Orson Welles

Lowest Rated: 0% The V.I.P.s (1963)
Birthday: May 6, 1915
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



82% The Other Side of the Wind Screenwriter Director 2018
92% They'll Love Me When I'm Dead Actor 2018
73% Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles Actor $9.3K 2014
No Score Yet Tudo É Brasil Actor 2013
No Score Yet Recuerdos de una mañana Actor 2011
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 To Build a Fire Actor 2003
No Score Yet Rita Actor 2003
No Score Yet Black Magic Actor 2003
No Score Yet Malpertuis Cassavius 2001
No Score Yet Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces Actor 2000
No Score Yet Best of Film Noir Actor 2000
57% The Big Brass Ring Screenwriter 1999
No Score Yet The Dominici Affair Director Actor 1999
No Score Yet Secrets of the Millennium: Ancient Prophecies Narrator 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
83% It's All True Actor 1993
No Score Yet Working with Orson Welles Actor 1993
43% Don Quixote Himself Constantino Romero Director Screenwriter Producer 1992
No Score Yet Hollywood Mavericks Actor 1990
71% Someone to Love Danny's Friend 1988
No Score Yet Salvador Dali: A Soft Self-Portrait Narrator 1987
58% 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 Butterfly Judge Rauch 1982
No Score Yet Slapstick of Another Kind Alien Father 1982
No Score Yet Wagner and Venice Narrator 1982
62% History of the World---Part I Narrator 1981
No Score Yet Genocide Narrator 1981
No Score Yet The Man Who Saw Tomorrow (Nostradamus) Narrator 1981
83% Shogun Actor 1980
No Score Yet The Double McGuffin Narrator 1979
88% The Muppet Movie Lew Lord 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 Rime of the Ancient Mariner Narrator 1977
No Score Yet Tut - The Boy King Actor 1977
No Score Yet Lions of Capitalism: Great American Millionaires Actor 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 Bugs Bunny Superstar Narrator 1975
No Score Yet The AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards: Orson Welles Actor 1975
No Score Yet Ein unbekannter rechnet ab (Ten Little Indians)(And Then There Were None) Actor 1974
88% F for Fake Screenwriter Himself Director 1974
No Score Yet Who's Out There? Actor 1973
No Score Yet Parables for the Present 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 Sentinels of Silence Narrator (English) 1971
33% Waterloo Louis XVIII 1970
81% 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
No Score Yet The Southern Star Plankett 1969
92% The Immortal Story Mr. Clay Director 1968
No Score Yet I'll Never Forget What's'isname Jonathan Lute 1968
26% Casino Royale Le Chiffre 1967
No Score Yet Oedipus The King Actor 1967
No Score Yet Orson Welles Actor 1967
No Score Yet King's Story, A - The Love Story of the Century Actor 1967
82% A Man for All Seasons Cardinal Wolsey 1966
67% Is Paris Burning? (Paris brûle-t-il?) Consul Raoul Nordling 1966
98% Chimes at Midnight Director Falstaff Screenwriter 1965
No Score Yet The Finest Hours Narrator 1964
No Score Yet Churchill: The Finest Hours Actor 1964
No Score Yet The Finest Hours Narrator 1964
0% The V.I.P.s Max Buda 1963
No Score Yet RoGoPaG Actor 1963
88% Le Procès (The Trial) Screenwriter Director Hastler, advocate Hastler advocate 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 The Battle of Austerlitz Robert Fulton 1960
No Score Yet Orson Welles: The Paris Interview Actor 1960
No Score Yet The Tartars Burundai 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
75% The Vikings Narrator (uncredited) 1958
96% Touch of Evil Screenwriter Director Hank Quinlan 1958
88% The Long, Hot Summer Will Varner 1958
No Score Yet Man in the Shadow Virgil Renchler 1957
86% Moby Dick Father Mapple 1956
No Score Yet Around the World with Orson Welles Actor Director 1955
93% Othello (The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice) Screenwriter Othello Director Producer 1955
No Score Yet Three Cases of Murder Lord Mountdrago [Lord Mountdrago] 1955
No Score Yet Napoleon Hudson Lowe 1955
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 Producer Director Screenwriter Macbeth 1950
No Score Yet Prince of Foxes Cesare Borgia 1949
99% The Third Man Harry Lime 1949
No Score Yet Magia Negra Cagliostro 1949
86% The Lady From Shanghai Mike O'Hara Screenwriter Director Producer 1948
80% 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
No Score Yet Follow the Boys Himself - Guest Star 1944
75% Journey Into Fear Producer Col. Haki Screenwriter 1943
89% The Magnificent Ambersons Narrator The Narrator Screenwriter Director Producer 1942
100% Citizen Kane Producer Charles Foster Kane Screenwriter 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 Director Screenwriter 1938
No Score Yet The Hearts of Age Director 1934
No Score Yet Tajna Nikole Tesle Actor
No Score Yet L'uomo, la bestia e la virtù Actor


97% Moonlighting
Host Himself (Narrator)
  • 1985
No Score Yet Magnum, P.I.
  • 1984
  • 1983
  • 1982
  • 1981
No Score Yet I Love Lucy
  • 1956