• Unrated, 1 hr. 28 min.
  • Drama, Classics
  • Directed By:
    Orson Welles
    In Theaters:
    Jul 10, 1942 Limited
    On DVD:
    Sep 18, 2012
  • RKO Radio Pictures


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The Magnificent Ambersons Reviews

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TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ambersons is not another Citizen Kane, but it is good enough to remove Director Welles for keeps from the novice or one-picture-prodigy class.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

March 12, 2013


The editors might have molested it, but The Magnificent Ambersons remains on a par with Orson Welles's greatest achievements.

Full Review Source: Film4

August 30, 2012

Total Film

What remains is inevitably, irritatingly uneven, but still tender and insightful. It will cut you up.

Full Review Source: Total Film | Original Score: 4/5

August 30, 2012
Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Although reams have been written about the mutilation of Orson Welles' second feature, what remains of it is nevertheless a major accomplishment.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 5/5

August 30, 2012
Manny Farber
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While telling this story, haltingly and clumsily, the movie runs from burdensome through heavy and dull to bad. It stutters and stumbles as Welles submerges Tarkington's story in a mess of radio and stage technique.

Full Review Source: The New Republic

August 30, 2012
Richard T. Jameson
Parallax View

The essence of the Ambersons and of Ambersons is mortality.

Full Review Source: Parallax View

May 1, 2011
Variety Staff
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Orson Welles devotes 9,000 feet of film to a spoiled brat who grows up as a spoiled, spiteful young man. This film hasn't a single moment of contrast; it piles on and on a tale of woe, but without once striking at least a true chord of sentimentality.

Full Review Source: Variety

July 6, 2010
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
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The emotional sense of America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is so palpable you can taste it.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

April 6, 2007
Don Druker
Chicago Reader
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A masterpiece in every way (but ignore the awkward ending the studio tacked on without Welles's approval).

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

April 6, 2007
Shawn Badgley
Austin Chronicle

This is Orson Welles' lost movie, one he might have been able to rescue, had he been less brash -- and a film he and others believed to be superior to Citizen Kane.

Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle

April 6, 2007
Emanuel Levy

Having mastered film technique in Citizen Kane, Welles devotes more attention to the characters, all of which are all individual creations rather than types. It's a deeper, more personal work than Kane even if it lacks the latter's narrative pull.

Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Original Score: A

August 23, 2006
Thomas M. Pryor
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

All in all, The Magnificent Ambersons is an exceptionally well-made film, dealing with a subject scarcely worth the attention which has been lavished upon it.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

August 8, 2006
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hacked about by a confused RKO, Welles' second film (from the novel by Booth Tarkington) still looks a masterpiece.

Full Review Source: Time Out

February 9, 2006
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Told in a magnificently opulent cinematic style.

Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Original Score: A

June 1, 2005
Steve Crum
Kansas City Kansan

Not 'Citizen Kane,' but what is?

| Original Score: 4/5

October 23, 2004
Douglas Pratt

Orson Welles' heavily chopped up drama, it is still a nostalgic, dramatically powerful tale and should ultimately be savored for what it is rather than rejected for what it is not.

| Original Score: 5/5

October 14, 2004
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
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I must say that I much prefer it to Citizen Kane (1941). So sue me.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

February 26, 2004
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
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A pretty sensational movie.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

February 18, 2004
Nick Davis
Nick's Flick Picks

A domestic drama that is every bit the equal of Welles' Citizen Kane.

| Original Score: 5/5

August 16, 2003
Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Ambersons - even in its mutilated form - has a resonance most movies can only dream of.

Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC) | Original Score: 5/5

October 22, 2002
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