Charlie Chaplin in a scene from the film Modern Times
The film's theme is spelled out in the foreword that runs after the opening credits: "'Modern Times.' A story of industry, of individual enterprise—humanity crusading in the pursuit of happiness." The film then opens with an overhead shot of a flock of sheep rushing through a chute. The sheep quickly dissolve into a similar shot of industrial laborers surging out of a subway station on their way to the factory.