Rosebud: A Citizen Kane quiz


By: Bambi Turner

6 Min Quiz

Image: The Movie DB

About This Quiz

Orson Welles was given unprecedented freedom from the studios when he made the 1941 film, "Citizen Kane." This unusual hands-off approach, combined with Welles' lack of experience, resulted in a movie that revolutionized Hollywood, introducing new makeup techniques, unconventional lighting and never-before-seen camera angles. Even better, the timeless story of a man who has it all but yearns for his lost innocence still resonates with movie fans today. Take our quiz to see how much you know about this iconic film.

Spoiler alert -- so what is Rosebud?

The film opens with the death of Kane, whose last word -- Rosebud -- leaves everyone scratching their heads. Turns out, Rosebud was the name of Kane's favorite childhood sled, a symbol of his lost innocence.


What does Kane drop as he dies?

As Kane dies, he drops a snow globe, which shatters on the floor. The swirling snow in the globe takes Kane back to his childhood in Colorado.


How old was Orson Welles when he created "Citizen Kane"?

Welles was only 25 when he co-wrote, directed, produced and starred in "Citizen Kane." Not too shabby for what is arguably one of the most critically acclaimed films of all time.


What is the full name of Welles' character in the film?

Welles starred as Charles Foster Kane, a wealthy and famous editor and publisher. Thanks to the magic of Hollywood, a young Welles was able to use makeup to play Kane at every stage of life.


Why does Kane decide to run the "New York Inquirer"?

Kane comes into his inheritance when he turns 25, but dismisses most of his holdings to focus on the "New York Inquirer" -- because he thinks it will be fun to run a newspaper.


Where did Kane's money come from?

When Kane is just a child, his mother discovers a gold mine on her property. She puts the money in trust for her son, and he comes into his fortune when he is 25 years old.


What does Leland do on the "Inquirer"?

When Kane decides to take over the "Inquirer," he brings his best friend Jedediah Leland -- played by Joseph Cotten -- along for the ride. When Leland agrees to work for the paper, he takes on the role of drama critic for fun.


Who is Kane's childhood guardian?

After Mrs. Kane strikes it rich, she sends her son to live with the manager of his trust, Mr. Thatcher. The move is hard on young Kane, who is ripped unexpectedly from his mother's Colorado boarding house and sent away to school.


Who plays Kane's mother in the film?

It was Agnes Moorehead who played the stoic Mary Kane in the film. Moorehead later famously played Endora on "Bewitched."


What company, started by Orson Welles, provided much of the talent for "Citizen Kane"?

Welles famously founded the Mercury Theatre in 1937. It produced various plays and radio shows, including "War of the Worlds." Welles later took many cast members for "Citizen Kane," including Ray Collins, Agnes Moorehead and Joseph Cotten, directly from his Mercury Theatre group.


What war was Kane accused of instigating?

Kane had plenty of power as a wealthy editor and publisher, and critics accused him of instigating U.S. involvement in the Spanish-American War.


How long can the "Inquirer" stay afloat if it's losing a million dollars a year?

A boastful young Kane admits that he is losing a million dollars a year, which means he will have to shut down the paper -- in 60 years. Then the Great Depression hits and leaves Kane struggling for funds.


Where did Berstein meet his "lost love" long ago?

Kane's business manager, Bernstein, tells the story of how he met a woman in a white dress on a ferry years ago and has thought about her every month since, even though the pair never exchanged a word.


Who is Kane's first wife?

Kane is jubilant when he marries Emily Monroe Norton, daughter of a senator and niece of the U.S. president. Emily was played by Ruth Warrick, later famous for her role on the soap opera "All My Children."


Where do viewers get to see Emily's marriage to Charles fall apart?

In one memorable series of scenes, viewers get to see Kane and Emily as newlyweds, then watch as their marriage slowly dissolves at the breakfast table over the years.


Where is Susan coming from when she meets Kane for the first time?

Susan Alexander is suffering from a toothache and heading out of the pharmacy when she meets Charles Foster Kane for the first time. Kane soon begins an affair with Susan behind his wife's back.


What does Susan's mother dream that her daughter will do?

Susan's mother always wished that her daughter would become a singer. Kane is enthusiastic about the idea and encourages Susan to pursue singing.


What position is Kane running for against Jim Gettys?

Kane is running against Gettys for the position of Governor of New York. Gettys threatens to reveal Kane's affair with Susan unless Kane drops out of the race, which Kane refuses to do.


Who does Kane choose to stay with after his affair with Susan is revealed?

After Gettys forces his hand and he loses out on the Governor's race, Kane drops his wife and son and takes up with his mistress, Susan.


What happens to Emily?

After Kane leaves her, Emily and her son conveniently die in a car crash, leaving Kane free to marry Susan.


How much does Kane spend to build an opera house?

Determined that Susan will be an opera star, Kane spends a staggering $3 million to build a Chicago opera house for Susan to call her own. Unfortunately, she's not a great singer and her heart just isn't in it.


How does Susan distract herself from her relationship with Kane?

Trapped in her huge mansion and suffering from a great deal of marital strain, Susan tries to distract herself from her problems with jigsaw puzzles.


How does Susan attempt suicide?

Susan desperately wants to quit singing and live a quiet life, but Kane refuses to let her give up. It isn't until she poisons herself in a suicide attempt that Kane is willing to let her stop trying to become an opera star.


Why does Kane fire Leland?

Kane fires his former best friend, Leland, after discovering that Leland has written a bad review about Susan's singing. Kane later sends Leland a check for $25,000 -- which Leland returns, wanting nothing to do with his former friend.


What is Susan doing when reporters find her after Kane's death?

A very drunk Susan is running the El Rancho, an Atlantic City nightclub, after leaving Kane. Reporters track her to the club, hoping she can shed some light on the identity of Rosebud.


What was the name of Kane's butler?

Kane's butler Raymond is the one who claimed to hear his last word, even though viewers can see that the room was clearly empty when Kane died.


True or false: Charles Foster Kane was inspired by William Randolph Hearst.

Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst inspired the character Charles Foster Kane. Hearst was so furious that he prohibited any of his publications from discussing the film.


What was the name of Kane's palatial home?

Kane named his estate Xanadu. He used 100,000 trees and 20,000 tons of marble to construct his castle on the hill, which also included a zoo with two of every animal -- the biggest since Noah.


Where was Xanadu located?

The movie's Xanadu in Florida was inspired by William Randolph Hearst's San Simeon estate in California -- it's called Hearst Castle and you can still visit it to this day.


How many Oscars did "Citizen Kane" win?

Despite nine nominations, "Citizen Kane" won just one Oscar, for Best Screenplay. Welles and Herman Mankiewicz shared the award. It lost Best Picture to John Ford's "How Green Was My Valley."


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!