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City Lights (1931)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  7 March 1931 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 95,360 users  
Reviews: 207 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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Title: City Lights (1931)

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Complete credited cast:
Virginia Cherrill ...
Florence Lee ...
Harry Myers ...
Al Ernest Garcia ...
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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

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
See  »

Did You Know?


While his demand for perfection could sometimes ruffle feathers, there was no question that Charles Chaplin poured his heart and soul into the pantomime art that he deeply loved. The film's poignant final shot was one that he was particularly proud of, having put a great deal of work into it despite its deceptive simplicity. He felt "a beautiful sensation of not acting, of standing outside myself," he said. "The key was exactly right - slightly embarrassed, delighted about meeting her again - apologetic without getting emotional about it. He was watching and wondering without any effort. It's one of the purest inserts - I call them inserts, close-ups - that I've ever done." See more »


When the Tramp is knocked out on the table in the locker room you see a pair of boxing gloves hooked on a post behind the table. The Tramp wakes up and struggles to sit up. The entire scene you can clearly see a wire attached to one of those gloves that when triggered, falls on his head, knocking him out once again. See more »


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


Featured in See Hear: Episode #31.35 (2012) See more »


Flower Girl Theme
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by José Padilla
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

One Of Chaplin''s Best & Most Endearing Films
15 July 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I always thought this was one of Charlie Chaplin's nicest, most under-appreciated silent movie gems. Then I discovered it really wasn't underrated; it's rated very high on most critics' lists. It may be that I usually hear about some of his other movies than I do this one.

Part of the reason I think so highly of this is simply that I'm a sentimentalist and story in this film is a very touching one. It's a romance between Charlie's tramp character (no name) and a blind girl, who also had no name in this film. Virginia Cherill, who played the blind woman and had a wholesome, pretty face which I found very attractive.

I'm not always a huge fan of pantomime except for some great comedians of the era like Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, but Chaplin was so good at it and this is one of the last of dying breed as "talkies" were out in full force by 1931. Chaplin was at his best in silent movies, anyway, and his comedy routines are legendary. He gave me a lot of laughs in this film, as always, and I particularly laughed (I love slapstick) at the boxing scene. Kudos, too, to Harry Myers as the "eccentric millionaire."

There's a lot of drama as well as humor in this 86-minute gem as the Tramp tries to aid a blind girl, raising money so she can get an operation to restore her sight.

Comedy, romance, drama (with suffering) all combine to make this an extraordinary piece of entertainment. It's hard to believe this movie was not up for one, single Academy Award.

37 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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