To this day Charlie Chaplin’s speech as The Barber at the end of his film The Great Dictator stands as not only one of my favorite scenes of all time, but also as the most moved I’ve ever been by a scene in film. What the speech encapsulates is an essence of hope and goodness in a world full of evil men. A hope that, at the time it was released, was scarce because of the acts of the wretched and the unkind. Whether they be evil men masquerading as helpful hands (politicians) or just downright evil men who are committing atrocities (Adolf Hitler) is irrelevant. All that really matter is that humanity must never give up on being kind and helping each-other, no matter how much evil there might be.
The thing that really stands out to me about this speech is just how accurate it is over seventy years after it’s original 1940 release. Everything that Chaplin wrote is just as relevant today as it was then, and that is because the speech will always relate to humanity and society all throughout time. In the face of evil there will always be men who will stand up for the kindness of the world,and that is exactly what is shown here.
This clip and it’s meaning can stand alone as it’s own entity, but when put into the context of the film and the character it becomes all the more meaningful. This is a man who has persecuted by a dictator and his drones for something he couldn’t control. This is a man who has faced down evil and intolerance but still believes in a better tomorrow. To me there is nothing more beautiful than this scene and it is one of the many reasons why I consider The Great Dictator to be one of the finest films of all time.
This is a speech that was written with passion and belief behind it and it shows: