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Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Bill Strother, Noah Young, W.B. Clarke ... see more see more... , Mickey Daniels , Mrs. Anna Townsend , Helen Gilmore , Gus Leonard , Charles E. Stevenson

After Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, the silent film era's "third genius" was Harold Lloyd, who stars in this Horatio Alger-style story of an average country boy trying to make good in the big cit... read more read more...y. The Boy (Lloyd) leaves his sweetheart, The Girl (Mildred Davis, later the real-life Mrs. Lloyd) in Great Bend while he pursues his fortune in a teeming metropolis. The Boy lands a job as a clerk at a fabric counter of DeVore's, a huge department store, but he lies in his letters home to his beloved, pretending to be the store's manager and spending his earnings on lavish gifts. The Boy's roommate, The Pal (Bill Strother) makes money as a "human fly," performing attention-getting stunts. Promised $1,000 by DeVore's real manager if he can devise a publicity gimmick, The Boy convinces his friend to climb the 12-story establishment and split the winnings with him. On the day of the event, however, The Pal is busy dodging The Law (Noah Young), forcing The Boy to make the arduous climb solo. Dodging a variety of obstacles, The Boy climbs higher and higher, eventually dangling from the store's clock tower, in the film's most memorable image. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

Flixster Users

93% liked it

3,409 ratings

Critics

96% liked it

25 critics

Unrated, 1 hr. 20 min.

Directed by: Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor

Release Date: April 1, 1923

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DVD Release Date: June 18, 2013

Stats: 265 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (265)


  • January 6, 2010
    Classic Harold Lloyd, in what is probably his best known film. I can't get enough of it!
  • August 5, 2009
    harold lloyd is so cute :)
  • January 10, 2009
    Enjoyable slapstick comedy with a lot of inventiveness that still impresses. Simple shots such as the hiding on the coat hanger scene are still great to watch and it is the idea that amazes more than the stunt itself. The first shot was genuinely laugh out loud funny, and many mo... read morements after continued to bring a grin. If you are in the mood for a live action Looney Tune then this could be it. Suffers from a climax that is overlong and it is disappointing to see such a strong film lose the comedy towards the end.
  • October 5, 2007
    Brilliant, perhaps the finest and most famous of the silent-era comedies. Technically amazing, and hilarious to boot.
  • April 24, 2005
    [font=Century Gothic][color=blue]I have seen plenty of silent comedies starring Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton before but I really do not think I had seen one starring Harold Lloyd before I saw "Safety Last" yesterday. At least in this picture, Lloyd has a mild-mannered demea... read morenor. In this film, he has gone to the big city to make it big, only to end up working behind the counter at a department store. This is only the set-up for some hilarious gags. "Safety Last" combines the best of sight gags with some amazing physical derring-do to make for a truly excellent silent comedy.[/color][/font]
  • fb208103125
    November 27, 2013
    fb208103125
    Being a big fan of both Chaplin and Keaton, this was my first experience with Harold Lloyd (thanks to The Criterion Collection's beautifully remastered Blu-ray version) and man was I impressed. The film was amazingly staged and was hilarious from start to finish as well as unner... read moreving in the amazing stunts performed by Lloyd. I rarely laugh out loud during films but I was dying laughing throughout the film. The building climbing finale is both expertly staged and terrifying to watch as Lloyd teeters on the edge and dangles from multiple places on his long journey upwards. Watch a great comedy of the everyman Glasses character and one that most people then and now could relate to in some way or another. Highly recommended!
  • June 15, 2013
    One of those silent films that has had an infinite amount of influence of modern cinema, "Safety Last!" features the instantly likable Harold Lloyd, a twisty narrative and a hilarious turn of events. The stunt work is quite phenomenal and that iconic clock-hanging scene is just a... read mores much of spectacle today as it was back then.
  • January 11, 2011
    It was ok. I didn't find it funny at all, but it was ok.
  • January 3, 2014
    I've seen Keaton and Chaplin (granted, not as much as I should have of either) but I've never seen any work of Harold Lloyd, so I'm not sure how indicative "Safety Last!" is of his other films. Starts as a workplace sitcom (a very rich and funny one at that) but the real star of ... read morethis thing is the final set piece, in which Lloyd climbs a twelve-story building like a slippery stress reliever; I kept imagining at every turn Chloe Grace Moretz's awe-stricken face (can't find a good "Hugo" pic of this instance to link to but you know what scene I mean) whenever his shoe would drop, look down at the ant-sized bystanders, or open a window to reveal a stir-crazy pit bull at the leashed and frothy ready.

    "Safety" is gimmick done right, full of splendid imagery and physical comedy at its most well-orchestrated and precise. The still everyone relates to this movie is of Lloyd dangling from the giant clock hand, but there's also a few shots of two separate people tangled up in fishing net wire, grasping and struggling to find their way out, that's equally as representative of what a tough, knotty task it to this day is to marry real-life action anxiety with huge laughs of slapstick relief. "Safety Last!" utilizes nearly all aspects of cinema -- from every moment's careful framework to the bouncy, humble organ music -- and it's just about perfect.

    All on YouTube right now! The Internet, you guys. Continues to amaze. (96/100)
  • October 21, 2013
    Amazing movie, still as funny and thrilling as it was when fist released. Harold Lloyd is just fantasic, a great comedic performance. Technically the climbing scenes are amazingly good and hold up perfectly today. Really looks like he's high up, and the way the scenes were filmed... read more were still dangerous and groundbreaking. For being 90 years old, the film still looks fantastic, too. The jokes/gags still mostly hold up as well, it's still a very funny movie.

Critic Reviews


Variety Staff
March 11, 2009
Variety Staff, Variety

This Harold Lloyd high-class low comedy has thrills as well as guffaws. Full Review

Geoff Andrew
June 24, 2006
Geoff Andrew, Time Out

The clock-hanging climax that caps this generally charming tale of a country boy out to make his fortune in the big city is a superb example of his ability to mix suspense and slapstick. Full Review

Roger Ebert
January 20, 2006
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

The Glasses character in Safety Last would have blended with the background of the department store where he worked if it had not been for action imposed upon him. But what action! Full Review

Dave Kehr
January 1, 2000
Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

The other great silent comics defined their own worlds; Lloyd lives dangerously in ours. Full Review

Eric Melin
July 22, 2013
Eric Melin, Scene-Stealers.com

... a briskly paced thrill comedy with memorable gag after memorable gag, and a surprising dark streak. Full Review

Christopher Long
July 11, 2013
Christopher Long, Movie Metropolis

You'll believe a man can die. Full Review

James Kendrick
June 12, 2013
James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk

The climb has both comic and dramatic weight because it is both a thrilling exercise in physical humor and a thematically rich evocation of the pressures men feel to succeed, lest they be viewed as le... Full Review

Cole Smithey
May 27, 2013
Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com

Of the great silent film comedians, Harold Lloyd stood apart from Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton by virtue of his everyman approach to physical comedy. He had to work at it and he let his difficult... Full Review

Jamie S. Rich
May 2, 2013
Jamie S. Rich, Oregonian

As a personality, Lloyd is a combination of silly and sweet, but his true star power comes from his daring athleticism. Full Review

David Parkinson
March 18, 2013
David Parkinson, Empire Magazine

Harold Lloyd manages to make the characters sympathetic enough to carry the audience's concern on his journey of crazy stunts and mishaps. One of the best of this era. Full Review

Critic ratings and reviews powered by RottenTomatoes.com

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Safety Last! Trivia


  • I star in the comedies 'Safety Last!' and 'Grandma's Boy', who am I?  Answer »
  • Which of these famous silent-movie comedians dangled off a building's clock face in SAFETY LAST?  Answer »

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