A group of reporters who are trying to decipher the last word ever spoke by Charles Foster Kane, the millionaire newspaper tycoon: "Rosebud." The film begins with a news reel detailing Kane's life for the masses, and then from there, we are shown flashbacks from Kane's life. As the reporters investigate further, the viewers see a display of a fascinating man's rise to fame, and how he eventually fell off the "top of the world." Written by Zack H.
September 5, 1941
Citizen Kane is listed as number one on the AFI top 100 films. It was in the first 1997 version of the list as well. Is it still the great work it once was? Citizen Kane, originally released in 1941 at the beginning of World War II. If released as is to today’s audience I doubt it would have been such a impactful film. Of course in 1941 it wasn’t exactly the Titanic of its day either. The story loosely based on the life of media mogul William Randolph Hurst. At the time Hurst made sure that any publications he controlled had nothing good to say about the film either. Yet despite poor showing at the box office and negative press the film is still held in such high regard today. I love the quote by Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”.
Citizen Kane is the giant that many of our favorite contemporary films stand today. From the age progression make up, to the unique camera angles, to the non linear story telling; Citizen Kane changed the way Hollywood told stories. Along with the fact that Orson Wells wrote, directed and stared in the film makes it even more amazing. With all old classics, I like to mentally recast the film with todays box office favorites. I think Leonardo DiCaprio would be the ideal Charles Foster Kane. We have already seen him play so many rolls like it: J. Edgar (2011), Aviator (2004) and the Wolf of Wall Street (2013). If anything the Wolf of Wall Street is modern day version of Citizen Kane. Not that the film is as groundbreaking, but the story line. There are few original stories these days. Especially in today’s Hollywood where they choose to make sequels, prequels and reboots to generate box office numbers. The story of Citizen Kane is no less relevant today though. The tale of the rise and fall of american fame plays out in our reality and fiction alike. The story of Michael Jackson is very similar for example. A man longing for his lost childhood, a life filled with scandal all the while attempting to buy the happiness he lost as a child. I’m sure MJ had a Rosebud. It would be interesting to retell his story as a partial remake of Citizen Kane.
As it stands Citizen Kane remains as strong today. I include Citizen Kane in my in my top 10 films. I get a lot of grief from people asking, “really dude, you enjoy this movie”. If you compare it to the comfort food re-watchability of my favorites like Big Lebowski (1998) or Back to the Future (1985), then no. But it is the tremendous respect I have for how much my favorites have drawn from it that I will continue to tip my hat the great Citizen Kane.
I get it now. I see why this is the #1 movie for AFI 100. I’ve avoided it for 34 years and that was a grand mistake.
This is a wonderful movie where everything about it is just first-class. It’s an interesting story to follow and smart camera work. It’s about politics, love, business, friendship, greed, concern. As Matt mentioned in his review, it’s the 1940’s version, in a way, of Wolf of Wall Street — but without all of the drugs, sex and f-bombs. It is an interesting film that you can watch with your grandparents and your kids at the same time. It stirs up healthy discussions about what is important in life … Love? Money? Freedom? Power? Human beings have been struggling with the balance of what is most important in life and Citizen Kane brings a wise perspective on what life as a work-a-holic brings you. As a recovering work-a-holic, it was a strong reminder that no amount of money or size of home will ever bring you the life it seems to promise. It’s the Western-world mirage … work your butt off, make tons of money and life will be perfect.
Seth McFarlane came to mind while watching Citizen Kane which was very interesting to me. After we watched the movie, Matt shared that McFarlane borrowed a lot of his work and acting from Orson Welels … makes sense. Orson is a grand, tall man who can charm anyone with his smile and laughter. A perfect fit for Kane.