Hollywood 1927. George Valentin is a very successful silent movie star, but the arrival of talking pictures may mark the end of his career. When he bumps into Peppy Miller, a young female extra, they're photographed together and the notoriety enhances her career.
Meanwhile, George's marriage is falling apart and as talking pictures become more popular, he's finding it difficult to get a role. The opposite is true for Poppy, who becomes a star in talkies.