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Top 10 charlie chaplin films

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  • Top 10 charlie chaplin films

    1. Modern Times (1936)
    Chaplin’s most cherished movie is as much a celebration of silent film as it is a deconstruction of the modern industrial age. Chaplin overcame pressure (some might say it was the mark of how great an auteur he was) to make this silent film when “Talkies” were in full swing. “Modern Times” is also daringly political, displaying for the first time a political bent that would become a mark of Chaplin’s later work. The film features Chaplin’s Little Tramp struggling to come to terms with working in a production line factory. He has a mental breakdown which leads to several twists and turns as, firstly, Chaplin is sent to jail, and then on his release, hailed as a hero after accidentally knocking out the convicts. The film comments on the poor working conditions of many factory workers during depression era America, and fears modern production is the root cause. The film features the iconic scene that sees Chaplin’s character getting stuck in the cogs of one of the factory machines.

    2. City Lights (1931)
    Chaplin would continue making silent movies until 1934 with “Modern Times” but even “City Lights” was released when “Talkies” were the norm. This is one of Chaplin’s most delightful films. His Little Tramp meets a blind girl who mistakes him for a rich man. When he learns of an operation that can cure her, he sets out to raise the money but he ends up in jail. Whilst there, the girl has the operation, and hopes one day to meet the man that made her new sight possible.

    3. The Great Dictator (1940)
    Chaplin’s first “Talkie” is another one of those great forward-thinking films he wrote, directed, and performed in. “The Great Dictator” was the only movie at the time to display a deep-rooted anti-Nazi sentiment, which satirized Adolf Hitler’s leadership in Germany. Again, Chaplin went against the popular culture grain, conceiving and releasing the film while America was still neutral with Germany. Chaplin’s work here should not be underestimated in bringing to the attention of the mainstream American public the ills of Nazism, Hitler, anti-Semitism, and the fascist doctrine. The film was a massive success in both America and the UK. In the UK, it was especially successful, its anti-Nazi sentiment proving popular with a public ravaged by the blitz. The film was released in the UK during December of 1940 at the height of German air bombing in London and other UK cities.

    4. The Gold Rush (1925)
    “The Gold Rush” is the film Charlie Chaplin wanted to be remembered for. It’s a delightful romantic comedy as Chaplin’s Tramp sets out to find riches in the Alaskan Gold Rush.

    5. The Kid (1921)
    A touching, amusing early film outing for The Tramp. “The Kid” sees Charlie Chaplin’s titular character caring for a child he finds abandoned in an alley. As the child grows up, he begins following in The Tramp’s footsteps, scamming people in order to survive. Eventually, the authorities try to take the boy away which results in a desperate search and dramatic reunion. “The Kid” was one of the most popular films of 1921.




    6. Limelight (1952)
    “Limelight” originally gained notoriety for the wrong reasons, released around the time Chapin was refused entry back into the United States. The film, subsequently, found many cinema chains refusing to show it, and it wasn’t until the re-release in 1972 that “Limelight” was finally able to find its audience.

    The tale is loved for many reasons, not least, its bittersweet story that is infused by Chaplin’s heightening insecurities about his craft, and the pressure imposed by his detractors. In “Limelight” we see an aging Chaplin, who was once a performing stage-clown, now washed-up and drunk. He finds a young dancer-girl, nursing her back to health, and encouraging her to take up dancing once again. He, in turn, finds the stage calling him back, and in one final appearance, he wows the crowd with a triumphant performance, only to die of a heart attack shortly afterwards.

    It’s a sad and yet uplifting film that has its moments of pure joy and down-to-earth drama. Many people remember it as the first and only teaming of Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

    7. The Immigrant (1917)
    The oldest film in our list of Charlie Chaplin’s best, this short comedy sees the Little Tramp newly arrive in America.

    8. The Circus (1928)
    “The Circus” became the 7th highest grossing silent movie ever made. Those involved remember it, especially Chaplin, for the problems faced during production. There were numerous issues, including a long delay after the studio caught fire, and another as Chaplin faced a protracted divorce with then wife Lita Grey.

    9. Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
    One of Chaplin’s most controversial films, “Monsieur Verdoux” struggled to find an audience in America with critics failing to see any good points in it. In Europe, the film fared a lot better, it’s dark, satirical undertones working better for an audience not weaned on Midwestern melodrama and feel-good romance. Much like “Limelight” however, it was on its re-release in 1964, that the film became more popular in the States.

    10. A Dog’s Life (1918)
    Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp plays alongside Edna Purviance and a little pooch named S****s in this short silent film.

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