Unfinished Orson Welles Movie Was Released 50 Years Later On… Netflix

Unfinished Orson Welles Movie Was Released 50 Years Later On… Netflix
Image credit: Netflix

How long does it take to make a cinematic masterpiece? Sometimes nearly half a century.


  • Orson Welles is one of the greatest directors in Hollywood history, who directed the iconic Citizen Kane, but for almost half a century, viewers have been unable to see his latest work.
  • Welles filmed The Other Side of the Wind in the '70s, but never completed the film before his death because he could not find funding.
  • The Other Side of the Wind is about a once popular director who shoots his last film and dies on his birthday at the age of 70.
  • The Other Side of the Wind was released on Netflix in 2018, along with a documentary about its making, They'll Love Me When I'm Dead.

Orson Welles is known not only as the director of the legendary Citizen Kane, but also as a major innovator of American cinema whose films rarely reached audiences in their original form.

For example, 40 minutes of The Magnificent Ambersons were lost forever after the studio interfered with the final cut. The Lady from Shanghai lost 60 minutes of its running time due to Columbia Pictures' control and failed at the box office, prompting film producers to blacklist Welles from Hollywood.

But perhaps the most astonishing story comes from the director's final film, The Other Side of the Wind, which was in production for nearly half a century.

The Other Side of the Wind Was in Production for 48 Years

48 years elapsed between the start of filming and the premiere of Orson Welles' last film. The director who began his career with one of the most stunning debuts in film history, Citizen Kane, ended it with a groundbreaking mockumentary that, after remaining unseen for decades, has become the stuff of legends.

Welles filmed the material from 1970 to 1976. He spent the remaining nine years of his life trying to find funding for post-production, but never succeeded. In the new century, with the help of Netflix and Peter Bogdanovich, who played one of the lead roles in the film, the right for the movie were finally acquired.

What is The Other Side of the Wind About?

Unfinished Orson Welles Movie Was Released 50 Years Later On… Netflix - image 1

Once famous, but already out of favor with the public, Hollywood director Jake Hannaford dies in a traffic accident on his 70th birthday.

In the last years of his life, he tried to revive his career by filming a dubious project without dialogue and with a lot of sex scenes about an abstract man and woman – the project was called The Other Side of the Wind.

But lack of funding and the departure of the lead actor interrupt the filming. At a birthday party, the filmed episodes are to be shown to potential backers for funding, but Jake doubts everything and asks for advice from Brooks Otterlake, his former student and now a commercially successful Hollywood director.

There Is a Netflix Doc On the Making of the Movie

The Other Side of the Wind has always been an enigmatic work, a potential masterpiece and simply a great movie that the average moviegoer will never see.

The film's lengthy production and endless process of rights transfers and legal battles was even the subject of a documentary called They’ll Love Me When I'm Dead, which was released on Netflix in 2018 on the same day as The Other Side of the Wind.