The Champ - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Champ Reviews

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March 21, 2018
This is a great movie, like "Scarface," "All Quiet On The Western Front," and a whole lot of other pre-code films that weren't afraid to dive their hands deep into the muck that life sometimes gives us. Featuring an engrossing, Academy-Award-winning lead turn from Wallace Beery, and an incredible supporting performance from a young Jackie Cooper, "The Champ" is full of heart, humor, and a wallop of an ending that -- though, it may verge on sappy for some -- made this reviewer's heart melt with sorrow.
February 23, 2018
A good one for its day. For some reason TCM's app shut it down half way through.
January 7, 2018
Much more cinematic than I was expecting for a movie from 1931. Jackie Coogan totally makes this film work.
February 25, 2017
The original classic that inspired the remake with Jon Voight in the late 1970's. This is a great compact film that does what it needs to do very effectively.

The story of a broken down washed up boxer & his enormously loyal son Dink played by Child Sensation Jackie Cooper.

Filled with many tender & touching scenes compliments of the screenplay written by Frances Marion. Wallace Berry did a great job with his role & this film was a delightful surprise.
July 20, 2016
The Champ is a movie about a down-on-his-luck boxer who is trying to take care of his son while his life is in shambles. It's a sweet relationship in the opening scenes because it establishes how father and son have learned to help each other. It also makes it clear that, no matter how much the father lets him down, the son loves him unconditionally. Things get really complicated, though, when the mother arrives back in town and decides she wants a part in her son's life. It's a pretty tough story that, despite all appearances to the contrary, is more about that father-son relationship than it is about prize-fighting. I was definitely engaged by the story, and cared what would happen to the kid. I did struggle with the lackluster acting of the kids in the film, they have that Little Rascals feel to their performance where it seems like they simply shout every line. Wallace Beery was good in the titular role, even if he didn't look much like an actual boxer. It didn't really matter because the boxing didn't look real anyways. I think it's just a symptom of the time, but the way they captured all the fights was not great, and included a lot of under-cranking to make the pace look comically accelerated. I think the real problem for me was the fact that, even though I haven't seen the remake with Jon Voight and Ricky Schroder, I have seen the final scene a number of times so I knew how this would end. It's a strong scene, but my anticipation of it made me less emotional when it arrived. Overall, I think The Champ is a fine film, but it's not one that left a strong impression on me.
½ December 20, 2015
Always a favorite and guaranteed tear-jerker at the end.
½ November 22, 2014
Haven't cried at a movie in a long time. But this one did it to me.
½ August 21, 2013
This picture is a further example of clever acting saving the day, for there is little in this narrative of horse racing and pugilistic bouts that possesses much akin to originality.
March 3, 2013
Just great! Good story and great job by the actors... The kid is great ...
½ November 26, 2012
The tale of washed-up boxer struggling with booze, a gambling habit and trying to keep his son from his natural mother, The Champ is a classic - thanks in no small part to the performances of Wallace Berry in the lead role (he won the best actor Oscar in recognition therein) and young Jackie Cooper as his son, Dink. Lots of great old horse-racing and boxing-gym footage set the stage for this King Vidor-directed classic - leading to a memorable and fulfilling climax. Remade in 1979 with Ryan O'Neal and Ricky Shroeder - this version, too, features an ending guaranteed to get the waterworks flowing. Don't say I didn't warn you.
July 25, 2012
A little dated, but it still stands strong as a solid drama with a very good performance from Wallace Beery.
July 26, 2011
People say it's outdated and sappy, but I don't mind sappy. It's the outdating that freaks me out, but still worth a view.
½ June 27, 2011
Sentimental father-son weeper is probably just about as shameless and engaging as it was in 1931.
½ May 17, 2011
If you want to end a good day by watching this, I guess that could be suggested. An astonishingly depressing film! Way overboard. It is about a poor father and son (Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper), the father being a former boxer. The son becomes interested in horses and purchases one for racing, and persuades a woman and her husband to bet on the horse. To everyone's surprise, the woman is the boy's mother. Apparently, the father told his son that his mother died before he was born. That would mean he would be dead (the mother would have had to carry the sone of course), but no, he is surprisingly alive. One of several daunting problems with this dreary, dated film. The dialogue is silly and the storyline is dreadful. Like many films of the 1930's, the film has not stood the test of time either.
May 16, 2011
This classic starring Jackie Cooper and Wallis Beery from 1931 tells the story of a young boy who adores the father who is raising him alone, and struggling to keep them afloat. The father (the Champ as the boy calls him) is a has been boxer, a drinker and a gambler but he dearly loves his son. Together they make it work because of their love and devotion to one another. Along comes his mother who left him with the Champ many years before. She is married to a wealthy man and wants the boy back. The Champ struggles with what is right and would offer the most benefit to the boy against his own love and devotion for him. It's a tear-jerker to be sure, and though the remake was very good I have to say this original will always be my favorite.
February 6, 2011
Outside of the occasional cute scene, King Vidor's soppy The Champ is little more than a co-star vehicle for Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper.
November 9, 2010
Cute, old school and hilarious.
½ October 12, 2010
This film provides a great examination of the father-son bond. The Champ was once the best boxer in the world (maybe). He was so great, even his own son refers to him only as "Champ". These days, though Champ is a drunk who gambles away his money and allows his son to watch. His son doesn't seem to mind though, because he knows deep down inside, Champ is world champion caliber boxer, capable of anything. One night, Champ gambles away his son's prized possession: a race horse. Even when Champ is at his lowest, his son stands by him and sticks up for him for when no one else will. The movie ends with Champ making the ultimate sacrifice to win back the race horse. Wallace Beery puts on a clinic in this one, and Jackie Cooper is a much better actor than he should be, considering his age.
September 24, 2010
Straight off the cob. Occasional cinematic flourishes redeem what otherwise plays today as a boilerplate melodrama about a ne'er do well father and his adoring son. Beery is charming and Cooper is effective, but all only within the confines of a predictable, manipulative, sappy script. Irene Rich is awful.
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