The Champ Reviews

  • Jul 23, 2020

    There isn't enough of a script even if the acting is strong.

    There isn't enough of a script even if the acting is strong.

  • May 21, 2020

    Wow talk about a sad one. Jackie Cooper did terrific as the tough lil kid, acting better than many adults. I thought the whole film would be about boxing, but except for the very beginning and end most of the film is more following a father with demons. What touches you is the special rship he has with his lil boy, despite him being all screwed up. I couldn't forgive him for the one thing he does to the lil boy, but for the most part u can't help but feel sorry for him as he always has good intentions and in some ways reminds me of my own dad. There are a couple of tear-jerker parts in this movie. Despite being an old film, it doesn't really drag along or seem irrelevant to today's time. Yes, children can't run amuck like this anymore, but many of the themes are still relevant. My main criticism is it seems kinda shallow, somex predictable, and unbelievable at parts-the kid never gets mad at his dad?? The kid can snap out of his dad dying so fast when he talks to someone? Come on.

    Wow talk about a sad one. Jackie Cooper did terrific as the tough lil kid, acting better than many adults. I thought the whole film would be about boxing, but except for the very beginning and end most of the film is more following a father with demons. What touches you is the special rship he has with his lil boy, despite him being all screwed up. I couldn't forgive him for the one thing he does to the lil boy, but for the most part u can't help but feel sorry for him as he always has good intentions and in some ways reminds me of my own dad. There are a couple of tear-jerker parts in this movie. Despite being an old film, it doesn't really drag along or seem irrelevant to today's time. Yes, children can't run amuck like this anymore, but many of the themes are still relevant. My main criticism is it seems kinda shallow, somex predictable, and unbelievable at parts-the kid never gets mad at his dad?? The kid can snap out of his dad dying so fast when he talks to someone? Come on.

  • Dec 16, 2019

    Like Marie Dressler the early 1930s stardom of Wallace Beery baffles me as he is physically unattractive and typically plays unlikable, boorish drunks. This is a film that tries to endear us to Beery despite his vices as we are encouraged to believe in this man as a comeback king and loving father and this is intended to patch over his other problems. My biggest problem with this film is that I just never liked Beery and even though a terrible fate befalls him I could not muster up much sadness for him. It is no surprise that this was a huge hit in 1931 and earned oodles of Academy Award nominations managing to win Beery the Academy Award for Best Actor in a rare tie with Fredric March for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931). Washed up boxer Andy "Champ" Purcell, Wallace Beery, has turned to drinking and gambling to occupy his time as he struggles to raise his precocious young son Dink, Jackie Cooper, in Tijuana, Mexico. He can not find career opportunities because he is out of shape and constantly drunk but one day he actually wins money from his gambling and finds himself with some disposable income. He uses the money to purchase a pony for Dink and the two enjoy their day at the races as the pony competes. Their lives are changed when Dink's estranged mother Linda, Irene Rich, whose existence he was not aware of comes back into their lives with her wealthy husband Tony, Hale Hamilton. After witnessing the squalid conditions that Dink lives in Tony and Linda choose to take him in but Dink is unhappy when away from his father and chooses to return to him. As Champ gears up for a comeback his son stands behind but danger greets him in the ring. Every moment feels so false and calculated and there is so much crying that it is difficult to take anything seriously as none of the film is grounded in reality or genuine exploration of the issues at hand. We are never really asked to consider the impact that Champ's poor parenting has on his son as Dink's suffering is brushed over in favor of scenes in which his father buys him something or pats him on the back. I understand that for the story to work we need to believe that Champ is a good parent even though he has flaws but here the flaws are so great and so cast off to the side that it turns you against the film. Later movies like The Lost Weekend (1945) would successfully display the influence that an alcoholic can have on his loved ones and how those that adore him can serve as enablers. In this film Dink could be accused of enabling his father but the film tries to make this cutesy rather than delving into the way he is setting back his father and allowing him to continue abusing himself and leaving them destitute. The lead performance was also unconvincing as Beery serving as a former professional athlete was laughable with his physique suggesting a man who has been overweight his entire life and his attitude seeming like that of a kindly old man not a downtrodden failure. He rests on his laurels and does not move beyond the persona he adopted in Min and Bill (1930) which needed to be totally different than the character he portrays here. That character was a caring, loving father who is restricted by a lack of finances but is not inhibited by an addictions. Champ is an actively poor father as he regularly abandons his son to drink and is self sabotaging at points when he should be valuing the future of his son. Beery winning an Academy Award is a predictable result but I am still annoyed by the fact that he won raves for giving a miscalculated performance in a role that should have been easy to pull off. Cooper is sweet enough as the loving son but his talents were put to better use in the superior Skippy (1931) and it was a shame to see him take the backseat to a dull Beery. This is a weepie to miss as it fails to emotionally manipulate it's audience and features a weak central performance.

    Like Marie Dressler the early 1930s stardom of Wallace Beery baffles me as he is physically unattractive and typically plays unlikable, boorish drunks. This is a film that tries to endear us to Beery despite his vices as we are encouraged to believe in this man as a comeback king and loving father and this is intended to patch over his other problems. My biggest problem with this film is that I just never liked Beery and even though a terrible fate befalls him I could not muster up much sadness for him. It is no surprise that this was a huge hit in 1931 and earned oodles of Academy Award nominations managing to win Beery the Academy Award for Best Actor in a rare tie with Fredric March for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931). Washed up boxer Andy "Champ" Purcell, Wallace Beery, has turned to drinking and gambling to occupy his time as he struggles to raise his precocious young son Dink, Jackie Cooper, in Tijuana, Mexico. He can not find career opportunities because he is out of shape and constantly drunk but one day he actually wins money from his gambling and finds himself with some disposable income. He uses the money to purchase a pony for Dink and the two enjoy their day at the races as the pony competes. Their lives are changed when Dink's estranged mother Linda, Irene Rich, whose existence he was not aware of comes back into their lives with her wealthy husband Tony, Hale Hamilton. After witnessing the squalid conditions that Dink lives in Tony and Linda choose to take him in but Dink is unhappy when away from his father and chooses to return to him. As Champ gears up for a comeback his son stands behind but danger greets him in the ring. Every moment feels so false and calculated and there is so much crying that it is difficult to take anything seriously as none of the film is grounded in reality or genuine exploration of the issues at hand. We are never really asked to consider the impact that Champ's poor parenting has on his son as Dink's suffering is brushed over in favor of scenes in which his father buys him something or pats him on the back. I understand that for the story to work we need to believe that Champ is a good parent even though he has flaws but here the flaws are so great and so cast off to the side that it turns you against the film. Later movies like The Lost Weekend (1945) would successfully display the influence that an alcoholic can have on his loved ones and how those that adore him can serve as enablers. In this film Dink could be accused of enabling his father but the film tries to make this cutesy rather than delving into the way he is setting back his father and allowing him to continue abusing himself and leaving them destitute. The lead performance was also unconvincing as Beery serving as a former professional athlete was laughable with his physique suggesting a man who has been overweight his entire life and his attitude seeming like that of a kindly old man not a downtrodden failure. He rests on his laurels and does not move beyond the persona he adopted in Min and Bill (1930) which needed to be totally different than the character he portrays here. That character was a caring, loving father who is restricted by a lack of finances but is not inhibited by an addictions. Champ is an actively poor father as he regularly abandons his son to drink and is self sabotaging at points when he should be valuing the future of his son. Beery winning an Academy Award is a predictable result but I am still annoyed by the fact that he won raves for giving a miscalculated performance in a role that should have been easy to pull off. Cooper is sweet enough as the loving son but his talents were put to better use in the superior Skippy (1931) and it was a shame to see him take the backseat to a dull Beery. This is a weepie to miss as it fails to emotionally manipulate it's audience and features a weak central performance.

  • Apr 04, 2019

    How can you fault a film with the great Wallace Beery and the charismatic Jackie Cooper as stars? This is early in the film talkie era, and the outside shots of real places is interesting. Both Beery and Cooper can act and there is chemistry between them, but Beery was to do almost this same film again with the talented Dean Stockwell in 1946 with "The Mighty McGurk". I doubt a movie today could end on such a sour note, and it remains the only criticism worthy of note in this early classic. The audience does not want the champ to die; the audience wants to see the champ reform his ways. The audience definitely is rooting against his mother and does not want her taking Cooper away from the Champ. The movie ends on this down note and should have been thought through and re-written. All in all, The Champ is a great early talkie that captivates you from the beginning and keeps your interest throughout. The characters work well together and the bond between them should never have been broken.

    How can you fault a film with the great Wallace Beery and the charismatic Jackie Cooper as stars? This is early in the film talkie era, and the outside shots of real places is interesting. Both Beery and Cooper can act and there is chemistry between them, but Beery was to do almost this same film again with the talented Dean Stockwell in 1946 with "The Mighty McGurk". I doubt a movie today could end on such a sour note, and it remains the only criticism worthy of note in this early classic. The audience does not want the champ to die; the audience wants to see the champ reform his ways. The audience definitely is rooting against his mother and does not want her taking Cooper away from the Champ. The movie ends on this down note and should have been thought through and re-written. All in all, The Champ is a great early talkie that captivates you from the beginning and keeps your interest throughout. The characters work well together and the bond between them should never have been broken.

  • Jan 27, 2019

    The best inspiring movie ever made!

    The best inspiring movie ever made!

  • Oct 03, 2018

    The Champ is one of King Vidor's weakest efforts. It's very well acted by both Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper and it has its sweet moments, but the story is overly simplistic and familiar, the third act is way too sentimental and the movie simply did not deserve its four Academy Award nominations.

    The Champ is one of King Vidor's weakest efforts. It's very well acted by both Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper and it has its sweet moments, but the story is overly simplistic and familiar, the third act is way too sentimental and the movie simply did not deserve its four Academy Award nominations.

  • Mar 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.

    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.

  • Feb 23, 2018

    A good one for its day. For some reason TCM's app shut it down half way through.

    A good one for its day. For some reason TCM's app shut it down half way through.

  • Jul 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.

    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.

  • Dec 18, 2015

    Always a favorite and guaranteed tear-jerker at the end.

    Always a favorite and guaranteed tear-jerker at the end.