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The Great Dictator (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1940)

Charles Chaplin , Jack Oakie , Charlie Chaplin  |  G |  Blu-ray
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (216 customer reviews)

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The Great Dictator (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + Modern Times (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + The Gold Rush (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Chaplin, Jack Oakie, Reginald Gardiner, Henry Daniell, Billy Gilbert
  • Directors: Charlie Chaplin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: May 24, 2011
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (216 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,143 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition

New audio commentary by Charlie Chaplin historians Dan Kamin and Hooman Mehran

The Tramp and the Dictator (2001), a documentary narrated by filmmaker Kenneth Branagh and featuring interviews with author Ray Bradbury, director Sidney Lumet, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., screenwriter Budd Schulberg, and a host of others

Two new visual essays, by Chaplin archivist Cecilia Cenciarelli and Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance

On-set, color production footage shot by Chaplin’s half-brother, Sydney

Deleted scene from Chaplin’s 1919 film, Sunnyside

Theatrical trailer

PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Michael Wood and a 1940 article by Chaplin on the film

Editorial Reviews

In his notorious masterpiece, The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin (City Lights, Modern Times) 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 “Tomanian” dictator and the kindly Jewish barber who is mistaken for him. Featuring Jack Oakie (Thieves’ Highway, Lover Come Back) and Paulette Goddard (Modern Times, The Women) 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 plea for tolerance.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SILENCE IS GOLDEN IN THIS STUNNING BOX SET October 5, 2003
By Nix Pix
Without a doubt, Charlie Chaplin is the reigning king of silent comedy. His impeccibly limber gesturing, sense of timing and evocative facial features have made him a landmark artist, a masterful film maker and one of the greatest talents to ever grace the silver screen. What more can be said; does it get any better than the little tramp?!? And now, Warner Home Video proves that it does, indeed get better; a lot, lot better. Having had to contend with poorly transferred, badly worn VHS and primative bootlegged DVD copies for years, the home video audience at last gets to witness Charlie in his best video incarnation ever! This box set features four classics from the Chaplin legacy; Modern Times, The Gold Rush, The Great Dictator and Limelight. In each case, Chaplin illustrates the art of making movies as no one before or since. Great fun!
THE TRANSFER: No expense has been spared in making each film sparkle as never before. The gray scale is incredibly rich and beautifully balanced. Blacks are deep. Contrast levels show off Charlie's make up. Fine detail is gloriously realized. Minor edge enhancement and some pixelization do occur but nothing to distract or even hint that anything but absolute care has been taken to make these films look as good as they possibly can. Almost all age related artifacts are gone. Truly, I can't say enough to recommend these transfers. The audio is mono and nicely balanced.
EXTRAS: Each disc comes with a brief featurette on Chaplin's legacy and some interesting supplimental extras including outtakes in some cases and interviews in others.
BOTTOM LINE: No more to be said: don't walk - RUN to your nearest video retailer and make the Chaplin Collection a part of your home video library!
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104 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the reasons I love Charlie... January 17, 2004
Say what you like about this film: it's too preachy, it's not focused, it's this, it's that, say whatever you like.
The facts, however, say it all.
This film was made at a time when most of America was anti-semitic, when no one wanted to think of getting involved with Europe's affairs, and when Chaplin's own art of pantomime had been lost in the onslaught of 'talkies'.
And for Chaplin to choose *this* premise for his farewell to the little Tramp-- turning his Tramp into a Jew and turning himself into Adolf Hitler-- well, it's nothing short of daring.
For those that prefer Charlie as just the funny little fellow, and not his serious side, there's enough slapstick in this film to satisfy even them: the comedic highs are the moments when no words are needed-- the misplaced grenade, the dance with the globe, or the shaving scene to Brahm's Hungarian Dance. But the film IS at its best when Chaplin's Adenoid Hynkel is shown as a stark raving madman, and he with Jack Oakie's 'Napaloni' expose the true ridiculousness and lunacy of it all.
Cynics have been known to call this film 'preachy', but as far as I'm concerned, it was awful gutsy of Chaplin to speak out on the issue-- and not just speak out, but to point a finger right in the face of Fascism and to charge it as a 'blunder' of humanity. For him to be *successful* in making us laugh on a subject that, in its essence, is not funny in the least really is a testimony to his abilities as an actor.
His other films may be better than this one, and it's not my personal favorite of his work, BUT: **this** is the film that made Charlie a hero in my eyes. And that sort of passion for speaking out in what you believe deserves Five stars anyday!
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chaplin's crowning achievement! May 13, 2000
One of the greatest satires ever filmed and Chaplin's most fully realized comedy. A beautiful blend of the usual Chaplin slapstick and pathos along with a very effective social and political commentary. Charlie is Adenoid Hynckle, dictator of an only slightly fictional country of Tomania. He also plays a Jewish ghetto barber. Both are played with such impeccable accuracy that to distinguish between them is extremely easy.Names are changed but this film is still the most effective film of Nazi Germany and Hitler's thankfully aborted attempt to take over the world. Chaplin's script never gets too preachy at least without an equal dose of satire. His approach is to make people laugh while teaching them at the same time. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his final monologue. After a predictable mistaken identity episode, Chaplin as the unnamed Jewish barber speaks of the horrors of Nazism. This climazes what may be the greatest performance in the history of comedy films. The greatest because it does more than simply make us laugh-it makes us think. The film earned Chaplin well deserved Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Screenplay and Actor. This is a film you must see.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My grandfather would be proud... August 24, 2004
My grandfather, as big a Chaplin fan as they came, never got over the narrated version of The Gold Rush. It wasn't the narration that bothered him as much as the way that "they had to change the ending." A romantic at heart, he missed the original's softer closing. Every time the film aired on television or was re-released at the theater, he looked for the silent version with the original ending. He never found it. The re-release seemed to be a constant thorn in his side. Sort of like the 1940's version of Greedo shooting first. I hope my grandpa is looking down from above, because the original version of the film is included in this standout DVD collection. If you liked Charlie's light-hearted narration, that version's here too (I think both versions are great). And so are four beautifully restored Charlie Chaplin films. The hilarious Modern Times. The controversial The Great Dictator (Chaplin's first "talkie"). The oftentimes overlooked -- and underrated -- Limelight. And quite possibly the most well-liked film of Chaplin's career, The Gold Rush. There aren't as many outtakes as a Chaplin fan would want, but that's because most were lost or destroyed. The outtakes that are included are as fun as the "little fellow" himself. I'm guessing the films look nearly as good as they did when they were first projected onto the gigantic movie house screens of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This collection takes you back to the early days of film and reminds you that when most were taking baby steps, Mr. Chaplin was moving cinematic storytelling ahead by leaps and bounds. My grandfather would be proud.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is by far one of the best movies I have ever seen in my life.
Published 10 days ago by Thomas F. Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin, in his classic comedy released on the eve of World War II, is a biting satire of Hitler and the Nazi Party. Read more
Published 11 days ago by John A. Tandlich
5.0 out of 5 stars brave and wonderful!
classic ,brave and wonderful!
Published 12 days ago by M M
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Didn't realize it was a european format. Does not play in my dvd
Published 16 days ago by LolaKempner
1.0 out of 5 stars MK2 studios runined these wonderful films
This review refers to the 'The Chaplin Collection Volume 1' the Mk2 version. I'm sorry, I love everyone of these movies, they are some of the best of Chaplin's work. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Gerald Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Chaplin does it again...
As a fan of Chaplin's work, "The Great Dictator" was a film I had not managed to see until now. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Diseyener Fabulous
5.0 out of 5 stars Only his films, not his shorts.
This, along with volume 2, contain the greatests of the greateasts of Chaplin, along with a few shorts from his earlier days. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cartoonmaniac
5.0 out of 5 stars great condition
great condition
Published 1 month ago by Alex Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful and speedy!
Published 2 months ago by Sandy Summerfield
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 2 months ago by Hood
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