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Chaplin (1992 film): Wikis


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Film Poster
Directed by Richard Attenborough
Produced by Richard Attenborough
Mario Kassar
Written by Diana Hawkins
William Boyd
Bryan Forbes
William Goldman
Starring Robert Downey, Jr
Dan Aykroyd
Geraldine Chaplin
Music by John Barry
Editing by Anne V. Coates
Studio Carolco Pictures
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release date(s) December 25, 1992
Running time 144 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English

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

The film was adapted by Diana Hawkins, 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. The original music score was composed by John Barry.


Plot summary

The film is structured around lengthy flashbacks as the elderly Chaplin 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. The film includes 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).

Principal cast

Actor/Actress Role
Robert Downey, Jr. Charlie Chaplin
Geraldine Chaplin Hannah Chaplin, Charlie's mother
Paul Rhys Sydney Chaplin, Charlie's brother
John Thaw Fred Karno, British music-hall impresario
Moira Kelly Hetty Kelly / Oona O'Neill, Charlie's final wife
Anthony Hopkins George Hayden, Charlie's biography editor
Dan Aykroyd Mack Sennett, an early Hollywood film producer
Marisa Tomei Mabel Normand, a young Hollywood actress
Penelope Ann Miller Edna Purviance, a young Hollywood actress
Kevin Kline Douglas Fairbanks, a leading man in early Hollywood movies
Matthew Cottle Stan Laurel, a Hollywood comedian
Maria Pitillo Mary Pickford, a leading lady in early Hollywood movies
Milla Jovovich Mildred Harris, a young Hollywood actress and Charlie's first wife
Kevin Dunn J. Edgar Hoover, head of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation
Deborah Moore Lita Grey, a young Hollywood actress and Charlie's second wife
Diane Lane Paulette Goddard, a young Hollywood actress and Charlie's third wife
Nancy Travis Joan Barry, a young Hollywood actress
James Woods Joseph Scott, a California attorney
David Duchovny Roland Totheroh, Chaplin's long time cameraman

Critical reception

Although the film was criticized for taking dramatic licence with some respects 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]

Academy Awards

Award Person
Best Actor Robert Downey, Jr.
Best Score John Barry
Best Art Direction Stuart Craig
Chris Butler

BAFTA Awards

Award Person
BAFTA Award for Best Actor Robert Downey, Jr.
BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design John Mollo
Ellen Mirojnick
BAFTA Award for Best Makeup and Hair Wally Schneiderman
Jill Rockow
John Caglione, Jr.
BAFTA Award for Best Production Design Stuart Craig

Golden Globe Awards

Award Person
Best Original Score John Barry
Best Actor – Drama Robert Downey, Jr.
Best Supporting Actress Geraldine Chaplin

DVD Release

The film was released on DVD in 1998. A fifteenth-anniversary edition was released by Lions Gate Entertainment (who obtained the distribution rights to the film in the interim) 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]


  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. ^
  3. ^

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