8.1/10
16,121
103 user 52 critic

Limelight (1952)

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

Director:

Charles Chaplin

Writers:

Charles Chaplin (original story by), Charles Chaplin (screenplay by)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A suave but cynical man supports his family by marrying and murdering rich women for their money, but the job has some occupational hazards.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Mady Correll, Allison Roddan
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A recently-deposed European monarch seeks shelter in New York City, where he becomes an accidental television celebrity and is later wrongly accused of being a Communist.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Maxine Audley, Jerry Desmonde
The Circus (1928)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The Tramp finds work and the girl of his dreams at a circus.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Merna Kennedy, Al Ernest Garcia
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

In Hong Kong, the ambassador returning to America meets the Russian countess, a refugee without a passport, who decides to hide in his cabin.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Marlon Brando, Sophia Loren, Sydney Chaplin
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A kept woman runs into her former fiancé and finds herself torn between love and comfort.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Edna Purviance, Clarence Geldart, Carl Miller
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie
A Dog's Life (1918)
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The Little Tramp and his dog companion struggle to survive in the inner city.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Dave Anderson
The Pilgrim (1923)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The Tramp is an escaped convict who is mistaken as a pastor in a small town church.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Syd Chaplin
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Three Chaplin silent comedies "A Dog's Life", "Shoulder Arms", and "The Pilgrim" are strung together to form a single feature length film. Chaplin provides new music, narration, and a small... See full summary »

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Albert Austin
The Immigrant (1917)
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Charlie is an immigrant who endures a challenging voyage and gets into trouble as soon as he arrives in America.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell
City Lights (1931)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

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
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee
Pay Day I (1922)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After a difficult day at work, a bricklayer tries to enjoy his pay day without his wife knowing.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Phyllis Allen, Mack Swain
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Chaplin ... Calvero
Claire Bloom ... Thereza
Nigel Bruce ... Postant
Buster Keaton ... Calvero's Partner
Sydney Chaplin ... Neville
Norman Lloyd ... Bodalink
Andre Eglevsky ... Dancer
Melissa Hayden Melissa Hayden ... Dancer: Columbine
Marjorie Bennett ... Mrs. Alsop
Wheeler Dryden Wheeler Dryden ... Thereza's Doctor
Barry Bernard Barry Bernard ... John Redfern
Stapleton Kent Stapleton Kent ... Claudius
Molly Glessing Molly Glessing ... Maid (as Mollie Glessing)
Leonard Mudie ... Calvero's Doctor (as Leonard Mudi)
Loyal Underwood ... Street Musician
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

The masterpiece of laughter and tears from the master of comedy! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 October 1952 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Candilejas See more »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (initial release) | (London premiere)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The children in the first scene in which we see Calvero--the ones who tell him the landlady isn't home--are Charles Chaplin's own children. See more »

Goofs

In discussing the ballet with the cast, the director casts a giant shadow over the auditorium (revealing it to be nothing more than a painting). See more »

Quotes

Calvero: There's something about working the streets I like. It's the tramp in me I suppose.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

The version of the film that premiered in London in 1952 ran 141 minutes. It had been in distribution for several months, when Chaplin recalled film prints and deleted a scene in which Calvero leaves the sleeping Thereza, and goes to a bar, where he meets his old friend, Claudius, the armless violin player, who gives Calvero money. The film ran 137 minutes after this scene was edited out for worldwide distribution. In the ending credits, there is still a billing for Stapleton Kent as Claudius, even though he is no longer seen in the film. The DVD includes the deleted scene as an extra feature. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #33.55 (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

The Death of Columbine
(1952) (uncredited)
Music by Charles Chaplin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Chaplin's Best Talkie. 9/10
1 March 2001 | by zetesSee all my reviews

Charlie Chaplin is one of the undisputed masters of the cinema. He was one of the funniest actors of the cinema, and he was also one of the greatest directors. Of course, the films that he is most famous for are his silent comedies, especially The Gold Rush, City Lights, and Modern Times. The latter two were the product of Chaplin's stubborn clinging to the format and conventions of the silent cinema, though everyone else had gone to sound. This stubbornness was certainly sound. His contemporaries such as Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd lost popularity when they moved to sound. Chaplin's last two silent films were popular and made a lot of money. Audiences may have craved sound, but they craved Chaplin, too, and did not disdain his silence. He was one of the silent artists who thought that they were just achieving the peak of their medium when sound came in. He proved himself right, since City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936) are probably his two best films, and both are two of the best films ever made.

Finally, in 1940, Chaplin directed and starred in his first talkie, The Great Dictator. Three more followed, Monsieur Verdoux, then Limelight, then King of New York, which happens to be the only one of these four I have not seen. The Great Dictator and Monsieur Verdoux were both good films in their own way, but perhaps Chaplin's in depth political commentary in these films detracted from them. The type of comedy that you find in his silent films did not mix well with this social commentary. The simple juxtapositions of the worlds of the poor and the rich in City Lights and Modern Times were far more powerful than what his first two talkies had to offer.

Then came Limelight, one of the most bittersweet films ever made. It is not perfect, but it achieves a grand melodramatic beauty that few films have ever even approached. The story is simple: a washed-up, old vaudvillian rescues a young ballet dancer from suicide. He takes care of her until she is healthy again, and even restores her confidence. The story may be simple, but the character dynamics are very complex. As the dancer, Theresa, is recovering, Calvero is not only rebuilding her confidence, but also his own. Theresa, because of his kindness towards her, finally believes she has fallen in love with him, even going so far as proposing marriage to him. Whether she actually loves him or not, and Calvero strongly asserts that she shouldn't and doesn't, these two characters have a constantly evolving relationship that does not end until the credits role. It is utterly fascinating, captivating, and dramatic.

There are a couple of problems, and though they're small, they deserve attention. Perhaps the biggest problem is that Claire Bloom is quite guilty of overacting. Her line delivery is bizarre and overdramatic. This isn't a big deal, since you ought to be keenly aware that the film takes place in the world of melodrama, and is thus exaggerated. Another thing that irked me is Buster Keaton's role. It is little more than a cameo. In fact, his character doesn't even have a name in the credits. This is truly disappointing, seeing that he, although Chaplin may have had the most heart, was the all-around funniest silent comedian.


45 of 52 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 103 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed