- Audio Commentary by Star and Co-Writer Oja Kodar and Director of Photography Gary Graver
- Introduction by Director Peter Bogdanovich
- Extended 9-Minute Trailer
Orson Welles: One-Man Band (1955), An 88-Minute Documentary About Welles's Unfinished Projects
Almost True: The Noble Art of Forgery (1997), A 52-Minute Documentary About Art Forger Elmyr de Hory
- Number of Discs: 2
- Rated: PG
- Run Time: 1 hours, 27 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: April 26, 2005
- Originally Released: 1976
- Label: Criterion
- 2-Disc Set
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Note: This release is a new, restored High-Definition digital transfer.
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Special Edition
- Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen - 1.66
- Dolby Digital Mono 2.0 - English
Disc 1: The Film
- Additional Release Material:
- Trailers: Extended 9 Minute Trailer
- Audio Commentary: Oja Kodar - Actor/Co-Writer and Gary Graver - Director Of Photography
Disc 2: The Supplement
- Additional Release Material:
- Bonus Footage: 1972 Hughes Press Conference
- Interviews: Clifford Irving (2000, 60 minutes)
- ORSON WELLES: ONE MAN BAND (1995, 88 minutes)
- ALMOST TRUE: THE NOBLE ART OF FORGERY (1997, 52 minutes)
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Memorable Quotes and Dialog:
"This is a film about trickery, and fraud...about lies."
- Orson Welles
"During the next hour, everything you hear is true and based on solid fact."--Welles
"Up to your old tricks again, I see'"--Oja Kodar
"Why not' I'm a charlatan."
"A magician is just an actor playing the part of a magician."
- Welles, quoting the famous magician Robert-Houdin (who inspired Houdini's name)
New York Times - 02/26/1977
"...A charming, witty meditation....If it is a fake, it's a marvelous one..."
USA Today - 07/28/1995
"...[An] artfully assembled essay about forgery, swindling and living the good life on modest resources..."
Entertainment Weekly - 04/29/2005
"Welles splices together a nonlinear meditation on fraud with a jump-cut, call-and-response style that predates MTV and other imitators."
Premiere - 05/01/2006
"[The film] celebrates magic and sleight of hand, a skill Welles possessed from a young age and which he returns to with brio..."
Uncut - 02/01/2007
4 stars out of 5 -- "Playful one moment, contemplative the next, it's prankster radicalism....A masterpiece of deceit..."
Total Film - 03/01/2007
4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] definition-defying examination of trickery itself."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Trickery. Deceit. Magic. In Orson Welles's free-form documentary F for Fake, the legendary filmmaker (and self-described charlatan) gleefully engages the central preoccupation of his career - the tenuous line between truth and illusion, art and lies. Beginning with portraits of world-renowned art forger Elmyr de Hory and his equally devious biographer, Clifford Irving, Welles embarks on a dizzying cinematic journey that simultaneously exposes and revels in fakery and fakers of all stripes - not the least of whom is Welles himself. Charming and inventive, F for Fake is an inspired prank and a searching examination of the essential duplicity of cinema.
Orson Welles has a ball examining the nature of what is real and what is fake in the funny, bizarre F FOR FAKE. Four people stand at the center of this documentary: Elmyr de Hory, who some believe forged more than a thousand masterpieces, many of which hang in some of the world's most famous museums; Clifford Irving, who is not only out to prove what a fake Elmyr is but also wrote a fake biography of Howard Hughes; Oja Kodar, who claims that Pablo Picasso painted 22 canvases of her that no one has ever seen; and Welles himself, who harks back to his days creating the havoc-causing THE WAR OF THE WORLDS for radio. But the true star of the film is the editing; from absurd stock footage to shots of Welles smirking into the camera from different locations to scenes with a monkey scurrying about, the film is vastly entertaining to watch. F FOR FAKE is an underrated, underappreciated work of comic genius about the nature of reality, celebrity, and art, by a master filmmaker showing a surprisingly wicked sense of humor.
Orson Welles's tongue-in-cheek look at famous fakes studies art forger Elmyr de Hory, Howard Hughes pseudo-biographer Clifford Irving, supposed Picasso muse Oja Kodar, and, finally, himself, from his WAR OF THE WORLDS radio broadcast to the accusation that he stole a writer's credit on CITIZEN KANE. This was one of Welles's last films, and though it defies easy categorization, no Welles fan should miss it.
- The film premiered at the San Sebastian Film Festival in September 1974.
- Shot on location in the United States, France, Toussaint, and Ibiza.
- Among the other titles considered for the film were VÉRITÉS ET MENSONGES (TRUTH OR LIES), ', QUESTION MARK, and HOAX.
- Director Orson Welles used footage that François Reichenbach had already shot for the original documentary.
- Welles connects himself to Clifford Irving by stating that Howard Hughes (the subject of Irving's hoax) was the initial basis for CITIZEN KANE.
- Welles and Oja Kodar were close friends and associates in the latter years of Welles's life.
- The opening credits, which humorously appear on film canisters, contain a misspelling of the word "practitioners" ("practioners").
- Christian Odasso shot the scenes in France and Ibiza; Gary Graver shot the scenes in the U.S. and Toussaint.
- Near the end of the film there is a shot of Welles, against a dark background, that perfectly mimics the famous first shot of Welles as Harry Lime in THE THIRD MAN, one of the greatest shots in film history.
- The film took about a year to edit; interestingly, much of the film contains shots of filmstrips and editing rooms.
- This was one of Orson Welles's last films.