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The Great Dictator (1940)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, War | 7 March 1941 (USA)
Trailer
1:32 | Trailer
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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Popularity
3,154 ( 179)
Top Rated Movies #57 | 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:

The Comedy Masterpiece! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Adolf Hitler banned the film in Germany and in all countries occupied by the Nazis. Curiosity got the best of him, and he had a print brought in through Portugal. History records that he screened it twice, in private, but history did not record his reaction to the film. Charles Chaplin said, "I'd give anything to know what he thought of it." For political reasons in Germany, the ban stayed after the end of WWII until 1958. See more »

Goofs

(at around 30 mins) When the Jewish Barber has just returned to the Ghetto and is cleaning his windows, his white overcoat changes from buttoned to unbuttoned throughout the fight scene. 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.
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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 »

Alternate Versions

In Italy, all the scenes that involved Napaloni's wife were cut from the movie to respect Mussolini's widow, Rachele. The complete version wasn't seen until 2002. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Os vixilantes do camiño (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Hungarian Dance No. 5
(uncredited)
Written by Johannes Brahms
Played on the radio during the shaving scene
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User Reviews

 
We think too much and feel too little.
23 January 2005 | by muziklaSee all my reviews

I was surprised and impressed to find out this movie was released in 1940, before the United States entered World War II. On the surface, satirizing something as solemn and horrible as Nazi Germany could be misconstrued as rash. But Chaplin's brilliance isn't limited to making a joke out of everything. In fact, the seriousness of his message wouldn't have been nearly as valid if not for the excellent use of humor in this movie along with the moments of stark drama blended in. Drama alone wouldn't have had the bite and resonance that this film did. Laughing at someone (Adenoid Hynkel) can be the best way to attack them, while laughing with someone (the Jewish Barber) can be the best way to love them. In the Jewish Barber's final speech, I forgot for a moment that the war he was talking about happened more than half a century ago. They are words that have meaning now, and in any time of war. For this reason I believe the film did far greater good than harm, as it still has the same profound effect today.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Instagram | Official Site

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)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$969,879
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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