Why Is Citizen Kane The Greatest Film Ever Made?

Multiple reviewers on Amazon wrote this about the greatness of Orson Welle’s Citizen Kane:

Citizen Kane is not the greatest film of all time. How it garnered that reputation is far beyond me. This film is often prided on its technical innovations. The lighting, the cinematography, the editing is all done exceptionally. Lovers of the film resort to saying things like that, because the actual content of the film is banal and uninspired. One reviewer recommended multiple viewings to appreciate Kane’s greatness, but I don’t think I could sit through it again.


To say this it is overrated is an understatement in my opinion. Classic it may be but it certainly doesn’t deserve the title of the best film ever made. An excellent movie will appeal universally…..like “The Wizard of Oz”, whose inspiring message and timeless values we are in need of today. Citizen Kane is not universally appealing. I will not apologize for the fact that it is indeed a real “sleeper” and I mean that literally……it puts me to sleep within the first 10 minutes of viewing. How can we honestly compare this to the grandeur and scope of “Gone With the Wind”, “The Sound of Music”, “The Wizard of Oz”, or “The Ten Commandments”?

I ‘m gonna join the bandwagon and agree with them because the enjoyment of the film is puzzling. I remember sitting in cinema class and a majority of the students said that the film did have its extraordinary techniques that the audience of the 1940 would never understand, but to the modern viewer, it is outdated, cliché, and very much stale. Do remember that it was a commercial failure for its time.

The film focuses on the career of publishing icon Charles Foster Kane and his descent into loneliness as his pursuit for power grows as the audience is taken through flashbacks to solve his final word: Rosebud. Elements like the structure, camera work, script, symbolism, and theme are clever, but not good enough to sustain the greatest film of all of cinema. What it holds are now the lack of emotional depth, shallow cartoony characterization, empty absurdly grandiose (and annoyingly insistent) metaphors. In other words, boring story.

I do believe the American Film Institute over-hyped the film as its greatest film ruining the simplistic pleasures of watching Citizen Kane with the behind stories far superior than the actual movie. The story was that Welles went to hardships creating the film and was banned by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst for its uncanny similarities to himself. The film was a financial failure because of Hearst’s boycotts. If anything, Welles did far better work on Touch of Evil and the Lady From Shanghai. I can sound off even more but I’ll let The Seventh Seal director extraordinaire Ingmar Bergman’s words speak for itself:

“Total bore.”
“Performances are worthless.”
“Infinitely overrated filmmaker.”


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