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The Champ (I) (1931)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Family, Sport  |  21 November 1931 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,946 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 17 critic

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 ... See full summary »




(story), (dialogue continuity), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Champ (1931)

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Roscoe Ates ...
Sponge (as Rosco Ates)
Edward Brophy ...
Hale Hamilton ...
Jesse Scott ...
Marcia Mae Jones ...
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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The knockout picture of the year! See more »


Drama | Family | Sport


Passed | See all certifications »




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?


Despite the melodramatic script, King Vidor eagerly took on the film since it emphasized the traditional family values and strong belief in hope-qualities he felt were essential to a good motion picture. See more »


As Dink plays on the balcony awaiting his meeting with Linda, he steals chewing gum and candy for himself off of a table on the balcony. He then steals the contents of a box of cigarettes, saying that he'll "bring some home for the Champ", and stuffs them into his right jacket pocket. However, during the ride home, Andy reaches into Dink's right jacket pocket and finds cigars rather than the cigarettes which we clearly saw Dink steal. 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 »


Referenced in Forecast (1945) See more »


Waltz #15 in A flat major ('Lullaby'), Op.39
(1865) (uncredited)
Written by Johannes Brahms
In the score at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

The Box Office Champ
11 October 2011 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Along the California-Mexico border, boxer Wallace Beery (as Andy "Champ" Purcell) is alcoholic, out-of-shape, and unable to fight professionally. Consequently, he and cute son Jackie Cooper (as Dink) are poverty-stricken. Another problem is Mr. Beery's gambling. But, after winning some money, Beery gets young Cooper a racehorse they call "Little Champ" (formerly "Butterfly"). At the track, Cooper meets his mother, Irene Rich (as Linda). Small world. Now married to wealthy Hale Hamilton (as Tony), Ms. Rich decides she wants her son back. Beery refuses to give up Cooper, but his addictions make things difficult...

Directed by King Vidor, this won Beery his "Best Actor" Oscar. During the "Academy Award" presentations, Fredric March won for "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1931). Near the end, there was some discord about the award, so they announced Beery had also won by declaring contests finishing within three votes would be considered a tie. March won by a vote and was arguably a more accomplished actor, but Beery's performance here is better. Later, the Academy stopped revealing vote totals, making the new rule moot. He and Cooper, a nominee for the recent "Skippy" (1931), have great chemistry. The ending is classic.

******* The Champ (11/0/31) King Vidor ~ Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, Irene Rich, Roscoe Ates

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