Citizen Kane - The Greatest Movie Ever Made

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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Charles Foster Kane, aspiring newspaper baron, had been rich since childhood. Yet, with the coming of the Depression, his papers were constantly losing money. Standing by a table in a nondescript room with only a small window a few feet behind him, Kane is being forced to sign away much of his business assets. The two lawyers seated at the table look almost smug as one begins to read off the terms of the paper. As the lawyer talks, Kane, a large man now under heavy burdens, begins walking back towards the window. With every word spoken, he seems to shrink beside the window, until we realize it is huge, at least thirty feet high. The lawyer finishes, and Kane stares out it sadly for a moment before returning to sign the documents, a once great man now humbled and dwarfed. This single scene in Citizen Kane is just one demonstration of how it is possibly the greatest film of all time.

When you ask most people what the best movie ever made is, unless they are a film fan, they will probably name off a movie made recently -- Pulp Fiction, or Braveheart, or maybe a slightly older film like Star Wars. Few would think that the greatest film made could be over fifty years old. After all, hasn't the art of moviemaking advanced so much since then? Yet, that is one of the reasons that Kane is so great. I've seen countless movies and have viewed Kane many times, but I can think of few made before or since which have such incredible emotional impact, much less influencing almost all films since. In making it, the director, Orson Welles, broke nearly every known rule of making movies at the time, and invented a whole new set for...

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