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Citizen Kane

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Citizen Kane is a 1941 film, directed by and starring Orson Welles. It was his debut movie and featured a lot of cinematic innovations, alongside a powerful story about the rise and fall of a newspaper tycoon, Charles Foster Kane. The film became a classic and is often called "the greatest film of all time" by film critics and therefore frequently referenced on The Simpsons. So much, in fact, that one of the writers claimed that it may be, alongside The Godfather, the most parodied film on the show.

References to Citizen Kane in The Simpsons[edit]


Picture Season Episode number Episode name Reference
Burns' manor (There's No Disgrace Like Home).png 1 04 "There's No Disgrace Like Home" Burns' Manor first appears, which is modelled after Kane's manor, particularly the gate with the first letter of the owner's name inside a circle.
2 017 "Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish" The scene where Mr. Burns is trying to be elected as governor in front of a large black and white poster of his own face references a similar scene in the movie where Kane is trying to be elected president. Later, when Burns' election campaign begins to plummit he shouts, "You can't do this to me. I'm Charles Montgomery Burns!" This is a parody of the line that Kane speaks when he fails in getting elected, "You can't do this to me. I'm Charles Foster Kane."
4 061 "A Streetcar Named Marge" When Homer watches the musical rendition of "A Streetcar Named Desire" he becomes uninterested and begins amusing himself by playing with a piece of paper, similar to the way a bored Joseph Cotten does in the theater audience while watching the opera in which Kane's mistress performs.
066 "Marge Gets a Job" Smithers' dance act for Mr. Burns, Tribute to Mr. Burns, is a direct parody of a dance act organized for Charles Foster Kane.
076 "Last Exit to Springfield" The scene transition where Mr. Burns's vulture in his birdhouse is shown in close-up, is very similar to a famous transition scene in Citizen Kane, where a cuckatoo in Kane's birdhouse briefly squawks. Both birds are shown from the same camera position too.
Burns family2.png 5 085 "Rosebud" The opening shots of Mr. Burns lying near-death with a snow ball in his hand parody of the opening scenes of the film. Also, the flashback where Mr. Burns leaves his teddy bear Bobo behind to go along with a rich millionaire and leave his parents references a similar scene where Charles Foster Kane is told to leave his parents for a richer life. Kane then leaves his sled behind.
Sideshow Bob Roberts.png 6 108 "Sideshow Bob Roberts" When Sideshow Bob is elected major of Springfield the black-and-white poster seen behind him is similar to the one seen behind Kane.
7 132 "Bart Sells His Soul" A sled with the name "Rosebud" can be seen in Moe's new tavern, in reference to the film.
Citizen Kang - Title Card.png 8 154 "Treehouse of Horror VII" The third segment is named "Citizen Kang".
Cane from Citizen Kane.png 11 229 "Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?" When the Simpsons were in the Mall they see a cane in a glass case and Lisa comments "Oh, look, there's the cane from Citizen Kane", and then Homer, Marge and Bart give each other confused looks and walk off purposefully, leading Lisa to reprimand herself: "Wait a minute... there was no cane in Citizen Kane".
17 360 "Treehouse of Horror XVI" When Orson Welles visits Springfield in 1938 Chief Wiggum threatens him: "... Or I'll kick you in the nose, bud", whereupon Welles mutters "Nosebud", in reference to "Rosebud" from Citizen Kane.
Citizen Cane Film.png 25 538 "White Christmas Blues" Citizen Cane is a parody of Citizen Kane.
Orson Welles.png 29 629 "Frink Gets Testy" In a documentary about Nostradamus, Orson Welles mentions he was the director of Citizen Kane.


Picture Comic issue Story name Reference
Simpsons Comics #47 The Rise and Fall of Bartholomew J. Simpson The comic's plot of adult Lisa trying to learn about the significance of the words "Fish Logs" from Bart's past is loosely based the film.
Simpsons Winter Wingding #9 The Radioactive Man Christmas Special! Comic Book Guy calls the The Radioactive Man Christmas Special! so awful at it makes the Ewok Christmas Special look like Citizen Kane.

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