Skip to content
The Whitsell Auditorium and the Northwest Film Center Equipment Room are closed to the public in an effort to further stem the spread of COVID-19. All classes canceled until further notice. Stay connected to art, film, and more by signing up for our newsletter.

Directed by Charlie Chaplin

United States 1936 87 mins. In English

Perhaps Chaplin’s foremost contribution to the preeminent art form of the 20th century and routinely voted amongst the greatest films ever made, Modern Times slyly moves through the various stages of mass labor, with Chaplin’s Little Tramp (now The Worker) as the repeated fall guy. Factory worker, repeat offender and prisoner, mechanic, accidental protester, nightclub waiter: he does it all. Meanwhile, other factory workers, protesters, and prisoners are depicted with a sensitive and humane edge. Along the way, The Worker meets the orphan Ellen (Paulette Goddard), perpetually in trouble and on the run, trying to make ends meet. The duo, who protect and look out for each other, finally find peace in the precarity of their situation. Modern times, indeed. “A historical event. . . [Modern Times] criticizes not just industrial capitalism but work itself—as well as authority, the family, and the very nature of adult behavior. Look at the early [Chaplin] movies and then look around you. See if you can’t find Chaplin—our contemporary—out there on the street.”—J. Hoberman, The Village Voice.

Genres: Slapstick

Appears in: Print the Legend



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.