The Gold Rush

Critics Consensus

A delightful blend of slapstick humor, poignant emotion, and social commentary, The Gold Rush encapsulates Chaplin's strengths as a writer, director, and star.

100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 46

93%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 20,486
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Movie Info

During the Gold Rush, prospectors brave Alaska's dangerous Chilkoot Pass, hoping to strike it rich in the snowy mountains. Just as Big Jim McKay discovers gold on his claim, a storm arises, prompting a Lone Prospector to take refuge in a cabin. Unknown to him, the cabin's occupant is desperado Black Larsen, who attempts to throw the vagabond Prospector out. Strong winds, however, repeatedly blow the little man back inside, and soon after, Jim is also swept into the cabin. Jim fights with Larsen over his shotgun, and after Jim prevails, the Prospector claims him as a close friend in order to remain safe. Over the next few days, the three men live together uneasily, their hunger growing as the storm rages on.

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Critic Reviews for The Gold Rush

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (10)

  • The first comedy of epic proportions has reached the screen.

    Apr 19, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Chaplin is the apotheosis of the world's despised and downtrodden, and also their hope; he heralds a revolution in anarchic beauty.

    Jul 29, 2013 | Full Review…
  • I prophesied that Chaplin, with his finer comedy and his less spectacular farce, would not be able to hold his popularity against it. What has happened is precisely the reverse of what I predicted.

    Jan 23, 2013 | Full Review…
  • The result is a sight for sore eyes, for old-style Chaplin fans and novitiates alike.

    Sep 14, 2012 | Full Review…
  • Eighty-five years young, "The Gold Rush" is still an effective tear-jerker.

    Oct 11, 2010

    Eric Kohn

    indieWire
    Top Critic
  • The blend of slapstick and pathos is seamless, although the cynicism of the final scene is still surprising. Chaplin's later films are quirkier and more personal, but this is quintessential Charlie, and unmissable.

    Jun 27, 2007 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Gold Rush

  • Jan 12, 2018
    Chaplin's masterpiece has it all - brilliant slapstick, endearing pathos, dangerous adventure, and an improbable romance besides. Here The Tramp is in the Klondike during the gold rush in the 1890's, and while he hardly looks or acts like a prospector, we identify with him as he endures hardship, befriends 'Big Jim' (Mack Swain), survives close quarters with the murderous Black Larsen (Tom Murray), falls for a woman who toys with him (Georgia Hale), and puts up with her bullying boyfriend (Malcolm Waite). The New Year's Eve scene is incredibly touching, both in The Tramp's humiliation when he's stood up by his date and listens forlornly to the celebration in the nearby dance hall, but also in the faces Chaplin (as director) puts the camera on while 'Auld Lang Syne' is being sung. It truly is one of the best scenes you'll ever see - and on that same evening, while the Tramp dreams of entertaining his guests, he does his "dinner roll dance", a brilliant, iconic moment in cinema. I also love the scene where he and Big Jim eat one of his shoes after boiling it - Chaplin more enthusiastically, really digging in as if it were a piece of meat, and as if the nails were thin bones. There are also some wonderfully dark moments when out of starvation Big Jim imagines the Tramp as a giant chicken and comes at him with an axe. Throughout it all, Chaplin is so sweet and charming, and we root for him as the underdog while laughing at his innovative humor. Truly deserving of its reputation, and an absolute joy to watch.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 28, 2016
    Plot wise, it's all over the place but the movie is filled with brilliant physical comedy (obviously) and really dark humor.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 28, 2016
    With some great theatrical, yet genuine performances, outstanding humor, and some outstanding editing, The Gold Rush manages to be one of the best films of Chaplin's career. Like all of his films, The Gold Rush is a great representation of both the harsh realities of life and the hope that comes along with that. It's a beautiful movie, and one that still stands the test of time almost a hundred years later.
    Joey T Super Reviewer
  • Nov 10, 2012
    A heartbreaking silent comedy re-released with a narration by Chaplin himself that only adds to it instead of standing in the way, and it is a classic that features numerous memorable scenes in one single film, some of them quite moving while others extremely funny.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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