The Great Dictator (1940)

Passed   |    |  Comedy, Drama, War


The Great Dictator (1940) Poster

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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8.5/10
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  • Charlie Chaplin at a press conference for the premiere of "The Great Dictator" Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York City October 1940
  • Charles Chaplin in The Great Dictator (1940)
  • Charles Chaplin in The Great Dictator (1940)
  • Charles Chaplin and Jack Oakie in The Great Dictator (1940)
  • Charles Chaplin in The Great Dictator (1940)
  • Charles Chaplin and Paulette Goddard in The Great Dictator (1940)

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Director:

Charles Chaplin

Writer:

Charles Chaplin

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User Reviews


5 June 2002 | donnola
The "Pre-Mature" Anti-Fascist
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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Comedy | Drama | War

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