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The Tramp and the Dictator (2002)

A look at the parallel lives of Charles Chaplin and Adolf Hitler and how they crossed with the creation of The Great Dictator (1940).


Kevin Brownlow (narration), Christopher Bird (narration)

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Complete credited cast:
Kenneth Branagh ... Himself / Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sydney Chaplin ... Himself


Explores the making of Charles Chaplin's first "talkie" The Great Dictator (1940) and draws many things that between Chaplin and Hitler had in common. The film contains colour home movie footage of the film's production which where shot by Charles' brother Sydney. These never before seen films were discovered by his daughter Victoria while looking though an old suitcase she found in the basement. The raw footage gives us an alternate insight to Chaplin's classic film which started production years before Adolf Hitler was seen as a major threat in the western world. Written by Luke Winterton <frednerk666@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






English | German

Release Date:

1 October 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Tramp und der Diktator See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This documentary is featured on the 2-Disc Charlie Chaplin Collection DVD for The Great Dictator (1940), released in 2003. See more »


Features The Kid (1921) See more »

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User Reviews

the great artist and the megalomaniacal dictator
4 September 2012 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Kenneth Branagh narrates "The Tramp and the Dictator," a 2002 documentary put together by film historian Kevin Brownlow and Michael Kroft about the making of Charlie Chaplin's film "The Great Dictator." For anyone who hasn't seen it, it's an incredible 1940 film about the dictator of Tomania, Adenoid Hynkel and the Jewish barber who bears a strong resemblance to him.

This documentary at first focuses on the similarities between Hitler and Chaplin as far as their backgrounds, love of the arts, and poverty and how each man overcame these adversities, one to become perhaps the greatest artist the world has ever known, and the other the most evil dictator.

"The Tramp and the Dictator" then goes into Chaplin's decision to make the film, the shove-it-under-the-rug attitude of Hollywood at that time, and shows color footage of the movie (it was released in black and white) as it was being filmed, and some footage of Chaplin directing.

There are reminiscences by Chaplin's son Sydney, screenwriter Walter Bernstein, writer Budd Schulberg, former SS officer Reinhard Spitzy, and others.

"The Great Dictator" was a controversial film for its time. It stands today as a strong political statement by Chaplin and a brilliant film for its mixture of parody and drama. He was advised not to make it. His answer? "What can he do? He can't possibly be any worse than he already is."

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