The Great Dictator 1940

The Great Dictator

Critics Consensus

Charlie Chaplin demonstrates that his comedic voice is undiminished by dialogue in this rousing satire of tyranny, which may be more distinguished by its uplifting humanism than its gags.

93%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 43

95%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 43,701

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Movie Info

After dedicated service in the Great War, a Jewish barber (Charles Chaplin) spends years in an army hospital recovering from his wounds, unaware of the simultaneous rise of fascist dictator Adenoid Hynkel (also Chaplin) and his anti-Semitic policies. When the barber, who bears a remarkable resemblance to Hynkel, returns to his quiet neighborhood, he is stunned by the brutal changes and recklessly joins a beautiful girl (Paulette Goddard) and her neighbors in rebelling.

Cast & Crew

Charlie Chaplin
Adenoid Hynkel, A Jewish Barber
Billy Gilbert
Field Marshall Herring
Emma Dunn
Mrs. Jaeckel
Grace Hayle
Madame Napaloni
Carter DeHaven
Associate Producer
Meredith Willson
Original Music
Charlie Chaplin
Original Music
Roland Totheroh
Cinematographer
Karl Struss
Cinematographer
Willard Nico
Film Editor
J. Russell Spencer
Art Direction
Show all Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for The Great Dictator

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (3)

  • 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.

    June 1, 2011 | Full Review…

    William Goss

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

    September 3, 2010 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top 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.

    September 3, 2010 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    December 23, 2009 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    October 9, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

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

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Great Dictator

  • Apr 30, 2016
    It's a little less great than people are willing to admit (a lot of Chaplin's comedic sensibilities at this time were still entrenched in antics that work better in silent movies) but there's so much to admire here and the parody of Nazi Germany holds up remarkably well.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 02, 2013
    At a moment in time when the horrors of Hitler were not necessarily known to all, Chaplin provides an entertaining educational piece warning of the impending threat out of Germany. It was likely also the first film to highlight the plight of the Jews under Nazi occupation. Chaplin captures the essence of Hitler and provides the rest of the world with a reason to resist.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 03, 2012
    I've been a Charles Chaplin fan since I was a child, and watching this for the first time solidified my belief that he's the king of slapstick. Bean, Keaton, and The Stooges are all great, but this man is the klutz you can't rely on. The film parodied the WWII dictators, and life in the earlier ghettos. A lot of people seem to prefer one to another, while the scenes had more to follow, the dictator scenes had the laughs. The chair scene was comedy gold, no one can mock Nazis like Chaplin, well Mel brooks, but thats his main gig. The end was so unbelievably beautiful and unimaginably relevant today. That was the greatest speech delivered in a film. Show this film and Duck Soup to the young people of the world, and we will have world peace.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Apr 29, 2012
    Chaplin's greatest and contains the best speech a politician never made.
    Jon H Super Reviewer

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