On 16 April 1889, a legend was born. Going by the name Charles Chaplin, the young English boy would go on to revolutionise comedy and slapstick humour, make people laugh through economic depressions and wars, and become knighted for his incredible contributions to film and entertainment. What he’s most famous for is his iconic character, Little Tramp–developed with his pantomiming skills–and his satirical take of Adolf Hitler.
To celebrate the King of Comedy’s 131’st birthday, here are five of his top films that you cannot miss:
City Lights (1931)
City Lights was written, produced, directed by, and starred Charlie Chaplin. A pre-code silent romantic comedy, the film follows the misadventures of Tramp and his love for a blind girl, while developing a turbulent friendship with an alcoholic millionaire.
The Circus (1928)
Tramp, Chaplin’s iconic character, is hired to be a clown at a circus. However, the ringmaster soon realises that Tramp is funny only when it’s unintentional; leaving the audience in fits of laughter with his tomfoolery.
The Kid (1921)
Tramp finds himself in another fix here, when he adopts a baby who has been kidnapped and then dumped in an alleyway’s trashcan. This movie will make you laugh, cry, and everything in between.
Modern Times (1936)
Little Tramp struggles to fit into a modern, industrialized world, and this struggle leads him to a comedy of errors. This film is a take on the industrialized period during the Great Depression, and gave people something to laugh at during difficult times.
The Great Dictator (1940)
The only man who could satirize Hitler–or at least the first one to do it with such grace–was Charlie Chaplin. Released at the peak of Hitler’s dictatorship, and one year into the second world war, Chaplin’s monologue in this film has gone down in history as one of the greatest from Hollywood.
These are strange, surreal times we live in right now, and the best way to get through them is to just laugh it out. And whom better to laugh with, than Charlie Chaplin himself?
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