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The Circus (1928)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance | 29 January 1928 (Canada)
The Tramp finds work and the girl of his dreams at a circus.


Charles Chaplin (as Charlie Chaplin)


Charles Chaplin (as Charlie Chaplin)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »




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


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


Charlie Chaplin in the Greatest Picture of His Entire Career... See more »


Comedy | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Charles Chaplin composed a new score for the film in 1967, and this new version of the film was copyrighted in 1968 (to "The Roy Export Company Establishment") and released in 1969/70. See more »


At 56:25 there is a small round box of make-up cream on the clothes (next to the monkey) and in the next shot it has disappeared. See more »


A Tramp: If you strike that girl, I'll quit! And what's more, I want what I'm worth.
The Circus Proprietor and Ring Master: I'll give you fifty dollars a week.
[the tramp shakes his head]
The Circus Proprietor and Ring Master: Sixty!
[the tramp mouths 'no']
The Circus Proprietor and Ring Master: I'll double it!
A Tramp: Nothing less than a hundred.
[the Circus Proprietor agrees and they shake on it]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Charles 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 fades to the credits of that version with no cast nor technical credits. See more »


Referenced in Charlie Chaplin, le génie de la liberté (2020) See more »


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

User Reviews

The first silent film I experienced was The Circus.
24 January 2011 | by j-maxon1See all my reviews

The Circus was my first experience with a silent movie of any length. I never thought it was possible but I really enjoyed the movie and laughed through the entire movie. The comedy was clean and still fun unlike many movies today. It was refreshing to laugh so much at something and not have to hear foul language every other sentence. The way the characters fit their roles really helped with not being able to hear them. The exaggerated actions and facial expressions were key to telling the story and keeping my attention. Another very important part was the use of music to set the mood and pace of a scene which worked well. This film has made me want watch more Chaplin films and try other silent films. I recommend watching this film whether you are used to this type of film or if you are looking to get into watching silent films. Excellent Movie!!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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None | English

Release Date:

29 January 1928 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

The Circus See more »


Box Office


$900,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Silent | Mono (musical score)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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