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The Great Dictator (1940)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, War | 7 March 1941 (USA)
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Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime.

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2,983 ( 68)
Top Rated Movies #54 | Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Napaloni - Dictator of Bacteria
...
...
...
Herring
...
Madame Napaloni
...
Bacterian Ambassador (as Carter De Haven)
...
Hannah
Maurice Moscovitch ...
Mr. Jaeckel (as Maurice Moscovich)
...
Mrs. Jaeckel
Bernard Gorcey ...
Mr. Mann
Paul Weigel ...
Mr. Agar
...
Barber's Customer
Esther Michelson ...
Jewish Woman
...
Storm Trooper Stealing Fruit
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Storyline

Twenty years after the end of WWI in which the nation of Tomainia was on the losing side, Adenoid Hynkel has risen to power as the ruthless dictator of the country. He believes in a pure Aryan state, and the decimation of the Jews. This situation is unknown to a simple Jewish-Tomainian barber who has since been hospitalized the result of a WWI battle. Upon his release, the barber, who had been suffering from memory loss about the war, is shown the new persecuted life of the Jews by many living in the Jewish ghetto, including a washerwoman named Hannah, with whom he begins a relationship. The barber is ultimately spared such persecution by Commander Schultz, who he saved in that WWI battle. The lives of all Jews in Tomainia are eventually spared with a policy shift by Hynkel himself, who is doing so for ulterior motives. But those motives include a want for world domination, starting with the invasion of neighboring Osterlich, which may be threatened by Benzino Napaloni, the dictator ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He talks. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

7 March 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Dictator  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Charles Chapin had heard that studios were trying to discourage him from making the film, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent a representative, Harry Hopkins, to Chaplin to encourage him to make the film. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 27 mins) When Hynkel is tearing the medals off of Herring after learning that Napaloni has beaten him to Osterlich, a distant shot shows a remaining striped ribbon on the right side of Herring's jacket. In the subsequent close shot, that ribbon is gone. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Cards: Note, any resemblance between Hynkle the Dictator and the Jewish Barber is purely co-incidental.
Title Cards: This is a story of a period between two World Wars - an interim in which Insanity cut loose. Liberty took a nose dive, and Humanity was kicked around somewhat.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film is obviously a satire on Adolf Hitler, represented by Adenoid Hynkel, and its story is based on Hynkel looking exactly like "a Jewish barber": both are played by Charles Chaplin. But it begins with a notice: "Any resemblance between Hynkel the dictator and the Jewish barber is purely co-incidental". See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

String Quintet in E, Op. 13 No. 5: Minuet
(uncredited)
Music by Luigi Boccherini
Played on piano a bit by Charles Chaplin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A film of its time, without a modern equal
22 December 2003 | by (Kingswood, Australia) – See all my reviews

This film entered production before WW2 began, but was not released until it was well under way. With significant fascist-sympathy in the US, and Chaplin himself being suspected as a communist sympathiser, The Great Dictator was a very courageous endeavour. Such risks in film-making - thinly veiled political statements - would be almost inconceivable today. Imagine the fallout if someone were to make an equally satirical film today which criticised the USA's foreign policy?

This film is hilarious, poignant and tragic. The tragedy is that Chaplin makes a plea for the madness to end, but it is already to late - for him and for us. A must see if you have any interest whatsoever in history, film-making, politics or sattire as an art-form.


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