8.5/10
155,760
208 user 121 critic

The Great Dictator (1940)

G | | Comedy, Drama, War | 7 March 1941 (USA)
Trailer
1:31 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
Popularity
3,329 ( 248)
Top Rated Movies #52 | Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

City Lights (1931)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A screenwriter is hired to rework a faded silent film star's script only to find himself developing a dangerous relationship.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A filmmaker recalls his childhood when falling in love with the pictures at the cinema of his home village and forms a deep friendship with the cinema's projectionist.

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Stars: Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale, Antonella Attili
Casablanca (1942)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

In Casablanca in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate encounters a former lover, with unforeseen complications.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden
The Circus (1928)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The Tramp finds work and the girl of his dreams at a circus.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Merna Kennedy, Al Ernest Garcia
Seven Samurai (1954)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima
Citizen Kane (1941)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A mysterious stranger with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad.

Director: Sergio Leone
Stars: Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale
Rear Window (1954)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

Director: Sergio Leone
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses the soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Napaloni - Dictator of Bacteria
...
...
...
Herring
...
Madame Napaloni
...
Bacterian Ambassador (as Carter De Haven)
...
Hannah
Maurice Moscovitch ...
Mr. Jaeckel (as Maurice Moscovich)
...
Mrs. Jaeckel
...
Mr. Mann
Paul Weigel ...
Mr. Agar
...
Barber's Customer
Esther Michelson ...
Jewish Woman
...
Storm Trooper Stealing Fruit
Edit

Storyline

Twenty 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 since been hospitalized the result of 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, who 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 want for world domination, starting with the invasion of neighboring Osterlich, which may be threatened by Benzino Napaloni, the dictator ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He talks. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

7 March 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Dictator  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

€9,826 (Italy) (22 December 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

For the first time in years, Charles Chaplin brought in a new director of photography, Karl Struss, to work with his usual cameraman, Roland Totheroh. He did so at the urging of his brother, Syd, who felt that Totheroh's techniques were behind the times. Struss quickly learned that the director preferred to shoot scenes as though they were being performed on stage. He finally convinced Chaplin to let him shoot the scenes from two cameras at once, placed at different angles, to make it easier to edit the film. See more »

Goofs

(at around 17 mins) After Hynkel's "Tighten our belts" remark, Herring tightens his belt, which breaks when he sits down. However whenever we see Herring for the rest of the scene, his belt is intact. 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 »


Soundtracks

String Quintet in E, Op. 13 No. 5: Minuet
(uncredited)
Music by Luigi Boccherini
Played on piano a bit by Charles Chaplin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The "Pre-Mature" Anti-Fascist
5 June 2002 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Released in 1940, "The Great Dictator" was the first Hollywood film that denounced Hitler directly (albeit in the guise of Adenoid Hynkel), took a virulent stand against fascism, and directly addressed Anti-Semitism.

Over-long, at times heavy-handed, it still has many wonderful sequences, including the famous dance with the globe, and all the scenes of Chaplin with Jack Oakie, each trying to out-do the other and prove his superiority.

One criticism that seems to occasionally rear its head is the implication that Chaplin's pre-World War II anti-fascism was somehow wrong-headed. The atrocities of the Holocaust weren't fully known to the world yet, so Chaplin's anti-Hitler diatribe is, in the minds of some, misguided. After the war this mindset would result in the debacle of the blacklist, when Chaplin, among others, were branded "pre-mature anti-fascists." In other words, it wasn't politically acceptable to be against Nazism until war broke out with the U.S. Hard to believe anyone could still see things that way now, but some do.

The film industry of the 1930s wanted no part of international politics, no matter how blatant the brutality of a given regime. Profits were at stake. It was little goyisha Charley Chaplin, playing a Jewish barber, who took a public stand.

While "The Great Dictator" may not among Chaplin's finest films, it may, historically, be his finest hour.


117 of 141 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?