1931 City Lights Movie Film Cinema Poster Art Advance Teaser Theatrical

City Lights (1931)

In 1949 critic James Agee wrote in Life magazine that the indescribable look on Charlie Chaplin’s face at the end of City Lights was the greatest piece of acting on celluloid ever recorded. The film is one of Chaplin’s masterpieces, mixing comedy and sentimentality brilliantly.

City Lights was released three years after the talkie revolution took Hollywood by storm. Chaplin added a music soundtrack and some sound effects, but decided not to add dialogue, trusting that his huge successes through facial and body language would continue. The opening scene of City Lights takes an immediate dig at the talkies: A mayor makes a political speech but all that comes out of his mouth are unintelligible squawks.

In February 1931, Sid Silverman – reviewing the film’s release for Variety – predicted that Chaplin would continue to make silent movies and continue to be hugely successful. It is a testament to Chaplin’s genius that almost a century later we can still be awed and still be brought to tears of joy and sorrow by his incredible films.


You can find more information on this U.S. movie on Wikipedia and IMDb.

As always, we recommend you don’t ruin any surprises by reading spoilers or watching this trailer:


Title: City Lights

Language: English

Direction: Charles Chaplin

Screenplay: Charles Chaplin

Cinematography: Rollie Totheroh, Gordon Pollock, Mark Marklatt

Editing: Charles Chaplin

Score: Charles Chaplin

Stars: Charlie Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers, Al Ernest Garcia, Hank Mann, Robert Parrish, Henry Bergman, Albert Austin, Jean Harlow (uncredited extra)


Full Acting Cast and Roles



  1. shimkysdad

    City Lights is a masterpiece of satire. The opening sequence immediately sets the tone of the movie with the anarchic tramp ridiculing the civic pomposity. It is as well to remember the times of the film; great economic depression brought misery to millions. Never was the great divide between the “haves” and have nots” so cruelly exposed. Not only a movie masterpiece but a biting social comment.

  2. jumpingpolarbear

    So many movies on your front page I have not seen. I need to get into those old school films :).

  3. Hunter

    Silent films really seem to be built for two genres: horror and slapstick comedy. While good spoken dialogue can really add a dimension to both of these genres, silent films have to rely more on images and music to tell the story and that often makes them a lot better at setting an atmosphere.

Leave a Reply to franny glass Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.