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The Great Dictator (1940)

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Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime.

Director:

Charles Chaplin

Writer:

Charles Chaplin
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Top Rated Movies #53 | Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Chaplin ... Hynkel - Dictator of Tomania / A Jewish Barber
Jack Oakie ... Napaloni - Dictator of Bacteria
Reginald Gardiner ... Schultz
Henry Daniell ... Garbitsch
Billy Gilbert ... Herring
Grace Hayle ... Madame Napaloni
Carter DeHaven ... Bacterian Ambassador (as Carter De Haven)
Paulette Goddard ... Hannah
Maurice Moscovitch ... Mr. Jaeckel (as Maurice Moscovich)
Emma Dunn ... Mrs. Jaeckel
Bernard Gorcey ... Mr. Mann
Paul Weigel Paul Weigel ... Mr. Agar
Chester Conklin ... Barber's Customer
Esther Michelson Esther Michelson ... Jewish Woman
Hank Mann ... Storm Trooper Stealing Fruit
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Storyline

20 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 been hospitalized since 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, whom 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 desire for world domination, starting with the invasion of neighboring Osterlich, which may be threatened by Benzino Napaloni, the dictator of neighboring ... 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:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Esperanto

Release Date:

7 March 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Dictator See more »

Filming Locations:

Agoura Hills, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$5,000,000, 31 December 1940

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,000,000, 31 December 1940
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the first Charles Chaplin film since The Pilgrim (1923) in which Chaplin plays a character who is actually identified by name. His famous Tramp character was rarely given a name, though he was often referred to as Charlie. The tramp-like barber in this film remains unnamed, but the Tomainian dictator Adenoid Hynkel is referred to by name throughout the film. See more »

Goofs

(at around 35 mins) When the Barber is chased in the Ghetto streets by Stormtroopers, one California studio building can be seen in the upper right corner of the frame. 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

Spoofed in Sholay (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Immortal classic movie with dual character for Chaplin as barber Jew and Dictator Hynkel
3 March 2009 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This ingenious and innovate comedy packs many priceless moments and great sense of pace , though overlong . Chaplin's satire with several classic scenes , he has dual role as a Jewish barber and dictator Hynkel , an offensive portrayal of Hitler . Then the barber is mistaken for the Hitlerian tyrant and there happens bemusing events . Funny and extraordinary acting all around , as the stunning co-stars Jack Oakie as Napolini (Mussolini-alike) , Henry Daniel as Gasbstich (Himmler-alike) and Billy Gilbert as Herring (Goering) . Chaplin's first spoken film is brilliantly photographed by Karl Struss . This splendid film contains numerous amusing scenes , the funniest are the followings : 1) The one when during the WWI the barber-soldier along with a co-pilot are flying in a turned plane without to be aware 2) When Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tells overacting speeches , including a twisted microphone 3) Hynkel playing with an enormous world balloon 4) The Jew-barber shaving a man while fitting to Hungarian Dance : number 5 by Brahms 5) when Hynkel and Napolini each try to keep his body higher than other in a barber's chair , among them .

Production on the movie started in 1937 and shot in 539 days when not nearly as many people believed Nazism was a menace , as was the case when it was released in 1940 ; however , this film was ultimately upstaged as the first anti-Nazi film satire . Hitler banned movie exhibition to the Germans due to its satire of him , and put him in his death list after his proposed conquest of America . The movie is co-starred by Paulette Goddard , third of his four wives , they were married in 1936 , although no announcement of the marriage was made later, one time finished The Great Dictator . The picture was released in 1940 , when Chaplin had survived a moral scandal by a paternity suit but a brush with the House of Un-American Activities was the signal for the USA to refuse him re-entry from Britain and he fled to Switzerland . This movie was Charles Chaplin's biggest-ever box-office hit , grossing about $5 million at the time.


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