Citizen Kane

1941

Citizen Kane

Critics Consensus

Orson Welles's epic tale of a publishing tycoon's rise and fall is entertaining, poignant, and inventive in its storytelling, earning its reputation as a landmark achievement in film.

100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 84

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 158,887
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Movie Info

This is the labyrinthine study of the life of a newspaper tycoon.

Cast

Orson Welles
as Charles Foster Kane
Dorothy Comingore
as Susan Alexander
Joseph Cotten
as Jedediah Leland
Everett Sloane
as Bernstein
George Coulouris
as Walter Parks Thatcher
Agnes Moorehead
as Mrs. Mary Kane
Ruth Warrick
as Emily Norton Kane
Harry Shannon
as Kane Sr.
Ray Collins
as Boss James W. Gettys
Sonny Bupp
as Kane III
Erskine Sanford
as Herbert Carter
William Alland
as Jerry Thompson
Paul Stewart
as Raymond
Gus Schilling
as Head Waiter
Buddy Swan
as Young Charles Foster Kane
Philip Van Zandt
as Mr. Rawlston
Georgia Backus
as Miss Anderson
Alan Ladd
as Reporter
Pedro de Cordoba
as Kane senior
Charles Bennett
as Entertainer
Joan Blair
as Georgia
Edmund Cobb
as Enquirer Reporter
Eddie Coke
as Reporter
Herbert Corthell
as City Editor
Louise Currie
as Reporter
Robert Dudley
as Photographer
Al Eben
as Mike
Arthur Kay
as Orchestra Leader
Ellen Lowe
as Miss Townsend
Milton Kibbee
as Reporter
Irving Mitchell
as Dr. Corey
Benny Rubin
as Smather
Walter Sande
as Reporter
Tudor Williams
as Chorus Master
Agnes Morehead
as Mary Kane
Herbert Carter
as Mr. Bernstein
View All

News & Interviews for Citizen Kane

Critic Reviews for Citizen Kane

All Critics (84) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (84)

  • It is a triumph of the film, and proof of its solid value and of the sense of its director and all concerned, that a human touch is not lost. Sympathy for the preposterous Mr. Kane survives. Indeed, there is something about him which seems admirable.

    Sep 5, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Welles' performance is nothing less than astonishing. He begins as a youth of 21, goes through middle age to his death, and makes every moment believable in voice, walk, and gesture. Even in his love scenes is Welles effective.

    May 1, 2017 | Full Review…
  • This stuff is fine theatre, technically or any other way, and along with them the film is exciting for the recklessness of its independence, even if it seems to have little to be free for.

    Apr 29, 2016 | Full Review…
  • What's striking now is how utterly modern it is in structure.

    Apr 29, 2016 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Some day, and the time won't be long in arriving, Welles will be the greatest director in Hollywood.

    Apr 30, 2015 | Full Review…
  • It can be classified as, in a number of aspects, one of the most arresting pictures ever produced.

    Jan 18, 2013 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Citizen Kane

  • Oct 09, 2018
    In this film we see the arc of a wealthy man's life from childhood memories to his aspirations after college, from wielding power in the middle of life to an end that, amidst vast wealth and opulence, simply looks back on childhood, and then goes up in smoke. Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) may have been based on William Randolph Hearst and the film a critique of the 'rich and powerful', but there are elements it that are also universal. It takes a piercing look into how people change over time, how power corrupts, and how all life is transient. Kane may have all of the benefits that money brings, but he's also a little broken inside, with perhaps a narcissistic or attachment disorder stemming from having been given up for adoption by his own biological parents when he was a boy (and that, in turn, hinted as being due to his father's abuse). He therefore has no real friends, or true love. He positions himself as a 'man of the people', but he's aloof and above them from all, using them to amplify his own power. He may collect all of the statues he can find in Europe for his castle in America, but ultimately dies like anyone else, without any real meaning, and his possessions disbursed. It's fascinating to watch Kane evolve over the film. His days as a young man are full of hubris and the desire to run a newspaper, mainly to push social messages. While he also has a knack for increasing circulation via sensationalism, he's also pure enough to pen a 'Declaration of Principles' that promises to publish truth, free of special interests. In a fantastic exchange, his friend Jedediah (Joseph Cotten) points out that his first two sentences have started with the word "I", and as we'll see, the 'special interest group' that Kane sells out to is Kane himself. He gradually morphs to begin abusing the power he has as a publisher, swaying opinions on war, and flat out saying that the people will think what he tells them to think. Kane's relationships also evolve in interesting ways. Early on he seems so close with Jedediah, jovial and dancing at office parties, but he fires him without thinking twice about it when Jedediah dares to publish the truth in a review of his second wife's awful performance at the opera. In a parallel way, we see this second wife (Dorothy Comingore) go from a humble, nice, and honest woman he meets on the street one night to a spoiled and vindictive wife, then bitter alcoholic. She speaks about Kane over a drink in a two-bit club, and Jedediah speaks about him from an assisted living facility. The film has a rather dark view of the endgame that awaits us all. The transience of life is further emphasized by little moments in the supporting cast, such as Bernstein (Everett Sloane) saying of his own life these fantastic lines: "A fellow will remember a lot of things you wouldn't think he'd remember. You take me. One day, back in 1896, I was crossing over to Jersey on the ferry, and as we pulled out, there was another ferry pulling in, and on it there was a girl waiting to get off. A white dress she had on. She was carrying a white parasol. I only saw her for one second. She didn't see me at all, but I'll bet a month hasn't gone by since that I haven't thought of that girl." Orson Welles is excellent as both actor and director, and the way the story is told, via flashbacks from multiple perspectives and short jumps in time, is compelling. He also utilizes a number of innovative and interesting visual techniques that feel modern. If you're looking for a film with an uplifting message, one with action, or one that will leave you feeling warm, this is not your film. On the other hand, there is such honesty here about power and about life, the filmmaking is fantastic, and it has an ending that is absolutely devastating, in those plumes of smoke going up into the night sky.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 25, 2016
    Orson Welles appeared on-screen in this, wrote and directed the film when he was quite young, about 24 and a half. His first feature becomes a landmark of a masterpiece for the last 75 years ago. There must be a 75th Anniversary re-release of this film.
    Film C Super Reviewer
  • Jun 20, 2016
    I watched this movie for the first time at 23 years old after hearing how it was a work of cinematic art. After watching, I thoroughly agree. Some of the shots in this movie are amazing and awe-inspiring. Knowing the end of the movie does take away from some of the movie in ways, but it also adds to the futility of the search. Truly a classic, nothing else needs to be said.
    Hayden B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 13, 2015
    "Citizen Kane" is a great 1940's drama classic. This movie has a great plot, amazing acting and very dramatic scenes. "Citizen Kane" is a great drama and I would recommend it to anyone who likes old dramas'. I give "Citizen Kane" a 8.5/10.
    Steve G Super Reviewer

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