Guide to Charlie Chaplin’s United Artists Studios Films

In 1923, Chaplin started working with United Artists studios – an American television digital production company the he helped he co-found. Also known as United Artists Corporation (UA), it was founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin. 

When Chaplin started releasing his films in United Artists, it marks the time in his career where all of his movies became feature-length. Chaplin released a total of eight films during this period – and all of them were produced, directed, and written by him. 

September 26, 1923A Woman in Paris was released. Also known as A Woman in Paris: A Drama of Fate, this is the first film Chaplin released in United Artists – where he appeared in a small cameo role, a porter. 

June 26, 1925The Gold Rush was released. A comedy film starred by Chaplin, where he once again appeared as the little tramp – alongside Lita Grey as the leading lady, whom Chaplin married in mid-1924. The film received Academy Award nominations for the Best Music and Best Sound Recording upon its re-release in 1942. Today, The Gold Rush is one of Chaplin’s most celebrated works – and he wanted it to be his most remembered film. 

January 6, 1928The Circus was released – a film where Chaplin appeared as the little tramp. The production of the film is considered as the most challenging experience in Chaplin’s career.  Several problems occurred during the production, including a studio fire, the death of Chaplin’s mother, a divorce from his second wife Lita Grey, and the Internal Revenue Service’s claims of Chaplin’s owed back taxes. For the record, The Circus was the seventh highest-grossing silent film in cinema history, earning more than $3.8 million in 1928.

January 30, 1931City Lights was released. Chaplin appeared as the tramp who falls in love with a blind girl. During the time Chaplin was writing the script, sound films were already on the rise – however, he continued working with silent productions. Upon the release in 1930, City Lights became an immediate success – with a box office receipt of $5 million. Today, many critics consider the film as the highest accomplishment in Chaplin’s career – and one of the greatest films of all time. 

February 5, 1936Modern Times was released. A comedy film where Chaplin appeared as a factory worker. The film is notable for being the last time Chaplin appeared as the iconic little tramp. Another significant achievement of Chaplin, and remains as one of his most famous films.

October 15, 1940The Great Dictator was released. The first true sound film made by Chaplin – where he appeared as a barber and a soldier. The film was popular with audiences and was considered as Chaplin’s most commercially successful film. The outstanding film was nominated for five Academy Awards – some of them were for Best Writing and Best Actor. 

April 11, 1947Monsieur Verdoux was released – a comedy film starred by Chaplin, who appeared as a bigamist wife killer. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1947.

October 16, 1952Limelight was released. The final film released by Chaplin in United Artists. The film is based on a novella by Chaplin entitled Footlights – where Chaplin appeared as a Calvero. Upon the release of the film, it was heavily boycotted in the United States because of Chaplin’s allegedly communist sympathies – and was rejected by many American theaters. However, the film was re-released in 1972 in the United States – and slowly gaining reputation over the decades.

Chaplin’s success continued through the years, and his work became an icon in the motion pictures industry. By the time Chaplin ended his term with United Artists, he had garnered various awards – and praises from many different industry critics.