8.5/10
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252 user 113 critic

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
4,434 ( 11)

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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 14 mins) When saving the man's life, and trying to climb out of the water, the position of the Tramp's hat is inconsistent. See more »

Quotes

A Blind Girl: Thank you for your kindness, sir.
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 Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Tomorrow the Sun Will Shine
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Charles Chaplin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A classic film made with love and precision
6 February 2001 | by BYUmogulSee all my reviews

Film has become a medium that is strongly influenced by nostalgia. Old films have become journeys to the past; ways to visit times and people that no longer are. Since film is an art that is based on the innovation of previous works, it has an element of nostalgia in its foundation. We look on the old to find what elements should make up the new. In City Lights, and other silent works of film, a passion emerges that is uniquely honest and sincere. While watching the film, I was impressed that Chaplin really did love the story, the sets, the crew; the whole project. While this may not have been the complete reality, it felt that way, and thus made the film more enjoyable. In silent films the audience is forced to be completely reliable on the visual elements of the film; there are no elaborate sound effects or dialogue to provoke an emotional response.

Since film is at its very core a visual medium, I find silent films to be the basic form of the medium. I don't use the word basic here in a demeaning sense, but I compare the beauty of silent films to the beauty of early European art, before the concept of perspective was developed in the Renaissance. Many books and tomes featured people as tall as the castles they stood in; these works of art were not technologically advanced, but they were, and are, beautiful. The same example is found when comparing early darreographs of wild animals to contemporary photographs found in National Geographic. There is a warmth found in City Lights, and other Chaplin films (The Kid, Modern Times) that would be lost in the sea of cinematic technology that floods films today. Maybe it's just that with simplicity comes honesty, and honesty is perhaps the most powerful emotion that can cross through the screen and be felt by the viewer.


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