main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Film: The Circus
Charlie Chaplin as The Tramp, who, while running away from the police (who mistook him for a pickpocket) runs into a circus big top and is an (unintentional) comedy hit. The circus owner finds that Charlie can't be funny when they want him to be, so he gets a job as a janitor who "accidentally" winds up as part of the act every night.

Charlie falls in love with the owner's daughter, Merna the circus rider, and determines to save her from her abusive father. She however only considers him a friend, and instead falls in love with Rex, the circus' tightrope walker. Charlie tries to impress her by also learning to walk the tightrope, but almost gets killed in the process.

Eventually, Merna runs away from the Circus, so the Tramp convinces Rex to marry her to keep her safe. They then return to the circus, but Charlie stays behind, going back to being a tramp.

Less well remembered than his previous effort, The Gold Rush, or his next features City Lights and Modern Times. Plagued with production difficulties both internal (a fire destroyed much of the set) and external (production took place during Chaplin's ugly, public divorce battle with Lita Grey, causing Chaplin to smuggle portions of the film out of Hollywood to prevent Grey's attorneys from seizing it.)

Chaplin was awarded a special Academy Award for "versatility and genius in acting, writing, directing and producing The Circus". The film can be seen here.

This film provides examples of:

Chitty Chitty Bang BangCreator/United ArtistsCity Lights
A Christmas StoryRoger Ebert Great Movies ListCitizen Kane
The Gold RushCreator/Magnetic VideoCity Lights
The Gold RushFilms of the 1920sThe Idle Class

alternative title(s): The Circus
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy