23 classic RKO films coming to BBC iPlayer including 'Citizen Kane', 'King Kong' and 'Top Hat'

Tom Butler
Senior Editor
Orson Welles standing on stacks of newspapers in a scene from the film 'Citizen Kane', 1941. (Photo by RKO Radio Pictures/Getty Images)

BBC iPlayer has announced plans to bring 23 classic RKO films to the service on 18 May.

RKO was one of Hollywood’s Big Five studios during its Golden Age and released some of the greatest movies ever made, including King Kong and Orson Welles’ iconic Citizen Kane, both of which will be on the BBC’s streaming service.

Welles’ 1941 film was his feature directing debut and is considered by film historians and critics to be one of the greatest movies ever made, if not the greatest ever. Citizen Kane was voted as such in five consecutive British Film Institute Sight & Sound polls of critics, topping the list from 1962-2012 when it was finally displaced by Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

(Original Caption) 05/25/1935 -Hollywood, CA- Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, famous dancing team of the screen, shown in a dizzy whirl of a dance from their latest picture, "Top Hat". BPA 2 #3545

Welles’ follow-up for RKO, Magnificent Ambersons, will also be made available to stream on iPlayer this month.

Seminal monster movie King Kong, starring Fay Wray, will also be added as will the classic Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger screwball musical Top Hat, and Howard Hawk comedy Bringing Up Baby starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn.

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The full list of RKO titles coming on 18 May is below.

Angel Face

Beautiful But Dangerous

Blackbeard, The Pirate

Bringing Up Baby

Cary Grant as David Huxley and Katharine Hepburn as Susan Vance in the 1938 comedy Bringing Up Baby. (Photo by �� John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)


Citizen Kane

Fort Apache (1948)

King Kong (1933)

Fay Wray is grabbed by King Kong in a scene from the film 'King Kong', 1933. (Photo by RKO Radio Pictures/Getty Images)

Kitty Foyle

Love Affair (1939)

Magnificent Ambersons

Mr Blandings Builds His Dreamhouse

My Favourite Wife

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon


The Gay Divorce

The Miracle of the Bells

The Sky’s the Limit

The Spanish Main

The Velvet Touch

Top Hat

Vivacious Lady

Wagon Master

Everything new on streaming in May:

Netflix UK: May’s new releases

NOW TV: May’s new releases

Amazon Prime Video UK: May's new releases

Disney+ UK: May's new releases