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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 121,323 users  
Reviews: 192 user | 107 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 Movies #54 | Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Oakie ...
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?


When Jack Oakie as Benzini Napaloni first visits Adenoid Hynkel (Charles Chaplin) in his palace, Oakie greets Chaplin with a Yiddish expression which loosely translated means "how's it going?" See more »


The machine rolling the bomb around in the beginning can be seen. 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 »


References The Champion (1915) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

F***ing fantastic
1 December 2003 | by (derry n.ireland) – See all my reviews

Before I saw this film I didn't really expect to much from it, although my friend advised otherwise. Due to this request from my friend I decided I was really going to watch this film. The minute I sat down to view the film I was absolutely blown away. From the credits I was falling of my seat; I just couldn't contain myself. The film is about Hitler in all the glory of comedy. Hynkel is the absolute double for the Jewish Barber, who comes back from fighting in the war. Due to the heroics of the barber, he manages to save one of the germans and by doing that gets a member of the enemy on board, which helps in the struggle which the jews had. But things went wrong and Stolz was arrested, but only then to escape to the confines of the Jewish surburb, 'The Ghetto'. Due to this escape, the german army began searching which meant that the Barber and Stolz got arrested but again they escaped, only to be mistaken for hynkel and consequently takes his poistion. *****THE SPEECH THAT CHAPLIN MAKES AT THE END IS FANTASTIC, IT COMPLIES THE MORALS WHICH SOCIETY COULD ONLY DREAM ABOUT. IN THE SPEECH IT CONTRADICTS THE WHOLE MEANING OF THE FILM BECAUSE OF THE SERIOUNESS AND SINCERENITY WHICH IT ENTAILED, AND IT DEFINATELY WORKS, BECAUSE I DID WALK OUT FEELING GUILTY ABOUT HOW WE LIVE OUR LIVES, LOOKING AT THE SMALLEST THING SUCH AS BEING IGNORANT TO SOMEONE TO THE BIGGEST, MOST PROMINENT THINGS SUCH AS WAR.

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