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The Great Dictator (1940)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, War  |  7 March 1941 (USA)
8.5
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 111,976 users  
Reviews: 187 user | 103 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 250 #54 | Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jack Oakie ...
Napaloni - Dictator of Bacteria
Reginald Gardiner ...
...
...
Herring
Grace Hayle ...
Madame Napaloni
Carter DeHaven ...
Bacterian Ambassador (as Carter De Haven)
...
Hannah
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
Edit

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:

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

Trivia

Charles Chaplin originally intended to call the film "The Dictator", but received notice from Paramount Pictures that they would charge him $25,000 for use of the title-they owned the rights to an unrelated novel by Richard Harding Davis. Chaplin balked at the conditions and inserted "Great" into the title. (In France the film is known as "Le Dictateur" and in Finland as "Diktaattori" .) See more »

Goofs

After Hynkel's "Tighten our belts" remark, Herring tightens his belt, which breaks when he sits down. However whenever we see Herring for the rest of the scene, his belt is intact. 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 Charlie Chaplin: The Forgotten Years (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Prelude to 'Lohengrin' , Act I
(1850) (uncredited)
Music by Richard Wagner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Great and Then Some
2 November 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I agree that the final speech is powerful, and stirring. It made my heart hurt (in a good way ;-) But I also have to say that the comedy is first-rate. When the Charlie and the pilot are unknowingly upside down and chatting away...when the pilot is serenely reminiscing about his girlfriend back home even as the downed plane plows right into the ground...when Hynkel delivers this vitriolic diatribe about 'the Juden' and the blandly impassive translator says, 'the Phooey has just made reference to the Jewish people' and 'the Phooey's heart is full of love to all mankind,' ...when Hynkel strips his hapless henchman of all his beautiful medals, spitting and fussing a mile a minute...I could go on and on! I think no one else on earth could play Hynkel as hilariously as Chaplin, but it might be fun to imagine modern comedians trying. ;-)


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