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On its 70th Anniversary, Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane Comes to YouTube

By Minjae Ormes

YouTube Movies And TV Marketing Manager

UPDATE 9/15: We now have the first 10 minutes of Citizen Kane available to watch for free. The preview is embedded below, and you can click to rent if you'd like to see the full film.

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of its release, Orson Welles’ seminal work Citizen Kane joins the thousands of movies available on YouTube.

What makes Citizen Kane a film worthy of your attention? Let us count the ways, and find more on the YouTube Movie Extras playlist for Citizen Kane:

  • American Film Institute (AFI) voted Citizen Kane the #1 “Greatest Movie of All Time.” Twice
  • Welles and his cinematographer Gregg Toland popularized the technique of “deep focus” which makes you see everything in the fore-, middle- and background in focus. You’ve seen it in movies ranging from The Shining to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Director Steven Spielberg is among many filmmakers who credit Citizen Kane as a major influence, and even paid homage to Citizen Kane in the last scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark. 
  • You almost never got to watch this film. The negatives of Citizen Kane were destroyed in a warehouse fire decades ago. Thanks to a surviving positive print and digital restoration, Citizen Kane is now on YouTube today. 

To get more into movies like Citizen Kane, check out the YouTube Movie Extras that include commentary from directors like Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, a five second take on the film’s most iconic line and even a puppet parody.