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London, 1914. Calvero (Charles Chaplin), a once-great music hall comedian, weaves drunkenly home to his shabby flat. As he arrives home, he is suddenly sobered by a bad smell. It isn't his shoes, as he originally assumes, but the smell of gas, emanating from behind a locked door. Calvero smashes his way in, finding the unconscious Terry (Claire Bloom). Carrying the girl to his attic apartment, Calvero revives Terry, then asks why she is so determined to kill herself. The girl explains that she has always dreamed of becoming a great dancer, but her legs are paralyzed. Calvero vows to raise… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"What comes through most clearly in Limelight, however, is that Chaplin had come to terms with his life."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Neither comedy nor tragedy altogether, it is a brilliant weaving of comic and tragic strands, eloquent, tearful and beguiling with supreme virtuosity."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"Chaplin, as usual, is the whole show, superb in this swansong statement about his own career and the old-style entertainment he best represented."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Chaplin's least funny film."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"The at-long-last meeting of Chaplin and Keaton makes this a must."
‑ Carol Cling, Las Vegas Review-Journal
"Intended as a tragicomedy, if not a tearjerker, it is a two-thirds bore that comes to life in the last half-hour or so, when the old-master clown stops trying to be pathetic and reverts to his inimitable proper stuff."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"Few cinema artists have delved into their own lives and emotions with such ruthlessness and with such moving results."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Elements of self parody from the master of slapstick leave you yearning for the early work that made his name. But it's worth a watch to see Chaplin and Keaton in one of few on-screen appearances together."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
"Premiering in 1952 when Chaplin was 63 years old, this melancholy reverie is a heartfelt expression of nostalgia for the Edwardian London music-halls of his youth, rich with deeply personal sentiment and warmly realized autobiographical fantasy."
‑ Mark Bourne,
"One of the comedian's most revelatory works. It's Chaplin's most personal and painful film, and the only film to show his onscreen death."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Departing from most forms of Hollywood stereotype, the film has a flavor all its own in the sincere quality of the story anent the onetime great vaudemime and his rescue of a femme ballet student."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Charles Chaplin's 1952 film is overlong, visually flat, episodically constructed, and a masterpiece."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Limelight seems stuck in time, even for 1952. The un-ironic pathos and sentimental humanism seems almost quaint in the post-Hitler world. But that's Chaplin for you - a man who lived by, and wrote, his own rules."
‑ Christopher Lloyd, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
"Chaplin at his most melancholy. Not his best work, but the short time he and Keaton are on stage together is priceless."
‑ Bob Bloom, Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
"The emotional honesty of the film is what made it a masterpiece."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
More reviews for Limelight on Rotten Tomatoes

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