General Dwight D. Eisenhower personally requested French dubbed versions of the film from Charles Chaplin for distribution in France after the Allied victory there.
In Italy, all the scenes that involved Napaloni's wife were cut from the movie to respect Benito Mussolini's widow, Rachele. The complete version wasn't seen until 2002.
In Spain, the film was banned until dictator Francisco Franco died, in 1975.
Playwright Daniel Lewis James, who was associated via Erwin Piscator with Charles Chaplin's friend Hanns Eisler, helped Chaplin with the screenplay.
Production on the film started in 1937, when not nearly as many people believed Nazism was a menace as was the case when it was released in 1940. However, this film was ultimately upstaged as the first anti-Nazi film satire by The Three Stooges production, You Nazty Spy! which was released nine months earlier.
Released 13 years after the end of the silent era, this was Charles Chaplin's first all-talking, all-sound film.
Shot for 539 days.
Some reports refute Charles Chaplin's claims of ignorance as to the true extent of Nazi atrocities, stating that Chaplin was very much aware of the various goings-on, but decided to make the film anyway as an attack on Nazi ideology.
The 'Big Bertha' artillery piece mentioned in the beginning of the film was not actually used to shell Paris, as stated in the film. In fact, the Big Bertha was simply a heavy artillery piece used by the Germans in the beginning of the war to smash Belgian forts during the invasion of Belgium. The large howitzer used to shell Paris by the Germans during WWI was simply called "The Paris Gun".
The German spoken by the dictator is complete nonsense. The language in which the shop signs, posters, etc in the "Jewish" quarter are written is Esperanto, a language created in 1887 by Dr L.L. Zamenhof, a Polish Jew.
The part of the elderly Jewish shopkeeper, Mr. Jaeckel, is played in the film by Maurice Moscovitch, veteran of the Yiddish theater, but his wife, Mrs. Jaeckel, is played by the Emma Dunn, who often played Irish mothers and landladies.
The scene where Charles Chaplin dances with a globe had its origins in a 1928 home movie in which Chaplin also toyed with a globe in similar fashion.
The world premiere of the film was held at two packed theaters (the Astor and Capitol) in New York on 15 October 1940. It was a much anticipated gala affair attended by many luminaries, including Alfred E. Smith, James A. Farley, Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr., Fannie Hurst, Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester. Charles Chaplin and his wife and co-star Paulette Goddard made an appearance at both theaters. They watched the movie in a loge at the Capitol with H.G. Wells, Constance Collier and Tim Durant, among others.
This is the first Charles Chaplin film since Behind the Screen in which Chaplin plays a character who is actually identified by name. His famous Tramp character was rarely given a name, though he was often referred to as Charlie. The tramp-like barber in this film remains unnamed, but the Dictator is clearly referred to by name.
This movie was Charles Chaplin's biggest-ever box-office hit, grossing about $US 5 million at the time.
This was the last movie in which Charles Chaplin used the "Tramp" outfit - the bowler hat and the walking cane - but although he appears to be playing The Tramp once again, that character had actually been retired in his previous film, Modern Times. Chaplin was said not to consider this movie a "Tramp" film.
When Jack Oakie as Benzini Napaloni first visits Adenoid Hynkel (Charles Chaplin) in his palace, Oakie greets Chaplin with a Yiddish expression which loosely translated means "how's it going?"
When Charles Chaplin first announced that he was going to make this film, the British government - whose policy at the time was one of appeasement towards Nazi Germany - announced that they would ban it. By the time of the film's release, though, Britain was at war with Germany and in the midst of the blitz, so the government's attitude towards the film had completely changed toward a film with such obvious value as propaganda.
When Charles Chaplin's young son Sydney Chaplin saw the scene where the artillery shell drops out of the supergun for the first time, he burst out laughing. It ruined the take.
When he had heard that studios were trying to discourage him from making the film, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent a representative, Harry Hopkins, to Charles Chaplin to encourage him to make the film.