Is the Great Dictator a Holocaust Film?

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Austin Barnard
November 18, 2010

Is the Great Dictator a holocaust film?

The Great Dictator, by Charlie Chaplin, can be argued both ways as to weather or not it is a film relevant to the holocaust. I personally enjoyed the movie as a comedy, but not as a story about the holocaust. Yes, the plot does take place during World War I and then later World War II, but Chaplin makes the film a parody of the wars. Chaplin has the characters, including Hitler, called Hynkel, in the movie, doing funny things that normally would not happen in a realistic movie. For example, in the opening scene of the movie, soldiers in World War I are firing a cannon. One of the bullets barely falls out of the cannon and hits the ground. One of the soldiers approaches the bullet and it starts to smoke and it spins in the direction that the soldier goes. This is completely unrealistic but is just something Chaplin does to make the movie a comedy. The comedy can be funny here, but the relation to holocaust is not prevalent. In order for The Great Dictator to be considered a ‘holocaust film,’ a few things need to be changed. I think that the film needs to be more serious, since the holocaust is nothing to joke about. A better example of a holocaust film would be The Pianist, by Roman Polanski. In this film, Szpilman, a Polish Jewish pianist, escapes getting taken to the concentration camps and the plot is about his journey hiding in Warsaw to escape deportation. This film is actually realistic and shows what it may have been like for an individual to live during this time. There is no jokes played on the characters and everything that happened could very well have happened during the war. The book Night, by Elie Wiesel, is another great example of something that can be related the holocaust. This is a very sad book about a boy name Elie, whose entire family is sent to concentration camps. In the book he talks about his struggles and how gruesome the camps were. Almost...
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