Dictators have always made great movie fodder. But whether they’re a source of ridicule or revulsion is another story. Take a look at some of the greatest portrayals of dictators in Hollywood history and you’ll see the interpretations are all over the map! Even Hitler (represented four times in the list below) can span from a buffoon to a holy terror. Don’t believe it? Read on.
1. The Great Dictator (1940)
Charlie Chaplin’s first true talking film stirred the nation, and can be considered a significant cultural reference point that served as inspiration to everything from Mel Brooks’ The Producers to Ivan Reitman’s Dave and even Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. If for nothing else, re-watch this seminal comedy for the climactic speech at the film’s conclusion, a moment when a legendary silent film star steps out of character and truly finds his voice, and a chillingly apt (but sadly ignored) call to action at a pivotal time in history—1940.