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The Champ (1931)

Passed | | Drama, Sport | 21 November 1931 (USA)
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1:25 | Trailer

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ON DISC
An alcoholic ex-boxer struggles to provide a good living for his son.

Director:

King Vidor (uncredited)

Writers:

Frances Marion (story), Leonard Praskins (dialogue continuity) | 1 more credit »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: King Vidor
Stars: Robert Donat, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Richardson
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Wallace Beery ... Andy Purcell - The Champ
Jackie Cooper ... Dink
Irene Rich ... Linda
Roscoe Ates ... Sponge (as Rosco Ates)
Edward Brophy ... Tim
Hale Hamilton ... Tony
Jesse Scott Jesse Scott ... Jonah
Marcia Mae Jones ... Mary Lou
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Storyline

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) »

Taglines:

Don't fail to get a ringside seat! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 November 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El campeón See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film, along with Min and Bill (1930), transformed Wallace Beery from ageing character actor to a verified star. See more »

Goofs

From 25:57 to 26:15, camera shadow in tracking shot. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Featured in Checking Out: Grand Hotel (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
A bit dated but it still packs an emotional wallop.
16 January 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"The Champ" is an old-time melodrama--the sort of picture they don't make any more but also the sort of thing folks loved back in the day. Compared to most films today, it's a bit heavy on the schmaltz and heavy-handed. However, despite its being a tad dated, the film STILL packs a nice emotional wallop and is well worth your time--even with its defects.

Wallace Beery plays 'Champ'--an aging, overweight and somewhat good-for-nothing guy. He drinks, he gambles and he breaks his promises. Yet, despite this, he has something good in his life--his young son, Dink (Jackie Cooper). Dink looks up to him adoringly and looks past his dad's many faults. However, the boy does deserve better--more stability, a better environment and a real home. Later in the film, the boy's mother (who left the boy and remarried when he was too young to remember) returns and wants to raise him herself. Despite her wealth, however, the boy is miserable and longs to be back with Champ. Champ's thinks his only hope is to change his ways, return to the ring and redeem himself in his son's eyes. But the battle sure will be uphill--and his opponent is the Mexican champion. What's to happen? See the film and find out for yourself.

It's funny that Wallace Beery won the Oscar for Best Actor. He was horribly out of shape and old--even for this part. They claimed he weighed 210 but looked to be at least 280. Plus, I really think he was repeatedly upstaged by Cooper! Still, I challenge you to watch the film's finale and not feel misty-eyed. Sure, it's saccharine--but very, very good saccharine! Well worth seeing.


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