[[quoteright:196:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/great_dictator.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:196: TV-TROPEN...SCHTONK!]]

->''"[[DemocracyIsBad Democracy]]... [[AsLongAsItSoundsForeign SCHTONK!]]"''
-->-- '''His Excellency Adenoid Hynkel''', [[TryToFitThatOnABusinessCard Phooey of Greater Tomainia, Conqueror of Osterlich, Future Emperor of the World]]

''The Great Dictator'' is a famous Creator/CharlieChaplin film about a [[AdolfHitler European dictator]] who [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything uses the Jewish people as a scapegoat]] for [[NaziGermany his country's]] problems and tries to ally himself with [[UsefulNotes/FascistItaly the republic of Bacteria]], since both wish to [[RippedFromTheHeadlines annex the country in between them]]. At the same time, a UsefulNotes/WorldWarI veteran with a case of EasyAmnesia -- who happens to be [[IdenticalStranger a dead ringer for the dictator]] -- returns to his barbershop in the Jewish ghetto to find out things aren't quite as nice as they used to be...

Chaplin planned and shot the film in 1939-1940; France was conquered during the filming, which may have influenced the final tone of the film. While Chaplin understood from first-hand accounts how hostile the Third Reich was to Jews, at the time of filming, he was ignorant of the true nature of Hitler's Final Solution (which nobody could have known about, as the Final Solution wasn't formalized and implemented until 1942). After UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, Chaplin expressed some regret about the film, telling interviewers that he might not have made it if he'd known the whole story. That would be an artistic challenge Roberto Benigni would take up 50 years later with the Oscar winning {{Dramedy}}, ''Film/LifeIsBeautiful''.

''The Great Dictator'' was (of course) banned in UsefulNotes/NaziGermany, although prints of the film still found their way into occupied Europe. According to an eyewitness, AdolfHitler obtained a copy of the film and watched it twice; when Chaplin found this out, he said that he would give anything to know what he thought of it. Britain had announced that they were going to ban the film while the film was in production (so that it wouldn't interfere with the country's appeasement policy with Nazi Germany), but when the film was released, Britain had entered the war against the Nazis, and the film couldn't be brought in fast enough; it ended up providing some badly needed laughs at a time where laughs were in short supply for Britain (and most of Europe).

Ironically, for all of the controversy surrounding it, ''The Great Dictator'' was not the first American anti-Nazi comedy film -- Chaplin was upstaged by Film/TheThreeStooges with the short film ''YouNaztySpy'' by nine months.

The film is also a landmark for Chaplin himself - it was his first all-sound film, released over a decade after the rest of Hollywood transitioned to sound. (In the meantime Chaplin had stubbornly made ''Film/CityLights'' and ''Film/ModernTimes'' as silent films.) And although the barber is explicitly ''not'' the Tramp character, he nonetheless has the Tramp's physical appearance - baggy clothes, big shoes, cane, and that moustache - and thus this film marks the final time Chaplin would invoke some version of this character on screen.

For the Creator/SachaBaronCohen movie, see ''Film/TheDictator'', which is also a satire.

----
!!''The Great Dictator'' includes examples of the following tropes:

* ActingForTwo: Yep.
* AdolfHitlarious
* ArmiesAreEvil: The Tomanian Army.
* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: A quite memorable (and hilarious) example of faux-German
* AsTheGoodBookSays: The barber quotes Literature/TheBible in his RousingSpeech: "In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written " the kingdom of God is within man " - not one man, nor a group of men - but in all men - in you, the people!"
* AuthorTract[=/=]BalconySpeech: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kbn-GjL6WLA "Look up, Hannah".]]
* AwesomeButImpractical: Lampshaded with the inventions by Hynkel's scientists.
* BicepPolishingGesture: Hynkel briefly affects this when discussing the strength of the Aryan people.
* BlackSpeech: The pseudo-Germanic gibberish that constitutes all but three words of Hynkel's opening address. It's so difficult to pronounce that Hynkel descends into coughing fits twice during the speech.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: The closing speech is not delivered by the barber impersonating Hynkel, but by Charles Chaplin speaking directly to an audience that, at the time the film was made, was just entering into UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.
* TheCaligula: Hynkel.
* CannonFodder: [[DiscussedTrope Discussed]] during the final speech.
--> "Soldiers! Don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder."
* CasualDangerDialogue: When the Jewish Barber is hanging to an upside-down plane by just the throttle, he never even raises his voice. When the plane starts to dive, Schultz rambles about his beloved and daffodils, and continues ''even after the plane crashes''.
--> '''Schultz''': We're upside-down.
--> '''Jewish Barber''' (hanging on for dear life): I'm aware.
--> '''Schultz''': Give me that stick. ''(so he can pilot the inverted plane)''
--> '''Jewish Barber''': Absolutely not.
* DarkerAndEdgier: cranked up to eleven for Chaplin. Especially when viewed with hindsight.
* TheEeyore: One of the Jewish men at the ghetto.
* {{Egopolis}}: The capital of Tomainia is completely dedicated to their Fooey, from Hynkelstrassen to Hynkel Stadium.
* TheEmpire: Tomainia.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Hynkel is frightened at the prospect of being [[AGodIAmNot referred to as a god]], despite his global aspirations.
* EvilChancellor: Garbitsch.
* EvilLaugh: Hynkel gets off a scary cackle before his dance with the globe.
* EvilutionaryBiologist: Garbitsch again.
* {{Expy}}: Although Chaplin, the film itself, and movie historians were and are adamant that the Jewish Barber is ''not'' the Little Tramp character Chaplin portrayed on screen between 1914 and 1936, anyone with eyes can see the obvious similarities, from the mustache to the shoes. And besides, see the entry for RealitySubtext, below.
* GainaxEnding: An extraordinary one in which Chaplin steps out of character and delivers a RousingSpeech.
* GeneralFailure: Grand Marshall Herring, who keeps bringing worthless experimental weapons for the Phooey to observe.
--> '''Herring''': [excited] We've developed the most wonderful poison gas. [childlike glee] It will kill ''everybody''.
* TheGeneralissimo: Hynkel
* HistoryMarchesOn: What the world later learned about the concentration camps makes the scene where the barber is sent to a very mild-looking concentration camp rather jarring. Chaplin later said that if he'd understood just how evil the Nazis really were, he wouldn't have made the film. That said, with the knowledge of hindsight, the portion of Hynkel's first speech where he begins talking about "der Jewden" becomes unbelievably chilling, as does an otherwise innocuous scene in which Hynkel orders one of his close advisers to be sent to a concentration camp.
* HeelFaceTurn: Commander Schultz.
* HiddenElfVillage: Osterlich.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Hynkel gets arrested by his own men who are looking for the Jewish barber.
* HufflepuffHouse: Bacteria.
* HypocriticalHumor: Dark-haired Hynkel and Garbitsch talk about how brunettes can't be trusted, unlike Aryan blondes.
* IdenticalStranger / EvilTwin: Both fictional dictator Hynkel and the unnamed barber, and (to a lesser extent) Hitler & Chaplin.
* InsigniaRipoffRitual: Whenever Field Marshal Herring pisses Hynkel off, Hynkel rips off all of his medals.
* LargeHam: Chaplin (and by extension, Hynkel) is clearly having a total blast doing his rousing, macaronic faux-German speech.
* MickeyMousing: An astonishing scene where the Jewish Barber shaves a customer in perfect time with the Hungarian Dance #5. Supposedly the intent was to record multiple takes and piece it together in editing; instead Chaplin brought the phonograph to the set, played the music, and nailed the entire routine on the first practice take.
* MilitaryMashupMachine: Underwater tanks and flying dreadnoughts are mentioned.
* MindScrew: Hynkel and Garbitsch try to psychologically dominate Benzino. It doesn't work.
* MissedHimByThatMuch: The closest Hynkel and the Jewish Barber come to ever interacting in the movie is when the latter is being terrorised by the former's HatePlague radio address prior to a pogrom.
* ANaziByAnyOtherName: The sons and daughters of the Double Cross.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Asserted at the beginning on the film.
* NoEnding: Or, rather, an ending that leaves the plot hanging for a (quite effective and moving) AuthorTract.
* NoNameGiven: The main character is a barber whose name is never revealed. This one of several points of similarity between the barber and Chaplin's Little Tramp character, who likewise usually goes nameless in many of his films.
* NoSwastikas: The [[MeaningfulName Double Cross]].
* OfficerAndAGentleman: Commander Schultz.
* OurLawyersAdvisedThisTrope: Parodied - the film begins with the notice: "Any resemblance between Hynkel the dictator and the Jewish barber is purely co-incidental".
* PieInTheFace: The ForeignCorrespondent who sneaks into Hynkel's palace receives one of these after Garbitsch insists that the Hynkel-Napaloni negotiations are going swimmingly.
* PoliticiansKissBabies: Adenoid Hinkel kisses some babies after a rally. The baby pisses on him.
* PrinceAndPauper: The dictator and the barber in this case.
* PsychopathicManchild: The dictator plays with his "globe" in a manner similar to a very young child in his office.
* PunnyName: Garbitsch and Herring, along with the title "Phooey" instead of "Fuehrer".
* RipVanWinkle: The protagonist got amnesia and spent the whole time between WWI and WWII in a mental asylum.
* {{Ruritania}}: Tomainia, Osterlich and Bacteria. AKA Germany, Austria, and Italy respectively.
* RousingSpeech: At the end of the film, the barber, mistaken for Hynkel is supposed to tell a victory speech. Instead, he gives a speech in which he calls for humanity in general to break free from dictatorships and use science and progress to make the world better.
* RuleOfSymbolism: Hynkel's dance concludes with the globe popping in his hands. Given the speech at the end, it's another part of the theme that civilization cannot survive if men like Hynkel are allowed to pursue their twisted goals.
* RushmoreRefacement: The Venus De Milo and Rodin's Thinker doing the Nazi Salute.
* SoundtrackDissonance: Hynkel's dance with the inflatable globe is set to the hauntingly beautiful Act 1 Prelude to Wagner's ''Lohengrin''.
* SpinningPaper: To show the passage of time.
* SpockSpeak: Garbitsch.
* StudioAudience: Hynkel can command applause and cause it to cease ''instantly'' by waving his hand.
* TactfulTranslation: Done with the dictator's speeche[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4UhJpviVYg here]].
* TakeOverTheWorld: Hynkel's goal.
-->"Aut Caesar aut nullus. Emperor of the world. My world."
* TakeThat: Chaplin's closing speech. For a man known for being silent, when Chaplin spoke, he had something to say.
** Fascist Italy is turned into ''Bacteria''.
* ThisIsAWorkOfFiction: "Any resemblance between Hynkel the dictator and the Jewish barber is purely co-incidental".
* ThoseWackyNazis
* TranslationYes: Done with one of Hynkel's speeches.
* VisualPun: Would you trust a regime that uses the ''double cross'' as its symbol?
* WideEyedIdealist: Hannah.
----