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City Lights (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)

210 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The most cherished film by Charlie Chaplin (Modern Times) is also his ultimate Little Tramp chronicle. The writer-director-star achieved new levels of grace, in both physical comedy and dramatic poignancy, with this silent tale of a lovable vagrant falling for a young blind woman who sells flowers on the street (a magical Virginia Cherrill) and mistakes him for a millionaire. Though this Depression-era smash was made after the advent of sound, Chaplin remained steadfast in his love for the expressive beauty of the pre-talkie form. The result was the epitome of his art and the crowning achievement of silent comedy.

Special Features

  • New, restored 4K digital film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Chaplin Today: City Lights, a 2003 documentary on the film's production
  • New audio commentary by Charlie Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance
  • Chaplin Studios: Creative Freedom by Design, a new interview program
  • Archival footage from the production of City Lights, including film from the set
  • Excerpt from Chaplin's short film The Champion (1915)
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Gary Giddins and more

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Charlie Chaplin
    • Directors: Charlie Chaplin
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
    • Number of discs: 2
    • Rated: R (Restricted)
    • Studio: Criterion Collection
    • DVD Release Date: November 12, 2013
    • Run Time: 86 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B004OOL73W
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,224 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Hubert Vigilla on January 29, 2001
    Format: VHS Tape
    Though some here and in other circles have remarked that they believe "City Lights" is overrated and over-sentimental, I still believe that one cannot deny how moving and beautiful the film becomes as it draws toward its conclusion. "City Lights" remains my favorite Chaplin movie with "Modern Times" coming in at a close second. Chaplin plays his classic Tramp character who falls for a blind flower girl and wants to help her earn money for an operation to cure blindness. The boxing scene in which the scrawny Chaplin takes on a seasoned prize fighter is the major comic highlight of the film featuring gags that have been imitated and recycled by countless other comedies. The finale is nothing short of touching, beautiful, and brilliant and shows perfectly the full emotion that can be conveyed in a silent picture. This is one of the few films that still, time and time again, can bring tears to my eyes. "City Lights" is a masterpiece.
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    34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Stresspuppy on February 16, 2000
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    a must for any movie collection. the dvd version is clean and provides two audio options, the original mono and a rich version re-recorded in stereo in 1989 for Chaplin's centennial. the stereo score adds quite a bit to the mood of the film.
    of interest as well, is a brief collection of annotation/changes by Chaplin to the original concept of the film.
    the movie itself is a great tribute to Chaplin's genius. there is the wonderful story line with great humorous moments like the 'audio' joke in the beginning, the whirlwind dance scene, the boxing match, then it ends... well, the end is acted simply but precisely and is compelling in its ambiguity. absolutely one of the greatest cinematic ending of all time.
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    32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 2003
    Format: DVD
    A few years after the advent of "talkies", Charlie Chaplin, with his 1931 film *City Lights*, provided the much-needed reminder that cinema remained (remains) a VISUAL medium. Two people yapping at each other while sitting on a divan was simply not going to cut the mustard, a fact that a visionary like Chaplin saw from the beginning. Right at the outset he makes fun of the incessant jabber that had sprung up in the movies after the discovery of sound synchronization. In a public square, a politico squawks incoherently while dedicating a new statue. He sounds, in fact, rather like the teacher on the Peanuts Gang cartoons: "bwah bwah bwah". Later in the scene, Chaplin's Little Tramp squawks too . . . and that's the only concession to "talking" in *City Lights*. After that, it's back to basics, meaning: gags, drunken gags, slapstick gags in a boxing ring, and of course the vaunted Chaplinesque sentimentality, laid on thick here via a poor blind girl who sells flowers for a living. It can be argued that the gags and their set-ups might not be quite as inspired (or funny) as the ones in his earlier films. Chaplin was in his early forties here, and it shows: he's less physically agile; he looks a bit tired, occasionally (though not during that famous boxing scene). Even so, there's an almost defiant tinge to the stunts and the humor, an "I'm still here!" attitude that seems to say that even if the repertoire is getting tired, no one can do it better than the film's director and star. For me, what pushes the movie from 4 Stars to 5 Stars is the devastating and ambiguous last sequence, which will hit you in the solar plexus so hard that tears will be forced from your eyes. Somehow the astonishing climax rises above the typically sentimental set-up and attains the pinnacle of artistic sublimity. James Agee opined that the finale constituted the "highest moment in the history of the movies". He may be right.
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    24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Casey62 on November 12, 2013
    Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
    When it comes to selecting a favorite among the sublime works of Charlie Chaplin, I can narrow it down to three features: THE GOLD RUSH (1925), CITY LIGHTS (1931), and MODERN TIMES (1936). Out of those, my favorite is whichever one I saw last, and for now the favor falls on CITY LIGHTS.

    Released when talkies were already firmly grounded, Chaplin's last silent production was a staunch holdout in the face of the new technology and thankfully so, for CITY LIGHTS stands today as one of the most eloquent examples of pantomimed cinema ever made. The simple story about a blind flower girl (Virginia Cherrill in a beautiful performance) who falls in love with a tramp whom she mistakes for her benefactor, forms the backbone on which Chaplin constructs some of his funniest and most poignant moments. The film is both parts comedy and romance, and shows us most exquisitely that true love can indeed be blind.

    Criterion's Blu-ray/DVD combo release of this ageless classic is glorious in image/audio quality. The film, scanned at 4K from two 35mm dupe negatives has never looked better, preserving a pleasing grain consistency and perfect tonal range. Details in textures and backgrounds are also flawlessly reproduced in HD. The audio is undistorted and completely hiss free; I especially like how dynamic the music sounds in the main title and boxing sequence.
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    Topic From this Discussion
    Why so expensive?
    Criterion never said that it would remain the same price as the DVD. They said that the cost of the Blu-Ray would not increase. They're safeguarding your investment in the film. If you don't have a blu-ray player yet (honestly, what in hell are you waiting for?), they're allowing you to have the... Read More
    Dec 13, 2013 by filmgenius89 |  See all 3 posts
    Get the Image DVD for the Chaplin score, re-recorded in 1987
    I have to agree. Usually Criterion goes all-out to get the finest (and most thorough) elements when releasing their often unparalleled titles. I naturally assumed the sumptuous Carl Davis re-recording of the track was a must. This IS a serious defect, but, nevertheless, I look forward to... Read More
    Jan 18, 2015 by Lawrence J. Erenberg |  See all 2 posts
    WORST cover art work EVER
    The cover is nicely designed, although I've seen stronger caricatures of Chaplin.
    It's not the cover, but the contents, that matter. Criterion editions are beautifully produced and worth the money.
    Sep 3, 2013 by Nancy Beiman |  See all 4 posts
    The One Criterion Edition I've Been Waiting For
    As far as I can tell ALL the Warner's releases are unwatchable due to the mystifying aspect ratio they give them (which SHOULD be full Academy screen, boxed on the sides - NOT stretched and cropped at all times). You never see the full screen. Well, that's not true, because you CAN see them... Read More
    Jan 18, 2015 by Lawrence J. Erenberg |  See all 2 posts
    Barnes and Noble Critereon Sale 5
    Here's the deal. Amazon does not price match on media, but price isn't always important. At my ripe old age of 72, I have learned that dealing with a GREAT CUSTOMER-MINDED OUTFIT, i.e., Amazon, is worth the extra money one pays rather than buying from the 2nd worst company on the planet, Barnes... Read More
    Nov 12, 2013 by MARC E KORMAN |  See all 2 posts
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    City Lights (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
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