Cops (film)

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Cops 1922 poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byEdward F. Cline
Buster Keaton
Produced byJoseph M. Schenck
Written byEdward F. Cline
Buster Keaton
StarringBuster Keaton
Virginia Fox
Joe Roberts
Edward F. Cline
Steve Murphy
Edited byElgin Lessley
Distributed byFirst National Pictures Inc.
Release date
  • March 1922 (1922-03)
Running time
18 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent film
English (original intertitles)

Cops is a 1922 American two-reel silent comedy film about a young man (Buster Keaton) who accidentally gets on the bad side of the entire Los Angeles Police Department during a parade and is chased all over town. It was written and directed by Edward F. Cline and Keaton.

Background and plot[edit]

This very Kafka-esque film was filmed during the rape-and-murder trial of Fatty Arbuckle, a circumstance that may have influenced the short's tone of hopeless ensnarement.[1][2] Even though the central character's intentions are good, he cannot win, no matter how inventively he tries. He gets into various scraps with police officers throughout the film. Eventually, he unwittingly throws a bomb into a police parade and ends up being chased by a horde of cops.

At the end of the film, Keaton's character locks up the cops in the police station. However, the girl he is trying to woo disapproves of his behavior and gives him the cold shoulder. Therefore, he unlocks the police station and is immediately pulled in by the cops. The film ends with the title "The End" written on a tombstone with Keaton's pork pie hat propped on it.

One of Keaton's most iconic and brilliantly-constructed short films, Cops was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry in 1997.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Neibaur, James L., and Terri Niemi (2013). Buster Keaton's silent shorts, 1920-1923. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 148. ISBN 081088741X.
  2. ^ Oldham, Gabriella (1996). Keaton's silent shorts: Beyond the laughter. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. p. 203. ISBN 0585108064.

External links[edit]