Films and Showtimes

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Past Films

The Essentials: City Lights (1931)

  • Starring: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee
  • Director: Charles Chaplin
  • Genre(s): Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Rating: G
  • Running Time: 90 mins.

The Essentials: Classic Comedies
This quarterly series showcases the “essential” films everyone should see on the big screen. For each month-long program, we’ll screen five films organized by one of the following themes: directors, actors, genres, and eras/movements.

Essential tickets are $9 for Adults, $8 for Students/Seniors and Members get in Free!

Summary: A homeless tramp befriends a lovely blind flower seller and convinces her he is a millionaire while he secretly labors to pay for the restoration of her sight. One of Charlie Chaplin’s masterpieces, this hilarious and heart-rending film was made and released as a silent with music track in the post-talkie era.

"'City Lights' is excruciatingly funny and terribly, terribly sad. It makes you chuckle hysterically. You have the greatest time imaginable, and yet, occasionally you find little hurty lumps in your throat."
- Irene Thirer, New York Daily News
"With its themes of selflessness and grace, as well as its graceful intertwining of comedy and pathos, this is a fine time for a revisit."
- Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"The British comic is still the consummate pantomimist, unquestionably one of the greatest the stage or screen has ever known."
- Sid Silverman, Variety
"A beautiful example of Chaplin's ability to turn narrative fragments into emotional wholes. The two halves of the film are sentiment and slapstick. They are not blended but woven into a pattern as eccentric as it is sublime."
- Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"It's an altogether wonderful gem, and one of the five best films the silent era has to offer."
- James Berardinelli, ReelViews

Showtimes