The Great Dictator (1940)

April 22, 2022

Fighting in the Romanian Army during the first World war, an anonymous private (played by Chaplin) tries a valiant rescue another officer called Schultz. Unfortunately, he suffered memory loss when a plane they were flying directly crashed onto a tree. The small soldier is hospitalized for 20 years, and he isn’t even aware of what’s happening around him. He doesn’t know that Hynkel has become a Dictator of Tomania. He is ruthlessly persecuting the Jewish people, aided by two of his ministers, Herring and Garbitsch.

When finally dismissed from the hospital, the amnesia victim returns to the barbershop within the ghetto with the expectation of finding things as he left them over the last 20 years. He doesn’t know he’s been away for that long. He’s hurt and surprised when Hynkel’s stormtroopers smash his barbershop’s windows, making him have a miserable new life. He befriends Hannah, a beautifully looking daughter of the ghetto. Their friendship quickly evolves into love.

They enjoy a period of comparative peace when first, Schultz, who’s already risen to a prominent position in the current regime, recognizes him (the barber) as his friend. Then, Schulz orders the stormtroopers to leave the barber alone. The second time is when Hynkel needs financial help from a Jewish financier and temporarily ceases the persecution of Jewish people.

The financiers refuse to loan him the money. Hence, Hynkel restarts his antisemitic activities with a lot of vengeance. He is now planning the invasion of Osterlich, a neighboring country. Schultz questions the move’s judgment and is condemned by the dictator to a concentration camp. However, Schultz manages to escape into the ghetto, where he tries to incite a revolt against the government. Unfortunately, Schultz and the barber are captured and taken to a prison camp.

Going ahead with his plans to invade Osterlich, the dictator invites the dictator of bacteria into his palace Napaloni. After a few misunderstandings, Hynkel can turn the dictator of Bacteria into an ally. They complete the invasion, and Hannah, who had fled with friends to Osterlich, finds herself under the domination of the dictator’s cruel regime again.

As the dictator takes a vacation to celebrate his conquest, the barber and Schultz flee the concentration camp. In the ensuing search, the dictator is arrested by his soldiers, who think he’s the barber. Schultz notices that the barber was mistaken for Hynkel. Realizing how vital his new position is, the barber holds a masquerade and gives a speech before the assembling crowds. He denounces all that Hynkel had done or stands for while making a plea for democracy in Tomania.


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