MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 697 this week

The Circus (1928)

 -  Comedy | Romance  -  1928 (Turkey)
8.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 12,792 users  
Reviews: 198 user | 50 critic

The Tramp finds work and the girl of his dreams at a circus.

Director:

(as Charlie Chaplin)

Writer:

0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb at Comic-Con 2014

Follow our coverage of Comic-Con 2014, direct from San Diego July 23-27 in our Comic-Con section.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 47 titles
created 25 May 2012
 
a list of 28 titles
created 01 Dec 2012
 
a list of 27 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 35 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 23 titles
created 8 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "The Circus" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Circus (1928)

The Circus (1928) on IMDb 8.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Circus.

User Polls

1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

City Lights (1931)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

The Tramp struggles to help a blind flower girl he has fallen in love with.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee
Modern Times (1936)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A kept woman runs into her one-time fiancé and finds herself torn between love and comfort.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Edna Purviance, Clarence Geldart, Carl Miller
The Pilgrim (1923)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The Tramp is an escaped convict who is mistaken as a pastor in a small town church.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Edna Purviance, Charles Chaplin, Syd Chaplin
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A recently-deposed European monarch seeks shelter in New York City, where he becomes an accidental television celebrity and is later wrongly accused of being a Communist.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Maxine Audley, Jerry Desmonde
Pay Day I (1922)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Charlie is an expert bricklayer. He has lots of fun and work and enjoys himself greatly while at the saloon. As he leaves work his wife takes the pay he has hidden in his hat. But he steals... See full summary »

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Phyllis Allen, Mack Swain
Action | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The effete son of a cantankerous riverboat captain comes to join his father's crew.

Directors: Charles Reisner, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Tom McGuire, Ernest Torrence
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The most important family in Hickoryville is (naturally enough) the Hickorys, with sheriff Jim and his tough manly sons Leo and Olin. The timid youngest son, Harold, doesn't have the ... See full summary »

Directors: Ted Wilde, J.A. Howe, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Walter James
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand one another, without realizing that they're falling in love through the post as each other's anonymous pen pal.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A filmmaker recalls his childhood, when he fell in love with the movies at his village's theater and formed a deep friendship with the theater's projectionist.

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Stars: Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale, Antonella Attili
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing.

Director: George Seaton
Stars: Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O'Hara, John Payne
Marius (1931)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

César runs a bar along Marseilles' port, assisted by his 23 year old son, Marius. Colorful characters abound: M. Panisse, an aging widower and prosperous sail maker; Honorine, a fishmonger ... See full summary »

Director: Alexander Korda
Stars: Raimu, Pierre Fresnay, Fernand Charpin
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Al Ernest Garcia ...
The Circus Proprietor and Ring Master (as Allan Garcia)
Merna Kennedy ...
His Step-Daughter - A Circus Rider
Harry Crocker ...
Rex - A Tight Rope Walker
George Davis ...
A Magician
Henry Bergman ...
An Old Clown
Tiny Sandford ...
The Head Property Man (as Stanley J. Sandford)
John Rand ...
An Assistant Property Man
Steve Murphy ...
A Pickpocket
...
A Tramp (as Charlie Chaplin)
Edit

Storyline

Charlie's Tramp character finds himself at a circus where he is promptly gets chased around by the police who think he is a pickpocket. Running into the bigtop, he is an accidental sensation with his hilarious efforts to elude the police. The ringmaster/owner immediately hires him, but discovers the Tramp cannot be funny on purpose, so he takes advantage of the situation by making the Tramp a janitor just happens to always in the Bigtop at showtime. Unaware of this exploitation, the Tramp falls for the owner's lovely acrobatic daughter, who is abused by her father. His chances seem good, until a dashing rival comes in and Charlies feels he has to compete with him. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@home.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

tramp | police | circus | rival | pickpocket | See more »

Taglines:

The Circus is Here! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Release Date:

1928 (Turkey)  »

Also Known As:

El circo  »

Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Charles Chaplin's studio burnt down during production. This, combined with a number of major personal issues that arose during production, led to Chaplin's nervous breakdown (he spent time recovering in New York after about two-thirds of the film had been shot). See more »

Goofs

After the tramp washes the shaving cream from his face, he dries himself with a towel but the towel never touches his face (this is probably so that it won't mess up the stage makeup). See more »

Quotes

A Tramp: If you strike that girl, I'll quit! And what's more, I want what I'm worth.
The Circus Proprietor and Ring Master: I'll give you fifty dollars a week.
[the tramp shakes his head]
The Circus Proprietor and Ring Master: Sixty!
[the tramp mouths 'no']
The Circus Proprietor and Ring Master: I'll double it!
A Tramp: Nothing less than a hundred.
[the Circus Proprietor agrees and they shake on it]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in My Name Is Nobody (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Swing Little Girl
(1969) (uncredited)
Written and Performed by Charles Chaplin for the 1969 release
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Charlie of the Sawdust
1 December 2007 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

THE CIRCUS (United Artists, 1928) written, produced, directed and starring Charlie Chaplin, is a well-documented gem about circus life, mixing comedy and sentiment in the best Chaplin tradition, ranking this one of his finer yet neglected achievements of the 1920s.

In it, Chaplin plays a tramp who drifts at the midway of the circus after being wrongly accused of a theft and chased by a policeman. His escapades are mistaken as part of the act, which stirs roars of laughter from its audience. Because his circus has not been earning any profits, the ringmaster/owner (Allan Garcia) decides in hiring Charlie as his top attraction. However it is learned that Charlie is only funny whenever he blunders to his viewing public. Charlie soon learns from the abused Merna (Merna Kennedy), how valuable he really is, thus, making demands of quitting to his employer unless he ceases mistreating his stepdaughter, and offers him a higher salary, which he does. All goes well until Rex (Henry Crocker), "King of the High Wire," joins the circus and becomes attracted to Merna, causing Charlie to vie for her affections any which way he can.

With the circus being one of the more famous backdrops of many movie comedians and/or comedy teams ranging from W.C. Fields to Laurel & Hardy, The Marx Brothers to Martin and Lewis, THE CIRCUS stands out more for its ingenious use of difficult gags, comic timing and the effort that went into it to make every gag funny as well as realistically done. Rarely seen since its original theatrical release, THE CIRCUS came into full view again shortly after Chaplin's death in 1977. Newly scored and restored by Chaplin himself in 1968 (as mentioned in the new opening titles), with his singing of "Swing Little Girl" recorded on the soundtrack during the opening credits, my first experience with THE CIRCUS was in 1980 at New York City's Regency Theater, 68th Street and Broadway, where the revival theater (which no longer exists, having been demolished in 1998) paid a tribute to Chaplin with a series of shorts and features, including THE KID (1921), MODERN TIMES (1936) and THE GREAT DICTATOR (1940). Being surrounded by an appreciative audience laughing at a silent film made long ago indicated d THE CIRCUS has stood the test of time and what a comic genius Chaplin was, especially when demonstrating how difficult performing comedy can be as his character finds he has to be funny and isn't, and at the same time showing how poor he is as a comic to the circus staff and how funny he is as a bad comedian to the movie audience. While sitting in the dark movie theater of all ages at the Regency, the biggest laughs occurred during the opening as Chaplin hides from the law inside a fun house surrounded by mirrors and later making a fool out of the rival pickpocket (Steve Murphy) as they each attempt to fool the policeman by pretending to be movable statues; Charlie's encounter with a lion while locked inside the cage; and the biggest topper of all being Charlie doing a tight rope wire act and trying to balance himself while loose monkeys crawl all over him, thus disrupting his act. These same gags obviously brought forth many laughs in 1980 as it did in 1928, and continue to do so today. In between these gags comes pathos, which Chaplin also succeeds without hurting the continuity.

Chaplin staff players regulars such as Harry Bergman as the Clown, and Stanley Sanford as the Head Property lead fine support. Others in the cast include Betty Morrissey as The Vanishing Lady; George Davis as The Magician; John Rand, Albert Austin and Heinie Conklin in smaller roles.

In spite of its true greatness, it's hard to believe how underrated THE CIRCUS has become, not having the appreciation as Chaplin's own masterpieces, THE GOLD RUSH (1925) and CITY LIGHTS (1931), even by Chaplin himself. It's been said that during the making of THE CIRCUS, Chaplin was going through personal problems of his own, including divorce and the passing of his mother. It's even more ironic the elimination of THE CIRCUS from Chaplin's own autobiography published in 1964 while his other works were profiled to great extent, regardless of his nomination as Best Actor and Best Comedy Director by the Academy for 1927-28 awards. At least this has been amended through its reissue throughout the years to a new generation of movie lovers.

Distributed onto video cassette as part of the Chaplin centennial collection in 1989, THE CIRCUS, currently on DVD, made its presence known on television in the height of cable television, notably on the weekly series, "Dead Comics Society" on the Comedy Channel hosted by Kevin Kline around 1989-90, followed by American Movie Classics (1997-2000) and Turner Classic Movies where it made its debut in 2003.

THE CIRCUS, a 70 minute comedy, is a fine study to film students and anyone appreciating and supporting the art of silent comedy. (****)


10 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
THE CIRCUS' reputation CHARLIE-89
Tightrope walking scene is the funniest scene on film kyluvjesus
Am I completely nuts?? smiles4891
The Donkey sherylshannon
Merna Kennedy Chance-the-gardener
Poster? cman2099x
Discuss The Circus (1928) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?