100 – The Circus

Welcome to The Best Movies I’ve Never Seen! This is the part of the blog where I work my way through 100 films I’ve never seen that are generally considered to be great. You’re invited to watch along with me if you can find a copy or find it streaming. So grab some popcorn and let’s get started!

The Circus


Directed by Charlie Chaplin

Quick synopsis… In this silent film, the Little Tramp joins a circus to hide from the police.

  • I’m gonna be honest from the start, I’m never a big fan of a silent movie.
  • I always feel like silent pictures require an extra level of paying attention that my self-diagnosed ADHD mind can’t really handle.
  • Sure, I can handle it if I really force myself.
  • But when you have to read the captions that pop up every few minutes, it makes it hard to play Candy Crush in the background.
  • Okay… time to focus…
  • I just turned up the volume… not sure why I felt that was necessaary.
  • Hey! This isn’t entirely silent!
  • We open on a girl swinging up high on a trapeze contraption and someone is singing about her.
  • It’s possible this was not originally a part of the film, but added for the updated opening credits.
  • This is more like it.
  • Clowns dancing… always creepy.
  • Especially when they’re silent about it.
  • The ringmaster is clearly angry at his daughter, a performer who messed up her act.
  • He’s super abusive toward her.
  • I’m kind of scared he’s gonna use that whip on her… instead he tells her she’s not having dinner tonight.
  • Now he’s giving the clowns the evil eye, complaining that they’re not funny.
  • Enter Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp over at the side shows.
  • A pickpocket sets the Tramp up to look like he stole some guy’s wallet.
  • Then the actual pickpocket is caught by the police trying to steal the wallet back from the Tramp.
  • But then the actual owner of the wallet sees the Tramp paying for food with his money.
  • Both the Tramp and the pickpocket make a mad dash to get away from the police.
  • The Tramp winds up in a hall of mirrors for some hilarious hijinks.
  • Actually, the funniest part is where Chaplin acts like an animatronic outside the funhouse to fool the police.
  • The officer chases the Tramp into the main circus act where they steal the show from the clowns, proving to be more entertaining than what the audience had been experiencing.
  • This all leads to the Tramp potentially being hired to be part of the circus.
  • The next morning, the ringmaster’s daughter comes out of her trailer still hungry from the day before.
  • After a misunderstanding, she and the Tramp share what little food he has.
  • For his tryout, the ringmaster tells him to be funny.
  • Thing is… he wasn’t trying to be funny when he interrupted the act yesterday.
  • He was just living life.
  • When it comes to being part of the clown act, he’s not really pulling it off.
  • The ringmaster has some serious anger issues and kicks the Tramp out.
  • The Tramp encounters the daughter again, who seems disappointed that he’s not sticking around as the show begins.
  • During the show, when several of the props guys quit on the spot, the Tramp is hired by the props master to help out.
  • More accidental hijinks ensue.
  • The ringmaster decides to keep the Tramp on helping with props, but doesn’t clue him in to the fact that he’s the star of the show.
  • Which basically means they can get away with paying him nothing for what he does.
  • The daughter lets it slip that the Tramp is a hit and it’s a shame they all treat him as horribly as they do.
  • But the ringmaster overhears and begins to beat her.
  • Tramp tells him if he hits her, he’ll quit.
  • Then he manages to negotiate a salary of $100 a week.
  • He lets his fame go to his head, though.
  • The daughter has her fortune told… she’ll marry a dark, handsome man who is near her.
  • Tramp overhears this and assumes it’s him.
  • But then we meet a new act that’s joined the circus: Rex, the tightrope walker.
  • The daughter seems slightly smitten as soon as she meets him.
  • The Tramp overhears her telling the fortune teller that she’s already in love with Rex.
  • You just met!
  • The Tramp is heartbroken, but the show must go on.
  • Apparently, the show didn’t go so well.
  • Afterward, he imagines himself beating up Rex.
  • Then the daughter introduces the Tramp as her “friend.”
  • Poor guy was friend zoned before the term had been coined.
  • Time goes by and the Tramp just isn’t funny anymore.
  • A broken heart will do that to a guy.
  • One day when Rex doesn’t show up to perform, the ringmaster forces the Tramp to do the tightrope or he’s fired.
  • He figures out a way to rig himself up to a wire so that, if he falls, he won’t be killed.
  • Gets kinda risky when the wire breaks off without him being aware of it.
  • Doesn’t help that he’s attacked by a trio of mischievous monkeys while on the rope.
  • He still manages to pull off the act, but gets fired anyway when he attacks the ringmaster for attacking the daughter.
  • The daughter decides to run away from the circus and follows the Tramp.
  • She wants to go with him, but he knows that’s no life for her.
  • The Tramp goes back to the circus and finds Rex, convincing him to ask the daughter to marry him so she’ll have a better life.
  • They all return to the circus and live happily ever after.
  • But when the circus leaves, the Tramp decides to stay behind.
  • Don’t feel too bad for him, though. He’s got a whole slew of movies.
  • Having now seen The Circus, it currently ranks at 1,232 out of 2,231 movies on my personal Flickchart list.

Is The Circus a movie you’ve taken time to watch? It’s only an hour and 13 minutes long. And, now that I’ve seen it, I would recommend it. Even if you’re not a fan of silent movies, like me, it is entertaining with a lot of slapstick humor. Come back next week for The Invisible Guest.


13 thoughts on “100 – The Circus

  1. Pingback: 100 – The Circus – Audrey Nicoles World

  2. Where can one find this movie? Lol Netflix? It sounds cute! And I totally do the exact same thing while watching movies or tv – phone is used for the duration. Not candy crush, I actually don’t have any games on my phone. Well I guess the dating app I have us a game “swipe left for no, swipe right for yes and see if they like you too/will actually respond!” HAHA

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good luck on your journey! I’ve only seen about 5 silent films in my life. I enjoy them very much. Though I probably won’t review Charlie Chaplin movies until somewhere around 2025. My intention is having them lead up to my 3000th review if I’m lucky.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: What Are the Best Movies I’ve Never Seen? | The Confusing Middle

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