This was not the easiest list to compile, because I haven’t really seen another film like ‘Citizen Kane’. Often cited as the greatest piece of cinema ever made, its ultimate messages are sparse, diverse, and exceptionally related to both man as a microscopic element of society and the society itself at large. It talks of corruption, confidence, growth, romance, and hierarchy, but in the end, we come to realize, along with the title character himself, that none of these things matter, because in his attempts to attain the status he has, what he’s forgone is simply too big a miss, and too striking a failure to ignore. ‘Citizen Kane’ is one of my favorite films of all time, and I haven’t seen a movie I can say is a worthy equal to it (in terms of handling of themes) yet; and therefore, this list will contain titles of features that give either the feel (in essence) of the Orson Welles-starrer, or have narrative connections to the picture in the way they communicate their subject matter. I would strongly recommend these movies similar to ‘Citizen Kane’. You can watch several of these movies like ‘Citizen Kane’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10. The Stranger (1946)
This is the only Orson Welles-directed film on this list, and the reason as to why I’ve included it on here is simply the fact that I find it to be an underrated work of his that perfectly understands his cinematic intentions, though it isn’t as well-realized as ‘Citizen Kane’. I first made an attempt to watch Welles’ third attempt at filmmaking solely because I adored Loretta Young, the exceptionally talented golden-age actress, in every other motion picture I’d seen of her’s. The film-noir mystery is able to stand out amongst the rest of its creator’s works because of excellent direction, cold, hard lighting, and powerhouse performances. Though the story is intriguing, following the mysterious beginnings of a strange authoritative character (played by Welles himself), it loses its spark halfway with its confused interpretation of the subconscious. Thankfully, it makes up for all that with its spine-chilling climax, which made me freeze with tension.
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9. Barry Lyndon (1975)
I’m just gonna say it – ‘Barry Lyndon’ is my favorite film of all time. Stanley Kubrick’s period-drama thematically presents me with my biggest fear: the subsequent downfall from success. It is impossible to spoil this film for anyone, as there is quite literally nothing to spoil. The essence of this art-piece lies in its silence, though when the narrator speaks, I’d rather hear nothing else. ‘Barry Lyndon’ is concerned with the rise and fall of an 18th-century Irish lad, partly because of his lack of understanding of the power he holds in his hands, and partly because of his ever-rising greed. In a lot of ways the perfect character study, the picture details the life and times of a highly authentic England from a time gone by, and though it is filmed with this cold, distant eye, it grips you emotionally with the way it presents its characters in situations wherein their enemies become tradition, ego, wealth, and a want for permanence. I believe that there is no film that sends a message as beautifully as this one does (that final title card makes a bit of the difference for me), neither is there one that makes me think, that makes me feel, to the degree that this masterpiece has affected me.