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Plot: Twenty years after the end of WWI in which the nation of Tomainia was on the losing side, Adenoid Hynkel has risen to power as the ruthless dictator of the country. He believes in a pure Aryan state, and the decimation of the Jews. This situation is unknown to a simple Jewish-Tomainian barber who has since been hospitalized the result of a WWI battle. Upon his release, the barber, who had been suffering from memory loss about the war, is shown the new persecuted life of the Jews by many living in the Jewish ghetto, including a washerwoman named Hannah, with whom he begins a relationship. The barber is ultimately spared such persecution by Commander Schultz, who he saved in that WWI battle. The lives of all Jews in Tomainia are eventually spared with a policy shift by Hynkel himself, who is doing so for ulterior motives. But those motives include a want for world domination, starting with the invasion of neighboring Osterlich, which may be threatened by Benzino Napaloni, the dictator of neighboring Bacteria. Ultimately Schultz, who has turned traitor against Hynkel's regime, and the barber, may be able to join forces to take control of the situation, they using Schultz's inside knowledge of the workings of the regime and the barber's uncanny resemblance to one of those in power. Runtime: 125 mins Release Date: 06 Mar 1940
We think too much and feel too little. (by muzikla)
I was surprised and impressed to find out this movie was released in 1940, before the United States entered World War II. On the surface, satirizing something as solemn and horrible as Nazi Germany could be misconstrued as rash. But Chaplin's brilliance isn't limited to making a joke out of everything. In fact, the seriousness of his message wouldn't have been nearly as valid if not for the excellent use of humor in this movie along with the moments of stark drama blended in. Drama alone wouldn't have had the bite and resonance that this film did. Laughing at someone Adenoid <more>
Hynkel can be the best way to attack them, while laughing with someone the Jewish Barber can be the best way to love them. In the Jewish Barber's final speech, I forgot for a moment that the war he was talking about happened more than half a century ago. They are words that have meaning now, and in any time of war. For this reason I believe the film did far greater good than harm, as it still has the same profound effect today.
The Great Dictator is a beyond-excellent film. Charlie Chaplin succeeds in being both extremely funny and witty and yet at the same time provides a strong statement in his satire against fascism. The anti-Nazi speech by Chaplin at the end, with its values, is one of filmdom's great moments. Throughout this movie, I sensed there was some higher form of intelligence, beyond genuinely intelligent filmmaking, at work.
F***ing fantastic (by coco007)
Before I saw this film I didn't really expect to much from it, although my friend advised otherwise. Due to this request from my friend I decided I was really going to watch this film. The minute I sat down to view the film I was absolutely blown away. From the credits I was falling of my seat; I just couldn't contain myself. The film is about Hitler in all the glory of comedy. Hynkel is the absolute double for the Jewish Barber, who comes back from fighting in the war. Due to the heroics of the barber, he manages to save one of the germans and by doing that gets a member of the enemy <more>
on board, which helps in the struggle which the jews had. But things went wrong and Stolz was arrested, but only then to escape to the confines of the Jewish surburb, 'The Ghetto'. Due to this escape, the german army began searching which meant that the Barber and Stolz got arrested but again they escaped, only to be mistaken for hynkel and consequently takes his poistion. *****THE SPEECH THAT CHAPLIN MAKES AT THE END IS FANTASTIC, IT COMPLIES THE MORALS WHICH SOCIETY COULD ONLY DREAM ABOUT. IN THE SPEECH IT CONTRADICTS THE WHOLE MEANING OF THE FILM BECAUSE OF THE SERIOUNESS AND SINCERENITY WHICH IT ENTAILED, AND IT DEFINATELY WORKS, BECAUSE I DID WALK OUT FEELING GUILTY ABOUT HOW WE LIVE OUR LIVES, LOOKING AT THE SMALLEST THING SUCH AS BEING IGNORANT TO SOMEONE TO THE BIGGEST, MOST PROMINENT THINGS SUCH AS WAR.
..this movie has been done when Hitler and Mussolini who is as well in the movie was at the top and many politics and even the Roman Church used to close eyes about brutality and evil of Nazism. Especially in USA there were many people who had not understood what was really going on in Germany and Europe Charles Lindenbergh for example .It would be as today a big actor would made a parody of Berlusconi or Chirac. Chaplin maybe made a lot of mistakes in his life, but this is really a masterpiece of humanity and IMHO a great demonstration he was a courageous man. The movie is funny and <more>
deep, the final speech has a terrible strength and is still updated. I think this movie is one of the best ever done.
A film of its time, without a modern equal (by Platymania)
This film entered production before WW2 began, but was not released until it was well under way. With significant fascist-sympathy in the US, and Chaplin himself being suspected as a communist sympathiser, The Great Dictator was a very courageous endeavour. Such risks in film-making - thinly veiled political statements - would be almost inconceivable today. Imagine the fallout if someone were to make an equally satirical film today which criticised the USA's foreign policy?This film is hilarious, poignant and tragic. The tragedy is that Chaplin makes a plea for the madness to end, but it <more>
is already to late - for him and for us. A must see if you have any interest whatsoever in history, film-making, politics or sattire as an art-form.
"The Great Dictator" United Artists, 1940 , became the long awaited talking debut of silent film comedian, Charlie Chaplin who also wrote and directed , in a political satire on Adolph Hitler, only the way Chaplin dared to do at the time. He plays a Jewish barber and Hynkel, dictator of Tomania. Some of the humor cannot really be absorbed at first glance, but after repeated viewing, it gets better. My personal classic moment occurs with Chaplin in the barber shop working on a bald-headed customer by giving him a shave while listening to a classical composition on the radio, never <more>
missing a beat. Co-starring opposite Chaplin for the second and final time is Paulette Goddard as Hannah. Goddard became the only Chaplin leading lady to ever make a success on her own while the others just drifted to "B" movies or faded away. Jack Oakie as Napaloni, the Dictator of Bacteria a spoof on Mussolini , appears late in the story but shares with Chaplin some of its brilliant comedic moments. Both Chaplin and Oakie earned Academy Award nominations for their performances Chaplin for Best Actor/Oakie for Best Supporting Actor , but no wins. Henry Daniell as Garbitsch and Reginald Gardiner as Schultz also share the spotlight. Aside from Chaplin's screenplay in poking fun of its then current issues on European invasion by the Nazis, "The Great Dictator" expertly blends satire with dramatic overtones. Its closing scene in which Chaplin makes a speech pleading for all people to follow the path of peace, brotherhood and democracy, is not to be missed. Whether this movie is above or beyond the Marx Brothers' "Duck Soup" Paramount, 1933 is anyone's matter of taste. ***
Chaplin's comment on fascism is his first talking film... (by Nazi_Fighter_David)
Hynkel, dictator of Tomania, is a spoiled child who becomes angry when he cannot gets what he really wants... And what he simply wants is nothing less than the world...In one of the extraordinary scenes of Chaplin art, Hynkel performs a ballet with the 'world' which bursts when he thinks he has it in his grasp...Chaplin also has some biting words on war and war films... In a scene at the beginning of the movie, which takes place during World War I, the Tomanian messenger crashes the plane and thinks... He is about to die... In a state of delirium, he begins to say ridiculous words... <more>
The empty double-talk continue ascending into a brilliant take off on all the heroic death scenes of War films...In another scene when he becomes a fugitive in the Jewish ghetto and assumes command of the resistance fomenting rebellion among the old men, he plans to kill the dictator... One of the group must kill the ruthless conqueror of Austerlich... Whoever is chosen will naturally die, but his heroic death will be rewarded and his name will shine like a star in Tomanian history...The sequence in which he and four other characters eat cream cakes containing coins to determine which shall sacrifice his life to murder the dictator is a bitter hilarity filled with great fear...For all its disappointing shortcomings, "The Great Dictator" is still a significant movie for the ironic tones of the film adding something that neither Chaplin nor anymore else could have given it: the irony of history... The necessity to murder Hynkel presages the assassination attempt against Hitler by his generals... The force of the original satire is only surpassed by history's imitation of art...With a splendid sequence like the duck-shooting accident which leads to the dictator being mistaken for the humbly Jewish barber and vice versa, "The Great Dictator" is Chaplin's first talking movie... This time 'Charles' and not 'Charlie,' wanting to say more through his movie and not through an amusing comedy, the last in which he uses his celebrated 'Tramp Character.'
Immortal classic movie with dual character for Chaplin as barber Jew and Dictator Hynkel (by ma-cortes)
This ingenious and innovate comedy packs many priceless moments and great sense of pace , though overlong . Chaplin's satire with several classic scenes , he has dual role as a Jewish barber and dictator Hynkel , an offensive portrayal of Hitler . Then the barber is mistaken for the Hitlerian tyrant and there happens bemusing events . Funny and extraordinary acting all around , as the stunning co-stars Jack Oakie as Napolini Mussolini-alike , Henry Daniel as Gasbstich Himmler-alike and Billy Gilbert as Herring Goering . Chaplin's first spoken film is brilliantly photographed by <more>
Karl Struss . This splendid film contains numerous amusing scenes , the funniest are the followings : 1 The one when during the WWI the barber-soldier along with a co-pilot are flying in a turned plane without to be aware 2 When Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tells overacting speeches , including a twisted microphone 3 Hynkel playing with an enormous world balloon 4 The Jew-barber shaving a man while fitting to Hungarian Dance : number 5 by Brahms 5 when Hynkel and Napolini each try to keep his body higher than other in a barber's chair , among them .Production on the movie started in 1937 and shot in 539 days when not nearly as many people believed Nazism was a menace , as was the case when it was released in 1940 ; however , this film was ultimately upstaged as the first anti-Nazi film satire . Hitler banned movie exhibition to the Germans due to its satire of him , and put him in his death list after his proposed conquest of America . The movie is co-starred by Paulette Goddard , third of his four wives , they were married in 1936 , although no announcement of the marriage was made later, one time finished The Great Dictator . The picture was released in 1940 , when Chaplin had survived a moral scandal by a paternity suit but a brush with the House of Un-American Activities was the signal for the USA to refuse him re-entry from Britain and he fled to Switzerland . This movie was Charles Chaplin's biggest-ever box-office hit , grossing about $5 million at the time.
Pretty good Chaplin film with extraordinarily powerful final moments (by zetes)
I once caught about a 20 minute portion of this movie on Turner Classic Movies about 6 months back. I thought every minute of what I was watching was gold, and, because it was somewhere in the film's middle and I didn't want to spoil the whole thing if I were to watch it from the start, I decided that I would rent it immediately. Well, the video store which I frequent did not have a copy, so it took me six months to finally go somewhere else and rent it. I had previous to that experience only seen some Chaplin shorts, funny but not greatly artful, but after I saw the snippet of The <more>
Great Dictator, I checked out three of his other films, City Lights, The Gold Rush, and Modern Times City Lights was great, I found the Gold Rush a little overrated, but still worthwhile, and I found Modern Times to be one of the funniest films I've ever seen second funniest, behind Keaton's Sherlock Jr., more exactly .Finally, the whole of the Great Dictator. Well, to be honest, it had its moments, both of comedy and of drama. But these moments don't always mix well. Chaplin's comedy worked well when mixed with melodrama City Lights is the best example of this , but it didn't always work with social commentary. Plus, the fact that there was dialogue lessened the impressiveness of Chaplin's talent. Don't get me wrong, I liked the movie as a whole, but I thought it of little consequence. I would have given it a solid 7/10 on the ratings scale...if not for the ending. The final speech that the Jewish barber gives is enormously powerful. Yes, it is adressed to the tempora et mores of 1940, but his message is perfectly applicable to the world today. The speech brought me to tears, and I consider it one of the best endings I've ever seen. Final score: 8/10.