The Great Dictator

“Speak – it is our only hope.” – Commander Schultz, The Great Dictator

After holding out on making talkies longer than any other filmmaker, the first film in which Chaplin spoke turned out to be one of his greatest and most beloved successes, and one that still captivates audiences to this day, with its blend of heartfelt humanist intentions and the captivating physical comedy that Chaplin had so rigorously perfected. Inspired in part by a bizarre twist of fate that led both he and the rising fascist dictator of Germany to sport the same tiny moustache, The Great Dictator finds Charlie in the dual roles of wound-up, gibberish-spewing “Adenoid Hynkel” (leader of the fictional dictatorship Tomania) and The Tramp, a heroic Jewish barber who, after a Rip Van Winkle-like hospitalization, ruffles the government’s feathers. Featuring the famous “balloon ballet” sequence, along with countless other classic mirthful set pieces and an outstanding turn by beautiful co-star Paulette Goddard, The Great Dictator is “an impassioned plea for peace, tolerance, and humanity” (Allmovie.com).

Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1940, DCP, 124 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!