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9,501 Ratings

City Lights

Directed by Charlie Chaplin
United States, 1931
Comedy, Drama, Romance


A lovable tramp falls for a blind woman who sells flowers on the street and who mistakes him for a millionaire. Upon learning that she and her grandmother are to be evicted, the tramp undertakes a series of attempts to provide them with the money they need, all of which end in humiliating failure.

Our take

With Chaplin at his peak, comedy is to be expected. But this renowned classic is also a terrific display of how touching Chaplin could be, combining humor with tenderness, slapstick with longing. One of the comedian’s very best.

City Lights Directed by Charlie Chaplin

Awards & Festivals

National Board of Review

1931 | Winner: Top Ten Films

National Film Preservation Board

1991 | Winner: National Film Registry

The sublime City Lights was Chaplin’s riskiest and most complicated undertaking, a silent film made just as studios were fully committed to sound. Utilising music and sound effects, it was also a marriage of sentiment and slapstick, the elements of which had to mesh with acrobatic precision. Setting the tone is the opening, in which The Tramp endures a series of self-inflicted run-ins with a gigantic civic monument, a scene that is at once side-splittingly funny, risqué, and beautiful.
August 22, 2017
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Here is one of the perfect movies, as well as the apotheosis of Chaplin’s mix of humor and sentiment… As for the Tramp’s relationship with the blind flower girl, it is one of the most moving in cinema, as direct, funny, and heartwarming a depiction of love as one could imagine.
February 03, 2017
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This deeply eccentric film stands as the purest and most sublime of Chaplin’s masterpieces… Funny, bittersweet, and sensitive on levels that few movies can ever hope to reach, City Lights is one of the definitive romances of the big screen, building from episodic slapstick into one of the most moving endings in film.
February 11, 2016
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