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The Great Dictator (1940) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • 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 of neighboring Bacteria. Ultimately Schultz, who has turned traitor against Hynkel's regime, and the barber, may be able to join forces to take control of the situation, they using Schultz's inside knowledge of the workings of the regime and the barber's uncanny resemblance to one of those in power.

    - Written by Huggo
  • During the last days of the First World War, a clumsy soldier saves the life of devoted military pilot Schultz. Unfortunately, their flight from the advancing enemy ends in a severe crash with the clumsy soldier losing his memories. After quite some years in the hospital, the amnesia patient gets released and reopens his old barber shop in the Jewish ghetto. But times have changed in the country of Tomania: Dictator Adenoid Hynkel, who accidentally looks very similar to the barber, has laid his merciless grip on the country, and the Jewish people are discriminated against. One day, the barber gets in trouble and is brought before a commanding officer, who turns out to be his old comrade Schultz. So, the ghetto enjoys protection from then on. Meanwhile, Dictator Hynkel develops big plans, he wants to become Dictator of the whole world and needs a scapegoat for the public. Soon, Schultz is being arrested for being too Jewish-friendly, and all Jews except those who managed to flee are transported into Concentration Camps. Hynkel is planning to march into Osterlich to show off against Napaloni, Dictator of Bacteria, who already has deployed his troops along the other border of the small country. Meanwhile, Schultz and the barber manage to escape, guised in military uniforms. As luck would have it, Schultz and the barber are picked up by Tomanian forces and the barber is mixed up with Hynkel himself. The small barber now gets the once-in-a-lifetime chance to speak to the people of Osterlich and all of Tomania, who listen eagerly on the radio.

    - Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>
  • Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime.

    - Written by Anonymous

Synopsis

During a battle in the last months of World War I, the protagonist, an unnamed soldier (known only in the credits as A Jewish Barber)...

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See also

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