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City Lights (1931)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  7 March 1931 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 97,507 users  
Reviews: 209 user | 135 critic

With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically.



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Complete credited cast:
Virginia Cherrill ...
Florence Lee ...
Harry Myers ...
Al Ernest Garcia ...
James - the Millionaire's Butler (as Allan Garcia)
Hank Mann ...
A Prizefighter
A Tramp (as Charlie Chaplin)


A tramp falls in love with a beautiful blind girl. Her family is in financial trouble. The tramp's on-and-off friendship with a wealthy man allows him to be the girl's benefactor and suitor. Written by John J. Magee <magee@helix.mgh.harvard.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 March 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

City Lights: A Comedy Romance in Pantomime  »

Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (musical score)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


Charles Chaplin began shooting the film in 1928. Convinced that sound was just a passing fad, he decided to stick with his trademark pantomimic style. However, halfway through production he realized that the talkies weren't going away, so he shut down the film and tried to figure out how to incorporate sound. He was further hindered by the Wall Street Crash. See more »


When saving the man's life, and trying to climb out of the water, the position of the Tramp's hat is inconsistent. See more »


The Tramp: Tomorrow the birds will sing.
See more »


Referenced in Közimning qarasy (1999) See more »


Tomorrow the Sun Will Shine
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Charles Chaplin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Amusing comedy sets up SPECTACULAR ending
6 December 2004 | by (Whitehorse, Yukon) – See all my reviews

This is my favorite Chaplin film, but I don't want that to diminish his other work, either. MODERN TIMES was an outstanding work of social satire, THE GOLD RUSH was great slapstick, and even the largely-neglected MONSIEUR VERDOUX strikes a certain unforgettable tone. Chaplin didn't make a bad movie, and I'm not even sure that CL is his best, exactly. But it IS my favorite, if only for the ending.

That ending has been the subject of much comment here. I think it's a masterpiece in a single scene. Chaplin's little tramp has never seemed less like a character and more like a living, breathing human being. It's a monument to understated sentimentality.

To me, the rest of the film exists largely to set the context for that one magnificent piece of celluloid. Yes, the boxing scene is great, and the scene where he rescues the millionaire is also wonderful, but it's that ending that makes us all love this movie.

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