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The Circus (1928)

The Tramp finds work and the girl of his dreams at a circus.

Director:

Charles Chaplin (as Charlie Chaplin)

Writer:

Charles Chaplin (as Charlie Chaplin)
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Three Chaplin silent comedies "A Dog's Life", "Shoulder Arms", and "The Pilgrim" are strung together to form a single feature length film. Chaplin provides new music, narration, and a small... See full summary »

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Albert Austin
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Al Ernest Garcia ... The Circus Proprietor and Ring Master (as Allan Garcia)
Merna Kennedy ... His Step-Daughter - A Circus Rider
Harry Crocker Harry Crocker ... Rex - A Tight Rope Walker
George Davis George Davis ... A Magician
Henry Bergman Henry Bergman ... An Old Clown
Tiny Sandford Tiny Sandford ... The Head Property Man (as Stanley J. Sandford)
John Rand John Rand ... An Assistant Property Man
Steve Murphy Steve Murphy ... A Pickpocket
Charles Chaplin ... A Tramp (as Charlie Chaplin)
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Storyline

The Tramp finds himself at a circus where he is promptly chased around by the police who think he is a pickpocket. Running into the Bigtop, he is an accidental sensation with his hilarious efforts to elude the police. The circus owner immediately hires him, but discovers that the Tramp cannot be funny on purpose, so he takes advantage of the situation by making the Tramp a janitor who just happens to always be in the Bigtop at showtime. Unaware of this exploitation, the Tramp falls for the owner's lovely acrobatic stepdaughter, who is abused by her father. His chances seem good, until a dashing rival comes in and Charlie feels he has to compete with him. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@home.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ring | tramp | police | circus | rival | See All (152) »

Taglines:

The Circus is Here! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

January 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cirkus See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Charles Chaplin wanted to include a scene involving a flea circus, but he couldn't justify putting it into the plot. It later resurfaced in Limelight (1952). See more »

Goofs

After the tramp washes the shaving cream from his face, he dries himself with a towel but the towel never touches his face (this is probably so that it won't mess up the stage makeup). See more »

Quotes

Merna: I told you the lions were dangerous!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Chaplin replaced the original credits of this film when he reissued it in 1969. In their place there is an opening scene featuring Merna Kennedy on the trapeze while Chaplin sings a song, then the image fade to the credits of that version with no cast nor technical credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Changeling (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Swing Little Girl
(1969) (uncredited)
Written and Performed by Charles Chaplin for the 1969 release
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One Of Chaplin's Best; Certainly Underrated
5 April 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

I enjoyed this a lot more the second time when I could see it on a very clear DVD print. I don't know why that would make a difference with the story, but it did as I found it very good for the entire distance, although that's just a scant 69 minutes.

In the story, Charlie Chaplin does his normally-great physical slapstick so well that he accidentally becomes a hit at the circus, which is run by a nasty man (Allan Garcia) who regularly beats his sweet step-daughter, played by a very pretty Merna Kennedy. Charlie, of course, gets smitten by her and comes to her rescue.

This movie has a different kind of ending that what you'd normally see for a comedy but it's inspiring as Chaplin performs a noble deed. (However, Kennedy's character is in question as she seems satisfied to marry either of two men. Huh?)

Chaplin's timing and clever slapstick routines never fail to amaze me. Even though silent films aren't seen by many people these days, it's works of art like this that will endure forever. This is not of one of Chaplin's more famous movies.....but it should be. I think it's one of his best.


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