- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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See it once or twice...
IMO, a "great" film is simply one you personally enjoy time and again. I'll let the critics fight it out as to what really makes a film "great." As is evidenced by the comments herein, there are those who love this film and those who don't. Having viewed "Citizen Kane" several times now, I am of the view that it isn't so great. It's far too long and much of it should have been cut. It's basically a story of how power corrupts absolutely but, never forget, the men who stayed and went along with the shenanigans of Kane were just as guilty as he was, even if they were not as morally bankrupt as he was. There are flashes of brilliance in this film but they are too few. We all know that "Rosebud" is what Hitchcock termed the "MacGuffin." It is simply a plot device that leads you to the story of Kane himself. This is basically a morality play, telling us that money and fame are nothing if you lose your soul in the offing. The fact that Kane dies with only the thought of the happiest moment of his childhood on his lips is proof enough of his lifelong search for that childhood happiness he was never able to find again. Kane's life was a sad and wasted one and he dies alone. Everything and everyone Kane touched was ruined by his hubris. The film could have been much better had they left the flashbacks out and simply told Kane's story. A sophomoric attempt, at best, by Welles.
Does not age well
The first time I saw this film, I was too young to argue with the critics who told me it was terrific. I have since formed my own opinions, and would place it ahead of Jerry Lewis or Magnificent Seven, but far behind the other great films made Orson Welles made this. The film is too long, too depressing, not intellectually depressing, but a deliberate attack on two persons Welles did not like. One, Marion Davies, was ten times the a better person than Welles himself. Just look at their bios. On that basis, Welles was a hack. Most of the rest of his career was a disaster, his films for the most part were economic disasters. He had a tremendous voice, and was obvious a genius, but like most genius, there parts of him that left a lot to be desired. You can see this flaw in the painful scenes trying to make someone an opera star. If Welles was trying to discredit Davies, she was at least a better actress than Welles viewed. His problem was she was the companion of a person he hated. A great film can not exist with tiresome, unbelievable minutes. I would compare this to De Vinci finishing the Mona Lisa by making one brush stroke across the portrait. Those who would find some genius in that stroke, are the same who find this film as one of the greatest.
Overrated Importance in Film History
I've seen this film twice and thought to view one more time just to see if I missed something; however after the additional viewing I have to say I think the appeal is vastly overrated. I find Mr. Orson Welles pompous, self-absorbed, & filled with delusions of grandeur, the story dull, and the importance in film history overrated. I know it's ranked as the #1 film by AFI and critics alike, but to me this film doesn't even make my top 100 list.
The All-Time Greatest
I first saw CK in college as part of a film class. It was an old, stuffy movie theater and I settled in to bored out of my mind. Was I ever wrong. This film is great on so many levels: Story, sterling ensemble cast, cinematography, and most of all the tragic transformation of Charles Foster Kane. More than being about what money and power DO, all these years later I see it more about what money & power CAN'T do. It can't buy loyalty, love, friendship, health, or happiness. Nor can it shield the human mind and spirit from demonic delusions that only truth can extinguish. There are great films, but this jump-off-the-cliff rookie outing by Orson Welles cannot be touched in its brilliance and its ability to stand the test of time. And like Michael Jackson's THRILLER, Orson Welles was never able to repeat the dead-on master stroke of this work of art. Truly the greatest film ever made.
Overall-5/5Lead Performers-5/5Supporting Cast-4/5Director-5/5Score-4/5Title Sequence-3/5Screenplay-5/5Cinematography-5/5Importance-5/5Recommendation for fans of the genre-5/5
- Kathy K
The first time I saw this film I was a Freshman in college and thought it was brilliant. It is still a favorite of mine 30 years later, but when I watch it now, I'm not quite as mesmerized. I think this is simply because I know what "Rosebud" means. I think anyone who loves movies should see this at least once.
Citizen Kane was boring for me
Like Carla, I'v tried watching this movie four or five times, and I just get bored. I love Casablanca, my all-time favorite as well as "The Best Years of Our Lives." But, for some reason, "Kane" just doesn't do it for me.
- Patrick C.
This film is simply about humanity and its desire for power and money...It may be boring,, but,, it is truly amazing when you get the time to think about it....
I am glad that I am not so jaded at my age that I cannot still appreciate genius. It is easy for some to say this work is overrated if they have not studied art or film. Few appreciate the painstaking efforts that go into making a film and often rely on sensationalism to rate a film as enjoyable instead of the subtle complexities that I dare say seem to elude them. I teach art and I can honestly say that the cinematography of Citizen Kane is the best example of chiaroscuro and directing composition in film. It is no coincidence that this film is studied in art and film schools. The screenplay, directing and acting are also elements that make this an incredible achievement. The message is a timeless one as relevent today as it was when it was made in 1941. Welles was a cutting edge director, actor and filmmaker even if everyone does not appreciate his entire oeuvre. What were you accomplishing at 25?
My Favorite Film Of All Time
- Alex Krajci
Citizen Kane Is My Favorite Film Of All Time, I Like It Because Of Orson Welles Performance As Charles Foster Kane, The Cinematography By Gregg Toland, The Storytelling Techniques And The Score By Bernard Herrmann.
- Dashiell Barnes
One of the greatest & most historic films of all time. Welles won an 'Oscar' for original screenplay & was also nominated for producing, directing & acting. Welles perfectly embodies the William Randolph Hearst- like figure. Gregg Toland's cinematography & Bernard Hermann's score add an air of mystery to the life of Welles. The absolute best film of all history. I give it a 5/5.
Citizen Kane (1941)
- Mr. Blandings
You are not alone in your assessment, Carla; many feel that this film is overrated, and you shouldn't have to apologize for a differing opinion. When rabid supporters say "anyone who does not like this film is just not a movie lover" they are usually revealing their own pretenses and insecurities. Classic movie fans watch hundreds, even thousands, of classic films and then honestly pick their favorites. Others watch a sampling - usually the ones that polls indicate are the cream of the crop - and then pick a camp to side on. There are five classic films that have become household words, known even to the Twitter Generation: Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, It's A Wonderful Life, Casablanca, and Citizen Kane. Of these five films, one is an historical epic, one a children's fantasy, one a feel good story, one a wartime romance, and one an allegorical bio-pic. Different people are attracted to one or the other depending on what they value, or desire, most in life: be it passion, imagination, hope, integrity, or intellectualism. Accusing a person who doesn't share the same opinion of a particular film as not being a movie fan, only reveals the fear that they themselves must be lacking in one of these qualities. Personally, I found Citizen Kane to be a simple story, built on a single, predictable catch (much the way Shyamalan's movies are). Combined with the deliberate way it is filmed - with its myriad camera angles and optical FX - it all comes across as more than a bit pretentious. As in many Spielberg films, I found the "visible," obvious camera a distraction, and the scenes staged like overly-rehearsed dance steps. The acting came across as almost amateurish (in Welles case, he never took off his director's hat, and it showed) and the makeup effects were cheap and humorously unconvincing. As a course in cinematography this movie has merit but it takes more than technique to make a good film - it also needs an engrossing story and characters you can care about.
Very good Welles film and very important to film history.
- kyle rhoads
people say this is the best film of all time.... i have to disagree on that, but i do think that it is the best film cinematography wise.. but not the best film of all time
Best movie ever!
My all time favorite, impossible to take eyes off the screen. 'Casablanca" is all right, but a close cousin 'To Have and Have Not' is better IMO.
First let me say that I LOVE old classic movies. LOVE them. They and TCM are virtually all I watch on TV.Now for the part most people aren't going to like. I've seen this movie, or at least tried to see it, a dozen times or more and I just cannot understand what all the hubbub is about. I honestly don't remember ever being able to sit thru it from beginning to end, and not because I haven't tried. So many people rate this as the best movie ever (sorry but Casablanca wins that title in my opinion) that I've really wanted to see it they way they do and have sat down with an open mind and a bowl of popcorn but ..... The story isn't bad but certainly not riveting. The acting isn't anything out of the ordinary, all of these actors have performed as well or better in other movies. The camera angles, lighting, etc which are invariably mentioned are there all right, and they were evidently new styles but 'new' doesn't automatically equate with 'great'. All it really means is 'different'. So, my apologies to all who really love this movie, but this one just doesn't do it for me.
#1 of All Time For a Reason.
- R. Hudson
A movie to watch over & over again with quotable lines throughout.
Citizen Kane (1941)
This is a movie where every single shot is imperative for the film. In some ways, it tells a story on its own. This film is about Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles), a newspaper tycoon, and what his last word 'Rosebud' means. It turns out the 'Rosebud' means more than just a sled but the loss of innocence in Kane's life when he was taken away from his parents so early in life and thrust into the world of media. The mansion Xanadu resembles something of Dracula's castle and how much of a monster Kane has become. The performances are sincere, especially Welles, Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloane, and Dorothy Comingore. The script is also brilliant and so is Bernard Herrmann's debut score. But the real MVP from this film is both the direction from Welles and the cinematography from Gregg Toland. Toland did such a marvelous job that his work should be considered as the best cinema has ever seen. Welles and Toland made each shot count and set the tone for the film in the opening scene. To some, The Maltese Falcon (also 1941) may be the 1st noir film. However, it is to my belief that this film, Citizen Kane, is the 1st.
- Jeff Stone
Not the best film ever, that distinction is owned by Casablanca. However this is a great film. Gregg Toland's cinematography is the best that film has ever seen. The performances are good and Bernard Herrmann scores one of his all time greats.
- Jim Smith
A timeless classic!
The Greatest Motion Picture of Them All.
- Frank Harris Horn
At 25, Orson Welles struck pure Oscar gold, when he directed, co-wrote (with Herman J. Mankiewicz) and stars in what the AFI calls "The Greatest Motion Picture of All Time". Welles assembled his brilliant cast of "Mercury Theatre" radio series players to co-star with him. Among them are Joseph Cotten, Ruth Warrick, Everett Sloane, Ray Collins, Agnes Moorehead and Dorothy Comingore in a film that broke all the rules and invented some new ones. Welles plays Charles Foster Kane, a Hearst-like newspaper publisher, who rises to power in the political world. The dark, eerie cinematography is provided by Gregg Toland, and Bernard Herrmann provides the movie's dark, moody, and eerie musical score all are first-rate. Welles and Mankiewicz won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.Pretty soon, you'll know the real meaning of Kane's dying last word, "Rosebud"---that is, if you don't already know it. With William Alland, Paul Stewart, Erskine Sanford, Alan Ladd & Arthur O'Connell.
At The Top Of My List
- Bruce Reber
My first experience with "Citizen Kane" was when my 11th grade English class (we were studying films at the time) watched a 16mm (I think) print projected on a pull-down movie screen (it was 1975, before cable TV, VCRs and DVDs). After seeing it I wasn't too impressed, and to me it was just another old movie like I was used to watching on my local TV stations. However, nearly 35 years later and after seeing it many times over, I now appreciate "Citizen Kane" as one of the truly classic films of all time and as one of my top 10 favorites. It is remarkable that Orson Welles was only 25 years old when he produced, directed, starred in and co-wrote the screenplay for "Citizen Kane". If he were alive and the same age today I don't think he could have made this film. The scene at the beginning when Kane says "Rosebud", before dropping the snow globe and dying starts the speculation what that one word meant. At the end, when the sled is thrown into the furnace and you see "Rosebud" consumed by the fire, you realize it belonged to Kane when he was a kid, and that for all the power and wealth he accumulated in his life (and which ultimately destroyed him), and you finally see that the little wooden sled was the only thing that meant anything to him, and symbolized his longing to return to the innocence of his childhood.
Citizen Kane, Greatest Movie Ever Made
I've watched a lot of movies in my life. Why I haven't seen this one sooner, is beyond me. I have never watched a movie with better camera angles, parallel lines between his straight beginning to the jagged lines on the door near the end when Kane started to lose "everything." The amazing thing about this movie is that the movie watcher, whom Welles also made a character, knows that without the existance of Kane buying all of that art, collecting all of that "junk" (worth millions, would be billions nowadays), maybe their society wouldn't have done so well. But as he was tangled by the excitement money could buy him, he was collapsing into loving no one and nothing. Only the Rosebud sled had meaning to him because it revealed where Kane really came from before being "given" to a richer family. His father was extremely old-looking and his mother seemed young and looked older than she should. This picture will stick into your mind like glue. You will look at movies differently after you watch this movie, and I thought I had seen them all!
It deserves all of its acclaim, and that ending is just pure perfection. The entire movie is near perfection, anyway.
- david lauck
in my opion citizen kane is one of the true classic it beat,s out gone with the wind casablanca king kong and any other classic that i can name
- Wendy Winkler
The acting in this movie is superb. It is amazing that Orson Welles was in his twenties when he portrayed Charles Foster Kane. I think Everett Sloane was wonderful.
This is one of the best films I've seen yet . It is way ahead of its time. Orson Welles in my opinion is a genius. If I could have just a pinky finger of his vision, I would make a film. Actors such as Robert Dinero, Don Cheadle, Sam Jackson, and Thandie Newton, just to name a few. They are my inspiration, and perhaps one day I could write a script that would be worth showing to any one of them. I am a great lover of good movies and any one who does not like this film is just not a movie lover, they are a pretender.
Citizen Kane is and will always be the greatest talking movie ever made. Orson Welles makes film directing and acting look so easy. Gregg Toland does an outstanding job behind the camera. Please see this movie.
Still the greatest film ever made
This film still amazes me everytime I see it - it never dates. If you haven't seen it - break down and finally do it.