The Great Dictator 1939 NR CC

Amazon Instant Video

(193) IMDb 8.5/10
Available in HD

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.

Starring:
Charles Chaplin, Jack Oakie
Runtime:
2 hours 6 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices.

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The Great Dictator

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Drama, Comedy
Director Charles Chaplin
Starring Charles Chaplin, Jack Oakie
Supporting actors Reginald Gardiner, Henry Daniell, Billy Gilbert, Grace Hayle, Carter DeHaven, Paulette Goddard, Maurice Moscovitch, Emma Dunn, Bernard Gorcey, Paul Weigel, Chester Conklin, Esther Michelson, Hank Mann, Florence Wright, Eddie Gribbon, Rudolph Anders, Eddie Dunn, Nita Pike
Studio The Criterion Collection
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 3-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
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See all 193 customer reviews
Chaplin's script never gets too preachy at least without an equal dose of satire.
Joe Comer
Although in aim, philosophy and attitude towards life, Charlie Chaplin and Adolf Hitler were worlds apart; ironically, they were born within four days of each other!
"scotsladdie"
The picture and sound quality on this Criterion version is very good and so are the special feature documentaries.
Frederick Baptist

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Nix Pix on October 5, 2003
Format: DVD
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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99 of 106 people found the following review helpful By C. Johnson on January 17, 2004
Format: DVD
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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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Joe Comer on May 13, 2000
Format: DVD
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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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Sloopydrew on August 24, 2004
Format: DVD
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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