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Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin (2003)

TV-PG
132 min | Documentary, Biography

Narrated by Sydney Pollack, film critic Richard Schickel's dazzling two-hour plus documentary to one of the towering figures in film: Charles Chaplin. Hardcore Chaplin fans may not find much new material here, but more unfamiliar admirers ...See moreNarrated by Sydney Pollack, film critic Richard Schickel's dazzling two-hour plus documentary to one of the towering figures in film: Charles Chaplin. Hardcore Chaplin fans may not find much new material here, but more unfamiliar admirers will gain some valuable information about one of the most famous personalities of the 20th century. Schickel has constructed the documentary as a chronological survey of Chaplin's work, starting with his most significant shorts and covering all of his features. Schickel supports his narration with testimony from artists familiar with Chaplin's work and family members who offer personal insights into the comedian's life. The documentary plays down but doesn't ignore the controversies that swirled around Chaplin's private life. But the main focus is on the films. They include some of the best-loved movies of all time. Clips from "Kid Auto Races at Venice," the 1914 Keystone short in which Chaplin first used his Tramp costume, reveal a startlingly modern technique and sensibility, as if the filmmakers were predicting and mocking reality TV. Subsequent shorts show Chaplin refining his 'Little Tramp' character while absorbing the essentials of filmmaking. By the time he made "Easy Street," in 1917, Chaplin had perfected a combination of knockabout farce and Victorian sentiment that still proves irresistible. Chaplin's early features, including "The Kid," "The Gold Rush" and "City Lights," were such blockbuster hits that he could essentially ignore the coming of sound for almost a decade. Those making appearances on the program include Woody Allen, Richard Attenborough, Jeanine Basinger, Claire Bloom, Geraldine Chaplin. Sydney Chaplin, Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr., Milos Forman, Bill Irwin, Norman Lloyd, Marcel Marceau, David Raksin, David Robinson, Andrew Sarris, Martin Scorsese and Jeffrey Vance. Written by alfiehitchie See less
Read more: Plot summary
Writer
Richard Schickel (a film by)
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Status
Edit Released
Updated Sep 24, 2003

Release date
Sep 11, 2003 (United States)

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Cast

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27 cast members
Name STARmeter Known for
Charles Chaplin
Himself (archive footage) Himself (archive footage)   See fewer
Top 5000
Sydney Pollack
Narrated By Narrated By   See fewer
Members only
Bill Irwin
Himself Himself   See fewer
Members only
Norman Lloyd
Himself - Chaplin Friend / Actor Himself - Chaplin Friend / Actor   See fewer
Members only
David Thomson
Himself - Film Historian Himself - Film Historian   See fewer
Members only
Jeffrey Vance
Himself - Chaplin Biographer Himself - Chaplin Biographer   See fewer
Members only
Andrew Sarris
Himself - Film Critic and Historian Himself - Film Critic and Historian   See fewer
Members only
Robert Downey Jr.
Himself - Actor / Star of 'Chaplin Himself - Actor / Star of 'Chaplin   See fewer
84
David Robinson
Himself - Chaplin Biographer Himself - Chaplin Biographer   See fewer
Members only
Jeanine Basinger
Herself - Film Historian Herself - Film Historian   See fewer
Members only
Woody Allen
Himself - Director / Writer / Actor Himself - Director / Writer / Actor   See fewer
Top 5000
Johnny Depp
Himself - Actor Himself - Actor   See fewer
Top 500
Michael Chaplin
Himself - Son of Charles Chaplin Himself - Son of Charles Chaplin   See fewer
Members only
Geraldine Chaplin
Herself - Daughter of Charles Chaplin Herself - Daughter of Charles Chaplin   See fewer
Top 5000
Richard Attenborough
Himself - Director of 'Chaplin' Himself - Director of 'Chaplin'   See fewer
Top 5000
Martin Scorsese
Himself - Director Himself - Director   See fewer
Top 500
Milos Forman
Himself - Director Himself - Director   See fewer
Members only
Marcel Marceau
Himself - Mime Artist Himself - Mime Artist   See fewer
Members only
Sydney Chaplin
Himself - Son of Charles Chaplin Himself - Son of Charles Chaplin   See fewer
Members only
David Raksin
Himself - Music Arranger of 'Modern Times' Himself - Music Arranger of 'Modern Times'   See fewer
Members only
Claire Bloom
Herself - Actress / Star of 'Limelight' Herself - Actress / Star of 'Limelight'   See fewer
Members only
Eric Campbell
Various Roles (archive footage) (uncredited) Various Roles (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Syd Chaplin
Himself / Various Roles (archive footage) (uncredited) Himself / Various Roles (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Winston Churchill
Himself (archive footage) (uncredited) Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Charles Inslee
Various Roles (archive footage) (uncredited) Various Roles (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Edna Purviance
Various Roles (archive footage) (uncredited) Various Roles (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Mack Swain
Various Roles (archive footage) (uncredited) Various Roles (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
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Ratings Breakdown

8 / 10 | 1,251 votes