29 user 16 critic

The Pilgrim (1923)

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


Charles Chaplin (uncredited)


Charles Chaplin




Complete credited cast:
Charles Chaplin ... The Pilgrim / Lefty Lombard
Edna Purviance ... The Girl
Syd Chaplin ... Eloper / Train Conductor / Little Boy's Father (as Sydney Chaplin)
Mai Wells Mai Wells ... Little Boy's Mother (as ?)
Dean Riesner ... Little Boy (as Dinky Reisner)
Charles Reisner ... Crook (as Chuck Reisner)
Tom Murray ... Sheriff Bryan
Kitty Bradbury Kitty Bradbury ... Girl's Mother
Mack Swain ... Deacon Jones
Loyal Underwood ... Small Deacon
Henry Bergman Henry Bergman ... Sheriff on Train / Man In Railroad Station


When Charlie escapes from prison he dons a preacher's clothes. By mistake he becomes the new minister for the town of Devil's Gulch. Later, discovered as the convict, the sheriff takes Charlie to the Mexican border where he can choose to return, a convict, or face Mexican bandits at war with each other. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


4 Great Reels See more »




TV-G | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The bratty boy was played by Dean Riesner, associate director and co-star Charles Reisner's son. In later years, Dean recounted how he did not want to slap Charles Chaplin's face, even though the story called for him to do so. As a result, Chaplin and his elder brother Syd Chaplin continually slapped each other's faces to convince Riesner what fun it was. See more »


The Mexico Texas border is marked by a sign on dry land. The entire Mexico Texas border is in the middle of the Rio Grande. See more »


Crook: I missed my train.
Girl's Mother: Then you must stay for the night. I'll get some light.
See more »


Edited into The Chaplin Revue (1959) See more »


I'm Bound for Texas
Words and Music by Charles Chaplin
Sung by Matt Monro
See more »

User Reviews

Good for the Soul
29 August 2005 | by CineanalystSee all my reviews

Chaplin originally planned "The Pilgrim" as a two-reel short, but it expanded to a four-reel feature. When comparing it to his films at Mutual or before, it's evident how far Chaplin had come with his First National pictures: he took his time elaborating and extending fewer gags and set pieces and in developing the plot and characters. His First National films may not always be as continually uproarious as his Mutual ones, but they are, I think, more satisfying and affecting.

"The Kid", deservedly his most beloved First National release, greatly strained Chaplin's relationship with the distributors. He would leave yet another company to continue in his evermore-ambitious efforts. Jeffrey Vance, in "Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema", makes an interesting observation: he points out that Chaplin plays an escaped prisoner in both his last Mutual film, "The Adventurer", and in this film, his last First National release. They both reflect the filmmaker's escape from confining contracts.

There's some light satire on a religious community and parody of Westerns, and Chaplin gets plenty of mileage out of the common mistaken identity device. I didn't find any of the gags particularly memorable, but the hilarity is sustained throughout the film. "The Pilgrim" is, as religion can be, uplifting.

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None | English

Release Date:

25 February 1923 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Pilgrim See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(re-release) (1950s) | (TCM print) | (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System) (1959 re-issue)| Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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