The Great Dictator

1940 G 2h 6m Blu-ray / DVD

The Great Dictator

1940 G 2h 6m Blu-ray / DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
In this prescient twist on the immortal prince-and-the-pauper tale, Charlie Chaplin plays polar-opposite dual roles: look-alikes Adenoid Hynkel -- Tomania's anti-Semitic ruler -- and an amnesiac Jewish barber. After 20 years in a hospital, the barber goes home, oblivious to the plight of Tomania's Jews. Soon, Hynkel cracks down on them, but a case of mistaken identity gives the unassuming barber a chance to make an impassioned plea for democracy.
Charles Chaplin, Jack Oakie, Reginald Gardiner, Henry Daniell, Billy Gilbert, Grace Hayle, Carter DeHaven, Paulette Goddard, Maurice Moscovitch, Emma Dunn, Bernard Gorcey, Paul Weigel
Charles Chaplin
Blu-ray DVD
Full Screen 1.33:1
English, French, Spanish (Neutral), Portuguese, Korean, Thai, English SDH
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Full Screen 1.33:1
English: PCM Mono
G - All ages admitted. Nothing that would offend parents for viewing by children. G - All ages admitted. Nothing that would offend parents for viewing by children.
age 10+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 10+
age 10+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that there is a depiction of fascist thuggery, concentration camps, and violence directed against the "non-Aryans" (Jews, primarily; no specific mention of gypsies, Catholics, Poles, Slavs, etc.) of Europe. Chaplin's approach is way milder than the Schindler's List horrors and newsreel footage of corpse-piles that were to confront shocked moviegoers in later years. Some viewers might think it's even too mild, though that's an unfair burden to put on this film.

Sexual Content

Nothing shown, but secretaries swoon for dictator Hynkel, who smooches them flagrantly.


Battlefield slapstick with explosions, giant cannons, and mortar shells for comic effect. Men shot at close range. Jews tormented with beatings, thrown vegetables, and an attempted hanging. Distant views of a ghetto on fire.


Not applicable

Social Behavior

No question who the good guys and the bad guys are, even with Chaplin in dual roles as the egomaniacal dictator Hynkel and the Jewish barber/war veteran. The attitude flirts with humanism -- the heroine posits that if God doesn't really exist, people should still be nice to one another as if He did. In a final speech, practically presidential-candidate in intensity, the barber quotes the Bible and calls for freedom, equality, compassion, and unity of all races, and there's little doubt this isn't the character but instead Chaplin himself speaking his mind.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Social drinking and smoking.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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