films seen
average score
UK - 88 years old
R.I.P. (1889 - 1977)
more info

My least favorite director ever. I simply can't stand Chaplin's attitude, body language and sense of humor. There's something about him that irritates me no end, and since I've only seen him repeat himself, I really haven't anything positive to say.


Shoulder Arms

1918 / 36m - USA
Comedy, War
Shoulder Arms poster

It took me a while, but I finally found my first Charlie Chaplin film I didn't 100% hate. Maybe it has to do something with the fact that his famous Tramp character seems a bit further away, maybe because it's not just a silly romance (though there is still that of course), but I didn't feel all that irritated watching this film.

Read all

Chaplin plays a soldier in WWI who dreams of becoming a true hero. He's a bit of a screw up, still he's sent on an important undercover mission that takes him behind enemy lines. While his skills are severely lacking, it's his rash and uncontrolled behavior that seems to be keeping him out of harm's way.

For the most part, it's exactly the kind of slapstick I dislike. Expressive acting and silly physical comedy I don't find funny at all. The difference here is that the pacing feels slightly toned down and that there are some decent visual gags (like the scene where Chaplin dresses up as tree). It's not much, but at least it's something.

Monsieur Verdoux

1947 / 124m - USA
Comedy, Crime
Monsieur Verdoux poster

And so he finally speaks. This is the first time I see Chaplin in a speaking role. No more slapstick, no more Tramp skits. I was glad to see the old Chaplin go, only I can't say I was very charmed by the new one either. Monsieur Verdoux is a pretty tiring and dialogue-heavy comedy, only I didn't even smirk once.

Read all

Chaplin plays Verdoux, an older man who was fired from his job after 30 loyal years. For his new job, he travels a lot. On his travels he courts older ladies, gets chummy with them, plunders their bank accounts, and kills them afterward, moving on to the next. It doesn't take too long before the police are on his tail.

Chaplin's character isn't very fun, the dialogues are plentiful but never witty, and the film is overly long at more than two hours. The cinematography and score aren't much to care for either. It's all very pedestrian, but at least I had a slightly easier time with it compared to his slapstick work. Silver linings I guess.


1952 / 137m - USA
Drama, Music
Limelight poster

Chaplin and Keaton together in a film, but the result isn't a slapstick extravaganza. The later Chaplin films are far more dramatic and have dropped most of the explicit comedy bits (though Chaplin himself still can't play straight). While this is very different from his early work, I can't say it's a whole lot better.

Read all

Calvero is an old clown who has seen better days. He used to be pretty popular, but his heydays are well in the past, and this weighs on him. He meets Claire, a ballet dancer, who has a similarly gloomy outlook on life. Their misery connects them, and together they hope to find a better future.

The performances are still very exaggerated, which doesn't work well for a drama. The plot is reminiscent of the 30s/40s musicals, the musical scenes are pretty dull and I never really cared for either of the two leads. I wasn't quite as annoyed as I get watching Chaplin's slapstick material, but that's a pretty low bar, and hardly a positive.

The Great Dictator

1940 / 125m - USA
Comedy, War
The Great Dictator poster

Modern Times

1936 / 87m - USA
Comedy, Drama
Modern Times poster

City Lights

1931 / 87m - USA
Comedy, Romance
City Lights poster

The Gold Rush

1925 / 95m - USA
The Gold Rush poster

The Pilgrim

1923 / 47m - USA
The Pilgrim poster

A very typical Chaplin production, only shorter. It's a purer comedy compared to most of his feature length films, but in the end that didn't make all that big of a difference to me. I simply can't stand Chaplin's most famous character (the Tramp), which makes his films very difficult to sit through.

Read all

Chaplin plays a convict who just escaped from prison. He arrives in a small, God-loving town, people there mistake him for a pastor. Because he has nowhere else to go, he decides to play along, but he really has no experience and of course it doesn't take long before he starts messing up.

I'm not a big slapstick fan to begin with, but there's just something about Chaplin that irks me. I don't think he's funny at all, the jokes are dire, the film is slow and feels like a selection of random sketches and there's way too much repetition. It's simply unpleasant from start to finish.

The Kid

1921 / 68m - USA
Comedy, Drama
The Kid poster


1919 / 34m - USA
Sunnyside poster

I don't think I've ever encountered a director who is as one-note as Charlie Chaplin. All his films are alike, all his performances are virtually identical. Chaplin offers basic slapstick comedy and that's it. If you're lucky you get an overarching plot, if not it's just a collection of sketches.

Read all

Chaplin plays a help at the Evergreen Hotel in the idyllic town of Sunnyside. Safe to say, Chaplin isn't all that helpful. He's lazy, he messes up his chores and annoys the customers. The only thing that keeps him going is Edna, but when a city boy arrives in the town Edna quickly falls for his charms.

The bottom line is that I'm simply not a slapstick fan. I can stomach it combined with some action and stunt work, but when it's just slapping gags and expressive gestures, I get annoyed in no time. The fact that Chaplin keeps recycling gags and characters only makes it worse.

A Dog's Life

1918 / 33m - USA
A Dog's Life poster

And so my quest continues. Chaplin is no doubt my least favorite actor/director ever, but it's hard to believe he never made something that could at least spark a little joy or admiration in me. I keep giving his films a chance, but no luck so far. A Dog's Life looked at least somewhat promising, but not even a cute dog couldn't save this one.

Read all

The problem with Chaplin's films is that it is 90% Chaplin, so if you can't stand his signature Tramp character, there's extremely little left to enjoy. Chaplin's pure slapstick isn't really my thing either. I can appreciate it in combination with stunts (like Keaton did), not so much when it's just physical comedy.

The story is as simple as can be, with Chaplin and his dog slumming while dreaming of wooing girls. He steals some food, tries to sneak in a bar and when his dog finally digs up some money, he has to escape two criminals who want to rob him. That's pretty much it. At least the dog was cute, he deserved a better companion.

The Champion

1915 / 31m - USA
Comedy, Sport
The Champion poster

Early Chaplin short that feels like a try-out for his later feature films. I'm not a big Chaplin fan to begin with (somewhat of an understatement), seeing him do his less elaborate jokes and routines didn't do a whole lot to change that. I just can't stand his characters and his particular kind of slapstick. I'm sure Chaplin fans will love this though.

The Circus

1928 / 72m - USA
The Circus poster

It's been a while since I watched a bona fide Chaplin film (i.e. one featuring his Tramp character). The Circus was a nice reminder of why I try to avoid his films as much as possible. If you don't care for (or in my case, can't stand) Chaplin's Tramp, then his films are hell to sit through.

Read all

When a tramp is visiting the circus, he is set up by a pickpocket. His attempts to escape the police are so funny that the owner of the circus promptly hires the tramp. Being funny on command proves to be a lot more difficult than expected, and when he falls for the charms of the owner's stepdaughter, the tramp finds himself in quite a bit of trouble.

Chaplin's slapstick comedy is infamous, but I just don't think it's funny anymore. And since the film is just one big string of comedy skits (with a bland backup story to tie things together), it quickly becomes a slog. Maybe I should prioritize Chaplin's more recent work, at least I can find something to appreciate there.