It is, without a doubt, the finest Hitler spoof that has ever been - or will ever be - created. Chaplin's caricatures of Hitler's angry-man oratory makes a jackass of his maniacal vitriol, and paired with his own big, fat, sausage-wielding Mussolini, they do one awesome fascist-jam.
It's a fantastic piece of satire, a work of genius in its own right, but at the end of it, Chaplin throws the fiction out the window to deliver a genuine and personal speech.
Even reading it now brings a tear to my eyes.
Maybe it's the context - first screened in 1940, Chaplin's messages of humanity feels tragically, heroically hopeless; yet here we are, in an age where we have every reason to be hopeful, and that message resounds more than anything I've heard in my lifetime.
To those who can hear me I say, "Do not despair." The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass and dictators die; and the power they took from the people will return to the people and so long as men die, liberty will never perish.
Soldiers: Don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel; who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don't hate; only the unloved hate, the unloved and the unnatural."
Happy ANZAC Day.
(The Great Dictator is showing at Academy Cinema tomorrow (ANZAC Day) at 13:00 and on Friday at 13:30.)