Automation -- Social aspects -- Drama, Depressions -- 1929 -- United States -- Drama, Factories -- Drama, Unemployment -- United States -- Drama

Modern Times

(Modern times), (The masses)

Recommended for ages 8 & up


Paulette Goddard, Charlie Chaplin, Henry Bergman, Chester Conklin,

It starts with an overhead shot of sheep, cuts to the throngs coming out of a subway station. Was Chaplin a Surrealist, or just a realist? His version of modern times looks forward in equal measure to Jacques Tati and 1984. This “silent” is full of modern sounds, heard over loudspeakers and big corporate television screens (not to mention the Tramp’s outburst of French-inspired gibberish). Charlie the ever-elegant Tramp is an industrial swashbuckler with an oilcan for a sword, but he’s begun taking on the characteristics of factory machines, obsessively twisting buttons no matter where they are. We can’t have this antisocial behavior, can we? Charlie’s eventually arrested as a Communist. Paulette Goddard as a starving gamine becomes his comrade in loving arms against an overmechanized world. Only Chaplin could both satirize their kitschy dreams and have them walk off into the sunset in the most poignant Depression image ever faked.
—Judy Bloch

  • Charlie Chaplin
  • Roland Totheroh
  • Ira Morgan
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • Silent
  • 87 mins
  • Janus Films/Criterion Collection

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

View Modern times documents  

The ephemeral as transcultural aesthetic: a contextualization of the early films of Ozu Yasujiro (article), Journal of Japanese & Korean Cinema, Isolde Standish, 2012

Modern times (review), Reader (Chicago, Ill.), Jonathan Rosenbaum, 2004

Chaplin in the limelight (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, George Kaltsounakis, 2004

A Chaplin classic sounds off on Hollywood dream factory (review), Village Voice, J. Hoberman, 2003

The Chaplin collection volume one (review), Village Voice, J. Hoberman, 2003

Chaplin: a life in pictures (distributor materials), Warner Bros., David Robinson, 2003

A Chaplin classic sounds off on Hollywood dream factory (review), Village Voice, J. Hoberman, 2003

Modern times (program note), Toronto International Film Festival, Leonard Maltin, 2002

'Modern times' to screen with live music (article), Los Angeles Times, Susan King, 2000

Chaplin at the Castro (article), SF Weekly, Gregg Rickman, 1998

Displaying 10 of 47 publicly available documents.

View all Modern times documentation on CineFiles.