Did Adolf Hitler ever watch Charlie Chaplin’s satirical masterpiece The Great Dictator? Some suggest that he did, others that he never saw it. You hope that he did. He would have been furious.
Chaplin was a staunch enemy of Nazism, and his 1940 masterpiece is a brutal takedown of Hitler, anti-Semitism and Mussolini, as a Jewish barber is mistaken for a ruthless dictator, all culminating in a rousing final speech of unity and love that were also the very first words Chaplin had spoken on screen.
Banned in Nazi Germany (and, by extension, all countries occupied by the Nazis), many thought The Great Dictator would be the end of Chaplin’s career, but it turned out to be both his biggest box office hit and his most critically acclaimed feature. It’s also a perfect example of how art can play an important part in fighting the powers of fascism and racism.
Warning! Contains scenes likely to provoke Adolf Hitler.
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