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charlie chaplin filmsCharlie Chaplin is by far one of the most recognizable faces of cinema, and this is surely due to the sheer volume of well-received films he was involved in during his lifetime. Chaplin starred in more than 80 films, most of which were silent and 40 of which were filmed in 1914.

The following year Chaplin added another 15 releases to his name, and throughout his career branched out tackling directorial, writing and acting rolls 5 Classic Alfred Hitchcock Movies You Can Download Or Stream For Free 5 Classic Alfred Hitchcock Movies You Can Download Or Stream For Free A household name thanks to movies like Psycho, The Birds and Rear Window (amongst others), Alfred Hitchcock was a true master of his art. Here are 5 early films directed by “The Master of Suspense”,... Read More . Nearly all of Chaplin’s work involved very visual comedy routines, so it’s silent films and slapstick comedy we’ll be focusing on today!

Making A Living (1914) [IMDB]

Marking Chaplin’s first appearance on film, Making A Living was released in 1914 and sees the slapstick icon playing a swindler who accepts a job as a reporter. After witnessing a car fly over a cliff, Chaplin’s character steals a rival reporter’s photograph of the event in a bid to pass it off as his own.

The two reporters become entangled in a plot to retrieve the photograph, eventually ending in typical slapstick style. I won’t spoil it, but if you are a big Chaplin fan then you’ll probably want to see his first outing on the silver screen.

Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914) [IMDB]

Notable for being the first film to feature Chaplin’s “Tramp” character, Kid Auto Races at Venice is another comedy of errors from the silent film era. When Charlie visits the Venice race track in California he manages to anger thousands of fans and the racers themselves with his usual slapstick antics.

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One particular running joke involves a film crew who are attempting to film the race. Nearly every shot they capture is ruined by Chaplin unwittingly walking in front of the camera, finally climaxing in a funny Chaplin-esque confrontation.

The Pawnshop (1916) [IMDB]

One of Chaplin’s more popular titles, The Pawnshop stars Charlie as a shop assistant eager to compete with another member of staff with disastrous consequences. The “bull in a china shop” cliche would apply fairly well to his character here, as he destroys nearly everything around him in some way or another.

Of course there’s more to it than that, and seeing as this film is still viewed favorably today it would make a great introduction to the world of silent film, slapstick comedy and the great Charlie Chaplin.

A Dog’s Life (1918) [IMDB]

Another outing for Charlie’s “Tramp” character and another very favorably viewed Chaplin film, A Dog’s Life is a touching tale of a street tramp and his dog’s fight for survival in the inner city. Charlie’s character lives in a vacant lot, and after attempting to get a job and failing he manages to rescue Scraps, a dog being attacked by other strays.

The two form an instant bond which takes them on a journey around the city, stealing sausages and encountering crooks. This film is both easy to watch and particularly engaging (especially if you love dogs!) and despite its age is still guaranteed to entertain you The Plinkett Reviews: Probably The Funniest Star Wars & Star Trek Video Reviews On The Web The Plinkett Reviews: Probably The Funniest Star Wars & Star Trek Video Reviews On The Web Lumping Star Wars and Star Trek fans together in the same sentence (let alone article) is a risky tactic. When the uniting factor just so happens to be critical comedy however, I think it's safe... Read More today.

The Kid (1921) [IMDB]

In his first full-length roll as a director (also having written the film and starring as the lead character) Chaplin’s “Tramp” finds himself caring for an abandoned child. The opening title of the film is “a comedy with a smile – and perhaps a tear” which couldn’t ring more true as slapstick meets tragedy head-on.

Considering this is Chaplin’s full-length directorial debut he did extremely well to ensure a product of such high quality that’s still loved today.

The Gold Rush (1925) [IMDB]

Another return for the “Tramp”, Charlie ventures to Alaska in search of employment and gold. Whilst there he predictably manages to frustrate and become entangled with the wrong crowd, eventually falling in love.

Another particularly well-regarded film, Chaplin himself declared that this is the film he would most like to be remembered for, and now that it’s freely available online 7 Interesting Free Movie Sites That You Might Have Missed 7 Interesting Free Movie Sites That You Might Have Missed What’s with the movies? Online movie sites may be bursting out from every nook and cranny of the digital world, but we cineastes never stop queuing up. Just as we have missed a few more... Read More then I think that’s far more likely!

City Lights (1931) [IMDB]

Probably the most highly-regarded film on this list, City Lights sees the “Tramp” character falling in love with a beauitful blind girl in this genuinely funny and moving silent film. Released a few years after the arrival of “talkies”, the film still did extremely well and was named by greats Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick and Andrei Tarkovsky as one of the best films ever made.

Does it really need much more of an introduction than that?

Conclusion

Silent films are truly a product of the past, a lesson in film-making, direction and early moving picture techniques. Not only are the films themselves highly watchable, funny and at times moving but also important from a historical and cultural standpoint. The phrase “they just don’t make ‘em like they used to” well-and-truly applies to Chaplin and his unique brand of comedy.

Any favorite Chaplin films? Any favorite silent films? Share your thoughts and links in the comments below.

  1. Aibek
    January 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    great post!

  2. Mark
    January 10, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I'm a big
    Charlie Chaplin fan. This list is good but it doesn't have one of his
    best movies, his first talkie movie The Great Dictator.

  3. Richard
    January 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I agree with the others: 
    The Great Dictator :)

  4. Guest
    January 10, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I recently watch the one named Modern Times.

  5. Mohan
    January 10, 2012 at 3:40 am

    The Great Dictator link 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9MucaWyGMM

  6. Mohan
    January 10, 2012 at 3:08 am

    The Great Dictator is also a master piece

    • Aibek
      January 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      second that

      • Denisa
        May 8, 2012 at 1:37 am

        I know what I said? earlier, but I have deicoversd the truth. The device she is holding is most likely a portable hearing aid? patented by Siemens in 1924. On their website, there is a photo of a man and woman. The man is holding the device in a similar manner as the old woman in the footage. She is talking to hear herself and looks up prob. because she heard the camera or the crew-since it was silent film they could be as loud as the want.+film cameras back then were also quite loud and bulky

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