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The Dictator (2012)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  16 May 2012 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 198,742 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 308 user | 309 critic | 41 from Metacritic.com

The heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.


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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rocky Citron ...
Liam Campora ...
Rick Chambers ...
Elsayed Mohamed ...
Virgin Guard
Virgin Guard (as Naz Homa)
Virgin Guard (as Dawn Zimniak)
Virgin Guard


The Republic of Wadiya is ruled by an eccentric and oppressive leader named Hafez Aladeen. Aladeen is summoned to New York to a UN assembly to address concerns about his country's nuclear weapons program, but the trip goes awry. Written by Sam

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, brief male nudity, language and some violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

16 May 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Finchley's Dream  »

Box Office


$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$17,435,092 (USA) (18 May 2012)


$59,617,068 (USA) (20 July 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (unrated)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the promotional bust shot of the main character against a white backdrop, he is wearing medal ribbons including, among others:
  • The Antarctica Service Medal Ribbon (third row, far left)

  • The Kuwait Liberation of Kuwait Medal Ribbon (seventh row, far left)

  • The Second World War Philippine Defense Medal Ribbon (fifth row, far left) and the Philippine Liberation Medal Ribbon (fifth row, second from left)

  • What appears to be the Belgian Croix de Guerre Medal Ribbon (fifth row, far right)

  • The French Croix de Guerre medal (fifth row, second from right)

There are at least two cases of duplication: row 16, far right is the same as row 14, second from right, and row 11, far left is the same as row 9, second from right. Altogether, he's wearing 68 medals. The teaser movie poster shows at least one medal (the Belgian Croix de Guerre) changed, and they "loop": the 11th and 12th rows repeat as the 18th and 19th rows. See more »


When Aladeen accidentally shoots his guard, the slide on his gun is clearly shown locked back, indicating it is empty. Moments later, he shoots the gun again. See more »


[Aladeen and Nadal are at Gotham Helicopter Tours, preparing to board the helicopter]
Nadal: Here's the plan: We're going to take this helicopter tour and fly over the Lancaster to spot its weaknesses. Remember, we're just two ordinary American tourists looking at the sights.
General Aladeen: [Wearing an American flag jogging suit and a sheriff's badge] Don't worry, nobody gonna suspect anything. It's a great plan, pointy.
Nadal: Don't do anything to arouse any suspicions.
General Aladeen: Don't worry, I am Wadiya's number one actor. You don't...
See more »

Crazy Credits

In loving memory of Kim Jong-il See more »


Features Forrest Gump (1994) See more »


Written & Performed by Ali Hassan Kuban
Courtesy of Piranha Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Woody Allen, Peter Sellers, Sacha Baron Cohen
20 May 2012 | by See all my reviews

The non-stop jokes, off-color humor, slapstick and under 90 minute running time of "The Dictator" hearkens back to early Woody Allen gems like "What's Up Tiger Lily," "Take The Money and Run," "Bananas," and "Love and Death. And, in the world of comedy, that's quite a compliment.

Like Cohen, Allen's first films were often misunderstood. Some folks just did not get the joke. Many still don't get it today. The object of comedy has always been to take down the high and mighty by whatever means necessary. And, if you happen to be a Middle Eastern despot, you will find much to be offended by here. But, as Allen often did as well, Cohen uses racial and gender stereotypes to shine a light on people's attitudes, and that's likely to put off others as well. That's fine. Some comedy just isn't for everyone.

While his writing style owes much to Allen, his acting chops are also influenced heavily by one of Britain's greatest comics, Peter Sellers. You can see it in his outrageous accents and in his ridiculous pratfalls. Like Sellers, Cohen is fearless in his characterizations and, again, like Sellers, there will be those who will take offense in this. Again, not for everyone. But, if you laughed your butt off at Sellers' simpleton Indian character destroying a Hollywood party, you will be laughing here too.

And that's what we're talking about; laughs. Not every joke works. Many fall flat. But the film starts off fast and furious with a rapid succession of gags, most of which work hilariously, settles down for a bit and then takes off again, literally. His verbal sparring with co-star Jason Mantzoukas is one of the highlights as are many of the fun cameo appearances and a running joke about his name that I will not reveal here. There are many great sight gags that are easily missed and the appearance of his Efawadh character at the U.N. channels a scene right out of Allen's "Sleeper." There's a few scatological and sex jokes also (one about excrement, one about urination, one about masturbation, several about body parts), and these, if you ask me, are the low point of the film (except a child birth scene that's as funny as it is outrageous). But, the bodily fluid gags, so rampant in comedy films today, are actually few and far between. And there's a bit of a message, too.

We're not dealing with "Citizen Kane" here. But, then, this film made me laugh much more.

136 of 214 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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