Shoulder Arms Reviews

  • Oct 27, 2016

    Funny Chaplin with a satirical structure.

    Funny Chaplin with a satirical structure.

  • Feb 27, 2015

    One of Chaplin's strongest and funniest. Intelligent writing and great acting.

    One of Chaplin's strongest and funniest. Intelligent writing and great acting.

  • Jul 13, 2014

    Shoulder Arms has interesting twist ending, Chaplin's signature look, humor and pacifist statement, all of which he will put to better use in the Great Dictator, and the film is overall entertaining and well-filmed, but it is lacking plotwise, the running time is too short and the film definitely needed more intertitles and slower pacing. It is nowhere near his best work, but as his first feature film, it is pretty good and holds up rather well.

    Shoulder Arms has interesting twist ending, Chaplin's signature look, humor and pacifist statement, all of which he will put to better use in the Great Dictator, and the film is overall entertaining and well-filmed, but it is lacking plotwise, the running time is too short and the film definitely needed more intertitles and slower pacing. It is nowhere near his best work, but as his first feature film, it is pretty good and holds up rather well.

  • Byron B Super Reviewer
    Jan 04, 2013

    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.

    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.

  • Jan 01, 2013

    Delightfully irreverent look at a soldier in WWI France.

    Delightfully irreverent look at a soldier in WWI France.

  • Aug 04, 2012

    Hilarious World War I satire. A morale booster and a Bond buyer made in 1918.

    Hilarious World War I satire. A morale booster and a Bond buyer made in 1918.

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    Eric B Super Reviewer
    Mar 05, 2012

    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.

    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.

  • Feb 12, 2012

    85% Allow me to refer to my previously used formula gag: Shoulder Arms = The Tramp + Army Battle = Merriment. Therefore, by the transitive property, Shoulder Arms = Merriment. This First National short places The Tramp behind enemy lines, fighting the good fight, and other war-themed expression. It's a rather daring satire that delves into the silliness and absurdity of war, a setting and story somewhat similar to what Charlie will revisit in The Great Dictator. At first glance, the film just feels like a mindless 35 minutes of slapstick and silliness. But it's political satire (though not my cup of tea) and it's brilliance becomes apparent upon reflection. Once I realized how daring it must have been to criticize and poke fun at the war effort at the time, the previously insurmountable respect that I had for Charlie is surmounted. But it's more than just satire, this film was one of the reasons why Charlie became such a global phenomenon. At the time this film came out, the entire globe was ravaged by war, poverty and violence. The only light at the end of their tunnel was Charlie Chaplin. He brought people's spirits to a height that allowed them to trudge on, literally saving lives with his playful silliness in the midst of tragedy and horror. Shoulder Arms is a testament to that. American soldiers even saw and adored this film. The jokes are brilliant and hilarious, and the entire experience is a great time. It's not a masterpiece, as it lacks some of Charlie's trademark marriage of comedy and pathos, but it's still a really fun experience, with some rather clever writing and a handful of hilarity. And if you're a big fan of Chaplin such as I, then you will get a big kick out of seeing the Tramp strut around in his military uniform. Just as always, he's cute and amusing and one of the greatest entertainers of the century.

    85% Allow me to refer to my previously used formula gag: Shoulder Arms = The Tramp + Army Battle = Merriment. Therefore, by the transitive property, Shoulder Arms = Merriment. This First National short places The Tramp behind enemy lines, fighting the good fight, and other war-themed expression. It's a rather daring satire that delves into the silliness and absurdity of war, a setting and story somewhat similar to what Charlie will revisit in The Great Dictator. At first glance, the film just feels like a mindless 35 minutes of slapstick and silliness. But it's political satire (though not my cup of tea) and it's brilliance becomes apparent upon reflection. Once I realized how daring it must have been to criticize and poke fun at the war effort at the time, the previously insurmountable respect that I had for Charlie is surmounted. But it's more than just satire, this film was one of the reasons why Charlie became such a global phenomenon. At the time this film came out, the entire globe was ravaged by war, poverty and violence. The only light at the end of their tunnel was Charlie Chaplin. He brought people's spirits to a height that allowed them to trudge on, literally saving lives with his playful silliness in the midst of tragedy and horror. Shoulder Arms is a testament to that. American soldiers even saw and adored this film. The jokes are brilliant and hilarious, and the entire experience is a great time. It's not a masterpiece, as it lacks some of Charlie's trademark marriage of comedy and pathos, but it's still a really fun experience, with some rather clever writing and a handful of hilarity. And if you're a big fan of Chaplin such as I, then you will get a big kick out of seeing the Tramp strut around in his military uniform. Just as always, he's cute and amusing and one of the greatest entertainers of the century.

  • Jan 29, 2012

    A great silent comedy that makes a very good message. At the time, there was war, and people needed a chance to buck up, so Chaplin Gave them exactly what they needed, Shoulder Arms.

    A great silent comedy that makes a very good message. At the time, there was war, and people needed a chance to buck up, so Chaplin Gave them exactly what they needed, Shoulder Arms.

  • Jan 16, 2012

    Psh, 57% on RT?! Well, normally, more than 2 people review stuff on here. This short was great. The Tramp tackles WWI, with amusing results. O, and Rotten Tomatoes is wrong, this came out in 1918, a few months before the war ended. If you think about it, that's pretty risky, coming out with a movie that pokes fun at the war, and it was released DURING the war. But, apparently he screened it for his best friend, and this guy told him that this was just what the world needed at the time.

    Psh, 57% on RT?! Well, normally, more than 2 people review stuff on here. This short was great. The Tramp tackles WWI, with amusing results. O, and Rotten Tomatoes is wrong, this came out in 1918, a few months before the war ended. If you think about it, that's pretty risky, coming out with a movie that pokes fun at the war, and it was released DURING the war. But, apparently he screened it for his best friend, and this guy told him that this was just what the world needed at the time.