Orson Welles filmography

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This is the filmography of Orson Welles.[1]


Feature films[edit]

Year Film Notes
1941 Citizen Kane Winner of the 1941 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
First in The Greatest Films of All Time decennial poll of critics by the British Film Institute's Sight & Sound magazine in 1962, 1972, 1982, 1992 and 2002
Second in The Greatest Films of All Time poll of critics by Sight & Sound in 2012
First in the American Film Institute's AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies poll of film industry artists and leaders in 1998 and 2007
1942 The Magnificent Ambersons Ninth in The Greatest Films of All Time decennial poll of critics by the British Film Institute's Sight & Sound magazine in 1972
Eighth in The Greatest Films of All Time poll of critics by Sight and Sound in 1982
1946 The Stranger
1947 The Lady from Shanghai
1948 Macbeth
1952 Othello Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1952 Cannes Film Festival
1955 Mr. Arkadin
1958 Touch of Evil Winner of Best Film award at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair Film Festival
1962 The Trial Winner of Best Film award of the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics in 1964
1965 Chimes at Midnight Winner of 20th Anniversary Prize and Technical Grand Prize at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival
1968 The Immortal Story Made for French television and released theatrically
English and French versions simultaneously shot
1974 F for Fake Documentary/Essay film
1978 Filming Othello Documentary
Made for German television and released theatrically


Year Film Notes
1933 Twelfth Night Color, silent, narration by Welles provided on record
Edited highlights filmed by Welles of the dress rehearsal of a stage production he directed at the Todd School for Boys, produced in May 1933 for the Chicago Drama Festival
1934 The Hearts of Age Often mistakenly identified as Welles's first film
1938 Too Much Johnson Two-part film intended for use at the beginning and interval of a stage play
Believed lost until 2013[2]
1939 The Green Goddess Use in stage play, now a lost film
1941 Citizen Kane trailer Instead of a conventional trailer, Welles shot a completely original four-minute "making of" feature as a trailer, which does not feature a second from the actual film itself
1946 Around the World Used in stage musical, now a lost film
1950 The Miracle of St. Anne Used in stage play, now a lost film (short clips survive)
1953 Magic Trick
1960 Orson Welles in Dublin
1970 An Evening with Orson Welles Six 30-minute recitations including The Golden Honeymoon, The Happy Prince, and writings by G. K. Chesterton, P. G. Wodehouse, Socrates and Clarence Darrow
Only The Golden Honeymoon survives, the others are considered lost films.[3]
1976 F for Fake trailer Instead of a conventional trailer, Welles shot a self-contained, original nine-minute mockumentary to promote the film's American release, containing only a few seconds from F for Fake itself
1978 Orson Welles's Jeremiah
1978 Unsung Heroes
1984 The Spirit of Charles Lindbergh


Year Film Notes
1955 Orson Welles' Sketch Book Series of six episodes
1955 Around the World with Orson Welles Series of six completed episodes
One additional incomplete episode posthumously completed in 2000
1956 Orson Welles and People Unsold pilot, now a lost film
1958 The Fountain of Youth Unsold pilot filmed in 1956 but not broadcast until 1958
Winner of the Peabody Award,[4] the only unsold pilot ever so honored[5]:307
1958 Portrait of Gina Unsold pilot
Master tape lost, then found over 20 years later
Broadcast once, on German television in the 1990s, before an injunction prevented any repeat airings
1964 In the Land of Don Quixote Italian-language series of nine episodes
One episode only released posthumously
Filmed in 1961 but not broadcast until 1964
1979 The Orson Welles Show Unsold pilot
Welles directed under the pseudonym of G.O. Spelvin

Incomplete films[edit]

Year Film Notes
1942 It's All True Partially and posthumously completed in 1991 as a reconstruction/documentary.
1950 An Evening With Orson Welles Not to be confused for Welles's 1970 short film(s) of the same name. On 30 August 1950, Welles filmed his stage show of this name at the Geisengeige Studios outside Munich, but disposed of the footage after he was dissatisfied with the result, The show consisted of the one-act Welles-written stage play Time Runs, and a heavily abridged, one-act version of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest - now a lost film.
1955 The Dominici Affair Television episode from the Associated-Rediffusion series for the ITV series Around the World with Orson Welles. Posthumously completed in 2000 as a reconstruction and documentary.
1955 Moby Dick—Rehearsed Film version of the London stage play written, produced, directed by and starring Welles. Filming was not completed, and the material is now lost.
1957–1972 Don Quixote Several versions attempted, with footage reused as the concept changed several times. One version was on the brink of completion in the late 1960s ("Just one or two short scenes need adding", said Welles in 1967), but was destroyed by him when the 1969 moon landings made obsolete the film's ending with Don Quixote and Sancho Panza heading to the moon. A further, drastically revised version was almost completed in 1970, but never released. Attempts from the late 1970s onwards to recycle some footage for a documentary-essay on Spain were never completed. A posthumous 1992 edit of footage by Jesus Franco remains universally panned due to Franco's incoherent editing.
1967 The Heroine Only one day of filming completed. Now a lost film.
1967–1970 The Deep Filming mostly completed, but one crucial underwater fight scene was left unfilmed when its star died in 1972, and most of the film lacks a soundtrack.
1968 Vienna Short film. Originally a segment for the unfinished "Orson's Bag" TV special. Posthumously completed in 2000.
1968–1971 One Man Band[6][7][8] Short film also known as Orson Welles' London. Originally a segment for the unfinished "Orson's Bag" TV special. Posthumously completed in 2000.
1969 The Merchant of Venice Short 40-minute film. Originally a segment for the unfinished "Orson's Bag" TV special. Technically not an unfinished film, it was completed in 1969, but after just one private preview screening in Rome for Oja Kodar and her mother, the last two out of the three reels of the film's workprint were stolen, and remain missing. The original negative of the raw footage survives, but without sound; and so without the last two-thirds of the workprint, there is no way to know how that raw footage would have been edited together. The first reel of the workprint is complete, and has a soundtrack.
1970–1976 The Other Side of the Wind Although close to completion in 1976, a combination of copyright disputes, embezzlement of part of the film's budget by one of its producers, questionable decisions in seeking funding from the Shah of Iran's regime, the impounding of the negative by Ayatollah Khomeini's government, disputes between Welles's heirs over the rights, and literally decades of litigation, have all delayed its release. Filming was completed, and rough cut workprints exist, but only 40 minutes was properly edited by Welles in his lifetime. The original negative remains preserved in a locked Paris vault, tied up in legal disputes.
1981 Filming The Trial Welles recorded a Q&A session on his 1962 film The Trial, intending to integrate it into a "making of" documentary. The documentary was never made, but in 2000 the rushes were assembled into an 82 minute film.
1982 The Dreamers While Welles never began principal photography, two 10-minute "test" scenes were filmed, one in color, the other in black and white.
1976–1985 Orson Welles' Magic Show A long-term project filmed on-and-off from 1976 until Welles's death, this was planned as a TV special. Although unfinished, a 27-minute cut was posthumously completed in 2000.
1985 King Lear Black and white test scenes for a version of the Shakespeare play, to be mostly filmed in close-up


Film and TV[edit]

Year Film Role Director Notes
1937 The Spanish Earth Narrator Joris Ivens Alternate English-language release narrated by Ernest Hemingway; French-language version narrated by Jean Renoir[9]:617[10]
1940 Swiss Family Robinson Narrator Edward Ludwig Uncredited
1941 Citizen Kane Charles Foster Kane Orson Welles Also has an uncredited cameo as a journalist in the projection room scene. Also co-writer, producer & director (see above).
1943 Journey into Fear Colonel Haki Norman Foster Welles co-director (uncredited)
1943 Jane Eyre Edward Rochester Robert Stevenson Welles producer (uncredited)
1944 Follow the Boys Himself Edward Sutherland Welles directed his own scenes (uncredited)
1945 Mexico City, Old and New Narrator Produced by the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs in collaboration with the Mexican Tourist Association[11][12]
1946 Duel in the Sun Narrator King Vidor
1946 Tomorrow Is Forever John MacDonald, Erich Kessler Irving Pichel
1946 The Stranger Franz Kindler/ Professor Charles Rankin Orson Welles Also writer, director (see above).
1947 The Lady from Shanghai Michael O'Hara Orson Welles Also writer, director (see above).
1948 Macbeth Macbeth Orson Welles Also writer, director (see above).
1949 Black Magic Cagliostro Gregory Ratoff Welles directed his own scenes (uncredited)
1949 The Third Man Harry Lime Carol Reed Welles wrote a small portion of his own dialogue ("Cuckoo clock" speech)
1949 Prince of Foxes Cesare Borgia Henry King
1950 The Black Rose Bayan Henry Hathaway
1951 Return to Glennascaul Narrator/Himself Hilton Edwards Includes scenes of Welles directing his own Othello
1951 Le Petit Monde de Don Camillo Narrator Julien Duvivier English-language version only
1952 Trent's Last Case Sigsbee Manderson Herbert Wilcox
1952 Othello Othello Orson Welles Also writer, producer, director (see above).
1953 L'Uomo, la bestia e la virtù Captain Perella, the Beast Steno
1953 Si Versailles M'Etait Conté Benjamin Franklin Sacha Guitry
1953 King Lear King Lear Peter Brook TV; live presentation preserved as a kinescope
1954 Trouble in the Glen Sanin Cejadory Mengues Herbert Wilcox
1955 Three Cases of Murder Lord Mountdrago George More O'Ferrall
("Lord Mountdrago" segment)
Welles directed his own scenes (uncredited)[13]:416
1955 Mr. Arkadin Grigory Arkadin Orson Welles Also writer, director.
1955 Orson Welles' Sketch Book Himself Orson Welles TV. Also writer, director.
1955 Around the World with Orson Welles Himself Orson Welles TV. Also writer, director (see above).
1955 Napoléon Hudson Lowe Sacha Guitry
1956 Moby Dick Father Mapple John Huston
1955 Orson Welles and People Himself Orson Welles TV. Also writer, director.
1956 Out of Darkness Dramatic narrator CBS-TV documentary about mental patients and hospitals, with medical narration by Dr. William C. Menninger (March 18)[14]
1956 Ford Star Jubilee Oscar Jaffe Paul Nickell TV episode "Twentieth Century" (April 7)[13]:420[15]
1956 I Love Lucy Himself TV episode "Lucy Meets Orson Welles" (October 15)[16]
1957 Man in the Shadow Virgil Renchler Jack Arnold
1958 The Fountain of Youth Himself/ Narrator Orson Welles TV. Also writer, director.
1958 Portrait of Gina Himself Orson Welles TV. Also writer, director.
1958 The Long, Hot Summer Will Varner Martin Ritt
1958 Touch of Evil Hank Quinlan Orson Welles Also writer, director.
1958 The Vikings Narrator Richard Fleischer Uncredited
1958 South Seas Adventure Narrator Various directors Uncredited
1958 The Roots of Heaven Cy Sedgewick John Huston
1959 High Journey Narrator Peter Baylis
1959 Les Seigneurs de la forêt Narrator Henry Brandt, Heinz Sielmann English-language version only
1959 Compulsion Jonathan Wilk Richard Fleischer
1959 Ferry to Hong Kong Captain Hart Lewis Gilbert
1960 David and Goliath King Saul Ferdinando Baldi, Richard Pottier Welles directed his own scenes (uncredited)
1960 Crack in the Mirror Hagolin, Lamerciere Richard Fleischer
1960 Austerlitz Robert Fulton Abel Gance
1961 La Fayette Benjamin Franklin Jean Dréville
1961 King of Kings Narrator Nicholas Ray Uncredited
1961 I Tartari Burundai Ferdinando Baldi, Richard Thorpe
1962 The Trial The Advocate Orson Welles Also writer, director (see above). Welles also provided the opening narration, which he said was in character as the Advocate, but this is not made explicit in the film.
1962 Ro.Go.Pa.G. Film Director Pier Paolo Pasolini La Ricotta segment
1963 The V.I.P.s Max Buda Anthony Asquith
1964 In the Land of Don Quixote Himself Orson Welles TV. Also director (see above).
1964 The Finest Hours Narrator Peter Baylis
1965 A King's Story Narrator Harry Booth
1965 La Fabuleuse aventure de Marco Polo Akerman, Marco's Tutor Denys de La Patellière, Raoul Lévy
1965 Chimes at Midnight Sir John Falstaff Orson Welles Also writer, director (see above).
1966 Is Paris Burning? Consul Raoul Nordling René Clément
1966 A Man for All Seasons Cardinal Wolsey Fred Zinnemann
1967 Le Désordre à vingt ans Himself Jacques Baratier
1967 Casino Royale Le Chiffre Various directors
1967 The Sailor from Gibraltar Louis de Mozambique Tony Richardson
1967 I'll Never Forget What's'isname Jonathan Lute Michael Winner
1968 The Immortal Story Mr. Clay Orson Welles Also writer, director (see above).
1968 Oedipus the King Tiresias Philip Saville
1968 Tepepa Colonel Cascorro Giulio Petroni
1968 Around the World of Mike Todd Narrator Saul Swimmer
1968 House of Cards Leschenhaut John Guillermin
1968 Kampf um Rom I Emperor Justinian Robert Siodmak
1969 Kampf um Rom II - Der Verrat Emperor Justinian Robert Siodmak
1969 The Southern Star Plankett Sidney Hayers Welles directed the opening scenes (uncredited)
1969 Bitka na Neretvi Chetnik senator Veljko Bulajic
1969 12 + 1 Markan Nicolas Gessner, Luciano Lucignani
1970 Is It Always Right to Be Right? Narrator Lee Mishkin Animated short
1970 A Horse Called Nijinsky Narrator Jo Durden-Smith
1970 The Kremlin Letter Bresnavitch John Huston
1970 Start the Revolution Without Me The Narrator Bud Yorkin
1970 Catch-22 General Dreedle Mike Nichols
1970 Salvador Dalí Narrator Jean-Christophe Averty
1970 Waterloo Louis XVIII Sergei Bondarchuk
1971 Malpertuis Cassavius Harry Kümel
1971 Freedom River Narrator Sam Weiss
1971 Sentinels of Silence Narrator Robert Amram
1971 A Safe Place The Magician Henry Jaglom
1971 Directed by John Ford Narrator Peter Bogdanovich
1971 Ten Days' Wonder Theo Van Horn Claude Chabrol
1972 Future Shock Narrator Alexander Grasshoff
1972 Get to Know Your Rabbit Mr. Delasandro Brian De Palma
1972 Treasure Island Long John Silver John Hough
1972 Necromancy Mr. Cato Bert I. Gordon
1972 Hallmark Hall of Fame Sheridan Whiteside Buzz Kulik TV episode "The Man Who Came to Dinner"
1973 Kelly Country Narrator Stuart Cooper Documentary
Subtitle: "A Journey Across Australia Through the Paintings of Sidney Nolan"[17][18]
1973 Orson Welles' Great Mysteries Host Alan Gibson, Peter Sykes, Peter Sasdy, Philip Saville, James Ferman, Alan Cooke Series of 26 episodes produced for ITV
1974 F for Fake Himself Orson Welles Also writer, director (see above).
1974 Ten Little Indians Voice of Tape Peter Collinson Voice only
1974 The Challenge... A Tribute to Modern Art Himself Herbert Kline
1975 Who's Out There? Narrator
1975 Bugs Bunny Superstar Narrator Larry Jackson
1975 Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Narrator, Nag, Chuchundra Chuck Jones Animated short
1976 Voyage of the Damned Estedes Stuart Rosenberg
1977 Some Call It Greed Narrator Tim Forbes
1977 Rime of the Ancient Mariner Narrator Larry Jordan
1977 The Lions of Capitalism Narrator Tim Forbes
1977 Hot Tomorrows Parklawn Mortuary (voice) Tim Forbes
1978 Mysterious Castles of Clay Narrator Alan Root
1978 The Greatest Battle Narrator Umberto Lenzi
1978 Filming Othello Himself/ Othello (in archive footage) Orson Welles Also writer, producer, director (see above)
1979 The Orson Welles Show Himself Orson Welles TV; also writer, producer, director (see above)
1979 The Late Great Planet Earth Himself, narrator Robert Amram, Rolf Forsberg
1979 The New Deal for Artists Narrator Wieland Schulz-Keil Ninety-minute TV documentary about the Works Progress Administration and support for the arts[19][20][21]
1979 The Muppet Movie Lew Lord James Frawley
1979 The Double McGuffin Narrator Joe Camp
1980 Shōgun Narrator Jerry London TV miniseries
1980 Step Away Narrator Roberto Ponce, Marcos Zurinaga
1980 The Greenstone Narrator Kevin Irvine
1980 The Secret of Nikola Tesla J.P. Morgan Krsto Papic
1980 Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park Narrator[22]
1981 Search for the Titanic Himself Michael Harris
1981 The Man Who Saw Tomorrow Presenter, narrator Robert Guenette
1981 History of the World: Part I Narrator Mel Brooks
1982 Butterfly Judge Rauch Matt Cimber
1982 Genocide Narrator Arnold Schwartzman
1982 Slapstick of Another Kind Father of the Aliens (voice) Steven Paul
1983 Where Is Parsifal? Klingsor Henri Helman
1983 Hot Money Sheriff Paisley Zale Magder
1984 The Road to Bresson Himself Leo De Boer, Jurriën Rood
1984 The Enchanted Journey Pippo Yakikoto Higuchi English-language version
1984 In Our Hands Himself Robert Richter, Stanley Warnow
1984 The Last Sailors: The Final Days of Working Sail Narrator Neil Hollander, Herald Mertes Welles narrates a 12-minute segment about the jangadeiros of northern Brazil, the subject of one episode of his unfinished film, It's All True (1942)[23]
1985 Almonds and Raisins Narrator David Elstein, Russ Karel
1985 Scene of the Crime Host TV; short-lived NBC series (April–May)[24]:1201
1986 The Transformers: The Movie Unicron (voice) Nelson Shin Produced in 1985; final role filmed, in September 1985
1987 Someone to Love Himself Henry Jaglom Filmed in August 1985

Incomplete films[edit]

Year Film Notes
1942 It's All True Due to be the narrator, but narration never recorded.
1955 The Dominici Affair Presenter
1955 Moby Dick—Rehearsed An Actor-Manager/Father Mapple/Captain Ahab
1957–1972 Don Quixote Himself/Narrator/Voice of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza (dubbed over other actors)
1967–1970 The Deep Russ Brewster
1968 Vienna Himself
1968–1971 Orson Welles' London aka One Man Band Himself/One Man Band/Police constable/Old lady in window/Old sailor/Woman selling flowers and dirty postcards/Chinese strip club owner/Morris dancer/Winston Churchill/Lord Plumfield/Four English gentlemen
1969 The Merchant of Venice Shylock
1970–1976 The Other Side of the Wind Due to be the narrator, but narration never recorded.
1981 Filming The Trial Himself
1982 The Dreamers Marcus Kleek
1976–1985 Orson Welles' Magic Show Himself
1985 King Lear King Lear


  1. ^ "Orson Welles Filmography". the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 7 July 2009. 
  2. ^ Kehr, Dave (2013-08-07), "Early Film by Orson Welles Is Rediscovered", New York Times 
  3. ^ Graver, Gary, with Andrew J. Rausch, Making Movies with Orson Welles; A Memoir. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8108-6140-4 page 166. Only The Golden Honeymoon is known to exist; discovered footage was supplemented by audio from the 1946 radio play.
  4. ^ "Fountain of Youth". Peabody Awards. Retrieved 2014-09-07. 
  5. ^ Arnaz, Desi. A Book. New York: William Morrow, 1976. ISBN 0688003427
  6. ^ Orson Welles' London on IMDB
  7. ^ Orson Welles' London on British Film Institute
  8. ^ The Goodies Clarion & Globe Issue 93: ORSON-LY RARE GOODIES on Goodiesruleok.com
  9. ^ Brady, Frank, Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1989 ISBN 0-385-26759-2
  10. ^ "Clash of the Titans: When Orson Welles met Ernest Hemingway to narrate The Spanish Earth (May 1937)". Wellesnet. Retrieved 2014-05-06. 
  11. ^ "Films to Trace History of Cities". Austin Daily Texan (Austin, Texas). January 21, 1945. Six sound and color films on "City Planning – Present and Past" and a lecture by Hugo Leipziger on city planning and slum clearance will be presented by the Department of Architecture in the Architecture Building Auditorium … Students in city planning courses have invited the public to attend the free showings. 
  12. ^ Joseph, G. M.; Rubenstein, Anne; Zolov, Eric (2001). Fragments of a Golden Age: The Politics of Culture in Mexico Since 1940. Duke University Press. pp. 238–239. ISBN 0822383128. Retrieved 2015-05-10. 
  13. ^ a b Welles, Orson, and Peter Bogdanovich, edited by Jonathan Rosenbaum, This is Orson Welles. New York: HarperCollins Publishers 1992 ISBN 0-06-016616-9.
  14. ^ Adams, Val (February 7, 1955). "TV Series Slated for Perry Mason". The New York Times. 
  15. ^ "Ford Star Jubilee". The Classic TV Archive. Retrieved 2015-04-09. 
  16. ^ "I Love Lucy (1956–57)". The Classic TV Archive. Retrieved 2015-04-09. 
  17. ^ "Sidney Nolan" (PDF). Heide Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2014-09-06. 
  18. ^ "Orson Welles Reads for Sidney Nolan". The Age, January 30, 1977. Retrieved 2014-09-06. 
  19. ^ "New Deal Artists Star in a TV Documentary". Dunning, Jennifer, The New York Times, July 5, 1981. Retrieved 2014-08-28. 
  20. ^ "TV: Warm Look Back at W.P.A. and the Arts". O'Connor, John J., The New York Times, July 6, 1981. Retrieved 2014-08-28. 
  21. ^ "Going Out Guide". Shepard, Richard F., The New York Times, March 14, 1983. Retrieved 2014-08-28. 
  22. ^ "Park Dedicated to President Roosevelt on His Namesake Island". Kral, Georgia, MetroFocus, WNET, October 18, 2012. Retrieved 2014-09-22. 
  23. ^ Mertes, Neil, and Hollander, Harald, The Last Sailors: The Final Days of Working Sail (1984). Adventure Film Productions, Transdisc Music, S.L., 2006. Region 2 DVD, disc 2, 12:30–24:50
  24. ^ Brooks, Tim, and Earle Marsh. The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present New York: Ballantine Books, 2007. ISBN 9780345497734