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Modern Times (1936)

The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman.


(as Charlie Chaplin)


(as Charlie Chaplin)
4,027 ( 1,064)

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Top Rated Movies #38 | 4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
A Factory Worker (as Charlie Chaplin)
Henry Bergman ...
Tiny Sandford ...
Big Bill (as Stanley Sandford)
Gamin's Father
Prison Cellmate (as Dick Alexander)
Cecil Reynolds ...
Minister's Wife (as Myra McKinney)
J. Widdecombe Billows (as Murdoch McQuarrie)
Juvenile Officer
Sheriff Couler (as Ed Le Sainte)
Cafe Head Waiter


Chaplin's last 'silent' film, filled with sound effects, was made when everyone else was making talkies. Charlie turns against modern society, the machine age, (The use of sound in films ?) and progress. Firstly we see him frantically trying to keep up with a production line, tightening bolts. He is selected for an experiment with an automatic feeding machine, but various mishaps leads his boss to believe he has gone mad, and Charlie is sent to a mental hospital - When he gets out, he is mistaken for a communist while waving a red flag, sent to jail, foils a jailbreak, and is let out again. We follow Charlie through many more escapades before the film is out. Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Laugh . . . Cry and Thrill To his Genius . . ! See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 February 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Masses  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,507, 9 January 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$163,245, 24 October 2004
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Another inspiration for the film was a conversation that Charles Chaplin had with Mohandas K. Gandhi, who complained about how machines were taking over. Chaplin told Gandhi, "I grant that machinery with only the consideration of profit has thrown men out of work and created a great deal of misery, but to use it as a service to humanity ... should be a help and benefit to mankind." But as they discussed it, Chaplin came to realize it was the first part of his statement-machinery that only considers profits has created a great deal of misery-that mattered most. Gandhi had convinced him without even trying. See more »


(at around 36 mins) When Chaplin accidentally launches the ship, his position in relation to the moving ship changes between shots - he launches the ship from the side but when is looks at it descending into the water he is directly in front of the ship. See more »


President of the Electro Steel Corp.: [first lines]
President of the Electro Steel Corp.: Section 5, speed her up, 401.
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Referenced in Unknown Chaplin (1983) See more »


How Dry I Am
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

See That Little Man Over There? Remember When No One Was Better?
30 April 2004 | by See all my reviews

Charles Chaplin seemingly had been pushed out of the movie business by the early-1930s due to the advent of sound (a medium that just never seemed right with him). Chaplin, probably the best film-maker/performer of the 20th Century, did not despair though. He fought back with heart and emotion and by 1936 "Modern Times" was a major box office and critical success. It is a movie that quietly showed a man suffering through a world of change. As a factory worker in the film, Chaplin tries to cope with the industrial revolution and tries to make it through a quickly changing U.S. economy. He finds love with vagrant Paulette Goddard (who ended up marrying Chaplin in real life) and the two come together and lean on one another in a world of uncertainty and change. "Modern Times" is one of those films that will put a smile on your face, but it could make you weep just as easily. Chaplin's world was changing (and not necessarily for the better from his point of view) and he wanted to express the variations in his old way of doing things and the new way everyone else had accepted. Goddard is also probably the best actress to match Chaplin's charm in one of his pictures. Their love for one another (even though the marriage lasted a relatively short amount of time in real life) just seems to shine on the silver screen and they have a chemistry that is sweet and heart-warming. Beautifully made, wonderfully written, perfectly performed, smart, insightful and always brilliant, "Modern Times" is another film from Chaplin that will brand itself on the souls of all true lovers of the cinema. 5 stars out of 5.

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