From the imagined to the real, cruel leaders are the true monsters that don’t need to fear the sunlight or hide under beds. Watch the five greatest movies about dictators and bear witness to the atrocities committed in the name of power.
Mother of a thousand creative parodies, “Downfall” tells the tale of Hitler’s last days as well as the people who stayed close to him in his bunker. Madness, charisma, and zealotry hold sway over the environment as Berlin begins to fall to Russian forces with the Western forces on their way. Some officers still are under Hitler’s sway while others rebel or flee to serve their own purposes, creating a bunker filled with tension, anger and suspicion. The poisoning of Goebbel’s children by his wife and himself showcases how terrible the sway of a dictator and his twisted vision can be even after his death.
A true dictator when faced with a non-speaking populace will give them voices just so he can hear them grovel, and that’s exactly what Muntz does to the dogs he has at Paradise Falls. Obsession often drives dictators and Muntz clearly is fixated on the whackadoo bird named Kevin that he’s been hunting for years to put a check mark on that box as well. As the dogs (who’ve been taught to freakin' fly!) attack Kevin in their little doggie planes let the shame sink in at the fact that an elderly dictator got through to them some serious knowledge and skill and even though you’ve had your ferret for far longer, that dummy can’t even drive stick yet.
“The Devil’s Double”
An Iraqi soldier ends up forced into serving as Uday Hussein’s doppelganger, struggling constantly not to lose himself as he lives alongside a life focused on corruption, greed and terror. Observing Saddam’s beating of Uday after he gutted his father’s bodyguard Kamel, the feeling of rage at how this “leader” uses his power on his people and his family is overwhelming. A tremendous view into this beyond dysfunctional family that thrives on violence, “The Devil’s Double” reinforces that truth can be stranger than fiction.
“The Raid: Redemption”
A true dictator doesn’t need a country to run, just people who will follow his orders. In “The Raid: Redemption”, Tama Riyadi runs his apartment block with the aid of his two right hand men and constant video surveillance of the tenants. Allowing all criminal activities, as long as he gets his share, Riyadi metes out death to those who fail him in any and all ways. Riyadi’s rule and the fear he cultivates in the apartment dwellers alongside the incredible action choreography catapult this movie into one of the best movies about dictators currently out there. As Rama battles the machete-wielding nut-job, watch for the brilliant off-balance blocking tackle by one of the gang that causes Rama to falter in ending Mr. Machete, which shows off the thoughtful fight design that went into the film.
“The Great Dictator”
Running in opposition to Hitler’s growing regime, Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” takes a hard, mocking look at present day Nazi Germany while providing hope and love for all mankind. A Jewish soldier and the dictator are true doppelgangers thus when the dictator is imprisoned for looking like the people he would destroy, his punishment has a great elegant justice to it. A true masterpiece for its foresight into what lay ahead for the world, this film is one of the best movies about dictators everyone should see.