The Great Dictator The Great Dictator

The Great Dictator

Charles Chaplin

The Great Dictator (Criterion Blu-Ray)


1 Disc

SRP: $39.95

Criterion Store price:$31.96

  • United States
  • 1940
  • 125 minutes
  • Black and White
  • 1.33:1
  • English
  • Spine #565

In his controversial masterpiece The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin offers both a cutting caricature of Adolf Hitler and a sly tweaking of his own comic persona. Chaplin, in his first pure talkie, brings his sublime physicality to two roles: the cruel yet clownish “Tomainian” dictator and the kindly Jewish barber who is mistaken for him. Featuring Jack Oakie and Paulette Goddard in stellar supporting turns, The Great Dictator, boldly going after the fascist leader before the U.S.’s official entry into World War II, is an audacious amalgam of politics and slapstick that culminates in Chaplin’s famously impassioned speech.


Adenoid Hynkel, dictator of Tomainia & a Jewish barberCharles Chaplin
Benzino Napaloni, dictator of BacteriaJack Oakie
SchultzReginald Gardiner
GarbitschHenry Daniell
HerringBilly Gilbert
Madame NapaloniGrace Hayle
Bacterian ambassadorCarter De Haven
Schtick, Hynkel's ambassadorWheeler Dryden
HannahPaulette Goddard
Mr. JaeckelMaurice Moscovich
Mrs. JaeckelEmma Dunn
Mr. MannBernard Gorcey
Mr. AgarPaul Weigel
Barbershop customerChester Conklin
Storm troopersEddie Dunn
Eddie Gribbon
Hank Mann
Peter Lynn
Dick Alexander
Leo White
1918 soldierStanley J. Sandford
OfficerLucien Prival
Ghetto dwellersEsther Michelson
Nellie V. Nichols
SecretariesNita Pike
Florence Wright
Vegetable cart ownerHarry Semels
Battery commanderLeland Hodgson
CaptainBob Ryan


DirectorCharles Chaplin
ScreenplayCharles Chaplin
MusicCharles Chaplin and Meredith Willson
Musical directionMeredith Willson
Assistant directorsDan James, Wheeler Dryden and Bob Meltzer
Directors of photographyKarl Struss, A.S.C. and Roland Totheroh
Art directionJ. Russell Spencer
Set decorationEd Boyle
PropsClem Widrig
Special effectsRalph Hammeras and Jack Cosgrove
MakeupEd Voight
Fim editorWillard Nico
SoundPercy Towsend and Glenn Rominger
Production managerAlfred Reeves

Disc Features

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New audio commentary by Charlie Chaplin experts Dan Kamin and Hooman Mehran
  • The Tramp and the Dictator (2001), Kevin Brownlow and Michael Kloft’s documentary paralleling the lives of Chaplin and Hitler, including interviews with author Ray Bradbury, director Sidney Lumet, screenwriter Budd Schulberg, and others
  • Two new visual essays, one by Chaplin archivist Cecilia Cenciarelli and one by Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance
  • Color production footage shot by Chaplin’s half-brother Sydney
  • Barbershop sequence from Sydney Chaplin’s 1921 film King, Queen, Joker
  • Deleted barbershop sequence from Chaplin’s 1919 film Sunnyside
  • Rerelease trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Michael Wood, Chaplin’s 1940 New York Times defense of his movie, a reprint from critic Jean Narboni on the film’s final speech, and Al Hirschfeld’s original press book illustrations

    Cover design by Olly Moss

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Press Notes: The Great Dictator

May 31, 2011

“An unqualified triumph” is how DVD Movie Central’s Michael Jacobson describes The Great Dictator, out now on Criterion DVD and Blu-ray. He goes on to explain, “The Great Dictator is a landmark . . . Read more »


The Great Dictator: The Joker and the Madman

By Michael Wood May 24, 2011

In 1938, Charles Chaplin deposited with the Library of Congress a script for a film to be called The Dictator, and told the press it was a project in which he would play a double role. He . . . Read more »



Brody on The Great Dictator

April 26, 2011

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