IMDb > City Lights (1931)
City Lights
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City Lights (1931) More at IMDbPro »

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City Lights -- The Tramp falls in love with a beautiful, blind flower girl who is in financial trouble.
Lawrence of Arabia -- AFI's 10 Top 10 - The 10 Greatest Films in 10 Classic Genres

Overview

User Rating:
8.6/10   74,851 votes »
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Down 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writer:
Charles Chaplin (written by)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for City Lights on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 March 1931 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
The Tramp struggles to help a blind flower girl he has fallen in love with. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Chaplin's Masterpiece...and Oh Those Last Five Minutes! See more (189 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Virginia Cherrill ... A Blind Girl
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

Charles Chaplin ... A Tramp (as Charlie Chaplin)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jack Alexander ... Extra in Boxing Scene (uncredited)
T.S. Alexander ... Doctor (uncredited)
Victor Alexander ... Superstitious Boxer (uncredited)
Albert Austin ... Street Sweeper / Burglar (uncredited)
Harry Ayers ... Cop (uncredited)
Eddie Baker ... Boxing Fight Referee (uncredited)
Henry Bergman ... Mayor / Blind Girl's Downstairs Neighbor (uncredited)
Betty Blair ... Woman at Center of Table in Restaurant (uncredited)
Buster Brodie ... Bald Party Guest (uncredited)
Jeanne Carpenter ... Extra in Restaurant Scene (uncredited)
Marie Cooper ... Dancer (uncredited)
Tom Dempsey ... Boxer (uncredited)
Peter Diego ... Man in Mix-Up with Coat and Hat (uncredited)
James Donnelly ... Steet Sweepers' Foreman (uncredited)
Ray Erlenborn ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Mrs. Garcia ... Woman at Left of Table in Restaurant (uncredited)
Milton Gowman ... Extra in Street Scene (uncredited)
Robert Graves ... Police Officer (uncredited)
Charles Hammond ... Extra in Street Scene (uncredited)

Jean Harlow ... Extra in Restaurant Scene (uncredited)
Ad Herman ... Extra in Boxing Scene (uncredited)
Joseph Herrick ... Extra in Boxing Scene (uncredited)
Mrs. Hyams ... Flower Shop Assistant (uncredited)
Austen Jewell ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Willie Keeler ... Boxer (uncredited)
A.B. Lane ... Extra in Boxing Scene (uncredited)
Eddie McAuliffe ... Eddie Mason - Boxer (uncredited)
Margaret Oliver ... Extra in Street Scene (uncredited)
Robert Parrish ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Mrs. Pope ... Extra in Restaurant Scene (uncredited)
John Rand ... Tramp Who Dives for Cigar (uncredited)
Granville Redmond ... Sculptor (uncredited)
W.C. Robinson ... Man Who Throws Away Cigar (uncredited)
Cy Slocum ... Extra in Boxing Scene (uncredited)
Tony Stabenau ... Victorious Boxer - Later Knocked Out (uncredited)
Mark Strong ... Man in Restaurant (uncredited)
Jack Sutherland ... Tall Man at Party (uncredited)
Joe Van Meter ... Burglar (uncredited)
Emmett Wagner ... Second (uncredited)
Tiny Ward ... Man in Elevator in Front of the Art Shop (uncredited)
Stanhope Wheatcroft ... Distinguished Gentleman in Cafe (uncredited)
Florence Wix ... Woman Who Sits on Cigar (uncredited)
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Directed by
Charles Chaplin 
 
Writing credits
Charles Chaplin (written by)

Harry Clive  uncredited
Harry Crocker  uncredited

Produced by
Charles Chaplin .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Charles Chaplin (music composed by)
 
Cinematography by
Gordon Pollock (photographer)
Roland Totheroh (photographer) (as Rollie Totheroh)
 
Film Editing by
Charles Chaplin (uncredited)
Willard Nico (uncredited)
 
Casting by
Al Ernest Garcia (uncredited)
 
Set Decoration by
Charles D. Hall (settings)
 
Production Management
Alfred Reeves .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Albert Austin .... assistant director
Henry Bergman .... assistant director
Harry Crocker .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Theodore Reed .... sound supervisor (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Ralph Barton .... still photographer (uncredited)
Mark Marlatt .... camera operator (uncredited)
Frank Testera .... gaffer (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Peter Culverwell .... assistant editor (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
Tim Grover .... assistant editor (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
 
Music Department
Carl Davis .... musical director (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
Robert Hathaway .... music editor (1988 recording of Chaplin's score) (as Bob Hathaway)
John Hayward .... music dubbing mixer (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
Arthur Johnston .... musical arrangement
Dick Lewzey .... music recordist (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
Alfred Newman .... musical director
José Padilla .... composer: additional music
Paul Wing .... orchestral contractor (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
 
Transportation Department
Toraichi Kono .... driver: Mr. Chaplin (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Kevin Brownlow .... supervisor (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
David Gill .... supervisor (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
Harry Crocker .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Carlyle Robinson .... press representative (uncredited)
Della Steele .... script supervisor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
  • Lansdowne Studios  recorded at (as C.T.S. Studios, London) (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
  • Pinewood Studios  re-recording at (1988 recording of Chaplin's score)
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"City Lights: A Comedy Romance in Pantomime" - USA (copyright title)
See more »
Runtime:
87 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Silent | Mono (musical score)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:G | Chile:TE | Denmark:A (2003) | France:U | Germany:6 (re-rating) (1997) | Netherlands:14 (re-rating) (1954) | Netherlands:AL (re-rating) (1954) (slightly cut) | Netherlands:14 (original rating) (1931) | Netherlands:AL (re-rating) (1931) | Norway:7 | Portugal:M/6 (DVD rating) | South Korea:All | Spain:T | Sweden:Btl | UK:U | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:G (1972) | West Germany:12 (1951)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The film was inordinately expensive - in excess of $1.5 million - mainly because Charles Chaplin kept his cast and crew on stand-by for 22 months, even though he only actually shot for 179 days.See more »
Goofs:
Crew or equipment visible: In the boxing match when the tramp propels himself off the ropes (twice) at his opponent. You can clearly see the wire on the back of his trunks.See more »
Quotes:
The Tramp:Be careful how you're driving.
Eccentric Millionaire:Am I driving?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
How Dry I AmSee more »

FAQ

How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
Why is it called "City Lights"?
What titles feature wacky boxing?
See more »
41 out of 46 people found the following review useful.
Chaplin's Masterpiece...and Oh Those Last Five Minutes!, 16 December 2005
Author: Ed Uyeshima from San Francisco, CA, USA

Let me join the consensus and call Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights" a masterpiece. It's only 81 minutes long, but they are among the best 81 minutes you could spend at the movies, and the last five minutes are simply exquisite. Keep your Kleenex box at arm's length as I doubt if there has been a more honestly heartbreaking scene captured on film. When the formerly blind girl gives the Little Tramp a flower and ultimately says "Yes, I can see now", the scene takes on such emotional gravity as to defy explanation.

Chaplin was at his zenith in 1928 when he started a journey of more than two years to develop and film this story, and the Little Tramp had already been a familiar character to audiences for over a decade. He had already made the classics "The Gold Rush" (1925) and "The Circus" (1928) starring his character, so it's obvious he felt a need to take a slightly different direction and deepen the character this time. The advent of talkies didn't stop Chaplin from making this "Comedy Romance in Pantomime" (as he subtitled it), as he knew giving the Little Tramp a voice would limit his appeal as a universal character. What I particularly enjoyed in this film is how the Little Tramp fancies himself as a well-mannered gentleman in spite of all the circumstances that bring him down, even going to prison for love. It is this self-delusion and his subsequent mistaken identity as a millionaire that leads him to the blind flower girl, played in an effectively plaintive manner by Virginia Cherrill. Her performance is a greatly underrated element in this film, as she displays the right amount of vacant innocence to make the last minutes so memorable. Simply compare her to the screen test shown of Georgia Hale, Chaplin's leading lady in "The Gold Rush" and an obviously more experienced actress than Cherrill, as Hale struggles to show the right balance between condescension and beatific revelation when she realizes the Little Tramp is the "wealthy" gentleman who paid for the restoration of her sight.

Of course, this would not be a Chaplin film without the brilliance of his comedy routines and there is a treasure trove of classic scenes - the rising and lowering of the street elevator, the shifting musical chairs scene at the nightclub, the mock suicide at the canal and especially the boxing scene, which has been imitated by so many lesser filmmakers (and was according to the footage included as a DVD extra, inspired by an earlier Chaplin short "The Champion" from 1915). Even a simple moment, for example, when the Little Tramp mistakes a piece of thread from his vest for a ball of twine, is impressive for the sheer delicacy of the moment. And special mention needs to go to Chaplin's musical score, where he beautifully interweaves José Padilla's "La Violetta" as his love theme.

The transfer to DVD is very good, and the 2-DVD set has plenty of extras though they vary in quality. The Serge Bromberg documentary provides an informative supplement to the film, and the footage of Chaplin from a Vienna press tour is fascinating since it captures the long-forgotten worldwide frenzy he created back then. The aforementioned Georgia Hale screen test is a worthwhile addition but runs on a bit too long. The 10-minute home movie of Chaplin's trip to Bali has a certain anthropological interest but seems rather pointless otherwise. Regardless, the movie itself is rewarding enough and an exquisite jewel that completely justifies Chaplin's reputation as one of the world's leading filmmakers.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for City Lights (1931)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Made in California? appnzllr-1
Prohibition Era? xacdann
Just saw it for the 2nd time..... It's now in my top 20 favourite films! TwiZone
Is the ending the best in film history? laffalott1
Many dialogue cards are in this one? Easy to understand without reading? Arturo_Lugo
Your Top ten favorite silent films SakowskyBrothers
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