Orson Welles - Rotten Tomatoes

Orson Welles

Lowest Rated:   29% Casino Royale (1967)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA
The most well-known filmmaker to the public this side of Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles was the classic example of the genius that burns bright early in life only to flicker and fade later. The prodigy son of an inventor and a musician, Welles was well-versed in literature at an early age -- particularly Shakespeare -- and, through the unusual circumstances of his life (both of his parents died by the time he was 12, leaving him with an inheritance and not many family obligations), he found himself free to indulge his numerous interests, which included the theater. He was educated in private schools and traveled the world, even wangling stage work with Dublin's Gate Players while still a teenager. He found it tougher to get onto the Broadway stage, and traveled the world some more before returning to get a job with Katharine Cornell, with help from such notables as Alexander Woollcott and Thornton Wilder. He later became associated with John Houseman, and, together, the two of them set the New York theater afire during the 1930s with their work for the Federal Theatre Project, which led to the founding of the Mercury Theater. The Mercury Players later graduated to radio, and their 1938 "War of the Worlds" broadcast made history when thousands of listeners mistakenly believed aliens had landed on Earth. In 1940, Hollywood beckoned, and Welles and company went west to RKO, where he began his short-lived reign over the film world. Working as director, producer, co-author, and star, he made Citizen Kane (1941), the most discussed -- if not the greatest -- American movie ever created. It made striking use of techniques that had been largely forgotten or overlooked by other American filmmakers, and Welles was greatly assisted on the movie by veteran cinematographer Gregg Toland. Kane, himself, attracted more attention than viewers, especially outside the major cities, and a boycott of advertising and coverage by the newspapers belonging to William Randolph Hearst -- who had served as a major model for the central figure of Charles Foster Kane -- ensured that it racked up a modest loss. Welles second film, The Magnificent Ambersons, ran into major budget and production problems, which brought down the studio management that had hired him. With the director overextending himself, the situation between Welles and RKO deteriorated. Faced with a major loss on a picture that was considered unreleasable, RKO gained control of the film and ordered it recut without Welles' consent or input, and the result is considered a flawed masterpiece. However, it was a loss for RKO, and soon after the Mercury Players were evicted from RKO, word quickly spread through the film community of Welles' difficulty in adhering to shooting schedules and budgets. His career never fully recovered, and, although he directed other films in Hollywood, including The Stranger (1946), Macbeth (1948), and Touch of Evil (1958), he was never again given full control over his movies. European producers, however, were more forgiving, and with some effort and help from a few well-placed friends, Welles was able to make such pictures as Othello (1952), Chimes at Midnight (1967), and The Trial (1963). He also remained highly visible as a personality -- he discovered in the mid-'40s that, for 100,000 dollars a shot, he could make money as an actor to help finance his films and his fairly expensive lifestyle, which resulted in Welles' appearances in The Third Man (1949), The Roots of Heaven (1958), and Catch-22 (1970), among other pictures. He also made television appearances, did voice-overs and recordings, and occasional commercials until his death in 1985. Despite his lack of commercial success, Welles remains one of the most well-known, discussed, and important directors in the history of motion pictures.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet The Southern Star
  • Actor
  • Director
2015
72% Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles
  • Actor
2014
No Score Yet Tudo É Brasil
  • Actor
2013
No Score Yet Recuerdos de una mañana
  • Actor
2011
No Score Yet Stephen Romano Presents: Shock Festival
  • Actor
2010
100% Spine Tingler: The William Castle Story
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet The Orson Welles' War of the Worlds Scandal
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Searching for Orson
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet The Hitch Hiker
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet The Other Side of Welles (Druga strana Wellesa)
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film
  • Director
2005
No Score Yet H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds: The Real Story
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Brunnen (The Well)
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds: An Historical Perspective of the H.G. Wells Classic Book
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Genocide
  • Director
2004
No Score Yet To Build a Fire
  • Actor
2003
No Score Yet Rita
  • Actor
2003
No Score Yet Black Magic
  • Actor
2003
No Score Yet David & Goliath
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Malpertuis
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces
  • Actor
2000
No Score Yet Best of Film Noir
  • Actor
2000
67% The Big Brass Ring
  • Screenwriter
1999
No Score Yet Secrets of the Millennium: Ancient Prophecies
  • Narrator
1999
No Score Yet The Dominici Affair
  • Actor
  • Director
1999
No Score Yet The Universal Story
  • Actor
1996
100% Orson Welles: The One-Man Band (The Lost Films of Orson Welles)
  • Actor
1995
100% A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies
  • Actor
1995
86% Who Is Henry Jaglom?
  • Actor
1995
82% It's All True
  • Actor
1993
No Score Yet Working with Orson Welles
  • Actor
1993
33% Don Quixote
  • Himself Constantino Romero
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
  • Director
1992
No Score Yet Hollywood Mavericks
  • Actor
1990
83% Someone to Love
  • Danny's Friend
1988
No Score Yet Salvador Dali: A Soft Self-Portrait
  • Narrator
1987
55% The Transformers - The Movie
  • Actor
1986
No Score Yet Hot Money
  • Sheriff Paisley
1986
No Score Yet Scene Of The Crime
  • Actor
1985
No Score Yet The Greenstone
  • Actor
1985
No Score Yet The Enchanted Journey
  • Actor
1984
No Score Yet In Our Hands
  • Actor
1984
No Score Yet Last Sailors
  • Actor
1984
No Score Yet A.F.I. Life Achievement Awards - John Huston
  • Actor
1983
No Score Yet Butterfly
  • Judge Rauch
1982
No Score Yet Wagner and Venice
  • Narrator
1982
No Score Yet Slapstick of Another Kind
  • Alien Father
1982
62% History of the World---Part I
  • Narrator
1981
No Score Yet Genocide
  • Narrator
1981
No Score Yet Man Who Saw Tomorrow
  • Actor
1981
No Score Yet The Man Who Saw Tomorrow (Nostradamus)
  • Narrator
1981
80% Shogun
  • Actor
1980
87% The Muppet Movie
  • Lew Lord
1979
No Score Yet The Double McGuffin
  • Narrator
1979
No Score Yet The Secret of Nikola Tesla
  • J.P. Morgan
1979
No Score Yet Greatest Adventure: Story of Man's Voyage to the Moon
  • Narrator
1979
No Score Yet Tut: The Boy King
  • Host
1978
No Score Yet A Woman Called Moses
  • Narrator
1978
No Score Yet The Late Great Planet Earth
  • Narrator
1978
No Score Yet Salvador Dali - A Soft-Self Portrait
  • Actor
1977
No Score Yet Lions of Capitalism: Great American Millionaires
  • Actor
1977
No Score Yet Tut - The Boy King
  • Actor
1977
No Score Yet Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • Narrator
1977
89% Voyage of the Damned
  • Estedes
1976
No Score Yet America at the Movies
  • Actor
1976
No Score Yet Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
  • Narrator
1975
No Score Yet The AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards: Orson Welles
  • Actor
1975
No Score Yet Bugs Bunny Superstar
  • Narrator
1975
No Score Yet Ein unbekannter rechnet ab (Ten Little Indians)(And Then There Were None)
  • Actor
1974
88% F for Fake
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
  • Himself
1974
No Score Yet Parables for the Present
  • Actor
1973
No Score Yet Who's Out There?
  • Actor
1973
No Score Yet Necromancy (The Witching) (A Life for a Life) (Horror-Attack) (Rosemary's Disciples) (The Toy Factory)
  • Mr. Cato
1972
No Score Yet Treasure Island
  • Screenwriter
  • Long John Silver
1972
No Score Yet Get to Know Your Rabbit
  • Mr. Delasandro
1972
No Score Yet Ten Days' Wonder
  • Theo
1972
No Score Yet Directed by John Ford
  • Narrator
1971
No Score Yet A Safe Place
  • The Magician
1971
No Score Yet Malpertuis: The Legend of Doom House
  • Cassavius
1971
No Score Yet Sentinels of Silence
  • Narrator (English)
1971
No Score Yet Waterloo
  • Louis XVIII
1970
85% Catch-22
  • Gen. Dreedle
1970
No Score Yet Tepepa (Blood and Guns) (Long Live the Revolution)
  • Actor
1970
83% Start The Revolution Without Me
  • Narrator
1970
No Score Yet The Kremlin Letter
  • Bresnavitch
1970
No Score Yet The Battle of Neretva
  • Senator
1969
No Score Yet 12 + 1 (The 13 Chairs) (Twelve Plus One)
  • Markau
1969
92% The Immortal Story
  • Mr. Clay
  • Director
1968
No Score Yet I'll Never Forget What's'isname
  • Jonathan Lute
1968
29% Casino Royale
  • Le Chiffre
1967
No Score Yet Oedipus The King
  • Actor
1967
No Score Yet King's Story, A - The Love Story of the Century
  • Actor
1967
No Score Yet Orson Welles
  • Actor
1967
82% A Man for All Seasons
  • Cardinal Wolsey
1966
80% Is Paris Burning? (Paris brûle-t-il?)
  • Consul Raoul Nordling
1966
97% Chimes at Midnight
  • Director
  • Falstaff
  • Screenwriter
1965
No Score Yet The Finest Hours
  • Narrator
1964
No Score Yet The Finest Hours
  • Narrator
1964
No Score Yet Churchill: The Finest Hours
  • Actor
1964
No Score Yet The V.I.P.s
  • Max Buda
1963
No Score Yet RoGoPaG
  • Actor
1963
89% Le Procès (The Trial)
  • Screenwriter
  • Hastler, advocate Hastler advocate
  • Director
1962
83% Mr. Arkadin
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
  • Gregory Arkadin
1962
85% King of Kings
  • Narrator
1961
No Score Yet David and Goliath
  • King Saul
1961
No Score Yet Crack in the Mirror
  • Hagolin / Lamerciere
1960
No Score Yet Orson Welles: The Paris Interview
  • Actor
1960
No Score Yet The Battle of Austerlitz
  • Robert Fulton
1960
100% Compulsion
  • Jonathan Wilk
1959
No Score Yet Ferry to Hong Kong
  • Capt. Hart
1959
No Score Yet The Roots of Heaven
  • Cy Sedgewick
1958
71% The Vikings
  • Narrator (uncredited)
1958
96% Touch of Evil
  • Director
  • Hank Quinlan
  • Screenwriter
1958
88% The Long, Hot Summer
  • Will Varner
1958
No Score Yet Man in the Shadow
  • Virgil Renchler
1957
85% Moby Dick
  • Father Mapple
1956
No Score Yet Around the World with Orson Welles
  • Actor
  • Director
1955
92% Othello (The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice)
  • Othello
  • Director
1955
No Score Yet Three Cases of Murder
  • Lord Mountdrago [Lord Mountdrago]
1955
No Score Yet Napoleon
  • Hudson Lowe
1955
No Score Yet Fabulous Versailles
  • Actor
1954
No Score Yet Trouble in the Glen
  • Sanin Cejadory Mengues
1954
No Score Yet Le Petit Monde de Don Camillo (The Little World of Don Camillo)
  • Actor
1953
No Score Yet Trent's Last Case
  • Sigsbee Manderson
1952
No Score Yet Return to Glennascaul (Orson Welles' Ghost Story) (A Story That Is Told in Dublin)
  • Actor
1951
No Score Yet The Black Rose
  • Bayan
1950
88% Macbeth
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
  • Macbeth
  • Producer
1950
No Score Yet Toast of the Town
  • Actor
1950
No Score Yet Prince of Foxes
  • Cesare Borgia
1949
100% The Third Man
  • Harry Lime
1949
No Score Yet Magia Negra
  • Cagliostro
1949
86% The Lady From Shanghai
  • Mike O'Hara
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1948
81% Duel in the Sun
  • Narrator
1946
No Score Yet Tomorrow Is Forever
  • John Andrew MacDonald / Erik Kessler
1946
96% The Stranger
  • Director
  • Prof. Charles Rankin
1946
100% Jane Eyre
  • Edward Rochester
1944
75% Journey Into Fear
  • Producer
  • Col. Haki
  • Screenwriter
1943
91% The Magnificent Ambersons
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
  • Producer
  • The Narrator Narrator
1942
100% Citizen Kane
  • Charles Foster Kane
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
  • Director
1941
No Score Yet Swiss Family Robinson
  • Narration [uncredited]
1940
No Score Yet The Green Goddess
  • Actor
  • Director
1939
No Score Yet Too Much Johnson
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1938
No Score Yet The Hearts of Age
  • Director
1934
No Score Yet L'uomo, la bestia e la virtù
  • Actor
No Score Yet Avant Garde and Experimental Films
  • Director
No Score Yet Tajna Nikole Tesle
  • Actor

Quotes from Orson Welles' Characters