CITIZEN KANE is Orson Welles's greatest achievement--and a landmark of cinema history. The story charts the rise and fall of a newspaper publisher whose wealth and power ultimately isolates him in his castle-like refuge. The film's protagonist, Charles Foster Kane, was based on a composite of Howard Hughes and William Randolph Hearst--so much so that Hearst tried to have the film suppressed. Every aspect of the production marked an advance in film language: the deep focus and deeply shadowed cinematography (from Gregg Toland); the discontinuous narrative, relying heavily on flashbacks and newsreel footage (propelled by a script largely written by Herman L. Mankiewicz); the innovative use of sound and score (sound by Bailey Fesler and James G. Stewart, music composed and conducted by Bernard Herrmann); and the ensemble acting forged in the fires of Welles's Mercury Theatre (featuring the film debuts of, among others, Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloane, and Agnes Moorehead). Every moment of the film, every shot, has been choreographed to perfection. The film is essential viewing, quite possibly the greatest film ever made and, along with THE BIRTH OF A NATION, certainly the most influential.
CITIZEN KANE is quite simply one of the greatest films ever made. Orson Welles is astounding as both actor and director in this sweeping drama, based largely on the life of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst.
"Rosebud."--the dying word of Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles)
"I am, have been, and will always be only one thing--an American."--Kane
"It'll probably turn out to be a very simple thing."--Mr. Rawlston (Philip Van Zandt), referring to Rosebud
"I think it would be fun to run a newspaper!"--Walter Parks Thatcher (George Coulouris)
"You provide the prose poems, I'll provide the war."--Kane
"I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place in...sixty years."--Kane to Thatcher
"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."--Mr. Bernstein (Everett Sloane) to Jerry Thompson (William Alland)
Los Angeles Times
"...A tour de force of style and an ultimately tragic epic of a quintessentially American captain of industry, it is timelessly brilliant and incisive..." 07/23/1998 p.C18
"...Its surface is as much fun as any movie ever made. Its depths surpass understanding....CITIZEN KANE is more than a great movie; it is a gathering of all the lessons of the emerging era of sound..." 05/24/1998 p.5
Sight and Sound
"...[A] masterpiece....[The film] seems more relevant than ever..." 08/01/2003 p.69
"...KANE remains a source of fascination and inspiration..." 08/01/2003 p.120
"...Packed with cool effects and a surprise ending unsurpassed even by THE SIXTH SENSE..." 01/11/2002 p.26
"...It introduced a number of lively, nonlinear storytelling techniques..." 12/01/2003 p.5,"Eerily, it seems to predict the arc of Welles's career, one of great promise eventually betrayed or sold short. Time will never diminish the worth of this movie." 05/01/2006 p.97
Herman J. Mankiewicz, Orson Welles, Winner, Best Writing, Original Screenplay,Orson Welles, Nominee, Best Actor,Orson Welles, Nominee, Best Director,Orson Welles, Nominee, Best Picture,Bernard Herrmann, Nominee, Best Music, Scoring Of A Dramatic Picture
San Francisco Examiner
Citizen Kane...has the best of everything: a great director and star, innovative cinematography, dreamlike--even nightmarish--art direction, a sonorous musical score, a skillful screenplay...a psychological/narrative form that predates our contemporary "psycho-histories" by at least 40 years, and best of all, a memorial word that, when spoken, recalls the film out of thin air...
It is one of the miracles of cinema that in 1941 a first-time director, a cynical, hard-drinking writer, an innovative cinematographer, and a group of New York stage and radio actors were given the keys to a studio and total control, and made a masterpiece. Citizen Kane is more than a great movie; it is a gathering of all the lessons of the emerging era of sound...
DVD, Special Edition, English, French, Spanish, Subtitled, No Longer Produced
Warner Home Video
...the most sensational product of the U.S. movie industry.
...the best picture, the best actor, it lacks nothing.