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Modern Times (1936)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 9/10
Reviews Counted: 53
Fresh: 53 | Rotten: 0

A slapstick skewering of industrialized America, Modern Times is as politically incisive as it is laugh-out-loud hilarious.

100

Average Rating: 8.3/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 0

A slapstick skewering of industrialized America, Modern Times is as politically incisive as it is laugh-out-loud hilarious.

audience

95

liked it
Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 38,342

My Rating

Movie Info

This episodic satire of the Machine Age is considered Charles Chaplin's last "silent" film, although Chaplin uses sound, vocal, and musical effects throughout. Chaplin stars as an assembly-line worker driven insane by the monotony of his job. After a long spell in an asylum, he searches for work, only to be mistakenly arrested as a Red agitator. Released after foiling a prison break, Chaplin makes the acquaintance of orphaned gamine (Paulette Goddard) and becomes her friend and protector. He

G,

Classics, Comedy

,

Charlie Chaplin, Charles Chaplin

Aug 23, 2010

United Artists - Official Site External Icon

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Latest News on Modern Times

June 22, 2007:
AFI Announces Top 100 Movies of All Time ... Again
Ten years ago the AFI gave us a list of the Top 100 American Films Ever Made -- and when that was...

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All Critics (54) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (53) | Rotten (0) | DVD (18)

It is a gay, impudent and sentimental pantomimic comedy in which even the anachronisms are often as becoming as Charlie Chaplin's cane.

April 27, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine | Comment (1)
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the many remarkable things about Charlie Chaplin is that his films continue to hold up, to attract and delight audiences.

April 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comment (1)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The picture is grand fun and sound entertainment, though silent. It's the old Chaplin at his best, looking at his best -- young, pathetic and a very funny guy.

June 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety | Comment (1)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's the coldest of [Chaplin's] major features, though no less brilliant for it.

June 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The opening sequence in Chaplin's second Depression masterpiece, of the Tramp on the assembly line, is possibly his greatest slapstick encounter with the 20th century.

June 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Chaplin's political and philosophical naivety now seems as remarkable as his gift for pantomime.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film as a whole means no more than Charlie Chaplin means. Nobody has ever been able to say what that is, but by the present showing it is something quite timeless and priceless, and more human than the best of alien words lugged in for definition.

January 18, 2013 Full Review Source: The Nation
The Nation

Chaplin's hilarious comedy still is one of the most poignant critiques of modernization and mechanization of mass production.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Families will cherish Chaplin's silent slapstick.

December 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Perhaps the highlight of Chaplin's late career

November 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

the fact that it is one of Chaplin's great masterpieces is testament to both his artistic resilience in the face of industry change and the enduring power of great silent comedy.

November 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Modern Times magically reaches forward through the decades, resonating loudly for these difficult modern times.

November 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune
Times-Picayune

There can be no better description for Modern Times-or indeed, Chaplin's career-than the film's initial title card: "A story of industry, of individual enterprise-humanity crusading in the pursuit of happiness." [Blu-ray]

November 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

...an enduring masterpiece that grows more relevant with each passing day.

October 17, 2010 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm
LarsenOnFilm

Sometimes sentimental yet highly comical, Chaplin's anti-industrialisation statement is wholly idealistic but its topical reflection on industrial paranoia still resonates today.

April 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4 | Comment (1)
Film4

Certainly one of Chaplin's greatest...a true comedy classic.

November 9, 2006
Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers

What we have is not just a story about a funny little man, but a morality fable, or cautionary tale, about people on the chuckholed road to the American Dream.

April 14, 2006 Full Review Source: DVDJournal.com
DVDJournal.com

A great movie, a funny movie, an important movie.

November 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

An artist with vision swimming against a tide we know will eventually win.

April 19, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Audience Reviews for Modern Times

A classic, influential movie concerning the legendary "Tramp" character (Charlie Chaplin) and how he struggles to keep up in a modern day world of advances in the work force, which sadly makes going to jail seem like an appealing option. Despite mostly being a farce, this treasure of a film has a ton to say about society, and gives some different, touching looks on a few characters who are doing their best to make it in this world despite being at disadvantages financially and not having a real set of skills. The factory scenes with Chaplin are priceless, but it is the creatively constructed and moving finale that makes this film so special. This is an absolutely timeless comedy featuring one of the most iconic characters in all of film.
February 25, 2014
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

A factory worker and his homeless love struggle to fulfill the "American Dream" despite the advances of "progress."
This is how satire is done. Clear in its images -- The Tramp literally caught in the machinery -- and exact in what it's criticizing -- the Big Brother factory boss and the criminalization of the economically disenfranchised -- Modern Times is one of Chaplin's most precise and incisive comedies. In this film, The Tramp becomes more than an extension of vaudeville; he stands in for the poor everyman, and as a result Chaplin's work takes on a profundity and significance unique to him.
The filmmaking, or the direction, is quite strong. While this was supposed to be Chaplin's first talkie, it works better in the genre Super Reviewer Alice Shen calls a "neo-silent film" (she coins this phrase in reference to The Artist). Chaplin's use of sound occurs at strategic moments in the narrative: the corporate boss can speak as he has entered the mechanized age, but The Tramp stays mostly silent, only once singing in gibberish. Chaplin sets up the conflict between the ways of the past and the future in the film's technique as well as its theme.
I did think that the film occasionally fell into slapstick and schtick, abandoning its central concerns, but these moments were rare in the grand scheme of the film.
Overall, Modern Times ranks among Limelight and The Great Dictator as one of Chaplin's finest films.
April 4, 2013
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

An immovable benchmark in satire, comedy and global filmmaking.
February 17, 2013
Louis Rogers

Super Reviewer

The first twenty minutes are the work of pure genius, but then the film loses some of its focus and becomes a usual collection of sketches - though most of them hilarious and memorable. And Chaplin's idea of using spoken voices only from mechanical devices is brilliant.
November 12, 2012
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Moderne Zeiten (DE)
  • Modern Times (1936) (UK)
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