Discover the Cinematic & Comedic Genius of Charlie Chaplin with 60+ Free Movies Online

“One of the many remark­able things about Char­lie Chap­lin,” wrote Roger Ebert, “is that his films con­tin­ue to hold up, to attract and delight audi­ences.” Richard Brody described Chap­lin as not just “alone among his peers of silent-com­e­dy genius,” but also as a mak­er of “great talk­ing pic­tures.” Jonathan Rosen­baum asked, “Has there ever been anoth­er artist — not just in the his­to­ry of cin­e­ma, but maybe in the his­to­ry of art — who has had more to say, and in such vivid detail, about what it means to be poor?” Andrew Sar­ris called Chap­lin “arguably the sin­gle most impor­tant artist pro­duced by the cin­e­ma, cer­tain­ly its most extra­or­di­nary per­former and prob­a­bly still its most uni­ver­sal icon.” “For me,” wrote Leonard Maltin, “com­e­dy begins with Char­lie Chap­lin.”

And so we see that Chap­lin, near­ly forty decades after his death, main­tains his high crit­i­cal rep­u­ta­tion — while also hav­ing enjoyed the absolute height of movie-star­dom back in the silent era.

Van­ish­ing­ly few artists of any kind man­age to com­bine such block­bust­ing com­mer­cial suc­cess with such fly­ing-col­ors crit­i­cal suc­cess. That alone might give you good enough rea­son to plunge into Chap­lin’s fil­mog­ra­phy, but know that you can begin that cin­e­mat­ic adven­ture for free right here on Open Cul­ture in our archive of more than 60 Char­lie Chap­lin films on the web.

There you’ll find short come­dies like 1914’s Kids Auto Race at Venice, which intro­duced his famous pen­ni­less pro­tag­o­nist “The Tramp”; the fol­low­ing year’s The Tramp, which made it into a phe­nom­e­non; 1919’s Sun­ny­sidein which we find out what hap­pens when Chap­lin’s grace­ful­ly hap­less comedic per­sona winds up on the farm; and 1925’s The Gold Rush, the film Chap­lin most want­ed to be remem­bered for.

But though Chap­lin’s oeu­vre could­n’t be eas­i­er to start watch­ing and laugh­ing at, com­ing to appre­ci­ate the full scope of his craft — in the way that the crit­ics quot­ed above have spent careers doing — may take time. After all, the man made 80 movies over his 75-year enter­tain­ment career, a kind of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty that, even leav­ing the con­sid­er­able artistry aside, cin­e­ma may nev­er see again. You can dive into our col­lec­tion of Chap­lin films here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

101 Free Silent Films: The Great Clas­sics

Col­orized Pho­tos Bring Walt Whit­man, Char­lie Chap­lin, Helen Keller & Mark Twain Back to Life

Char­lie Chap­lin Does Cocaine and Saves the Day in Mod­ern Times (1936)

Watch Char­lie Chap­lin Demand 342 Takes of One Scene from City Lights; And Then Watch 65 Free Chap­lin Films Online

4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More

Col­in Mar­shall writes else­where on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­maand the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future? Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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