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  • The Circus - Dual Format Edition [Blu-ray + DVD] [1928]
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The Circus - Dual Format Edition [Blu-ray + DVD] [1928]

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Frequently Bought Together

The Circus - Dual Format Edition [Blu-ray + DVD] [1928] + Limelight - Dual Format Edition [Blu-ray] [1952] + City Lights - Dual Format Edition [Blu-ray + DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Charles Chaplin
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Park Circus
  • DVD Release Date: 15 Nov. 2010
  • Run Time: 72 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003ZIZ2YS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,384 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Charles Chaplin won an Honorary Academy Award for versatility and genius in acting, writing, directing and producing The Circus. In this silent comedy, The Tramp finds himself at a circus, where he promptly gets chased by the police, who think he is a pickpocket. Running into the big top, The Tramp is an accidental sensation with his hilarious efforts to elude the police and immediately gets hired by the ringmaster. This Blu-ray-only release features the film restored in HD, with the following extras: Chaplin Today, Introduction by David Robinson, Deleted scenes and outtakes.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By AV1 on 25 Jun. 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
After being mistaken for a pickpocket & chased by the Police, Chaplin's tramp is offered a job in a circus where his clumsiness proves popular with audiences. Made in 1928 "The Circus" makes it's blu-ray debut courtesy of Park Circus for the UK running at 69 mins & is region B (locked) so will not be playable on US blu-ray players. This is a blu-ray/DVD set which includes the film on both discs.

Obviously this silent comedy is not going to rival a 21st century blockbuster in terms of PQ but it actually holds up pretty well considering its age. There are occasional lines & pops but on the whole the image is fairly sharp in its original 4:3 ratio (black bars at the sides, remember widescreen never existed 80+ years ago!!).

Audio too is very clear, there's a mono track & HD track. As there is no dialogue in this film there is no need for subtitles, the film does have the English intertitles familiar with silent movies.

Extras are featured on the DVD version, they include an introduction, a documentary, outtakes & photo gallery.

The Circus is a decent & memorable film & whilst it's not Chaplin's best (that would be City Lights) it's definitely worth owning if you're a fan.

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By meryl davies on 6 May 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Charlie Chaplin is wonderful, incredibly funny and poignant.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By THE BLUEMAHLER on 30 Nov. 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Charlie Chaplin`s The Circus (1928) has long been considered something akin to Beethoven's 4th Symphony, which composer Robert Schumann referred to as "a Greek maiden between two Norse gods (the Eroica and the Fifth)." The Circus is the the maiden between two certifiable Chaplin masterpieces: The Gold Rush (1925) and City Lights (1931). Yet, Beethoven's Fourth, seen without Schumann's assessing lens, has, on occasion, proven to be a maiden unleashed, as in Carlos Kleiber's live, mercurial Munich version (on DVD) and Herbert Von Karajan's devastatingly sensuous 1963 performance with the BPO.

Like Beethoven's 4th, The Circus is an underrated opus. Seen without the preconceived assessment of historians, it is an interesting gem. Oddly, it is the one film of Chaplin's that was recognized for a "special" Academy Award. Despite that, it is an infrequently revived (and discussed) film.

The filmmaker himself did not help the cause for The Circus. Chaplin's autobiography is interesting primarily as a career autobiography. Private, painful details are omitted. Quite tellingly, Chaplin never once mentioned this film in that autobiography. Clearly, he avoided it because this film was made while he was going through a highly embarrassing divorce from one of his child brides (Lita Grey) at the time. Intimate details from Chaplin's sex life were exposed to the public. According to Kenneth Anger`s "Hollywood Babylon," Chaplin went through such an ordeal that during the divorce trial, the star's hair literally turned prematurely white.

Often, assessment of Chaplin's films include the biographical. A good example of this is Roger Ebert's review of The Circus.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bernie on 2 Sept. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
very poor quality picture, more like the quality of pirate copies , despite using on reasonable equipment, which reproduced other vhs well
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 49 reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Chaplin's finest "pure" comedy 1 Dec. 2000
By Brian Jay Jones - Published on
Format: DVD
It doesn't have the raw sentiment of CITY LIGHTS or the social relevance of either MODERN TIMES or THE GREAT DICTATOR, but for pure laugh-out-loud moments, THE CIRCUS is probably Chaplin's finest straight-ahead comedy.
The plot is fairly straightforward -- Tramp joins circus, falls in love, tries to vanquish a rival suitor, then (in an ending of typical Chaplinian pathos) arranges for the rival suitor to get the girl. However, Chaplin packs the story with enough gags, extended jokes, and visual tricks to keep the film moving at a frenetic pace, even in its moments of sweetness.
The setting of the circus naturally lends itself to plenty of comic elements, and Chaplin makes the most of them in some unexpected ways. For example, there's the expected Locked In The Cage with The Sleeping Lion joke (which has subsequently and successfully been played to the hilt in Bugs Bunny cartoons), but Chaplin gives it a graceful twist with the addition of a pan of water that'll have you on the edge of your seat as he tries frantically not to drop it.
But Chaplin doesn't just use the circus to showcase gags -- he also uses the trappings to advance some extended and complicated jokes. The opening moments of the film, for example, feature the Tramp being mistaken for a pickpocket. After a full-out chase, the Tramp, the real pickpocket, and a policeman finally end up in a funhouse, complete with animated figures and a hall of mirrors. At this point, there are two wonderful visual jokes -- the first involves the Tramp's inability to pick up a dropped hat in a hall of mirrors(in what must have been an excrutiatingly technical shot to avoid reflecting the camera.) Chaplin, ever the perfectionist, executes the scene brilliantly. The second joke -- and the one which gets the biggest belly laughs -- involves the Tramp and the hapless pickpocket pretending to be animated figures to avoid being nabbed by the policeman. When Chaplin conks the crook over the head with his own cosh, then rotates mechanically to laugh giddily . . . well, there's hardly a funnier moment in film. Suffice it to say, the crook is caught, but only after ten minutes of gags to neatly bring the extended Mistaken Identity Joke to a neat end.
Chaplin also plays out a jaw-dropping tightrope walking scene (and remember while watching that Chaplin actually taught himself to walk a tightrope for the film -- there are no stuntmen involved) which becomes all the more entertaining through the addition of some uncooperative monkeys. The impromptu results are funnier than anyone could have scripted.
While the film stays free of social commentary, there is one telling bit of artistic elbow-nudging at one point in the film, when the Tramp, who has been hired as a clown, is lectured by the crabby Ringmaster on How To Be Funny. When the Tramp participates in the hackneyed skits himself, things go wrong from the start, making the skits funnier than imagined, but remarkably UNfunny to the know-it-all Ringmaster. The message is a subtle, but clear one on Chaplin's part -- don't tell ME what's funny; let me show YOU what's funny.
While MODERN TIMES and CITY LIGHTS are the more effective films in terms of storytelling and blending humor and pathos, THE CIRCUS stands as Chaplin's funniest film in terms of successfully executed gags, jaw dropping visuals (including a remarkably advanced dream sequence), and some fall-over-laughing moments. This is the film I show to my friends who have never seen a Chaplin film (apart from some highlighted moments from MODERN TIMES or CITY LIGHTS) to give them an idea of Chaplin's talent. While it has sometimes (though rarely) failed to elicit a "Wow!", it has never failed to generate a room full of laughter -- the true testimony to Chaplin's art.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
One Of Chaplin's Best; Certainly Underrated 27 April 2006
By Craig Connell - Published on
Format: DVD
I enjoyed this a lot more the second time when I could see it on a very clear DVD print. I don't know why that would make a difference with the story, but it did as I found it very good for the entire distance, although that's just a scant 69 minutes. The special two-disc edition does this film justice.

In the story, Charlie Chaplin does his normally-great physical slapstick so well that he accidentally becomes a hit at the circus, which is run by a nasty man (Allan Garcia) who regularly beats his sweet step-daughter, played by a very pretty Merna Kennedy. Charlie, of course, gets smitten by her and comes to her rescue.

This movie has a different kind of ending that what you'd normally see for a comedy but it's inspiring as Chaplin performs a noble deed.

Chaplin's timing and clever slapstick routines never fail to amaze me. Even though silent films aren't seen by many people these days, it's works of art like this that will endure forever. This is not of one of Chaplin's more famous movies.....but it should be. I think it's one of his best.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Possibly his most underrated 18 Dec. 2006
By Anyechka - Published on
Format: DVD
While perhaps not up to quite the same fine level as, say, 'City Lights' or 'Monsieur Verdoux,' this film is a small minor masterpiece in its own right, and frequently cited as Chaplin's most underrated film. Viewing the film, it's hard to believe that the filming experience was such a nightmare, what with things like fires, heavy rains, theft, and Chaplin's messy divorce from his second wife. Generally speaking, Chaplin's features seem to have a bit more drama than endless gags (not that that makes them any less powerful or classic), with the focus being on the narrative storyline and not just a series of funny incidents, but this film rather plays like one of his earlier short subjects, where the laughs were far more frequent. The storyline is simple enough: The Tramp, on the run from the police yet again, even though he didn't really do anything that terribly wrong, eventually stumbles into a circus that's come to town. He makes friends with the horribly mistreated daughter of the circus owner, and falls in love with her, but like in just about all of his films, this love too is unrequited. The pretty bareback rider really loves Rex, the new tightrope walker. While in the circus, Charlie has all sorts of comic misadventures, most famously in the scene where the monkeys are climbing all over him while he's on the tightrope after he's accidentally lost the hidden wire that was keeping him balanced. After this latest mishap, it seems as though his future in the circus is over, though with the scheme he then hatches, things might not be so lost after all.

The extras on the bonus disc are plentiful--movie trailers, a poster and picture gallery, a delightful excerpt from the cute 1923 Jackie Coogan film 'Circus Days,' three brief home movies, a whole extra sequence (26 minutes in length) that was deleted from the final cut of the film, the usual introduction by David Robinson, the trailer for all of the films in the Chaplin Collection, and the featurette on the significance and influence of the film today, footage of the Hollywood premiere in January 1928, a brief film shot by Chaplin's chief cameraman Rollie Totheroh, of 3-D test footage, and simulatenous footage from two different cameras during a scene from the deleted sequence. Unfortunately, none of these bonus films have any soundtracks, not even just some generic piano or organ accompaniment. With all of the care that went into assembling the DVDs in the Chaplin Collection, one would think that the producers would have cared enough to have found soundtracks for all of these bonus short films on the discs.

Quite possibly his most underrated silent feature, if not his most underrated feature period, this film is just as wonderful as all of his other features and, due to how it often plays like one of his shorts from the Teens instead of his more serious features, it could very well be an ideal introduction to Chaplin for a new fan.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Great Unknown Chaplin Film 26 July 2002
By Mark Pollock - Published on
Format: DVD
Both "The Gold Rush" and "City Lights" are accepted as ciname classics, classic comedy films made by Chalrie Chaplin. In between is a much less known work, "The Circus".
"The Circus" is less well known because the film was not available from shortly after completing it's first release in 1928 until the early 70's, when it was finally re-released. It's re-release brought it to a new audience, who had some knowledge of the film, but not enough to truly value it.
The plot is rather simple - Chaplin's Tramp character stumbles into a failing circus, and is chased by police into the big top, where his chase is the funniest thing to have happened during the whole show. The Tramp is hired at the circus, who's cruel director doesn't let him know how popular he is. The director is generally cruel, abusing his daughter, yelling at everyone, and being generally mean. The girl is in love with a tightrope artist, the Tramp falls in love with the girl, and the film ends with the gril married to the tightrope artist and the Tramp staying behind.
The plot is fleshed out by some of the funniest screen moments that Chaplin would ever come up with. He tries to be a tightrope walker. He gets caught in a funhouse with a crook who is trying to steal from him and a police officer who thinks that he is the real crook. He breaks up a magicians act in the middle of the big top. He gets stuck in a cage with a lion.
Okay, I'm not doing ANY justice to this great film. My review is not funny - the film is.
The film was meticulously restored by David Shepherd, and was released in 1999 on DVD. This DVD is now out of print, and a new on will be issued next year, though likely without the corrections and restorations by Shepherd. This is a shame, since the 1999 DVD includes outtakes and a properly restored opening. The quality is superb, and there are few hints as to the film's age.
I highly recommend this disc!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Circus + The Tramp = Great Laughs 30 Jun. 2009
By fra7299 - Published on
Format: DVD
A lesser known Chaplin film, The Circus involves Chaplin's persona The Tramp joining a circus when, in an effort to escape police after inadvertently taking someone's money, he winds up entertaining an audience during a chase scene. The scene, which takes place within the film's first ten minutes, is one of the highlights, and we are treated to classic Chaplin, where he completely disrupts and ruins the magician's show, going in and out of loops to evade police. (There is also a scene prior to this where he hides in a room full of mirrors, and the police are bumbling around trying to nap him.) The crowd, who believes it is part of the gag, is rolling in laughter; afterwards, they are calling for "the funny man" to be part of the show. The tyrannical circus owner reluctantly hires him on, but gives him a lowly job so as he knows he's not the hit of the circus, and the Tramp is required to do all the menial jobs such as lugging around equipment. While out for a break, he meets the circus owner's daughter, who spies the Tramp's food and tries to eat because she is being denied food by her father. There is a touching scene where the Tramp acknowledges the poor girl's situation, and takes pity on her, offering her food behind her father's back. There is a bit of a conflict later in the film when a new tightrope walker is hired, and the Tramp, who begins to fall for the girl, sees that she is love with the new man. The Tramp tries several efforts to impress the girl, but eventually another bigger conflict happens later in the film which forces him to forget these plans and help the girl.

While The Circus is funny in its own right, it probably doesn't have the charm comparable to the likes of The Kid, Modern Times, or City Lights. Chaplin's character is perhaps a bit shrewder than in other films. Still, the Chaplin fan will love the gags and bits that he's able to pull off, and having the Tramp in a circus setting is a stroke of genius for comedy lovers. The Circus is a relatively short film (a little over one hour long), so it moves rather quickly and its plot is quite simple. Definitely worth a viewing!
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