Chaplin Movie Poster Image




Bio of comic legend falls short of greatness.
  • Review Date: October 16, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1993
  • Running Time: 135 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Charlie's relationship with women is not always healthy. He seeks underage or younger women to consort with, though he usually ends up marrying them.

Not applicable

Some nudity: women getting into costume before going on stage are in various states of undress, plus a brief full-body female nude shot before bed.


"Bitch" and "ass" used with moderate frequency.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking of champagne and scotch in ballroom situations.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie based on Chaplin's autobiography focuses on the great comic's life events, rather than his talent. Some aspects of his life are sad and disturbing, such as his mother's devolution into madness. Expect non-sexual female nudity and social drinking, plus references to women as "bitches," reflecting the inequality of the time.

What's the story?

This sweeping biopic follows the great comedic figure's life as told by an elderly Chaplin (Robert Downey Jr.) to the editor of his autobiography (Anthony Hopkins). Eventually making his way to America, using his pratfalls and vaudeville comedic acts to impress producers, viewers see how Charlie Chaplin became the world's biggest star before he reached 30 years of age. But as he ages in the movie, Chaplin is haunted by the feeling that his work was never truly worthwhile. When he sticks his neck out politically, making a spoof of Adolf Hitler in The Great Dictator, he catches the unwanted attention of the head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover (Kevin Dunn), who eventually engineered the artist's exile.

Is it any good?


Though Robert Downey Jr.'s age-defying portrayal of the comic genius is spot-on, the overall movie meanders vaguely through the actor's life. Scenes depicting the depression years and Chaplin's return to London border on schmaltz. But the last scene, where an elderly Chaplin accepts an honorary Academy Award, ends the movie with dignity. See this one if you are a fan of Robert Downey Jr., but if you like Charlie Chaplin, you might prefer seeing his own movies instead.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it means to be famous. How did Charlie's life change from his days in London to those in Hollywood? How did the public react when he expressed his political views? Was he unfairly targeted? How did he use humor to raise awareness? How is that done today?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 16, 1993
DVD release date:October 14, 2008
Cast:Kevin Kline, Penelope Ann Ann Miller, Robert Downey Jr.
Director:Richard Attenborough
Run time:135 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:nudity and language

This review of Chaplin was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Comic genius blitzkriegs the Third Reich.
  • A screen gem. Youngsters and up.
  • Families will cherish Chaplin's silent slapstick.
  • Great action, lots of style, some iffy stuff.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bykorlak October 18, 2009

Great movie although too much female nudity

I personally love this movie but I'd be very careful about showing it to your children seeing as this so called PG-13 movie contains an awful lot of female nudity. Two scenes if I remember correctly. One at the beginning in the dressing rooms, you see at least a dozen bare breasted women getting dressed for a performance. then another when a woman is preparing for bed with chaplin
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Kid, 9 years old October 8, 2010


oh come on people seriously this movie ive seen it when i was fourthis is black and white theater its healthy for childrens mind to learn from the 50's but still there will be drugs and all but how many times have you not seen your parents smoke a ciggar or a tabbaco or drink wine
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byZshoot2kill August 27, 2014


It's a really interesting movie but I think it's made for thirteen and up. To much sex. In one scene at the beginning many woman's bear breast are shown. At one point in the movie a woman's whole back side of her body is show (including the butt) The f-word is used many many times. Frankly I'm supprised this movie isn't rated R. Other PG-13 cuss words are also used throughout. There's also some Drinking and Smoking. No violence.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?