locations:

Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Spain See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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