NATIONAL FILM REGISTRY National Film Preservation Board (1998)

Charlie Chaplin's Tramp character is an immigrant coming to the United States who is accused of theft on the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, and who befriends a young woman along the way.

According to Kevin Brownlow and David Gill's documentary series Unknown Chaplin, the first scenes to be written and filmed take place in what became the movie's second half, in which the penniless Tramp finds a coin and goes for a meal in a restaurant, not realising that the coin has fallen out of his pocket. It was not until later that Chaplin decided the reason the Tramp was penniless was that he had just arrived on a boat from Europe, and used this notion as the basis for the first half.

The scene in which Chaplin's character kicks an immigration officer was cited later as evidence of his anti-Americanism when he was forced to leave the United States in the 1950s.

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The Immigrant

USA, 1917, 20 minutes, b&w, silent
Written and directed by Charlie Chaplin

Public Exhibition 16mm rental available





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