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Limelight

G Released Oct 23, 1952 2h 25m Comedy Drama List
90% Tomatometer 40 Reviews 90% Audience Score 5,000+ Ratings Depressed over her failed dance career, Terry (Claire Bloom) attempts suicide, only to be rescued by Calvero (Charles Chaplin), an impoverished, once-famous stage clown. Calvero revives Terry's health and prospects, and in the process recovers his own self-esteem as well. When Terry proposes marriage, Calvero thinks their age difference is too great, and leaves to become a street clown so that Terry's friendship with a promising young composer (Sydney Chaplin) can instead blossom. Read More Read Less

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Limelight

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Limelight

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Critics Consensus

A late triumph for one of early cinema's top talents, Limelight highlights the melancholy heart of Chaplin's comedic gifts.

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Critics Reviews

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Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times What comes through most clearly in Limelight, however, is that Chaplin had come to terms with his life. Rated: 3.5/4 Aug 8, 2011 Full Review TIME Magazine Intended as a tragicomedy, if not a tearjerker, it is a two-thirds bore that comes to life in the last half-hour or so, when the old-master clown stops trying to be pathetic and reverts to his inimitable proper stuff. Aug 8, 2011 Full Review David Parkinson Empire Magazine Elements of self parody from the master of slapstick leave you yearning for the early work that made his name. But it's worth a watch to see Chaplin and Keaton in one of few on-screen appearances together. Rated: 4/5 Mar 9, 2011 Full Review Vernon Young The Hudson Review A creative cinematic imagination gone to seed. Jan 18, 2024 Full Review Robert Hatch The Reporter A movie of impressive dimensions and great technical skill that serves up a tidbit of pathos as though it were a feast of tragedy. Sep 29, 2023 Full Review Pauline Kael City Lights The Chaplin of Limelight is no irreverent little clown; his reverence for his own ideas would be astonishing even if the ideas were worth consideration. Sep 29, 2023 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (341) audience reviews
David C So great to see Chaplin and Keaton on the screen together, The ballet scenes were better than expected. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 04/20/24 Full Review Michael V The masterpiece of laughter and tears from the master of comedy! Limelight is a 1952 American comedy-drama film written, produced, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin 🎭 It's ok, but I feel mixed about this one πŸ˜‰ I'd recommend it if you like this genre, but if not then probably give it a miss πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ I enjoyed the first half, but the second half dragged and some scenes should have been edited or cut… A fading music hall comedian tries to help a despondent ballet dancer learn to walk and to again feel confident about life. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/18/24 Full Review Denny S Made in 1952, this really should have been Chaplin's last film, as it seems to parallel his own later life as a fading performer from a different era falling in love with a younger woman, as he did in real life with Oona, who he married. Although there are some amusing moments (like his scene with Buster Keaton), the film is mostly a dramatic presentation. Although a bit mawkish at times, Chaplin handles drama quite well and Claire Bloom (in her first major film role) is perfect in the role of the young ballerina who befriends Chaplin. As mentioned, it would have made a fine coda for his career, but instead, Chaplin went on to make one more starring film "A King In New York" (1957) and directed "A Countess From Hong Kong"(1967). "Limelight" is absolutely worth seeing for the precision of a Chaplin performance and his skill as a film maker. Just don't expect a lot of laughs. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 10/02/23 Full Review Valerii Ege D Limelight is perhaps Charlie Chaplin's most emotional film. In a way, the film tells his own story. Throughout the film, he portrays his declining career. The advent of sound in cinema and the studio system significantly harmed him, and on top of that, he unintentionally became a part of the country's dark propaganda, which caused him to lose his former fame. In the film, he expresses that his vaudeville life is coming to an end, and that new artists need to be given a chance, but he also confesses his love for the stage. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 05/18/23 Full Review Matt L The Greatest Movie of All Time. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/28/23 Full Review William L "At this stage of the game, life gets to be a habit. ... Live for the moment, there are still wonderful moments." Limelight is an unusual film in that while viewing it, you are often left feeling more for the real-world background of the film's production rather than the fictional counterparts on the screen; here is Charlie Chaplin, the single greatest name in American film from the first quarter century of its existence and a master of physical comedy, whose star had tragically fallen with the decline of silent film, political condemnation, and a series of opportunistic hangers-on slowly bleeding him dry. And in this highly autobiographical story, Chaplin (as a formerly much loved vaudevillian tramp, Calvero) demonstrates both a comprehensive self-awareness of his fallen star and his natural aging, as well as an underlying resilience and love of life in spite of it all. It's a cinematic letter to the industry and the audiences, letting everyone know "I'm still here, and I'm alright". Though it's certainly unusual to hear him so verbose, Chaplin showcases flashes of the roguish charm that made his Tramp so endearing, now mellowed but still great; however, the long cutaways showing his character's vaudevillian talents don't showcase it as much as the smaller moments do. The practical design may not be quite so engaging in places (the background effects are rather noticeable), many of the individual comedy acts feel protracted and out of place in the larger narrative, and the major subplot is relatively conventional by contrast (Claire Bloom's relatively conventional romance with a young composes), comparing unfavorably to Calvero's dim golden years. But all in all, Limelight is not only an effective showcases of Chaplin's still-immortal talent, but a rather touching reflection on the successes and tragedies of his time on stage and screen. Not sure if Limelight originated the trope of slapping somebody out of their hysterics, but it's one of the earliest I can recall. (3.5/5) Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 07/21/22 Full Review Read all reviews
Limelight

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Movie Info

Synopsis Depressed over her failed dance career, Terry (Claire Bloom) attempts suicide, only to be rescued by Calvero (Charles Chaplin), an impoverished, once-famous stage clown. Calvero revives Terry's health and prospects, and in the process recovers his own self-esteem as well. When Terry proposes marriage, Calvero thinks their age difference is too great, and leaves to become a street clown so that Terry's friendship with a promising young composer (Sydney Chaplin) can instead blossom.
Director
Charlie Chaplin
Producer
Charlie Chaplin
Screenwriter
Charlie Chaplin
Distributor
United Artists
Production Co
Celebrated Productions
Rating
G
Genre
Comedy, Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Oct 23, 1952, Wide
Release Date (Streaming)
May 23, 2017
Runtime
2h 25m
Sound Mix
Mono
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