The Dictator

May 16th 2012
  • Comedy,
  • R,
  • 105 min,
  • Paramount Pictures
  • Cast: Megan Fox, Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley, John C. Reilly, J.B. Smoove, B.J. Novak, Kevin Corrigan, Aasif Mandvi, Jim Piddock, Erick Avari, Olivia Dudley, Bobby Lee, Danielle Burgio, Jason Mantzoukas, Joanna Moskwa, Anthony Mangano, Fred Melamed, Sean T. Krishnan, Adeel Akhtar, Ross Ryman, Tracey Ruggiero, Chris Gethard, Jaiden Kaine, Jenny L. Saldaña
  • Director: Larry Charles
  • Writers: Sacha Baron Cohen, Alec Berg, David Mandel, Jeff Schaffer
  • Producers: Sacha Baron Cohen, Alec Berg, David Mandel, Scott Rudin , Jeff Schaffer
  • Co Producer: Todd Schulman
  • Executive Producers: Mari-Jo Winkler, Peter Baynham, Anthony Hines, Dan Mazer
  • Art Direction: Greg Berry
  • Costume Design: Jeffrey Kurland
  • D.O.P.: Lawrence Sher
  • Editors: Greg Hayden, Eric Kissack
  • Makeup: Michael Marino
  • Music: Erran Baron Cohen
  • Production Design: Victor Kempster


Haffaz Alladeen is the bizarre dictator of the oil-rich African nation of Wadiya. Alladeen is as egotistical and ruthless as dictators come, executing anyone who disagrees with him by using his signature "head chop" signal. Alladeen is summoned by the UN to address their concerns about his nuclear program. The story is inspired by the best selling novel "Zabibah and The King" by Saddam Hussein.

Basic Information

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Filming Locations: Barcelona, Spain; Morocco; New York City, USA; Seville, Spain
  • MPAA Warning: Strong crude and sexual content, brief male nudity, language and some violent images
  • Production Budget: $58 million
  • Production Companies: Four by Two Films, KanZaman Services
  • Production Schedule: June – August 2011

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2012 Guide Analysis: "Having exploited all three of his character creations from "Da Ali G Show" on the big screen, Cohen has a go at creating a new one in this comedy which drops the pseudo-doco stylings of "Borat" and "Bruno" in favour of more straight forward comedy formula ala "Ali G Indahouse".

The storyline is said to be inspired by "Zabibah and the King", an anonymously published 2000 Iraqi romance novel said to have been written by several ghostwriters under the direct influence of Saddam Hussein. That book is a thinly disguised allegory with Saddam as the hero, the Iraqi people as the female lead and love interest, and the West as the woman's abusive husband who rapes her.

How that works here is unclear, the official synopsis calling this black comedy "a heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed". Throw in homages to some of the more strange aspects of Muammar Gaddafi's reign, including an all-female security force, and there's certainly material to exploit.

Can it match the more successful set pieces of Cohen's last few films? Hard to say. Larry Charles returns to direct the film which had a trailer launch that was somewhat mixed - some of the jokes fizzling painfully, others actually working quite well. After the disappointing "Bruno" though, I'll take a wait and see approach with this."

Trailers & Clips

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Worldwide Release Dates

  • 16 May 2012: Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, UK
  • 17 May 2012: Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland
  • 18 May 2012: Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Turkey
  • 21 May 2012: Armenia
  • 7 June 2012: Hong Kong
  • 14 June 2012: Singapore
  • 15 June 2012: Brazil, Italy
  • 20 June 2012: France
  • 13 July 2012: Spain
  • 19 July 2012: Argentina, Greece
  • 20 July 2012: Colombia
  • 26 July 2012: Cambodia
  • 10 August 2012: Mexico
  • 7 September 2012: Japan