The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus will close down at the end of May 2017, and the company even says that the change in the family unit is one of the reasons. It’s not supposed to be a victory for animal rights, as in this ABC story. You could compare this to the Cirque du Soleil, which I saw in Minneapolis in 2002.
But there is a classic film about the circus, “The Greatest Show on Earth” (1952), by Cecile B. De Mille
The film has a massive train wreck scene where a motorist drives into it trying to “stop the train” and is killed instantly; many animals escape.
The plot is a little contrived, as the circus director Brad (Charlton Heston) engages “Sebastian” (Cornel Wilde) creating personal conflicts among the staff. And then there is the mob outside.
I saw the film at about age 9 with my parents in a “neighborhood” theater