27 user 18 critic

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?


"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 13, 1939 with Wallace Beery reprising his film role. See more »


From 25:57 to 26:15, camera shadow in tracking shot. 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 MGM Parade: Episode #1.20 (1956) See more »


I Surrender Dear
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Barris
Played offscreen by piano in the bar
See more »

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User Reviews

Film with a ton of heart.
1 December 2004 | by (Flushing, NY) – See all my reviews

Former heavyweight champ Andy Purcell goes down to Tijuana in hopes of getting a fight. Andy's son, Dink, watches his father train, but Andy gives into his vices of gin and gambling, which constantly gets him in trouble. Andy wins Dink a race horse, which is entered in a race, where Andy meets his ex-wife Linda (with her current husband Tony) at the track and wants to be reunited with her son (Dink) and give him a better life outside of the one Andy gives him. Andy gets arrested and thrown in jail, where he decides that Dink would be best living with his mother, which devastates Dink (who idolizes his father). Andy is released from jail (thanks to Tony & Linda)and gets a bout with the Mexican heavyweight champ, where Dink runs back to his father to watch him hopefully win the fight, even though he is out of shape and not at the level of his opponent. The film is a toughing piece of cinematic brilliance, despite the static camera-work (very uncharacteristic of King Vidor). Beery and Cooper work so well together and their performances are what makes this film a classic. The script does not lose anything in the 70 plus years since its release. If the ending doesn't make you shed tears, you have to be a robot. Rating, 8.

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