Nathan Ganapathi April 1, 2019

The Great Dictator review – The secret ingredient that made the Charles Chaplin satirical comedy film a box-office success

The Great Dictator

Charles Chaplin had a little resemblance with Hitler, primarily due to his toothbrush moustache that the Führer too sported. Chaplin leveraged this resemblance when he directed The Great Dictator. Released in 1940, it was the highest-grossing of his career. The film, which was written by Chaplin, went on to get five Academy Award nominations in 1941. Apart from Chaplin’s nomination in the category of Best Actor in a Leading Role, Jack Oakie also got a nod for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. The three other nominations were for Best Original Music Score (Meredith Willson), Best Original Screenplay (Chaplin), and Best Picture.

The Great Dictator reviews praised both the The Great Dictator cast and the storyline. Chaplin played the double role of dictator Adenoid Hynkel, who was trying to expand his empire, and a poor Jewish barber who gets mistaken for the dictator. The barber plays up the charade and calls for compassion and peace in The Great Dictator final speech. The film was a satirical take on Hitler with names of the characters closely resembling real people. This included the central characters called Adenoid Hynkel (reminding one of Hitler), Benzino Napaloni – dictator of Bacteria, the neighboring country (modeled on Italy’s Benito Mussolini), and ministers Herring and Garbitsch (standing in for Hermann Göring and Joseph Goebbels respectively). However, The Great Dictator was a funny and satirical take on Hitler and Nazism, while condemning anti-Semitism. It could be called an immature portrayal of Hitler as the horrors of Holocaust were still not well known. Chaplin later told that he wouldn’t have made the film if the actual degree of the Nazis’ crimes had been known extensively.


Call to action:

How would you rate The Great Dictator as a film? Let me know in the comments section below. To carry on the conversation, you can reach me on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Don’t forget to check my book Hitler’s Greatest Speeches.



Pfeiffer, Lee. “The Great Dictator.” Encyclopedia Britannica.

IMDb. “The Great Dictator.” Accessed January 31, 2019.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us

Nathan S. Ganapathi

Nathan S. Ganapathi

Nathan S. Ganapathi is a barrister and solicitor of the Gana . . . [Read More]


Recent Posts