Chaplin is a 1992 American biographical film about the life of British comedian Charlie Chaplin. It was produced and directed by Richard Attenborough and stars Robert Downey, Jr., Dan Aykroyd, Kevin Kline, Moira Kelly and Anthony Hopkins. It also features Geraldine Chaplin in the role of her own paternal grandmother, Hannah Chaplin.

The film was adapted by William Boyd, Bryan Forbes and William Goldman from the books My Autobiography by Chaplin and Chaplin: His Life and Art by film critic David Robinson. Associate producer Diana Hawkins got a story credit. The original music score was composed by John Barry.


The film is structured around lengthy flashbacks as the elderly Charlie Chaplin (Robert Downey Jr.) (now living in Switzerland) recollects moments from his life during a conversation with fictional character George Hayden (Anthony Hopkins), the editor of his autobiography. Chaplin's recollections begin with his childhood of extreme poverty, from which he escapes by immersing himself in the world of the London music halls, after which he relocates to the United States.

There are references to some of his many romantic episodes (including Hetty Kelly, Mildred Harris, Georgia Hale, Marion Davies, Edna Purviance, Lita Grey, Paulette Goddard, Joan Barry and Oona O'Neill), his professional collaboration with Mack Sennett and friendship with Douglas Fairbanks.


Critical receptionEdit

Although the film was criticized for taking dramatic licence with some aspects of Chaplin's life, Downey's performance as Chaplin won almost universal acclaim. Attenborough was sufficiently confident in Downey's performance to include historical footage of Chaplin himself at the end of the film.

The film was lauded for its high production values, but many critics dismissed it as an overly glossy biopic.[1] One critic wrote that the screenplay "endeavors to cover too much ground. The life of Charlie Chaplin was so vast and varied that a film is far too restrictive a format to give it justice."[2]


Award Category Nominee Outcome
Academy Awards Best Actor Robert Downey, Jr. Nominated
Best Original Score John Barry Nominated
Best Art Direction Stuart Craig
Chris A. Butler
BAFTA Awards Best Actor Robert Downey, Jr. Won
Best Costume Design John Mollo
Ellen Mirojnick
Best Makeup and Hair Wally Schneiderman
Jill Rockow
John Caglione, Jr.
Best Production Design Stuart Craig Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Original Score John Barry Nominated
Best Actor – Drama Robert Downey, Jr. Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Geraldine Chaplin Nominated

Home mediaEdit

The film was released on DVD in 1997. A fifteenth-anniversary edition was released by Lions Gate Entertainment (who obtained the distribution rights to the film in the interim under license from the copyright holder, StudioCanal) in 2008. The anniversary edition contained extensive interviews with the producers, and included several minutes of home-movie footage shot on Chaplin's yacht. The box for this DVD mistakenly lists the film's running time as 135 minutes (it is 144 minutes, the same as the original theater release).[3]

The 15th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray of Chaplin was released on February 15, 2011.


  1. "Dismissed on its release by many critics as a typically fluffy paean to Chaplin . . this sumptuous biopic may have a touch too much gloss, but it's anything but bland."[1]
  2. "Chaplin (1992)". Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
  3. "Combustible Celluloid film review - Chaplin (1992), Richard Attenborough, Robert Downey Jr., Moira Kelly, dvd review". 2008-10-08. Retrieved 2010-09-07. 

External linksEdit

Template:Richard Attenborough Films Template:William Goldman

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