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7,680 Ratings

The Great Dictator

Directed by Charlie Chaplin
United States, 1940


After dedicated service in WWI, a Jewish barber spends years in an army hospital, unaware of the rise of a fascist, anti-Semitic dictator, whom he bears an uncanny resemblance to. When he returns to his neighborhood, he is stunned by the brutal changes, and recklessly joins a girl in rebelling.

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The Great Dictator Directed by Charlie Chaplin

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1941 | 5 nominations including: Best Picture

National Board of Review

1940 | Winner: Top Ten Films

New York Film Critics Circle Awards

1940 | Winner: Best Actor

National Film Preservation Board

1997 | Winner: National Film Registry

The silent Tramp satirized American society but nonetheless made audiences feel good about themselves. By contrast, The Great Dictator used sound to more explicitly call out the failings of his adopted country, something he would only develop further with the pitch-black postwar satire Monsieur Verdoux and the exiled, anti-1950s broadside of A King in New York.
March 06, 2015
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Roberto Rossellini called Chaplin’s much-maligned 1957 A King In New York “the film of a free man,” this, too, is the film of a free man, albeit a freeman flailing. Certain of its infelicities are kind of fascination: Chaplin’s Mack Sennett-derived conception of storm troopers has some interesting side effects, one of them being that Billy Gilbert makes more sense here than he does in His Girl Friday.
January 10, 2015
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Chaplin’s film is filled with brilliant slapstick, and his wonderfully exaggerated portrayal of the preening, insane Hynkel, often speaking a kind of nonsensical mock-German, is immortal… It’s hard not to be enormously moved by this film — by its humor and its exceedingly personal, almost intimate quality.
December 19, 2014
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