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The Great Dictator (1940)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, War  |  7 March 1941 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 124,045 users  
Reviews: 192 user | 109 critic

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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Top Rated Movies #54 | Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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


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


Chaplin talks . . while You Laugh ! His greatest comedy since "Shoulder Arms" and "the Gold Rush" ! See more »


Comedy | Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

7 March 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Dictator  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to documentaries on the making of the film, Charles Chaplin began to feel more uncomfortable lampooning Adolf Hitler the more he heard of Hitler's actions in Europe. Ultimately, the invasion of France inspired Chaplin to change the ending of his film to include his famous speech. See more »


When the Barber first returns to his barber shop, he hangs his hat and coat on a coat-rack that has a hand-broom hanging on it. After his fight with the Storm-Troopers, he re-enters his shop but his coat and hat are no longer on the rack, and the broom has changed location on the rack. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in The Sucker (1965) See more »


Hungarian Dance No. 5
Written by Johannes Brahms
Played on the radio during the shaving scene
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Remember that......
6 March 2004 | by (venice, Italy) – See all my reviews

..this movie has been done when Hitler ( and Mussolini who is as well in the movie) was at the top and many politics and even the Roman Church used to close eyes about brutality and evil of Nazism. Especially in USA there were many people who had not understood what was really going on in Germany and Europe ( Charles Lindenbergh for example ).It would be as today a big actor would made a parody of Berlusconi or Chirac. Chaplin maybe made a lot of mistakes in his life, but this is really a masterpiece of humanity and IMHO a great demonstration he was a courageous man. The movie is funny and deep, the final speech has a terrible strength and is still updated. I think this movie is one of the best ever done.

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