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Citizen Kane Quotes from the Controversial Film

Share the Citizen Kane quote that jumps out at you the most with everyone in the comments.

Citizen Kane is an American drama film that premiered in 1941 and was directed by Orson Welles. It is one of the most critically acclaimed movies of all time and won an Academy Award for Best Writing due to its genius screenplay. However, there is no doubt that this movie was way ahead of its time, resulting in lackluster sales at the box office.

The film explores the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane. He was born in a lowly family who had inherited a supposedly worthless mine that turned out to be rich with gold, suddenly turning their lives around.

His mother gave away Kane to a wealthy banker to help him have a bright future. These early events lay the foundation of Kane’s life decisions and mistakes.

Here are some of the most iconic Citizen Kane quotes you wouldn’t want to miss.

Don’t forget to also check out these Taxi Driver quotes from the iconic Martin Scorsese film.

Citizen Kane quotes from Charles Foster Kane

1. “If I hadn’t been very rich, I might have been a really great man.” — Charles Foster Kane

2. “I don’t know how to run a newspaper, Mr. Thatcher; I just try everything I can think of.” — Charles Foster Kane

3. “I know too many people. I guess we’re both lonely.” — Charles Foster Kane

4. “It’s obvious the people prefer Jim Gettys to me.” — Charles Foster Kane

5. “Mr. Thatcher is one of our most devoted readers, Mr. Bernstein. He knows what’s wrong with every issue since I’ve taken charge.” — Charles Foster Kane

6. “Don’t worry about me, Gettys! Don’t worry about me! I’m Charles Foster Kane! I’m no cheap, crooked politician, trying to save himself from the consequences of his crimes!” — Charles Foster Kane

7. “If I don’t look after the interests of the underprivileged, maybe somebody else will, maybe somebody without any money or property… and that would be too bad!” — Charles Foster Kane

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8. “I entered this campaign with one purpose only, to point out and make public the dishonesty, the downright villainy of Boss Jim W. Gettys’ political machine, now in complete control of the government of this state.” — Charles Foster Kane

9. “It’s also my pleasure to see to it that decent, hard-working people in this community aren’t robbed blind by a pack of money-mad pirates, just because they haven’t had anybody to look after their interests.” — Charles Foster Kane

10. “Now I can afford to make some promises. The working man and the slum child know they can expect my best efforts in their interests. The nation’s ordinary citizens know that I’ll do everything in my power to protect the underprivileged, the underpaid, and the underfed.” — Charles Foster Kane

11. “We have no secrets from our readers.” — Charles Foster Kane

More Citizen Kane quotes from Charles Foster Kane

12. “There’s only one person who’s going to decide what I’m going to do and that’s me.” — Charles Foster Kane

13. “The news goes on for 24 hours a day.” — Charles Foster Kane

14. “If the headline is big enough, it makes the news big enough.” — Charles Foster Kane

15. “I always gagged on that silver spoon.” — Charles Foster Kane

16. “You never should have married a newspaper man… they’re worse than sailors!” — Charles Foster Kane

17. “You’re right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars *next* year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I’ll have to close this place in… 60 years.” — Charles Foster Kane

18. “Sure, we’re speaking, Jedediah: you’re fired.” — Charles Foster Kane

19. “Don’t believe everything you hear on the radio.” — Charles Foster Kane

20. “You long-faced, overdressed anarchist!” — Charles Foster Kane

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21. “You can’t buy a bag of peanuts in this town without someone writing a song about you.” — Charles Foster Kane

22. “How did I find business conditions in Europe? With great difficulty.” — Charles Foster Kane

Citizen Kane quotes from Jedediah Leland

23. “He married for love. Love. That’s why he did everything. That’s why he went into politics. It seems we weren’t enough, he wanted all the voters to love him too.” — Jedediah Leland

24. “I can remember everything. That’s my curse, young man. It’s the greatest curse that’s ever been inflicted on the human race: memory.” — Jedediah Leland

25. “You talk about the people as though you owned them, as though they belong to you. As long as I can remember, you’ve talked about giving the people their rights, as if you can make them a present of liberty, as a reward for services rendered.” — Jedediah Leland

26. “I suppose he had a private sort of greatness, but he kept it to himself.” — Jedediah Leland

27. “I’d like to keep that particular piece of paper myself. I have a hunch it might turn out to be something pretty important, a document, like the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution, and my first report card at school.” — Jedediah Leland

28. “He never gave himself away. He never gave anything away, he just left you a tip, hmm? Ha. He had a generous mind. I don’t suppose anybody ever had so many opinions.” — Jedediah Leland

29. “Of course, a lot of us check out without having any special convictions about death, but we do know what we believe in, we do believe in something.” — Jedediah Leland

30. “You know, when I was a young man there used to be an impression around that nurses were pretty. Well, it was no truer then than it is today.” — Jedediah Leland

31. “That’s all he ever wanted out of life…was love. That’s the tragedy of Charles Foster Kane. You see, he just didn’t have any to give.” — Jedediah Leland

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Citizen Kane quotes from Jerry Thompson

32. “I guess “Rosebud” is just a piece in a jigsaw puzzle… a missing piece.” — Jerry Thompson

33. “I don’t think there’s one word that can describe a man’s life.” — Jerry Thompson

34. “Mr. Kane was a man who got everything he wanted and then lost it. Maybe “Rosebud” was something he couldn’t get, or something he lost.” — Jerry Thompson

Citizen Kane quotes from Mr. Bernstein

35. “Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Switzerland… he was thrown out of a lot of colleges.” — Mr. Bernstein

36. “President’s niece, huh? Before Mr. Kane’s through with her, she’ll be a president’s wife.” — Mr. Bernstein

37. “We never lost as much as we made.” — Mr. Bernstein

38. “Mr. Kane is finishing the review you started – he’s writing a bad notice. I guess that’ll show you.” — Mr. Bernstein

39. “Old age. It’s the only disease, Mr. Thompson, that you don’t look forward to being cured of.” — Mr. Bernstein

40. “A fellow will remember a lot of things you wouldn’t think he’d remember.” — Mr. Bernstein

Which of these Citizen Kane quotes is your favorite?

At the very young age of 25, Kane accumulated tons of money and took control of the New York Daily Inquirer, a newspaper company.

Kane became cunning and continued his rebellion against Thatcher, his wealthy guardian. He started campaigns against the wealthy and bowed to champion the poor through the use of yellow journalism.

As Kane became blinded by power, he lost everything in life, including his wife and friends. Finally, as he became old, he lost his influence and political power and lived in seclusion.

On his deathbed, Kane dies alone, uttering his last word, “Rosebud”, a symbolic word pertaining to the events when he was taken away from his mother.

Let these Citizen Kane quotes and sayings remind you how life can turn dramatically around in both good and bad.

Stephanie Kirby
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