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The Vagabond (1916)

Charlie, the emotional violinist, flees to a gipsy camp, only to find himself playing for an abducted girl. Soon, a unique birthmark will pave the way for an unexpected rescue and a marvellous new life. But, will she forget him so easily?


Charles Chaplin




Complete credited cast:
Charles Chaplin ... Street musician
Edna Purviance ... Gypsy drudge
Eric Campbell ... Gypsy chieftain
Leo White ... Old Gypsy woman
Lloyd Bacon ... Artist
Charlotte Mineau ... Girl's mother
Albert Austin ... Trombonist
John Rand ... Trumpeter
James T. Kelley James T. Kelley ... Musician / Gypsy
Frank J. Coleman ... Musician / Gypsy


After passing the hat and taking the donations intended for German street musicians Charlie heads for the country. Here he finds and rescues a girl from a band of gypsies. The girl falls in love with an artist whose portrait is later seen in a shop by the girl's real mother. The mother and the artist arrive in a chauffeured auto and offer Charlie money for his services, money which he rejects. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Comedy | Romance


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Did You Know?


Restoration work was carried out at L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in 2013.

The Vagabond (1916) has been restored by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna and Lobster Films, from a nitrate print preserved at the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique.

Intertitles have been reconstructed according to the original Mutual Film intertitles and documents of the Library of Congress. See more »


The camera and cameraman are reflected in the car window as Edna is riding with the Artist. See more »

Alternate Versions

Musical Bars is a shortened version of The Vagabond consisting of just the opening scene where Chaplin is competing with the street band (runtime 3 mins in the Renown Pictures digitally remastered version of 2018) See more »


Featured in Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin (2003) See more »

User Reviews

Vagabond Charlie
11 June 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Am a big fan of Charlie Chaplin, have been for over a decade now. Many films and shorts of his are very good to masterpiece, and like many others consider him a comedy genius and one of film's most important and influential directors.

From his post-Essanay period when he was working for Mutual, 'The Vagabond' is not one of his very best or even among the best of this particular period. It and his Essanay period shows a noticeable step up in quality though from his Keystone period, where he was still evolving and in the infancy of his long career, from 1914, The Essanay and Mutual periods were something of Chaplin's adolescence periods where his style had been found and starting to settle. 'The Vagabond' is among the best of his early work and for me it is the first great Chaplin short under Mutual.

Certainly other efforts of his have more pathos and a balance of that and the comedy than 'The Vagabond'.

On the other hand, 'The Vagabond' looks pretty good, not incredible but it was obvious that Chaplin was taking more time with his work and not churning out countless shorts in the same year of very variable success like he did with Keystone. Appreciate the importance of his Keystone period and there is some good stuff he did there, but the more mature and careful quality seen here and later on is obvious here and preferred.

'The Vagabond' is one of his funniest from this period and does it without being over-reliant on slapstick. It moves quickly and there is a more discernible and busier story to usual, even if at times it could have had more variety.

Chaplin directs more than competently, if not quite cinematic genius standard yet. He also, as usual, gives an amusing and expressive performance and at clear ease with the physicality of the role. The supporting cast acquit themselves well, with a charming Edna Purviance and the chemistry between her and Chaplin.

Summing up, very well done. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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Official Sites:





None | English

Release Date:

10 July 1916 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gipsy Life See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lone Star Corporation See more »
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Technical Specs


(restored) | | (theatrical) | (video)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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