A fading comedian and a suicidally despondent ballet dancer must look to each other to find meaning and hope in their lives.



(original story and screenplay)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Calvero's Partner
Andre Eglevsky ...
Melissa Hayden ...
Mrs. Alsop
Wheeler Dryden ...
Thereza's Doctor
Barry Bernard ...
John Redfern
Stapleton Kent ...
Molly Glessing ...
Maid (as Mollie Glessing)
Leonard Mudie ...
Calvero's Doctor (as Leonard Mudi)
Street Musician


Chaplin's final American film tells the story of a fading music hall comedian's effort to help a despondent ballet dancer learn both to walk and feel confident about life again. The highlight of the film is the classic duet with Chaplin's only real artistic film comedy rival, Buster Keaton. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It will move you to love, laughter and tears See more »


Drama | Music | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 October 1952 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Candilejas  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (initial release) | (London premiere)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The first feature film in which Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton appeared onscreen together. This is often wrongly cited as their first onscreen meeting, but both appeared in a short publicity film in the 1920s entitled Seeing Stars (1922). See more »


The film begins in the summer of 1914, as the First World War began, but less than a year passes before a newsboy shows a headline "United States Enters War", which didn't happen until April, 1917, and Neville is drafted, though the draft did not begin until 1916. Curiously, only one person appears in uniform, despite England being on a war footing. See more »


Calvero: The heart and the mind, what an enigma.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"The glamour of limelight, from which age must pass as youth enters." See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.130 (2010) See more »


The Animal Trainer
(1952) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Charles Chaplin
Performed by Charles Chaplin
See more »

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User Reviews

A final reflective masterpiece
14 January 2004 | by See all my reviews

A washed-up, formerly-famous Music Hall comic, Charlie Chaplin, saves a suicidal ballerina, Claire Bloom. In the process of giving her the hope to move on and succeed, he regains the confidence to return to the stage himself.

"Limelight" is a moving and autobiographical film that works as both a bittersweet drama and a mirror into the soul of one of the world's greatest film makers. I sometimes wondered if my affection for this film is based on my knowledge of Chaplin's life and career, and the parallels between "Limelight" and people and incidents in his own life. When I watch this film I see an artist standing naked at a crossroads before his audience, unsure where to go and what to do. However, I know the film does not require an advanced degree in Chaplin to enjoy. My wife, who could probably do little more than identify the Tramp in a lineup before marrying me, loved this film before she met me. I have also had the good fortune to see the film in a theater in New York and watch it work its wonders on an audience. Stylistically, it might be dated, but the magic lingers.

"Limelight" is best viewed as a drama with comedy rather than a comedy with drama. Outwardly, it is the simple story of a vulnerable youth who mistakes her gratitude for love, and an older man wise enough to know the difference. But it's more than that too. It's about an artist's nature, and the addictive power of applause. The Chaplin character, Calvero, knows how to make people laugh, but feels he has lost the ability to do so. He realizes he is at the end of his career, but he still hungers for one final moment in the limelight. The film is talky and philosophical, and, yes, a little pompous and pretentious at times too. It's almost as if Chaplin is trying to impart through words the simple joys and mystery of life he was once able to express effortlessly through simple slapstick alone. Does this flood of words mean Chaplin has lost his skills as a film maker? No. He still has the power to move.

"Limelight" is Chaplin's final masterpiece. It is one of my favorites. I prefer to think of it as his last film. Should this be your first Chaplin film? No. Start with films like "The Gold Rush," "City Lights," and "The Great Dictator." Come to know the comedian before you get to know the man.

73 of 81 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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