The Kid (1921)

In Charlie Chaplin’s first feature-length comedy, the Tramp finds an abandoned child and brings him up in the ways of the street.

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Alternative titles

  • The Kid A Picture with a Smile - And Perhaps, A Tear Alternative


“The film’s greater length reveals Chaplin’s expansion of his comic focus. Beneath the fictional material one can strongly sense the influence of his own personal experiences.”
Gerald Mast, International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 1990

“A picture with a smile – and perhaps a tear”, as the opening credits announce, The Kid was Charlie Chaplin’s most ambitious film to date and a note-perfect mixture of humour and pathos. Young Jackie Coogan became a child star after featuring as the young urchin abandoned by his destitute mother and taken under the Tramp’s wing. Though by now a man of immense wealth, Chaplin never lost his sentiment for the poor, and the portrayal of urban poverty in The Kid is entirely credible, resembling the grimy and rundown London boroughs of his youth.

The film was nearly seized as part of divorce proceedings by Chaplin’s wife Mildred Harris; it had to be edited in Salt Lake City, Utah, after being smuggled out of Hollywood in coffee cans.

The Tramp returned in four further feature-length comedies: The Gold Rush (1925), The Circus (1928), City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936).

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