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City Lights (1931)

Passed  -  Comedy | Drama | Romance  -  7 March 1931 (USA)
8.7
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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 71,013 users  
Reviews: 187 user | 126 critic

The Tramp struggles to help a blind flower girl he has fallen in love with.

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Title: City Lights (1931)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Virginia Cherrill ...
Florence Lee ...
Her Grandmother
Florence Lee ...
The Blind Girl's Grandmother
Harry Myers ...
An Eccentric Millionaire
Al Ernest Garcia ...
The Millionaire's Butler (as Allan Garcia)
Hank Mann ...
A Prizefighter
...
A Tramp (as Charlie Chaplin)
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Storyline

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 | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 March 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

City Lights: A Comedy Romance in Pantomime  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (musical score)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At one point, Virginia Cherrill came back to the set late from an appointment, keeping Charles Chaplin waiting. Chaplin, whose relationship with Cherrill was not friendly, fired her on the spot. He intended to reshoot the film with Georgia Hale, his heroine from The Gold Rush (1925), playing the flower girl; he even reshot the final scene between the tramp and the flower girl with Hale in the role. However, Chaplin had already spent far too much time and money on the project to start over. Knowing this, Cherrill offered to come back to work - at double her original salary. Chaplin reluctantly agreed and the film was completed. (Source: Virginia Cherrill interview, Unknown Chaplin (1983)) See more »

Goofs

During the film's final scene, The Tramp is seen holding the flower to his face when seen from the front; when seen from the rear, he is holding it to his lapel. See more »

Quotes

The Tramp: You can see now?
A Blind Girl: Yes, I can see now.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Murder, She Wrote: Where Have You Gone, Billy Boy? (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Chaplin's Classic of Humor and Humanity
29 May 2001 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights" contains a blend of humor and humanity that make it memorable for everyone who watches it. Although made very much in the old-fashioned silent film tradition, much of it is timeless, too.

After a few minutes of slapstick at the beginning, Charlie's "little tramp" character makes two acquaintances. He meets a blind girl selling flowers, who mistakes him for a rich man, and the two become very fond of each other. Then he meets a real millionaire, who is drunk, depressed, and about to commit suicide. In a comic scene, the tramp persuades the millionaire not to go through with it, making himself a devoted friend.

The tramp soon learns that there is an operation that could give the girl her sight, and tries to think of some way he could help. His scenes with the girl and her grandmother are moving, while his determination to help lead him into some comic escapades - his attempt to win money in a boxing match being particularly funny, and one of Chaplin's best comic pieces. Meanwhile, when his millionaire friend is drunk, he dotes on the tramp, but when sober he forgets who the tramp is, leading to more amusing scenes and occasional trouble for Charlie.

All of the comedy leads up to a finale that is one of the best-remembered scenes in any film. "City Lights" shows the power of the camera in the hands of a master, who without words can move his audience or make them laugh. Anyone who appreciates good cinema should see it at least once.


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