The Penalty (1920)

The Penalty (1920)

The Penalty




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Penalty Videos & Photos

Movie Info

In one of Lon Chaney's most famous roles, he plays a criminal whose legs are accidentally amputated by a doctor in a botched operation. In order to gain the power to revenge himself on the doctor, he lets nothing step in his way to becoming the leader of the San Francisco criminal underground.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By: ,
Written By: Charles Kenyon, Gouveneur Morris, Philip Lonergan
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 8, 2005
Samuel Goldwyn Company

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as Blizzard

as Barbary Nell

as Frisco Pete

as Barbara

as Lichtenstein

as Dr. Ferris
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Critic Reviews for The Penalty

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (2)

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

November 11, 2002
AV Club
Top Critic

Demonstrates the wonder and value of pre-digital moviemmaking: For all intents and purposes, Chaney *is* a legless man in 'The Penalty,' and the film is a documentary record of this impersonation.

Full Review… | November 16, 2012
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Famous scene of Chaney straightening twisted legs is real plus.

May 9, 2007

Somewhat interesting for historical reasons and for Chaney's memorable performance.

Full Review… | October 16, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The Penalty is by far one of the greatest unsung achievements of über-legend Lon Chaney

July 18, 2003
Blunt Review

Audience Reviews for The Penalty


This movie was very predictable, but Cheney does a great job as usual in his strange role of a criminal kingpin without legs. The romantic part of it was good too, although sometimes unintentionally funny. But then the ending was really very sad. Overall it was pretty good, but it could have been better.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

Lon Chaney is truly amazing (isn't he always?) as a double amputee and the visual design of the film is simply wonderful... but the script has a severely sluggish pace with long periods where nothing happens to further the story, and the resolution is ludicrous and seems to come out of nowhere, making it anti-climatic. I recommend this to lovers of silent film as Chaney is a true wonder to behold, but others may wish to move along and view something else.

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