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The Champ (1931)

Passed | | Drama, Sport | 21 November 1931 (USA)
1:25 | Trailer

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Alcoholic ex-boxer struggles to provide a good living for his son.




(story), (dialogue continuity) | 1 more credit »
Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Sponge (as Rosco Ates)
Hale Hamilton ...
Jesse Scott ...
Mary Lou


Dink Purcell loves his alcoholic father, ex-heavyweight champion Andy "Champ" Purcell, despite his frequent binges, his frequent gambling and their squalid living conditions. And there's nothing Andy wouldn't do for Dink. When Andy wins a race horse gambling, he gives it to Dink and they race it at a Tijuana track. There, Dink meets Linda Carleton, a race horse owner herself, and they have an immediate rapport. But Linda's rich husband sees Andy and realizes Dink is Linda's son, who she gave up when she and Andy divorced. Andy is bribed $200 to allow Dink to visit with Linda, but refuses to allow Dink to spend six months with the Carletons. When Andy loses the horse gambling and winds up in jail after a drunken tirade, he realizes Dink's place is with his mother. Dink tearfully goes but sneaks out and returns at his first opportunity, filling a depressed Andy with a desire to make good. So Andy goes into training after his managers arrange a boxing match with the Mexican champion. Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gambling | horse | boxing | boy | racetrack | See All (34) »


Don't fail to get a ringside seat! See more »


Drama | Sport


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 November 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El campeón  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


King Vidor, feeling that Jackie Cooper "didn't seem to get into the spirit of the part," pretended to fire assistant director Alfred Golden because Cooper was fond of him. After Cooper burst into tears, the article continues, Vidor shot the scene he wanted, then rewarded him for being a good boy by re-hiring Golden. Cooper's autobiography makes no mention of this incident, but notes that as a child Cooper cared neither for Golden or Wallace Beery. See more »


During the fight, The Champ sustains a cut above his left eye, but when he goes back to his corner it is gone. The cut comes back when the fighting resumes and stays for the duration of the film. See more »


[Dink compares the swanky home to his own]
Dink Purcell: The Champ and I ain't fixed up swell as this, but our joint's more lively.
See more »


Featured in Sports on the Silver Screen (1997) See more »


The Stars and Stripes Forever
(1896) (uncredited)
Written by John Philip Sousa
Played by the band at the racetrack
See more »

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User Reviews

Wallace Beery Should Have Shared The Oscar With Jackie Cooper
3 June 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Probably the greatest disconnect among film personalities in history is that of Wallace Beery. On the screen he played these lovable oaf types, even when he was a bad guy. Off the screen he was a violent man, given to fits of temper and I can't recall anyone having a good word to say about him. Possibly for that reason Beery could lay claim to the fact he was the greatest actor in films. The crowning achievement of his career was his Oscar winning performance in The Champ.

Of course Beery could not have done it without little Jackie Cooper as well. It's their scenes together that make the film as memorable as it is. Instead of splitting the Academy Award with Fredric March who was also awarded The Best Actor for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, possibly Beery should have given half of his half to Cooper.

Beery is actually a former champ in this film. He's an over the hill, alcoholic pug who lives a hand to mouth existence with his young son Cooper. He split from his wife Irene Rich years ago, taking Cooper and she'd like to get him back. She's pretty well fixed now with a new and rich husband and a daughter by that marriage.

The fly in the ointment is that Cooper is really attached to his father and blind to the faults he has. And Beery really does love his son, the only really happy part about his life. He's probably way too old to be seriously in the fight game, but he needs the dough for his kid.

The Champ is guaranteed four handkerchief film even now almost eighty years after its debut. A remake was done in 1979 with Jon Voight and Rick Schroder in the main two roles, but it wasn't a patch on this one.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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