The Circus

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

96%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 26

94%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,722

Where to watch

Other Movies

Rate And Review

User image

Verified

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)



  • You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Step 2 of 2

    How did you buy your ticket?

    Let's get your review verified.

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

    You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)

  • How did you buy your ticket?

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

The Circus Photos

Movie Info

Wrongfully accused of criminal acts, a tramp (Charlie Chaplin) unwittingly ducks into a big top, where his bumbling attempts to avoid pursuing police officers earn the laughter and applause of the circus-goers. Impressed, the ringmaster (Allan Garcia) decides to employ the tramp as an entertainer. In between getting trapped in a lion's cage and partaking in clumsy high wire escapades, he falls for a beautiful show rider (Merna Kennedy), who unfortunately has eyes for a daring tightrope acrobat.

Cast & Crew

Merna Kennedy
Stepdaughter, Circus Rider
Al Ernest Garcia
The Circus Proprietor and Ring Master
Harry Crocker
Rex, a Tightrope Walker
Stanley Sanford
The Head Property Man
John Rand
Assistant Property Man
George Davis
A Magician
Henry Bergman
An Old Clown
Steve Murphy
A Pickpocket
Betty Morrissey
The Vanishing Lady (uncredited)
Charlie Chaplin
Screenwriter
R.H. Totheroh
Cinematographer
Charles D. Hall
Art Direction
Harry Crocker
Assistant Director
Show all Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for The Circus

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (1)

  • [Charles Chaplin] does not seem satisfied with the hearty laughs that used to greet him, but seeks to embroider his farce with touches of pathos that make one uncomfortable with their incongruity.

    April 2, 2019 | Full Review…
  • It's a brilliant combination of light and darkness, tenderness and violence and, yes, laughter and tears.

    July 14, 2010
  • There's an edge to The Circus that suggests a man gazing deep into the void, laughing at the darkness and urging us to do the same.

    July 14, 2010 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    Keith Uhlich

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Innovative and timelessly hilarious.

    May 26, 2010 | Full Review…
  • Though not without striking qualities by itself, it serves best as a poignant stepping stone to the auteur's later, more famous projects.

    July 25, 2020 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…
  • ...one of [Chaplin's] most unforgettable and melancholy films, one filled to the brim with unforgettable gags and set pieces.

    January 9, 2020 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Circus

  • Apr 30, 2016
    Overall, it's a relatively minor work from Chaplin, but the slapstick is top notch. It works as pure zany energy.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 10, 2012
    A very amusing and delightful silent film that probably would have been better had it been made a bit shorter, since it begins extremely hilarious but after a while starts to become less funny - even though the climax on the tightrope is belly-achingly hysterical.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 28, 2011
    The Circus is quite a charming little film from the silent era, directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin. He of course plays the "little tramp" character who, while being chased by the cops, stumbles into the middle of a three ring circus where his antics draw the attention (and laughs), of the audience. The crowd's reaction does not escape the attention of circus proprietor and Ring Master (Al Garcia), who attempts to hire the tramp as a clown. The little tramp can only be funny spontaneously, and all the ring master's attempts at training him to be a clown fail, so the boss hires the tramp on as a janitor, whom he finds surreptitious ways to put out in front of the crowd at showtime. Of course the ring master has a beautiful step-daughter (Merna Kennedy), who is kowtowed to the ring master after years of abuse. The tramp falls in love with her and tries to win her affection. It's said that after choosing the circus location, Chaplin largely improvised the film, which is probably why the plot is so basic. However, films from this era (especially comedies) are rarely plot-heavy, relying on different situations and tableaus rather than in depth story-telling. The Circus does deviate in the end from other standard stories, and it's final scene is quite effective. Overall, a sweet comedy that lets just the tiniest bit of real life peek through the movie screen.
    Devon B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 09, 2011
    Good story with funny slapstick and a touching, atypical ending. Not as good as The Kid, The Gold Rush, City Lights or Modern Times, but still a worthy entry in the 'Tramp' series.
    Dillon L Super Reviewer

The Circus Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Movie & TV guides