The Vagabond (1916 film)

The Vagabond is a silent film by Charlie Chaplin and his third film with Mutual Films. Released to theaters on July 10, 1916, it co-starred Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, Leo White and Lloyd Bacon. This film echoed Chaplin's work on The Tramp, with more drama and pathos mixed in with the comedy.

The Vagabond
Theatrical poster to The Vagabond
Directed byCharles Chaplin
Edward Brewer (technical director)
Produced byHenry P. Caulfield
Written byCharles Chaplin (scenario)
Vincent Bryan (scenario)
Maverick Terrell (scenario)
StarringCharles Chaplin
Edna Purviance
Eric Campbell
CinematographyWilliam C. Foster
Roland Totheroh
Edited byCharles Chaplin
Distributed byMutual Film Corporation
Release date
  • July 10, 1916 (1916-07-10)
Running time
24 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent film
English intertitles


The story begins with Charlie, the Tramp, arriving at a bar, playing on a violin to raise money and exciting a rivalry with competing musicians. This results in a barroom brawl and comic mayhem.

Wandering off into the vicinity of a gypsy caravan in the country, he encounters the beautiful, though bedraggled, Edna. He entertains her with his violin. She has been abducted and abused by the gypsies, chief among them Eric Campbell, who whips her mercilessly. Charlie comes to her rescue and knocks her tormentors over the head with a stick before riding off with her in a commandeered cart. Love develops between them as Charlie washes Edna's face in a bowl and combs her hair. He makes breakfast while she goes to fetch water. On the way Edna meets an artist who lacks inspiration. Edna is his muse and he paints her, including her unique shamrock-shaped birthmark. Edna falls for him and brings him back to the cart where the two talk, while Charlie is ignored. The artist leaves and she is stuck with Charlie.

The resulting painting is seen by the girl's mother who recognizes the unusual birthmark and rushes with the artist to rescue her daughter. They find her with Charlie, who refuses payment from the mother and sadly says goodbye. Edna is driven off in a limousine with her mother, others, and the artist--only to realize she loves Charlie. She orders the car to reverse and take him along with her.[1]


Louis Reeves Harrison wrote in Moving Picture World, "The latter part of the story shows Chaplin in a new role, and he handles it well in spite of the necessity of being as funny as possible. He would make an interesting lead in almost any story if it were possible for him to divest himself of the little tricks which have made him famous. Those little tricks still go, and they pay, but it would be a novelty to see Chaplin free to do without them in some opportunity of a reverse, or much different, character."


Sound version

In 1932, Amedee Van Beuren of Van Beuren Studios, purchased Chaplin's Mutual comedies for $10,000 each, added music by Gene Rodemich and Winston Sharples and sound effects, and re-released them through RKO Radio Pictures. Chaplin had no legal recourse to stop the RKO release.[2]

See also


  1. Simon Louvish (2009) Chaplin: The Tramp's Odyssey. London, Faber and Faber: 105-8; revised from Louvish based on the movie itself
  2. SilentComedians entry Archived 2014-01-12 at the Wayback Machine

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