The Great Dictator is a comedy film by Charlie Chaplin released in October 1940. Like most Chaplin films, he wrote, produced, and directed, in addition to starring as the lead. Having been the only Hollywood film maker to continue to make silent films well into the period of sound films, this was Chaplin’s first true talking picture as well as his most commercially successful film. More importantly, it was the first major feature film of its period to bitterly satirize Nazism and Adolf Hitler.
At the time of its first release, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany. Chaplin’s film advanced a stirring, controversial condemnation of Hitler, fascism, antisemitism, and the Nazis, whom he excoriates in the film as “machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts”.