City Lights

City Lights Literary Elements


Charlie Chaplin

Leading Actors/Actresses

Charlie Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee

Supporting Actors/Actresses

Harry Myers, Al Ernest Garcia


Silent, Romance, Comedy




No significant awards

Date of Release

January 30, 1931


Charlie Chaplin

Setting and Context

A city in the early 1900s

Narrator and Point of View

An omniscient narrator who manifests mainly in the interstitial title cards.

Tone and Mood

Jovial, happy, riotous, melancholic, melodramatic.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The Tramp vs. The Drunken Millionaire

Major Conflict

The conflict between the Tramp and the Drunken Millionaire is the major conflict of the film, turning on the fact that the Millionaire only recognizes and helps the Tramp when he is intoxicated. This misremembering leads to the conflicts that make the Tramp's life difficult.


The climax occurs when the Tramp sees the Flower Girl for the first time after getting out of jail.



The attempted suicide and subsequent saving of the Millionaire is played off as nothing important. However, it is very important.

Innovations in Filming or Lighting or Camera Techniques

A perfectionist, Chaplin shot the same scenes over and over again until he got everything he wanted right. Additionally, the film is one of the first "silent" films that integrated sound effects and a coordinated soundtrack.



Many of the Tramps' situations are paradoxical in that things that should be easy become difficult, and then sometimes, things that seem difficult are surprisingly easy.