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The Champ (1931)

Passed | | Drama, Sport | 21 November 1931 (USA)
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An alcoholic ex-boxer struggles to provide a good living for his son.

Director:

King Vidor (uncredited)

Writers:

Frances Marion (story), Leonard Praskins (dialogue continuity) | 1 more credit »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Wallace Beery ... Andy Purcell - The Champ
Jackie Cooper ... Dink
Irene Rich ... Linda Carleton
Roscoe Ates ... Sponge (as Rosco Ates)
Edward Brophy ... Tim
Hale Hamilton ... Tony Carleton
Jesse Scott Jesse Scott ... Jonah
Marcia Mae Jones ... Mary Lou Carleton
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Storyline

Dink Purcell loves his alcoholic father, ex-heavyweight champion Andy "Champ" Purcell, despite his frequent binges, his frequent gambling and their squalid living conditions. And there's nothing Andy wouldn't do for Dink. When Andy wins a race horse gambling, he gives it to Dink and they race it at a Tijuana track. There, Dink meets Linda Carleton, a race horse owner herself, and they have an immediate rapport. But Linda's rich husband sees Andy and realizes Dink is Linda's son, who she gave up when she and Andy divorced. Andy is bribed $200 to allow Dink to visit with Linda, but refuses to allow Dink to spend six months with the Carletons. When Andy loses the horse gambling and winds up in jail after a drunken tirade, he realizes Dink's place is with his mother. Dink tearfully goes but sneaks out and returns at his first opportunity, filling a depressed Andy with a desire to make good. So Andy goes into training after his managers arrange a boxing match with the Mexican champion. Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The knockout picture of the year! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 November 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El campeón See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

King Vidor, feeling that Jackie Cooper "didn't seem to get into the spirit of the part," pretended to fire assistant director Robert Golden because Cooper was fond of him. After Cooper burst into tears, the article continues, Vidor shot the scene he wanted, then rewarded him for being a good boy by re-hiring Golden. Cooper's autobiography makes no mention of this incident, but notes that as a child Cooper cared neither for Golden or Wallace Beery. This story is undoubtedly based on an incident that occurred during filming of "Skippy," another movie released in 1931; the director (Cooper's uncle) pretended to shoot Jackie's dog. Cooper titled his autobiography "Please Don't Shoot My Dog." See more »

Goofs

When the Champ Andy Purcell punches the wall in the locker room, the wall has blood on it before Andy strikes it, and the bloody area gets larger as Andy continues punching and his own fist gets bloody. See more »

Quotes

[Dink compares the swanky home to his own]
Dink Purcell: The Champ and I ain't fixed up swell as this, but our joint's more lively.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gidget Grows Up (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

The Monkeys Have No Tails in Pago Pago
(uncredited)
Composer uncertain
Sung a cappella by Wallace Beery
See more »

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User Reviews

Classic Film with a Punch
17 May 2011 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Champ, The (1931)

*** (out of 4)

Classic tear-jerker won two Academy Awards including Wallace Beery the Best Actor Oscar as well as a Best Screenplay for Frances Marion. The story centers on a former boxing champ (Beery) and his son (Jackie Cooper) who find themselves on the skids but the father plans on making a comeback so that his son can live a better life. THE CHAMP has been imitated so many times over the past eighty-years that it's easy to forget that this was one of the first of its type. The film has lost some of its impact over those years but you'd have to be dead or a complete robot for its ending not to really get to you. I won't ruin what happens but its impact is incredibly strong and touching. The film isn't the greatest ever made and I was a little surprised that the screenplay won as Oscar as I felt it left a few too many questioned unanswered. At the start of the film we see the father-son relationship and this here is tested when the child's mother (Irene Rich) tries to enter back in his life. I thought the screenplay really bumbled some of the scenes between the mother and the son and I found her attempt to get him back a little silly to say the least. I also thought some of the boxing stuff had a few too many clichés. The boxing drama was rich throughout the silent era and this here really doesn't offer up anything new. With all of that said, the main reason to watch this film are for the performances and there's no question that Beery and Cooper were terrific together. Beery would end up splitting the Best Actor award with Fredric March in DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE but he probably should have split it with Cooper. Both give terrific performances but what makes the film so special isn't their individual performances but instead it's the work they do together. There have been thousands of examples of a father-son relationship but I really can't recall too many that seemed as real as the one here. Beery was perfect for this type of slouch as he can pull off being a slob and make us care for him and his rather dimwitted ways. I don't think it's an insult saying this but Cooper has to be one of the greatest crying kids out there. The way he just breaks down in tears would get under anyones skin as he's so believable in these scenes that you can't help but really feel for the guy. Rich is good in her brief scenes as is Roscoe Ates as one of the champ's assistants. A lot of what happens throughout the film really won't come as a shock as the movie is rather predictable but at the same time the thing is just so entertaining that you don't mind it. Again, the ending is somewhat of a legendary thing among classic movies but it still manages to hit you where it counts.


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