Citizen Kane

Watch Citizen Kane

"It's terrific!"
  • PG
  • 1941
  • 1 hr 59 min
  • 8.3  (464,150)
  • 100

Citizen Kane, released in 1941, is a timeless classic directed, co-written, produced and starring Orson Welles. The film is centered around the life and death of the titular character, Charles Foster Kane, a wealthy media magnate based on the infamous newspaper tycoon, William Randolph Hearst. The film is partly biographical, partly fictional and is essentially a quest by a reporter to unravel the truth of Kane's life story.

The film opens with a stunning sequence showcasing Kane's death and the mysterious word "Rosebud" on his lips. An obituary is then written in Kane's memory, and the reporter then sets out to discover who or what "Rosebud" refers to. He interviews people from Kane's life, in chronological order, in an attempt to piece together a portrait of the enigmatic Kane.

Through these interviews, we learn that Kane was born into poverty and decided to make it big in the world. He inherited a fortune at a young age and bought a newspaper, The Inquirer, and used it as a platform to launch his political career. His ambition knows no bounds, and he eventually gained control over several newspapers that are featured in the film, causing him to become a powerful figure in public life.

Kane's relationships are explored in great detail. We see him as a young man falling in love with Emily Norton, a woman of high society, and then later in life, he marries a singer, Susan Alexander. His relationship with Emily is fraught with problems, and this leads Kane to start an affair with Susan. The media attention that resulted from this affair puts a massive strain on the relationship, which ultimately ends in divorce.

One of the most spectacular scenes in the movie is the opera scene involving Susan Alexander. Kane essentially buys Susan's career and forces her to become an opera singer, even though she is not talented. He builds an opera house for her debut performance and the sequence that follows is nothing short of magical. The use of camera angles and lighting is masterful, and it is a testament to Orson Welles' vision and direction.

As the story progresses, we see Kane's political aspirations play a more prominent role in his life. He launches an unsuccessful campaign to become Governor of New York, and this leads to his downfall. Through a series of backstabbing maneuvers, he loses control of his media empire and his connections to those who once supported him vanish.

The movie's climax is tightly paced and brilliantly executed, with Welles' direction keeping the suspense high. The viewer is left with a sense of intrigue and wonder as the story reaches its conclusion.

Technically, Citizen Kane is an outstanding film - there's a reason it's often cited as one of the greatest movies of all time. The cinematography is practically perfect; many of the shots are stunningly composed, and the editing is incredibly innovative. The soundtrack is masterfully constructed, and each moment is perfectly scored to enhance the mood.

Additionally, the performances by the cast are top-notch. Orson Welles himself, in his very first film role, steals the show as the complicated, enigmatic Charles Foster Kane. His talent as an actor and director shines through in every frame of the film.

The Bottom Line: Citizen Kane is a true masterpiece of cinema, and it's easy to see why it's still held in such high regard decades after its release. It tells a fascinating story, features excellent performances, and boasts some of the most technically impressive filmmaking ever seen on the silver screen. It's a must-see for any serious film lover.

Citizen Kane is a 1941 mystery with a runtime of 1 hour and 59 minutes. It has received outstanding reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.3 and a MetaScore of 100.

Citizen Kane
Where to Watch Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Citizen Kane for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 59 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    8.3  (464,150)
  • Metascore