Citizen Kane Critical Analysis

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Citizen Kane is one of the most famous movies of all time. It was made in 1941 starring Orson Wells himself as the titular character. The film was also directed, co-written and produced by Wells who was 26 year old at the time. In this essay we are going to look at the movie itself offering a brief summary and a depiction of its themes, how the American culture of the time influenced the movie and its plot and we’ll finally examine what things make this movie particularly revolutionary for its time period.

The plot of Citizen Kane goes thusly. We open with the last word and death of our protagonist, said word being “Rosebud”. From that we are shown a news reel detailing the life of Charles Foster Kane and his death, the journalists making
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Kane represents the ideal American man. He was born into poverty hence one of the unwashed masses, his family struck gold hence he became suddenly rich. He builds an empire taking risks and building himself up from a poor young boy to the holder of one of the biggest fortunes in the world. While on one hand Kane represents the American Dream, on the other hand he also is an example of how this dream is corrupted and perverted. Kane himself states that if he hadn’t become rich he might have become a great man. Through the movie we see how power and ambition corrupt the once idealistic Charlie Kane. This theme of the American dream and Kane representing the ideal American are even clearer when you realize that the working title for this film was indeed “The American”. This movie was released at the tail end of the year the United States broke their non-intervention policy. They had been show they weren’t untouchable. Sure, within the countries that were involved in World War II America was hardly grazed by the violence but the ideals of America as this idyllic country where anyone could make it, no matter the precedence, was starting to break and you can tell that while watching Citizen…show more content…
Thematically it still resonates in general pop culture, but specially American. There are still many film critics that use the name “Citizen Kane” to refer to a good movie, or use it as a comparison. “X film is Citizen Kane compared to Y film”, or “this is the Citizen Kane of Z genera”. It has permeated the culture and with it language and expression. “Rosebud” is still used many times to talk about symbolism and metaphors. Citizen Kane is still known as the biggest Oscar snub of all time and at the same time its still known as the best film of all time. And for a newbie director to make a film so lauded with praise requires something
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