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City Lights (1931)

Passed  -  Comedy | Drama | Romance  -  7 March 1931 (USA)
8.6
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 81,194 users  
Reviews: 197 user | 129 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 help her medically.

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Title: City Lights (1931)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Virginia Cherrill ...
Florence Lee ...
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 | Plot 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

When the tramp accidentally swallows the whistle, his real eyebrows are visible beneath his fake ones. This was done intentionally to give him a lopsided, intoxicated facial expression. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Featured in Smashing UK Top 10: Top 10 Film Directors (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Beautiful Wonderful Eyes
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Charles Chaplin
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 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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