The Circus
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The Circus is generally considered to be a lesser Charlie Chaplin effort, coming as it does between two unquestioned masterpieces, The Gold Rush (1925) and City Lights (1931). To be sure, the film is not one of Chaplin's best, but it has a lot going for it. Director Chaplin casts star Chaplin in his traditional "Little Tramp" role, who when first we see him is on the lam from the law. He takes refuge under the tent of a failing circus. Unintentionally, Charlie disrupts the show's big clown act, and the crowd roars. The ringmaster decides to hire Charlie as a clown, building… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's a brilliant combination of light and darkness, tenderness and violence and, yes, laughter and tears."
‑ Andrew O'Hehir,
"It is the political subtext and discussion of capitalism vs. communism that is the saving grace of The Circus, since the surface material, comprised of frantic slapstick mixed with maudlin and melodrama, is very standard for Chaplin."
‑ Adam Lippe,
"In some ways The Circus is Chaplin's Stardust Memories, his reflexive self-observation in which Woody Allen's line, 'We like your earlier, funny movies,' flashes subliminally among the frames."
‑ Mark Bourne,
"Receiving his first Best Actor Oscar nomination, Chaplin is brilliant in this slapstick comedy, set in a milieu that fits him like a glove."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
‑ John Esther, Pasadena Weekly
"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."
‑ Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
"sort of B-grade alternative to City Lights"
‑ Chris Cabin,
"Chaplin's slapstick comedy worked to great effect."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"It's a beautiful film and perhaps more personal that anyone might have suspected at the time."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"An undervalued Chaplin masterpiece."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"Innovative and timelessly hilarious."
‑ Aaron Hillis, Village Voice
"The Circus may be the film that most definitively silences critics who claim that Charlie Chaplin's movies aren't cinematic."
‑ Christian Blauvelt, Slant Magazine
"Chaplin's most underrated, consistently hysterical, and imaginative picture."
‑ Gabe Leibowitz,
"most overlooked film . . . contains some of the Tramp's best comic moments"
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
More reviews for The Circus on Rotten Tomatoes