(Charles Chaplin, US 1928, 72 min.)

By the time he released The Circus, Chaplin cut so imposing a figure that he was accorded a special Academy Award® so as to ensure that he didn’t sweep the first ceremony. Underrated today, The Circus is perhaps Chaplin’s loveliest and most effortless feature. Its modest story involves the Tramp joining a circus, falling in love with bareback rider Merna Kennedy, and learning when to step aside, with lots of genuinely dangerous stunts and animal encounters along the way.