48 Charlie Chaplin Quotes about Life, Politics & Film

48 Charlie Chaplin Quotes about Life, Politics & Film

Photograph by ‘OpenClipart-Vectors‘ (2013) , pixabay

Charles Chaplin (Born in London, England, on April 16th, 1889) was a comedic British actor who became one of the biggest stars of the 20th century’s silent-film era.

Beginning his career as a children’s dance troupe before making his mark on the big screen, he became famous for his characters portrayed in, “The Tramp,” “the sweet little man with a bowler hat”, “mustache” and “cane”.

Today at Turtlequote.com we take a look at our top 50 Charlie Chaplin quotes about life, politics and film.

Charlie Chaplin Quotes

“Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.”

Charlie Chaplin Quotes – As quoted in his obituary in The Guardian (28 December 1977)

“Hynkel, the dictator, ruled the nation with an iron fist. Under the new emblem of the double cross, liberty was banished, free speech was suppressed and only the voice of Hynkel was heard.”

Narrator – The Great Dictator (1940)

“I am not religious in the dogmatic sense … I neither believe nor disbelieve in anything.”

My Autobiography (1964), p. 287
Charlie Chaplin Quotes

     “All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.

My Autobiography (1964), Ch. 10

     “Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain.”

Chaplin (1951)

“The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people.”

The Great Dictator (1940 film)

“Where words leave off, gesture begins. Don’t we speak of a person being speechless with rage, dancing with impatience, setting his teeth? The final motions of the soul are speechless, animal, grotesque, or of an incomparable beauty.”

Charlie Chaplin: Interviews (ed. 2005)

     “As for politics, I’m an anarchist. I hate governments and rules and fetters. Can’t stand caged animals. People must be free.”

Charlie Chaplin: Interviews (ed. 2005)

     “I am known in parts of the world by people who have never heard of Jesus Christ.”

From Lita Grey Chaplin, My Life with Chaplin (1966)

“The object of art is to intensify feeling, color or sound.”

From “A Comedian Sees the World”

“A tramp, a gentleman, a poet, a dreamer, a lonely fellow, always hopeful of romance and adventure.”

My Autobiography (1964), ch. 10

“I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat…. Everything a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large.”

Charlie Chaplin Quotes My Autobiography (1964)
Charlie Chaplin Quotes

Spectacular Charlie Chaplin Quotes

“I remain just one thing, and one thing only — and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician.”

Charlie Chaplin QuotesAs quoted in The Observer (17 June 1960)

“I always try to do the unexpected in a novel way.”

“What People Laugh At”, American Magazine, November 1918 

“I am what I am: an individual, unique and different, with a lineal history of an ancestral promptings and urgings, a history of dreams, desires, and of special experiences, of all of which I am the sum total.”

My Autobiography (p. 271 Simon and Schuster 1964 edition)

“Words are cheap. The biggest thing you can say is ‘elephant’.”

B. Norman The Movie Greats (1981)

“I hate the talkies and will not produce talking films…. I cannot conceive of my films as other than silent. My shadow appears on the screen as in a dream, and dreams do not speak.”

Theatre Arts Monthly [November 1930]

“I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the make-up made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked onto the stage he was fully born.”

My Autobiography (1964)

“Look up to the sky. You’ll never find rainbows If you’re looking down.”

“Swing High Little Girl”, opening song written and sung by Chaplin for the 1969 re-release of The Circus (1928)

“In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.”

Charlie Chaplin Quotes – The Great Dictator (1940)
Charlie Chaplin Quotes

Charlie Chaplin Quotes on life

“The saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury.”

Charlie Chaplin Quotes – My Autobiography (1964) ch. 22

“This is a story of a period between two World Wars — an interim in which insanity cut loose. Liberty took a nose dive, and humanity was kicked around somewhat.”

Opening placard – The Great Dictator (1940)

“I hope we shall abolish war and settle all differences at the conference table… I hope we shall abolish all hydrogen and atom bombs before they abolish us first.”

In response to journalist for his views on the future of mankind at his 70th birthday (16 April 1959)

“Simplicity is a difficult thing to achieve.”

From an interview with Richard Meryman, 1966

“Life can be wonderful if you’re not afraid of it. All it needs is courage, imagination … and a little dough.”

Calvero (Charles Chaplin) says this to Terry (Claire Bloom) in Limelight (1952)

“The basic essential of a great actor is that he loves himself in acting.”

My Autobiography (1964) ch. 16

 “Imagination means nothing without doing.” 

From Chaplin’s manuscript notes

“I am an individual and a believer in liberty.”

In response to journalists for comments on United States Attorney-General’s announcement to revoke his re-entry visa, September 23, 1952 

“We think too much and feel too little.”

From Chaplin’s final speech in The Great Dictator.

“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles.”

From a scene in Monsieur Verdoux.

“If you’re really truthful with yourself, it’s a wonderful guidance.”

From 1966 interview with Richard Meryman

“I suppose that’s one of the ironies of life – doing the wrong thing at the right moment.”

Charlie Chaplin Quotes – From a scene in Monsieur Verdoux.
Charlie Chaplin Quotes

Inspiring Charlie Chaplin Quotes

“The deeper the truth in a creative work, the longer it will live.”

Charlie Chaplin QuotesFrom Chaplin’s manuscript notes

“What do you want a meaning for? Life is a desire, not a meaning!”

From a scene in Limelight

“One murder makes a villain, millions a hero. Numbers sanctify.”

Henri Verdoux says this to a reporter before being led to the guillotine in Monsieur Verdoux

“We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that.”

From Chaplin’s final speech in The Great Dictator.

“I am at peace with God. My conflict is with man.”

From a scene in Monsieur Verdoux

“Beauty is the spirit of all things, an exaltation, a psalm of life and death, of good and evil, of vileness and purity, of joy and pain, of hate and love”

From Chaplin’s manuscript notes (“Thoughts and Ideas.” June 2, 1955. ch00372002)

“I hope that the entertainment I give has some lasting effect on people. I hope they see the beauty that I myself am seeking. I am trying to express a beauty that embraces not only physical characteristics and scenes, but the true fundamental emotions of humanity. Beauty. Beauty is what I am after.”

From “A Window in the New World”, Toronto Star Weekly, May 14, 1921

“Too much kindness and respect are given to the unseen and not enough to humanity. It seems that in our nature we loathe each other and bestow our respect and love on the abstract.”

From Chaplin’s manuscript notes

“Life could be wonderful if people would leave you alone.”

To the barber, while being shaved by him. – The Great Dictator (1940)

“That which is apparent ends. That which is subtle is never-ending.”

From Chaplin’s manuscript notes

“A man’s true character comes out when he’s drunk.”

Calvero (Charles Chaplin) to Terry (Claire Bloom) after she finds him drunk with friends in Limelight (1952)

“A man is what a woman makes him and a woman makes herself.”

From Chaplin’s manuscript notes

“The World cannot be wrong if in this world there’s you.”

From “This is My Song”. Music and lyrics by Charles Chaplin for The Countess from Hong Kong

“Restraint is a great word, not only for actors but for everybody to remember.”

From “What People Laugh At”, American Magazine, November 1918

“One cannot do humour without a great sympathy for one’s fellow man.”

Charlie Chaplin Quotes – “Ageless Master’s Anatomy of Comedy: Chaplin, An Interview”, interview with Richard Meryman, Life Magazine, March 10, 1967
Charlie Chaplin Quotes

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