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The Pilgrim (1923)

The Tramp is an escaped convict who is mistaken as a pastor in a small town church.


Charles Chaplin (uncredited)


Charles Chaplin




Complete credited cast:
Charles Chaplin ... The Pilgrim / Lefty Lombard
Edna Purviance ... The Girl
Syd Chaplin ... Eloper / Train Conductor / Little Boy's Father (as Sydney Chaplin)
Mai Wells Mai Wells ... Little Boy's Mother (as ?)
Dean Riesner ... Little Boy (as Dinky Reisner)
Charles Reisner ... Crook (as Chuck Reisner)
Tom Murray ... Sheriff Bryan
Kitty Bradbury Kitty Bradbury ... Girl's Mother
Mack Swain ... Deacon Jones
Loyal Underwood ... Small Deacon
Henry Bergman ... Sheriff on Train / Man In Railroad Station
Learn more

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When Charlie escapes from prison he dons a preacher's clothes. By mistake he becomes the new minister for the town of Devil's Gulch. Later, discovered as the convict, the sheriff takes Charlie to the Mexican border where he can choose to return, a convict, or face Mexican bandits at war with each other. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

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Did You Know?


This was the last film in which Charles Chaplin co-starred with Edna Purviance. Chaplin would direct and have a cameo in her next film, A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate (1923) and produce her lost film, A Woman of the Sea (1926), and she would have cameos in his later films Monsieur Verdoux (1947) and Limelight (1952), but this was their last major acting work together. See more »


The amount and pattern of icing on the hat changes between shots. See more »


Crook: I missed my train.
Girl's Mother: Then you must stay for the night. I'll get some light.
See more »


Featured in Seeing Stars (1922) See more »


I'm Bound for Texas
Words and Music by Charles Chaplin
Sung by Matt Monro
See more »

User Reviews

Funny in the big moments and in the detail
22 May 2008 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

The tramp escapes from prison and, with wanted posters everywhere, takes a train to a place picked randomly – Texas. Disguised as a minister he is fortune enough to be mistaken for the real deal when he stumbles into a welcoming party for a town's new minister, Reverend Phillip Pin. A mixed blessing this as it puts more pressure on his disguise and makes it even more important he cover up the telltale signs of a life spent behind bars.

As part of my recent film education I have been watching quite a few Chaplin films of this period as Sky have been showing them as a season over the last few weeks and what I have found is what everyone already knows – which is that the enduring popularity of Chaplin is not a fluke or accident. No, The Pilgrim yet again demonstrates the talent and skill that Chaplin had because it is very funny, imaginative and well put together. The story is simply and allows for a series of scenarios where Chaplin can work his comedy such as the hat becoming part of the pudding, the early confused chase and so on. However in the smaller moments you can also see plenty of evidence of talent; my favourite moments of the film are the frequent bits of habitual behaviour that betray the tramp as a convict. Having bought a ticket for the train he then climbs under the car because he is not aware of any other way of doing it, or while buying the ticket he leans against the bar as one would in a cage. Little things like this running along with the bigger scenarios make the film that much funnier for having a consistency to it.

In front of the camera Chaplin delivers perfectly. I have yet to get into his later films (although I will do) but I will be interested to see how he acts when he has the ability to deliver dialogue with sound. The reason for this is that silent film acting is much different from dialogue driven because near everything has to be done with body language and gestures; goes without saying that he is great at it. He is well supported by a cast getting familiar to me after seeing several of his shorts and the turns from Swain, Purviance, Underwood and others are good.

Overall then another classic comedy from Chaplin that is consistently funny due to the bigger laughs blended with lots of clever amusing detail.

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Release Date:

25 February 1923 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Pilgrim See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(re-release) (1950s) | (TCM print) | (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System) (1959 re-issue)| Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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