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Shoulder Arms

Shoulder Arms (1917)

My Rating

Movie Info

Shoulder Arms was Charlie Chaplin's final contribution to the World War I effort, along with his personal appearances selling Liberty Bonds and his film The Bond. It was released shortly before the end of the war, and Chaplin made prints available to soldiers fighting overseas, for which he was lauded for cheering the severely tested troops. Charlie is a member of the "Awkward Squad" and we first see him being put through his paces in training camp. He has problems with making a proper

Unrated,

Drama, Comedy

Charles Chaplin

Cast

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All Critics (2) | Fresh (1) | Rotten (1)

Although it's been a long time since 1918, there are still lessons to be learned from Shoulder Arms.

December 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Views

Charlie gives his version of a recruit's absurd life.

March 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Shoulder Arms

Whether you served in the military or just learned to march in high school band, you'll appreciate the opening gags in boot camp with new recruit Charlie. The next thing Charlie knows, he's heading to the front lines of WWI "Over There." From a flooding bunk room off of the trenches, to waiting for presents from home, and engaging with the German enemy Charlie must mature as a soldier quickly. Loyal Underwood as the short German officer is blustery and funny. And like Sergeant York, Doughboy Charlie somehow manages to single-handedly surround a troop of Germans. Chaplin's brother and Purviance join him again in a later plot to capture someone higher up in the German command. Charlie becomes a supremely confidant soldier, but is it only wishful thinking.
August 1, 2013
hypathio7

Super Reviewer

The "Little Tramp" wardrobe is missing from this one, as soldier Charlie becomes an unlikely World War I hero. The funniest sequences involve struggling to sleep in a flooded barracks and spying on the Germans via a tree disguise.
March 5, 2012
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

A mildly amusing, yet ultimately forgetful early film from the master of comedy, Charlie Chaplin. Sadly, Charlie's not on his A-game in this one. Most of the gags were uncreative and uninspired. However, no matter how mediocre it is, I can't bring myself to fail anything from Chaplin. He's as charming as usual, but it's the rest of the film falls flat. If you want great Chaplin, watch City Lights or Modern Times!
December 11, 2011
Brantastic16
Brandon Williamson

Super Reviewer

Another of Chaplin's shorts from 1918, "Shoulder Arms" was his second million dollar film and proved extremely popular with troops returning home. The film features Charlie Chaplin as The Recruit and while not dressed in his usual The Tramp attire, makes a completely hilarious soldier. After showcasing his shooting skills and other talents, most of which are done with little enthusiasm, The Recruit spends his downtime in a little bunk room to rest. It's here that one of the most absurd and hilarious sequences takes place during a heavy rain as the bunk fills with water and Charlie tries to lay down and sleep in his bed underneath the water. This and one other scene had me laughing uncontrollably and that is near the latter part of the film when Charlie dresses up in a tree outfit and goes behind enemy lines taking down the unsuspecting enemy soldiers in his getup. The absurdity as well as Chaplin's willingness to tackle even the most tricky of subjects including religion, war, and even playing an extreme likeness to Hitler himself prove that he wasn't afraid to make anything a joke. This is a great and funny short that is so over the top goofy that you can't help but love it!
April 16, 2012
Chris Browning

Super Reviewer

    1. Sergeant: How did you capture thirteen?
    2. Recruit: I surrounded them.
    – Submitted by Garrett C (3 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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Foreign Titles

  • Shoulder Arms - Gewehr über (DE)
  • Charlot Soldat (FR)
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