Orson Welles Filmography

This is the filmography of Orson Welles.[1]

As director

Feature films

Year Film Notes
1941 Citizen Kane Winner of the 1941 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Repeatedly named as "The Greatest Film of All Time", for example, by Sight and Sound and the American Film Institute.
1942 The Magnificent Ambersons
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" at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair Film Festival.
1962 The Trial Winner of the "Best Film" award of the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics in 1964.
1965 Chimes at Midnight Winner of the 20th Anniversary Prize and the Technical Grand Prize at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival.
1968 The Immortal Story Film made for French television, but released theatrically. English and French versions simultaneously shot.
1974 F for Fake Documentary/Essay film
1978 Filming Othello Documentary / Essay film / Film made for German television, but released theatrically


Year Film Notes
1933 Twelfth Night Short film, in colour. Edited highlights (filmed by Welles) of the dress rehearsal of a Welles-directed stage production at the Todd School for Boys, produced in May 1933 for the Chicago Drama Festival. Silent, with narration by Welles provided on record.
1934 The Hearts of Age Short film. Often mistakenly identified as Welles's first film (see Twelfth Night above).
1938 Too Much Johnson Short two-part film intended for use at the beginning and interval of a stage play - was believed lost until 2013, when it was discovered in Italy.[2]
1939 The Green Goddess Short film for use in stage play - now a lost film.
1941 Citizen Kane trailer Short film. 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 Short film for use in stage musical - now a lost film.
1950 The Miracle of St. Anne Short film for use in stage play - now a lost film, barring some very short clips.
1953 Magic Trick Short film.
1960 Orson Welles in Dublin Short film.
1970 An Evening with Orson Welles Series of short films: 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 other five segments are considered lost films.[3]
1976 F for Fake trailer Short film. Instead of a conventional trailer, Welles shot a self-contained, original nine-minute mockumentary to publicise the film's American release, containing only a few seconds from F for Fake itself.
1978 Orson Welles's Jeremiah Short film.
1978 Unsung Heroes Short film.
1984 The Spirit of Charles Lindbergh Short film.

Television work

Year Film Notes
1955 Orson Welles' Sketch Book Television series - 6 episodes.
1955 Around the World with Orson Welles Television series - 6 completed episodes. (1 further incomplete episode, posthumously completed in 2000.)
1956 Orson Welles and People Short film / Television pilot (unsold). Now a lost film.
1958 The Fountain of Youth Short film / Television pilot (unsold). Filmed in 1956, but not broadcast until 1958. Winner of the Peabody Award.
1958 Portrait of Gina Short film / Television pilot (unsold). Master tape lost, then found over 20 years later. Only broadcast once, on German television in the 1990s, before an injunction prevented any repeat airings.
1964 In the Land of Don Quixote Italian-language television series - 9 episodes. 1 episode only released posthumously. Filmed in 1961, but not broadcast until 1964.
1979 The Orson Welles Show Television pilot (unsold). Welles directed under the pseudonym of G.O. Spelvin.

Incomplete films

Year Film Notes
1942 It's All True Partially and posthumously completed in 1991 as a reconstruction/documentary.
1955 The Dominici Affair Television episode from BBC 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 never completed, and now a lost film.
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.
1968-71 One Man Band[4][5][6] 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 soundtrack for the last two of the film's three reels was stolen, and remains missing.
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 colour, 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

As an actor

Completed films

Year Film Role Director Notes
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)
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
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)[7]
1955 Mr. Arkadin Grigory Arkadin Orson Welles Also writer, director (see above).
1955 Orson Welles' Sketch Book Himself Orson Welles TV. Also writer, director (see above).
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 (see above).
1957 Man in the Shadow Virgil Renchler Jack Arnold
1958 The Fountain of Youth Himself/ Narrator Orson Welles TV. Also writer, director (see above).
1958 Portrait of Gina Himself Orson Welles TV. Also writer, director (see above).
1958 The Long, Hot Summer Will Varner Martin Ritt
1958 Touch of Evil Hank Quinlan Orson Welles Also writer, director (see above).
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 The Battle of 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 The Man Who Came to Dinner Sheridan Whiteside Buzz Kulik TV (Hallmark Hall of Fame)
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 Muppet Movie Lew Lord James Frawley
1979 The Double McGuffin Narrator Joe Camp
1980 Shōgun (TV miniseries) 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
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
1985 Almonds and Raisins Narrator David Elstein, Russ Karel
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

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


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