Safety Last!

1923

Safety Last!

Critics Consensus

Persuasive enough to give audiences acrophobia when they aren't laughing at Harold Lloyd's antics, Safety Last! is a marvel of visual effects and slapstick comedy.

97%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 31

94%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,735

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Movie Info

After Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, the silent film era's "third genius" was Harold Lloyd, who stars in this Horatio Alger-style story of an average country boy trying to make good in the big city. The Boy (Lloyd) leaves his sweetheart, The Girl (Mildred Davis, later the real-life Mrs. Lloyd) in Great Bend while he pursues his fortune in a teeming metropolis. The Boy lands a job as a clerk at a fabric counter of DeVore's, a huge department store, but he lies in his letters home to his beloved, pretending to be the store's manager and spending his earnings on lavish gifts. The Boy's roommate, The Pal (Bill Strother) makes money as a "human fly," performing attention-getting stunts. Promised $1,000 by DeVore's real manager if he can devise a publicity gimmick, The Boy convinces his friend to climb the 12-story establishment and split the winnings with him. On the day of the event, however, The Pal is busy dodging The Law (Noah Young), forcing The Boy to make the arduous climb solo. Dodging a variety of obstacles, The Boy climbs higher and higher, eventually dangling from the store's clock tower, in the film's most memorable image. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

Cast

Harold Lloyd
as The Boy
Mildred Davis
as The Girl
W.B. Clarke
as The Floorwalker
Mrs. Anna Townsend
as The Grandma
Gus Leonard
as Office worker
Charles Stevenson
as Ambulance attendant
Helen Gilmore
as Customer
Charles E. Stevenson
as Ambulance attendant
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Critic Reviews for Safety Last!

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for Safety Last!

  • May 01, 2016
    I'm not an expert on the silent era by any means, but I have to say, this seems like a must-see movie for those who are interested in this period of filmmaking. It includes the iconic moment of Harold Lloyd dangling from a clock face many stories off the ground, and also many wonderful sight gags and a cute story. We see Lloyd accidentally getting on a horse-drawn ice wagon instead of the train in the beginning, as he goes off to the city to earn enough money to get married to his sweetheart. We see him and his buddy putting their coats on, hanging themselves up on hooks, and pulling their legs up out of sight to avoid the landlady who is looking for rent in a brilliant scene. He gets a job as a salesman, and we see him handle a crowd of women all going berserk over a fabric sale in all sorts of inventive ways. The scenes of him climbing perilously up a building wall take place over the final 20 minutes of the film, and has him dodging nuts dumped out by a child, being mobbed by pigeons, being hit with a net from above and a giant wooden beam for the side before reaching the clock face. He then hangs from the clock hands in a scene that is both funny and thrilling, since you know it's real, and the framing of the scene is absolutely perfect. As he ascends he'll also dangle from a rope, have a mouse crawl up his leg, and walk precipitously on the edge of a couple of ledges. You're not going to be laughing out loud, but Lloyd is likeable and charming, and you will probably marvel at his inventiveness, as well as the danger in performing the climbing stunt, which he did himself for the most part, with nothing but a mattress a few stories below (off-screen) for safety. It was 'safety last' in the real sense as well! Definitely worth seeing if you get a chance.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 15, 2013
    One of those silent films that has had an infinite amount of influence of modern cinema, "Safety Last!" features the instantly likable Harold Lloyd, a twisty narrative and a hilarious turn of events. The stunt work is quite phenomenal and that iconic clock-hanging scene is just as much of spectacle today as it was back then.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Dec 11, 2011
    The stunt with the clock almost made me peed my fucking pants. I'm not even kidding.
    Cita W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 30, 2011
    Being a big fan of both Chaplin and Keaton, this was my first experience with Harold Lloyd (thanks to The Criterion Collection's beautifully remastered Blu-ray version) and man was I impressed. The film was amazingly staged and was hilarious from start to finish as well as unnerving in the amazing stunts performed by Lloyd. I rarely laugh out loud during films but I was dying laughing throughout the film. The building climbing finale is both expertly staged and terrifying to watch as Lloyd teeters on the edge and dangles from multiple places on his long journey upwards. Watch a great comedy of the everyman Glasses character and one that most people then and now could relate to in some way or another. Highly recommended!
    Chris B Super Reviewer

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