The Kid Review

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This post is a part of a series of movie reviews of the IMDb Top 100 Movies. For more information on this, you can check out my blog post.

Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid is the next movie on my list and it just so happens to be the first full-length silent film that I’ve seen. I have not watched silent films before but now I understand the perennial appeal they have. In an age of special-effects, stereo surround sound and mighty morphing megapixels, the art of silent films is not yet lost. Because these movies lack speech, filmmakers have to paint a visual picture by acting out expressive emotions, set design and costumes. The various camera angles, musical score and filmography also give way to setting the mood in the films. Regardless, I digress. Back to the review.


The Kid was released in 1921 and is Sir Charles Chaplin’s first silent full-length feature film as a director. The credits also state that the music production, writing and production was also done by him. The reason why he took so many roles upon himself is because he wanted the film to be perfect. People have been reported to have said that Charlie Chaplin would have even acted in all the roles himself if that were possible.


Starring Charlie Chaplin as new born baby.

The story starts off with a woman giving birth to a baby in a charity hospital and the father has abandoned them well before birth. As all good parenting books suggest, the mother leaves her child orphaned in the backseat of a posh automobile. Probably hoping that whoever comes out and sees the baby will immediately adopt it into their family and shower it with good fortune and gold-plated milk bottles. Alas, it is not to be as two thieves show up and steal the car, dropping off the baby in an alleyway because you can’t sell babies on the streets. Enter The Tramp (played by Charlie Chaplin). He finds the baby and although he was unwilling at first, he decides to adopt him and name him John.


Did your parents love you enough to make diapers out of bedsheets? I didn’t think so.

Fast forward 5 years and John (played by Jackie Coogan) is a mischievous kid with an equally cunning father. The destitute duo pull off odd jobs to make ends meet and seem to be living a content life. That is, until a doctor discovers that The Tramp is not John’s real father and some weird authorities come to take him away to the orphanage. A hilarious chase ensues and a few scuffles as well. Meanwhile, John’s mother has risen to become a famous actress and she somehow discovers that the Tramp’s adopted child is actually her abandoned child.


There was also… this. Whatever this is.

Memorable Movie Moment:
The Tramp and The Kid facing off against the bullies. Hilarious and brimming with expressions and over-the-top fighting.


The Kid is without a doubt one of the most perfect blends of drama and comedy that I have ever seen. The scene where John is taken away by the orphanage does not have a single spoken word, yet can elicit random bouts of moisture in one’s eye. For a roughly hour long movie, it did have a few parts that seemed extended. But they blend together well with the story in-spite of that. It has definitely given me a thirst for more of Sir Chaplin’s work and I’m looking forward to checking out The Great Dictator and The Circus soon.

Let me know what you guys think of silent films in general. Coming up next on the list is an iconic sci-fi classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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  1. Abhirup
    January 20

    Excellent synopsis. Have to watch this movie after reading your review :)

  2. February 26

    Wonderful review! Attracted to the “more” that Hollywood has to offer-IMAX, 3D, surround sound, parts 1-3, color, loud, more more more!- I hadn’t given much thought to silent films. Your review brings to light all that simplicity has to offer. I am definitely looking forward to seeing his movie!

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