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City Lights (1931)

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 her medically.

Director:

Charles Chaplin

Writer:

Charles Chaplin
Reviews
Popularity
4,616 ( 166)

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Cast

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

Taglines:

HE RETURNS -And the world rocks again with laughter. (Print Ad-Daily Examiner, ((Grafton, NSW)) 6 July 1931)

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 March 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

City Lights: A Comedy Romance in Pantomime See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$19,181, 6 July 2007
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent | Mono (musical score)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the premiere, the theater manager, H.L. Gumbiner, was justifiably proud of the gorgeous new state-of-the-art Los Angeles Theatre. Unfortunately, he had terrible timing. To Charles Chaplin's horror, Gumbiner had the film stopped halfway through. "Before continuing further with this wonderful comedy," boomed Gumbiner's voice over a loudspeaker to a bewildered audience, "we would like to take five minutes of your time and point out to you the merits of this beautiful new theater."

Chaplin was livid. "I could not believe my ears," he said. "I went mad. I leaped from my seat and raced up the aisle: 'Where's that stupid son of a bitch of a manager? I'll kill him!'" The audience was on Chaplin's side. They began stomping their feet, calling out, and eventually booing the poorly timed intrusion. Finally getting the message, Gumbiner stopped and the film started back up. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 5 mins) 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: Tomorrow the birds will sing.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Available prints feature the original credits, although references to United Artists have been removed. Even though he was uncredited in the original versions, José Padilla's name was added to the credits See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Girl with the Flower (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Beautiful Wonderful Eyes
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Charles Chaplin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Chaplin's Classic of Humor and Humanity
29 May 2001 | by Snow LeopardSee 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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