The Great Dictator (1940)
Average Rating: 8.8/10
Reviews Counted: 38
Fresh: 35 | Rotten: 3
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 8.6/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 2
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 42,453
"This is the story of the period between two world wars--an interim during which insanity cut loose, liberty took a nose dive, and humanity was kicked around somewhat." With this pithy opening title, Charles Chaplin begins his first all-talking feature film, The Great Dictator. During World War I, a Jewish barber (Chaplin) in the army of Tomania saves the life of high-ranking officer Schultz (Reginald Gardiner). While Schultz survives the conflict unscathed, the barber is stricken with amnesia
Jan 1, 1940 Wide
May 10, 2010
Adenoid Hynkel Dicta...
Carter De Haven
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The first full-blown talkie from the biggest star of the silent era, complete with a message that Chaplin couldn't have sent more loudly or clearly.
Chaplin is at his most profound in suggesting that there is much of the Tramp in the Dictator, and much of the Dictator in the Tramp.
Like all major Chaplin works, Dictator was a cheaply, but methodically, made film, a cardboard act of humanist defiance, and, thanks to its purity of purpose, the cheesier the jokes get, the harder they land.
It's when he is playing the dictator that the comedian's voice raises the value of the comedy content of the picture to great heights.
The representation of Hitler is vaudeville goonery all the way, but minus the acid wit and inventive energy that Groucho Marx managed.
The only trouble is that such perfect scenes as this are followed by more conventional passages which would be funny enough in an average picture but let one down in a film that deals so ambitiously with so great a theme.
...a great movie because it works as a film, and because it is a document of courage and faith, the prime exhibit in Chaplin's humanist brief ... Dictator is a comedy, the work of a clown, but it is no joke. Chaplin had lethal intent.
While it is not the greatest of Charlie Chaplin's feature films, it is certainly his bravest, if not one of the bravest films ever made.
...stared evil in the face long before the rest of Hollywood even thought it was possible.
Despite the film's weaknesses, Chaplin's lampooning of Hitler is a moment of comic genius, complemented by Jack Oakie's ridiculously exaggerated portrayal of the Mussolini-like Italian fascist
Chaplin's film hasn't aged well, but in 1940 it was perceived to be original, bold and controversial due to its combination of slapstick satire of Hitler and agit-prop.
Though the slapstick may seem tired now, there are moments of greatness.
So Chaplin may not have halted a war, but he still left us with more than just a funny movie.
The Great Dictator mérite amplement de faire partie des éléments clés du cinéma.
A fascinating, unprecedented spoof of Hitler, one of the few before WWII that dared to take him on.
Audience Reviews for The Great Dictator
- Adenoid Hynkel Dictator of Tomania: I'm sorry, but I don't want to be an emperor. That's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don't hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers! Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!
- Adenoid Hynkel Dictator of Tomania: Look up! Look up! The clouds are lifting - the sun is breaking through. We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new world. A kind new world where men will rise above their hate and brutality.The soul of man has been given wings - and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow - into the light of hope - into the future, that glorious future that belongs to you, to me and to all of us. Look up. Look up
- Jewish Barber: Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.
- Jewish Barber: Hannah, can you hear me? Wherever you are, look up Hannah! The clouds are lifting! The sun is breaking through! We are coming out of the darkness into the light! We are coming into a new world; a kindlier world, where men will rise above their hate, their greed, and brutality. Look up, Hannah! The soul of man has been given wings and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow! Into the light of hope, into the future! The glorious future, that belongs to you, to me and to all of us. Look up, Hannah. Look up!
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