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The Great Dictator (1940)

G | | Comedy, Drama, War | 7 March 1941 (USA)
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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.

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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:
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Madame Napaloni
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Bacterian Ambassador (as Carter De Haven)
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Maurice Moscovitch ...
Mr. Jaeckel (as Maurice Moscovich)
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Mrs. Jaeckel
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Paul Weigel ...
Mr. Agar
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Esther Michelson ...
Jewish Woman
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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:

Once again - the whole world laughs! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

7 March 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Dictator  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to his biographer, David Robinson, Charles Chaplin despised script girls and refused to abide by their guidance, resulting in continuity lapses in this movie. See more »

Goofs

(at around 16 mins) At Hynkel's speech in the beginning the position and length of his tie changes from cut to cut. 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 »


Soundtracks

Prelude to 'Lohengrin' , Act I
(1850) (uncredited)
Music by Richard Wagner
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
We think too much and feel too little.
23 January 2005 | by See 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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