Citizen Kane Reviews | RateItAll

Citizen Kane

1941 American drama film directed by, produced by, and starring Orson Welles Website

Approval Rate: 87%

87%Approval ratio

Reviews 50

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    Tue May 17 2011

    It occurred to me a few weeks ago that I'd never seen this masterpiece, and I reasoned that if I had the time to watch Snakes on a Plane then I also had the two hours required to watch what (from what I could find) seemed to be the leading candidate for the populous' vote for 'best film ever'. I was a little concerned that due to such a large difference in date and technology between Citizen Kane and the films I grew up with/am used to, many parts of the film which the previous generation might have appreciated would go sailing over my head and many fine-tuned pieces of genius from the film would be unappreciated due to my generation's lust for explosions, boobs and unintelligence, but I knew within five minutes of the film starting up that my worries were unfounded. I was blown away. The plot, script and acting were perfect to a tee, and the character of Kane himself is one which is still discussed feverishly to this day. Despite starting out with the most pure of intentions and the ... Read more

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    Wed Sep 08 2010

    Its near impossible for any piece of art to bare the burden of such a massive reputation, but watch it without thinking about all of that and you'll enjoy a great story, well told and acted. That it stands up so well to contemporary viewing is a testament to both how great it is and how far ahead of its time it was. It was produced with such bravado that you can feel the energy coming off the screen. It's one of those films, like Lawrence of Arabia and the Godfather where not a frame is wasted. Every frame stands up as a great photograph. Wells was only ever a good to very good actor, but the character he plays is so close to himself that he rates as brilliant in this film.

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    Wed Sep 08 2010

    A masterwork with flawless script, brilliant cinematography and editing, and incredible performances. Not surprising that with a first film this incredible that Welles could never equal it. Arguably the greatest film ever, and one of the most important from historical perspective.

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    Tue Jun 22 2010

    "Rosebud" :)

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    Sun May 16 2010


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    Tue Mar 03 2009

    I've read as many reviews hailing this movie as the all time greatest as I have read reviews saying that it is boring. I think that what makes it "boring" to some is that they've seen so many other good movies before watching Citizen Kane. There has been almost 70 years worth of movies being made since Citizen Kane first hit the public and they've all had the benefit of having watched Kane first. The cinematography was fantastic, no other movie looked like it, the fact that we watched the end first and then watched events pieced together to reveal the end was novel. Sure it's all been done a lot since then. Sure directors have fully learned how to use camera angles and lighting to affect the mood of a picture but the fact is that it wasn't all done like this before Citizen Kane. This movie has been heavily borrowed from if not outright stolen from and when one goes to watch it for the first time it isn't quite as fresh as it would have been had you seen it for the first time in 1... Read more

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    Mon Jul 21 2008

    I don't care about camera angles, lights or techniques. In my opinioin this movie is highly overrated. Is it a good movie? Maybe. Is Welles a genius? Maybe. But the best movie ever? (as so many hold) Give me a break... Such a boring movie... It was a pain to wait until the end

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    Thu Aug 23 2007

    Revolutionary camera techniques, lambasting of a powerful and overly influential man. Not an enjoyable movie overall. Much prefer Touch of Evil (restored version) or The Third Man to this so-called "Best Film of all Time".

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    Mon Jul 25 2005

    good movie but not the best but verry well made and irishgit i am a teenager and i liked it so i think youre theory is wrong just because you are young does not mean you do not like old movies and so what you are saying is teenagers have short atteintion spands and do not like old movie well you are wrong do not be sterotipical

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    Wed Jun 08 2005

    Sorry, but I found it long and boring. Maybe it's because I expected too much. As long as I can remember, I've heard and read about what a great picture this is. (Rated #1 by the National Film Institute). When I compare Citizen Kane (1941) and Casablanca (1942) its like night and day. The storyline, acting and cinematography in Casablanca are vastly superb to Kane.

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    Wed May 18 2005

    When first watching this movie, afficionados often ask themselves, What's so great about 'Citizen Kane'? But 'Citizen Kane' deserves its lofty perch in the annals of moviedom for several reasons in that it took several risks in being created. It was no secret that Orson Welles's classic was a thinly-veiled account on the life of multi-millionaire publisher and yellow journalism extraordinaire, William Randolph Hearst. Hearst tried to stop the making of this movie with threats and went so far as to not allow any advertising on it in any newspaper (and possibly costing 'Citizen Kane' an Oscar). Secondly, the cinematography was innovative in that much of the movie was shot at (at the time) unorthodox angles. Orson Welles sought to show his characters in both a physical and emotional perspective. Thirdly, 'Citizen Kane' did something unimaginable at the time: its beginning was actually its end. From Kane's deathbed scene in which he utters Rosebud, the movie is a recounting of events by Ka... Read more

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    Wed Mar 02 2005

    Not one of my favorite classics but a good story nevertheless. Very depressig watching a man with everything fail so miserably at every aspect of his life. The rosebud reference at the end was a nice touch. Far more interesting is the controversy surrounding the movie and how it almost never came to be.

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    Wed Feb 16 2005

    boring just because for its time it had good camera angles this made on #1 on the top 100 best films of all time.

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    Thu Jan 20 2005

    important, but overrated

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    Thu Jan 20 2005

    We were forced to watch this in class, and the vast majority of us hated it. It wasn't exactly a terrible movie, but after seeing how many critics placed it at the top of their Best Movies of All Time lists, we were eagerly expecting a moving, earth-shattering plot that just wasn't there. This movie is unfortunately dull and outdated. Why it's placed above Schindler's List is beyond me.

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    Tue Nov 16 2004

    A visualy stunning film ! A wonderfully entertaining film. I never tire of seeing this film - there is always something new that you discover with every new viewing. Thats the hallmark of a great film !

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    Sun Sep 19 2004

    This movie, without a doubt, is the best movie. The whole movie, people where telling about there expereince with Kane. A very whealty man, who on his deathbed, the only thing on his mind was a childhood toy. Rosebud

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    Tue Jul 06 2004

    Very thought provoking and easy to see why it has been rated 1 by the AFI.

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    Tue Jun 22 2004

    A good movie, but not the Best Film of All Time like so many pretentious people say. It is the second most overrated film of all time.

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    Tue May 04 2004

    Directed, produced and co-wrote by Orson Welles, Citizen Kane (1941) is considered by many professional critics as the best American film ever made. For the uninitiated, the story follows reporter Jerry Thompson (William Alland) who is assigned the task of determining the meaning of the final words (ie Rosebud) of Charles Foster Kane (Welles). The reporter traces the life of Kane from childhood to media mogul and through failed political ambitions and personal endeavors. While the film was progressive in its non-linear storyline, the movie was groundbreaking in its cinematography (eg lighting and deep focus techniques). The film was largely based on the real life of William Randolph Hearst who tried to have the film destroyed and panned it in his newspapers. The bottom line is that Citizen Kane is justifiably admired for its substantial influence on latter directors, producers and screenwriters.

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    Mon Apr 05 2004

    I liked the cinematography, lighting, and editing more than the screenplay/story itself.

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    Sat Apr 03 2004

    Very well done by Welles. There is a reason that this movie is critically acclaimed as the best ever. It introduced a wonderful screenplay and excellent cinematography methods to Hollywood. Welles payed incredible attention to details from music to lighting. A lot of symbolism. A very good movie.

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    Sat Jan 10 2004

    Orson Welles did something in this movie that had never been done before. He broke the rules. He refused to follow all filmic techniques and shot the movie how he wanted it with no regard for the people he was making it about. In this film he merciliessly bombards the pseudo-figure Charles Foster Kane with character flaws and disgrace. The real life Kane, William Randolph Hearst was none to pleased with the portrayl. The film was barred from winning any major award at the Oscars because of the contraversy surrounding it (Hearst controlled several major publications which contributed to the anti-Kane movement). The film has since been praised by critics and audiences alike for its dynamic story-telling and experimental camera work. This is truly a masterpiece of deafening beauty and elegance. Welles' perfomance as Kane seems so effortless and hsi supporting cast is marvelous. What makes this film so astonishing is that is was Welles first.

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    Wed Oct 29 2003

    Citizen Kane is a cinema work of art. It's a masterpiece. They just don't make movies like this one anymore. Furthermore one must admire not only Orson Welles talent and geniousness but how young he was when he made the film. How many people in their 20's were making films that would make history? The story of Citizen Kane is a timeless one. Charles Foster Kane goes from rags to riches you could say, but never really finds happiness. It's the story of one man despite his wealth and power is never really secure. The movie works on so many levels because of Orson Welles, the great storyline, the wonderful cast with Joseph Cotton, Everett Sloan, Agnes Moorehead, Ray Collins, Ruth Warrick,and Dorothy Comingore, and because of Welle's genius lighting and camera work. It should be a must see for any movie fan.

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    Fri Oct 17 2003

    I'm sorry, but it's about a sled. Named Rosebud. Maybe I missed something, but I didn't like it at all. I think it's overrated.

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    Tue Jun 17 2003

    I'll spell it out for you: A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

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    Mon Oct 14 2002

    The undisputed giant of all movies. Every money made after this owes a debt a gratitude to Orson Welles' hypnotic genius. Only a 'Touch of Evil' and 'The Magnificent Ambersons' come close to this trailblazer. Try to see it in a theater, like all great movies SHOULD be seen...

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    Tue Jul 16 2002

    The greatest movie ever made. Period. It doesn't get any better than this. No film has had more influence, more impact, more study than this film. And it's not undeserved. The direction is fluid and exquisite, the acting pitch perfect, and the cinematography, oh the cinematography, might be the best in any movie ever. #1 on everbody's list, and thats as it should be.

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    Wed May 22 2002

    There are many great films out there, but I can only be sure of three that are the greatest of all-time. "Citizen Kane" is one of them. There is no way that you can over-estimate the influence this film has had on movies. From its revolutionary narrative structure to its immensely innovative camera tricks, "Kane" offered a glimpse into the "real world" at a time when films were still creating alternate ones. Orson Welles was truly a visionary. He, along with such greats as Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford and D.W. Griffith perfected the motion picture, made it an art form and fashioned it into what it has evolved into today. "Citizen Kane" IS the greatest film ever made.

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    Mon Feb 04 2002

    Welles is a genius when it comes to film, this was an awsome movie! not for the impatiant but if you wait till the end, and actually think about it, it's ingenius! one of my favorites!

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    Sat Jan 05 2002

    A lot of people will tell you this is the greatest movie ever made -- for once they're right. I won't attempt to dissect the film, others have done that far better than I could. I will only state that it is a great story that could not have been told in a more brilliant or insightful manner. Some people will see this and simply not understand it. For them, I truly feel sorry. This is a masterpiece.

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    Mon Dec 31 2001

    Good story line, but obviously rather old. Slightly onfusing at times, but with some great shots!

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    Sat Nov 10 2001

    THE best American motion picture of them all! Not GONE WITH THE WIND, not CASABLANACA, not THE WIZARD OF OZ. This film takes the cake! Orson Welles can only be described as a genius, not only of the technical aspect, but of showmanship as well. I advise everyone to go out and rent of buy the DVD of this film. It has to be one of the best DVDs out there.

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    Mon Oct 29 2001

    A brilliant film... the textbook on poetic imagery. Certainly, and ironically, the greatest use uf cinematic expressionism in history, and brialliantly done on every level. Beautiful, mournful, and entrancing.

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    Fri Oct 12 2001

    very symbolic movie. welles was succesful in defining his character through camera work and other elements he put in his film...

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    Thu Sep 27 2001

    The American Film Institute calls CITIZEN KANE the greatest American movie of all time. Would you? I would most definately! What amazes me is how a man like Orson Welles, a twenty five year old, inexperienced man could walk into a studio like RKO and take complete control over the entire production of the film! RKO sure made the right decision because CITIZEN KANE is a masterpiece! It's WELLES masterpiece! Had he not gotten his way, this would not be the great film it is. Truly amazing!

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    Mon Aug 06 2001

    A great movie

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    Wed Jul 04 2001

    One of the most completely produced film. Too far ahead of its time.

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    Thu May 10 2001

    Orson Welles is the reason this movie is so great. It is a dark, dismal, and tragic movie, but tells the story of the rise and fall from power masterfully. It signifies that no matter who a man is in life, society will pick him apart when he is dead if only to put itself upon a higher pedestal, and the more eccentric the man, the better. The story obviously portray's William Randolph Hearst, and a tour through his 'castle' bears out the fact. The 'critics' (those who are PAID to rate movies, rate it the best of al time.

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    Thu May 10 2001

    "Citizen Kane" certainly is an exquisite film (flawless and mesmerizing) and although Welles contributed to the film greatly, he didn't do it by himself. The depth of the film is also to the credit of cinematographer Gregg Toland and the original script idea is to the credit of Herman J Mankiewicz. Perhaps we should tip our hats to fate, luck, whatever that these three brilliant men were not only living at the same time, but brought together to create this masterpiece. Another thing that is the most interesting about "Citizen Kane" is that anyone who has viewed this film almost didn't. Welles was the real life Howard Roark (The Fountainhead): the personification of artistic integrity and genius. During and after the making of this film, he fought an uphill battle to finish and to screen it being that it was a obvious parody of William Randolph Hearst and therefore was labeled 'case-sensitive'. Hearst and those under his thumb tried to buy this picture just to destroy it. Lesser men wou... Read more

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    Sat Apr 14 2001

    Citizen Kane has a remarkable similarity to The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald in the themes of the American Dream, narrative structure, and the main characters. A very good movie, with a twist of irony at the end.

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    Fri Mar 16 2001

    Orsen Wells was a genius and an artistic trail blazer. Most of his movies, including "Citizen Kane", were way ahead of their time - fascinating from beginning to end. Another great one is "The Magnificent Ambersons" - a great look at the beginning of industrial America and life at the end of the 19th century.

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    Fri Dec 08 2000


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    Sat Nov 04 2000

    Easilly the best movie ever. Cinema`s greater masterpiece. Why didn`t Welles win an oscar with this movie?????

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    Fri Oct 20 2000

    A beautifully filmed glimpse into the life of Hearst, the man with the plan but no love. Lost in a big castle with hollowness and fading resolve we search for a meaning, but it fades in flames.

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    Thu Oct 19 2000

    Just a great movie. Great cinematography and a great story with HISTORY.

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    Thu Oct 19 2000

    I first saw this in a film class in college and as far as that went it was interesting (camera angles, movement, symbolism blah blah blah) it was a turning point in filmaking history. And I did find the story pretty interesting and the acting was great. The whole Rosebud thing pretty much annoyed be. But all in all, a good movie.

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    Thu Oct 12 2000

    Watch this movie several times- you will pick up something new every time. It makes people think.

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    Fri Sep 01 2000

    I know that Orsen Wells is a great director and that 'Citizen Kane' is a revoluntionary film but since I took a lot of film classes in college, I have seen this movie too many times. It was good the first time and there is a lot of symbolisim within the settings, camera angles, costumes, music etc. but I just don't see it being this monumental life changing film. I am not downplaying that Citizen Kane offers a lot to its audience, it is a classic but I just can't bear to see it again.

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    Thu Jun 15 2000

    I know this movie is regarded as the greatest movie ever made. I guess I'm not enough of a movie connoisseur, but I don't get what all of the fuss is. I thought it was interesting and well written. However, I didn't pick up on all of the cinematic advances which make this such a classic.