Cops (1922)

Unrated  |   |  Short, Comedy, Family  |  March 1922 (USA)
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Reviews: 31 user | 4 critic

A series of mishaps manages to make a young man get chased by a big city's entire police force.


(as Eddie Cline) , (as 'Buster' Keaton)


(as 'Buster' Keaton) , (as Eddie Cline)
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Complete credited cast:
The Young Man (as 'Buster' Keaton)


Through a series of mistaken identities Buster winds up with a load of furniture in the middle of parade of policemen. An anarchist's bomb lands in his carriage. After lighting his cigarette with it, he tosses it into the ranks of police. When it explodes the police chase him all over town. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Short | Comedy | Family


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

March 1922 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Buster ja poliisiparaati  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The scene where Buster Keaton lights his cigarette from the lit fuse of the anarchist's bomb is, knowingly or not, mirroring the darkest day in Harold Lloyd's life. On 24 August 1919 he was posing for gag photographs at the Witzel Studios. He thought it would be funny to light a cigarette from the fuse of a prop anarchist's bomb. Unfortunately the bomb proved to be real, it blew up and he lost his right thumb, index finger and 30% of his palm. In addition, he was completely blind for three months and half blind for another three. See more »


Opening title: [first line] Love laughs at locksmiths - Houdini
See more »

Crazy Credits

The "THE END" text appears on a tombstone, which has Keaton's signature pork pie hat on top. See more »


Referenced in Barfi! (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Keaton and the Chase
17 October 2005 | by See all my reviews

This seems to be Buster Keaton's most popular short film. I prefer his films with more cinematically based comedy, such as in "The Playhouse", "The Frozen North" and "Sherlock, Jr.", but "Cops" is a very entertaining little film. It features a large comedic chase--chases, especially involving policemen, being one of the most regularly reoccurring devices in Keaton's oeuvre, especially in his two-reelers. Cops chased Keaton in "Convict 13", "Neighbors", "Hard Luck", "The Goat" and--in an escalated chase very similar to that in "Cops"--"Daydreams". My favorite Keaton chase, by the way, is the chase of the brides in "Seven Chances".

The comedic chase has a long cinema tradition, perhaps dating back to James Williamson's "Stop Thief!" (1901) or "Chinese Laundry Scene" (1895), the latter of which was based on a vaudeville act. Then, there were the Pathé comedies and those of Mack Sennett's Keystone, which were greatly derived from them. Keaton came from vaudeville and worked under one of the premiere early comedians, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, to begin his on screen career, so he was fully immersed in this tradition.

In "Cops", there are some good visual jokes that rely on film technique, such as following a close shot of Keaton behind bars with a reverse long shot that clarifies the opening scene. Keaton's mechanical inventiveness is demonstrated during the horse carriage sequence. And, there's plenty of physical comedy during the great chase finale. Keaton's sense of matured, restrained comedy is also important here, which is perhaps best characterized by his retained stoic expression throughout any chaotic misadventure. "Cops" is rather representative of Keaton's refined sense of what's funny and of his advanced understanding of film-making.

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