The Battle of the Century

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Battle of the Century
L&H Battle of the Century 1928.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Clyde Bruckman
Produced by Hal Roach
Written by Hal Roach
H.M. Walker
Starring Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Music by Leroy Shield
Cinematography George Stevens
Edited by Richard C. Currier
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • December 31, 1927 (1927-12-31)
Running time
19 min.(2 minutes lost)
Country United States
Language Silent film
English intertitles

The Battle of the Century is a 1927 silent short film starring American comedy double act Laurel and Hardy. The team appeared in a total of 107 films between 1921 and 1951.[1]

The film is famous for using over 3,000 cream pies (although an edition of the Guinness Book on film history quotes that as many as 10,000 pies may have been used) in the film's climactic pie fight; however, for many years, its second reel, containing the fight, only survived in three minutes of fragments used in the documentaries of Robert Youngson. The complete reel was rediscovered in 2015.[2]


Hardy enrolls Laurel at a boxing competition. Laurel, however, (despite knocking out his opponent once) is too weak, and loses. Hardy then seeks advice from an insurer on how to easily earn a lot of money: Laurel has to have an injury, so that Hardy can then pocket the insurance money. Hardy places a banana peel on a sidewalk, bringing Laurel there. But a pastry chef stumbles on the peel, and gets angry with Hardy, throwing a pie in his face. Hardy responds to the provocation, and soon the entire city block is involved in an epic battle of pies.

Production notes[edit]

  • Though The Battle of the Century is an official Laurel and Hardy entry, the team had yet to take on their recognisable characters.
  • A young Lou Costello can be seen in an early scene as a member of the audience at the prize-fight mentioned in the film's title.[3]
  • For many years, footage from the famous climactic pie fight was known to be the only extant material from the film until the opening reel (featuring a boxing match) was discovered in 1979 by Richard Feiner.[4] However, the sequence involving Eugene Pallette was still missing, as was the very final gag where a cop gets a pie in his face and promptly chases Laurel and Hardy down the street.
  • What is believed to be the entire film was once broadcast in Spanish television (TVE1) during the 1970s which included the scenes of:

A customer sitting in a barber's chair inside a barber's shop receiving a faceful of pie whilst being shaved and; A drinker inside a saloon or cafe being hit by a pie. He then buys two pies from the owner of the saloon/cafe and leaves with them in order to take part in the pie battle being fought outside.

  • In June 2015, it was announced at the Mostly Lost film workshop in Culpeper, Virginia that the second reel of the film had been rediscovered as a 16mm print from the original negative,[5] and was shown at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2015.[6] On April 8, 2017, it was shown at the Toronto Silent Film Festival, with live accompaniment by Ben Model. On 29 May 2017 it was shown at the Southend Film Festival with live accompaniment by Adam Ramet.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Battle of the Century at
  2. ^ Barry, Dan (July 8, 2015). "Comedy's Sweet Weapon: The Cream Pie". New York Times. Retrieved July 8, 2015. 
  3. ^ The Battle of the Century - In the Cast., retrieved January 20, 2017.
  4. ^ "Images - The Lost Films of Laurel and Hardy". Retrieved 2012-09-23. 
  5. ^ "Second reel of Laurel and Hardy's The Battle of the Century recovered: that's better than a pie in the face". Silent London. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Rediscovered Laurel and Hardy – The Battle of the Century BFI Website, Retrieved 8th September 2015.

External links[edit]