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The Great Dictator (1940)

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

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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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3,026 ( 848)
Top Rated Movies #55 | 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:

Once again - the whole world laughs! 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

Although she had appeared in Modern Times (1936) and her father, Carter DeHaven, appears in this film, Gloria DeHaven does not appear in this film, although she has been credited as appearing in it. See more »

Goofs

(at around 29 mins) When the Jewish Barber first finds his shop full of webs, you can see the shadow of the camera on his left shoulder. 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

[Prologue] 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

The World War 1918 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 Atop the Fourth Wall: Captain America Comics #1 (2011) 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

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User Reviews

The "Pre-Mature" Anti-Fascist
5 June 2002 | by donnolaSee 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.


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