Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane
Poster showing two women in the bottom left of the picture looking up towards a man in a white suit in the top right of the picture. "Everybody's talking about it. It's terrific!" appears in the top right of the picture. "Orson Welles" appears in block letters between the women and the man in the white suit. "Citizen Kane" appears in red and yellow block letters tipped 60° to the right. The remaining credits are listed in fine print in the bottom right.
Theatrical release poster (Style B) by William Rose
Directed byOrson Welles
Screenplay by
Produced byOrson Welles
CinematographyGregg Toland
Edited byRobert Wise
Music byBernard Herrmann
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release dates
  • May 1, 1941 (1941-05-01) (Palace Theatre)
  • September 5, 1941 (1941-09-05) (United States)
Running time
119 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.8 million (re-release)[3][4]

Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film produced by, directed by, and starring Orson Welles. He also co-wrote the screenplay with Herman J. Mankiewicz. The picture was Welles' first feature film. Citizen Kane is widely regarded as the greatest film ever made.[5] For 50 consecutive years, it stood at number 1 in the British Film Institute's Sight & Sound decennial poll of critics, and it topped the American Film Institute's 100 Years ... 100 Movies list in 1998, as well as its 2007 update. The film was nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories and it won for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) by Mankiewicz and Welles. Citizen Kane is praised for Gregg Toland's cinematography, Robert Wise's editing, Bernard Herrmann's music, and its narrative structure, all of which have been considered innovative and precedent-setting.

The quasi-biographical film examines the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, played by Welles, a composite character based on American media barons William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, Chicago tycoons Samuel Insull and Harold McCormick, as well as aspects of the screenwriters' own lives. Upon its release, Hearst prohibited the film from being mentioned in his newspapers.[6]

After the Broadway success of Welles's Mercury Theatre and the controversial 1938 radio broadcast "The War of the Worlds" on The Mercury Theatre on the Air, Welles was courted by Hollywood. He signed a contract with RKO Pictures in 1939. Although it was unusual for an untried director, he was given freedom to develop his own story, to use his own cast and crew, and to have final cut privilege. Following two abortive attempts to get a project off the ground, he wrote the screenplay for Citizen Kane, collaborating with Herman J. Mankiewicz. Principal photography took place in 1940, the same year its innovative trailer was shown, and the film was released in 1941.

Although it was a critical success, Citizen Kane failed to recoup its costs at the box office. The film faded from view after its release, but it returned to public attention when it was praised by French critics such as André Bazin and re-released in 1956. In 1958, the film was voted number 9 on the prestigious Brussels 12 list at the 1958 World Expo. Citizen Kane was selected by the Library of Congress as an inductee of the 1989 inaugural group of 25 films for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[7][8][9]

  1. ^ "CITIZEN KANE (A)". British Board of Film Classification. August 1, 1941. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  2. ^ Carringer, Robert L. (October 24, 1996). The Making of Citizen Kane, Revised Edition. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520205673. Archived from the original on November 14, 2020. Retrieved May 3, 2020 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference Paducah was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ "Citizen Kane (1941)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on September 2, 2017. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  5. ^ The Sight & Sound Poll of the Greatest Films of All Time
  6. ^ Blakemore, Erin (March 30, 2016). "How Hearst Tried to Stop 'Citizen Kane'". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  7. ^ "Complete National Film Registry Listing – National Film Preservation Board | Programs | Library of Congress". Library of Congress. October 31, 2016. Archived from the original on October 31, 2016.
  8. ^ "National Film Registry". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  9. ^ "ENTERTAINMENT: Film Registry Picks First 25 Movies". Los Angeles Times. Washington, D.C. September 19, 1989. Archived from the original on May 5, 2020. Retrieved April 22, 2020.

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