Charlie Chaplin. The Gold Rush. 1925

Charlie Chaplin The Gold Rush 1925

  • Not on view

The Gold Rush was the last movie Chaplin made before the specter of the "talkies" began to haunt him. Its brilliant set-pieces—Chaplin's character, the Little Tramp, performing the dance of the dinner rolls, Mack Swain hungrily mistaking the Tramp for a giant chicken, Swain and the Tramp feasting upon the latter's shoe, and the cabin teetering on the edge of the abyss—are among the highlights included in any assemblage of the classic moments of silent-film comedy. While all of Chaplin's silent features are somewhat episodic, they are held together by his sublime performances and inventive imagination.

The Gold Rush is Chaplin's most famous film, but it is atypical of his work in several ways. Its snowy wastes are far removed from his usual urban and rural settings. Cannibalism and murder seem peculiarly dark subjects for a comedy made in the middle of the twentieth century's most upbeat decade. The film also ends strangely, with the Tramp marrying and becoming a millionaire. The Gold Rush captured Chaplin in a time of relative contentment—one of the century's great geniuses at a moment of confidence in his ability to control his destiny and his art. Nevertheless, he returned in three later films as unshackled and poverty-stricken as ever.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 140.
35mm film (black and white, silent)
66 minutes (approx.)
Object number

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or, please email If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to