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The Great Dictator Reviews

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Franz Hoellering
The Nation

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.

Full Review Source: The Nation

January 18, 2013
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

...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.

Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | Original Score: 90/100

May 20, 2012
William Goss
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

Full Review Source:

June 1, 2011
James Kendrick
Q Network Film Desk

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.

Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk | Original Score: 3.5/4

May 30, 2011
Chris Barsanti

...stared evil in the face long before the rest of Hollywood even thought it was possible.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 3/5

May 20, 2011

TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Through no fault of Chaplin's, during the two years he was at work on the picture dictators became too sinister for comedy.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

September 3, 2010
Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

September 3, 2010
Dan Jardine

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

Full Review Source: Cinemania | Original Score: 81/100

July 22, 2010
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

December 23, 2009
Variety Staff
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

Full Review Source: Variety

October 9, 2008
Emanuel Levy

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.

Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Original Score: B+

February 23, 2008
David Parkinson
Empire Magazine

Though the slapstick may seem tired now, there are moments of greatness.

Full Review Source: Empire Magazine | Original Score: 4/5

December 30, 2006
Mark Bourne

So Chaplin may not have halted a war, but he still left us with more than just a funny movie.

Full Review Source:

April 14, 2006

Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The representation of Hitler is vaudeville goonery all the way, but minus the acid wit and inventive energy that Groucho Marx managed.

Full Review Source: Time Out

February 9, 2006
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Charlie Chaplin's first all-talking feature is a controversial one.

Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Original Score: B

July 30, 2005

The Great Dictator mérite amplement de faire partie des éléments clés du cinéma.

| Original Score: A+

December 16, 2004
Steve Crum
Kansas City Kansan

A fascinating, unprecedented spoof of Hitler, one of the few before WWII that dared to take him on.

Full Review | Original Score: A+

October 25, 2004
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is a funny film, which we expect from Chaplin, and a brave one.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 23, 2004
Alex Ramirez

Un clásico

| Original Score: 5/5

January 11, 2004
Jamie Russell

Charlie Chaplin's first talkie, made over a decade after the introduction of sound, stands as a brave and controversial piece of filmmaking.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 4/5

August 12, 2003
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