The Champion (1915 film)

The Champion is a comedy film released in 1915 by Essanay Studios, starring Charles Chaplin alongside Edna Purviance and Leo White. Essanay co-owner and star, Broncho Billy Anderson can be seen as an enthusiastic audience member in the boxing match scene.

The Champion
Theatrical poster for The Champion (1915)
Directed byCharles Chaplin
Produced byJess Robbins
Written byCharles Chaplin
StarringCharles Chaplin
Edna Purviance
Ernest Van Pelt
Robert Shields
Lloyd Bacon
Leo White
Carl Stockdale
Billy Armstrong
Paddy McGuire
Bud Jamison
Ben Turpin
Music byRobert Israel (Kino video release)
CinematographyHarry Ensign
Edited byCharlie Chaplin
Distributed byEssanay Studios
General Film Company
Release date
  • March 11, 1915 (1915-03-11)
Running time
33 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent film
English (original intertitles)


In this comedy, Charlie Chaplin has a companion--a pet bulldog. Walking along a street with his bulldog, Charlie finds a "good luck" horseshoe just as he passes the training camp of an enormous fighter named Spike Dugan. Outside the camp is a large, painted advertisement which states Dugan is seeking sparring partners "who can take a punch." After watching other better fighters be soundly beaten by Dugan, Charlie decides his best bet is to put the horseshoe inside his boxing glove. Using the loaded glove, Charlie connects with a solid punch and wins. The trainer prepares Charlie to fight the world champion. A gambler wants Charlie to throw the fight. He and the trainer's daughter fall in love.


In some versions of the film, an inter-title introducing the heavyweight boxers refers to Spike Dugan as "Spike Hennessey"--although the surname Dugan is clearly painted on the wall surrounding his training camp.

This was the second Chaplin film to focus on boxing. He had already made a 1914 comedy for Keystone Studios, titled The Knockout, in which he was a secondary character--a boxing referee. In City Lights, Chaplin's 1931 masterpiece, he would again play an outsized and outclassed pugilist.


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