The Great Dictator

The Great Dictator

Directed by Charles Chaplin • 1940 • United States

In his controversial masterpiece THE GREAT DICTATOR, Charlie Chaplin offers both a cutting caricature of Adolf Hitler and a sly tweaking of his own comic persona. Chaplin, in his first pure talkie, brings his sublime physicality to two roles: the cruel yet clownish "Tomainian" dictator and the kindly Jewish barber who is mistaken for him. Featuring Jack Oakie and Paulette Goddard in stellar supporting turns, THE GREAT DICTATOR, boldly going after the fascist leader before the U.S.'s official entry into World War II, is an audacious amalgam of politics and slapstick that culminates in Chaplin's famously impassioned speech.

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The Great Dictator
  • The Great Dictator

    Directed by Charles Chaplin • 1940 • United States

    In his controversial masterpiece THE GREAT DICTATOR, Charlie Chaplin offers both a cutting caricature of Adolf Hitler and a sly tweaking of his own comic persona. Chaplin, in his first pure talkie, brings his sublime physicality to two roles: ...

Extras

  • Alan Cumming on THE GREAT DICTATOR

  • The Tramp and the Dictator

    This 2001 documentary by Kevin Brownlow and Michael Kloft parallels the lives of Charlie Chaplin and Adolf Hitler, from their births the same week to the start of production on THE GREAT DICTATOR a week after Hitler’s invasion of Poland. It includes interviews with author Ray Bradbury, artist Al ...

  • Chaplin’s Napoleon

    Charlie Chaplin long wanted to make a film about Napoleon Bonaparte, working and reworking his concept over a number of years—until ultimately it morphed into THE GREAT DICTATOR. The following visual essay by Cecilia Cenciarelli, archivist and head of the Cineteca di Bologna’s Progetto Chaplin, t...

  • The Clown Turns Prophet

    In this visual essay, Charlie Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance draws from film stills and historical imagery to discuss the making of THE GREAT DICTATOR, the anticipation surrounding Chaplin’s first all-talkie production, and the enduring influence of his bold satire.

  • Sydney Chaplin’s Footage from THE GREAT DICTATOR

    While Charlie Chaplin was directing and acting in THE GREAT DICTATOR, his half-brother, Sydney, was on set documenting the production in full color. His silent footage, shot on 16 mm Kodachrome film, is presented here in its entirety.

  • King, Queen, Joker

    In 1921, Charlie Chaplin’s half-brother, Sydney, directed and played the leading roles in KING, QUEEN, JOKER. In 1999, Chaplin historian Frank Scheide found the only elements of the film known to exist at the British Film Institute. The film’s use of a single actor in two roles and barbershop set...

  • Charlie the Barber

    Charlie Chaplin and his half-brother, Sydney, liked to film scenes set in barbershops, as evidenced in Sydney’s 1921 KING, QUEEN, JOKER and in this scene, shot for Charlie’s 1919 SUNNYSIDE but never used.

  • Two Shaves