The Gold Rush is a 1925 silent film comedy written, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin in his Little Tramp role. The film also stars Mack Swain, Tom Murray, Henry Bergman, Malcolm Waite, and Georgia Hale. Chaplin declared several times that this was the film that he most wanted to be remembered for.
Particularly famous scenes include:
One sequence was altered in the 1942 re-release so that instead of the Tramp finding a note from Georgia Hale's character which he mistakenly believes is for him, he actually receives the note from her. Another major alteration is the ending, in which the now-wealthy Tramp originally gave Georgia a lingering kiss; the sound version ends before this scene.
Chaplin attempted to film many of the scenes on location near Truckee, California, in early 1924. He abandoned most of this footage (which included him being chased through the snow by Big Jim, instead of just around the hut as in the final cut), retaining only the film's opening scene. The final film was shot on the backlot and stages at Chaplin's Hollywood studio, where elaborate Klondike sets were constructed.
Discussing the making of the film in the documentary series Unknown Chaplin, Hale revealed that she had idolized Chaplin since childhood and that the final scene of the original version, in which the two kiss, reflected the state of their relationship by that time (Chaplin's marriage to Lita Grey having collapsed during production of the film). Hale discusses her relationship with Chaplin in her memoir Charlie Chaplin: Intimate Close-Ups.
The Gold Rush was a huge success in the US and worldwide. It is the fifth highest grossing silent film in cinema history, taking in more than $4,250,001 at the box office in 1926. It is in fact the highest grossing silent comedy film.
Chaplin proclaimed at the time of its release that this was the film for which he wanted to be remembered. Today, in U.S., the original 1925 version is in the public domain, since the copyright was not renewed in 1953. Outside of U.S., Roy Export Company Establishment (current rights holder) claims that copyright still continues, in European Union countries, until 2047 (70 years after the death of director Chaplin), in Japan, until 2015 (later either over 38 years from death of Chaplin, or over 70 years from issue).
The new music score by Max Terr and the sound recording by James L. Fields were nominated for Academy Awards in 1943.
The Gold Rush was the first of Chaplin's classic silents that he converted to a sound version in this fashion. As revealed in the 2003 DVD release, the reissue of The Gold Rush also served to preserve most of the footage from the original film, as even the DVD-restored print of the 1925 original shows noticeable degradation of image and missing frames, artifacts not in evidence in the 1942 version.
Here is a comedy with streaks of poetry, pathos, tenderness, linked with brusqueness and boisterousness. It is the outstanding gem of all Chaplin's pictures, as it has more thought and originality than even such masterpieces of mirth as The Kid and Shoulder Arms.
The "roll dance" the tramp character performs in the film is considered one of the most memorable scenes in film history, although Roscoe Arbuckle did something similar in the 1917 movie The Rough House which also starred Buster Keaton. The bit was briefly homaged by Curly Howard in the 1935 Three Stooges film Pardon My Scotch. In more recent times, it was replicated by Johnny Depp's character in the 1993 film Benny and Joon and by Grampa Simpson in the 1994 episode of The Simpsons entitled "Lady Bouvier's Lover".