It doesn't matter if you're the Dalai Lama or a dictator -- who doesn't enjoy a good movie? Sure, if you're the latter, you're probably watching a Matthew McConaughey flick in an underground bunker, while tortured innocents scream nearby. But the bottom line is, everyone loves Hollywood -- even bad guys, as the Internet will attest. So just in case you ever need to impress Kim Jong-Il with your movie tastes, here are the favorite films of some of the world's worst dictators.
It doesn't matter if you're the Dalai Lama or a dictator -- who doesn't enjoy a good movie? Sure, if you're the latter, you're probably watching a Matthew McConaughey flick in an underground bunker, while tortured innocents scream nearby. But the bottom line is, everyone loves Hollywood -- even bad guys, as the Internet will attest. So just in case you ever need to impress Kim Jong-il with your movie tastes, here are the favorite films of some of the world's worst dictators.
1. Hitler Loved Big Monkeys and Disney
There are a number of strange rumors about the Nazi Führer: the man was actually Jewish; he's still alive as a re-animated brain. But perhaps the strangest rumor of all was his love of Disney's 'Snow White.'
As it turns out, according to reports, Hitler did indeed love the 1937 animated classic, despite never allowing it to be released in Germany. Considering Hitler wasn't the most family friendly guy around, this fact may surprise many people. However, it all makes sense once you know that the Nazi ruler was fascinated by new technology, such as cartoon animation. He was always on the lookout for cinematic effects and new tricks, which he could later use in his propaganda videos. In fact, aside from the work of Disney, Hitler loved big-budget movies with lots of special effects. Rumor has it his favorite movie was 'King Kong,' and that he often watched war and action movies in his private cinema.
2. Stalin Tried to Assassinate John Wayne, But Loved 'Tarzan'
While Hitler was enjoying Disney movies in Russia, Stalin was giving orders on how Russian directors should edit their work. According to the book 'Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar,' the Russian dictator loved to tell actors how to play a part, and routinely had storylines changed according to his desire.
And when he wasn't pretending to be a director, Stalin enjoyed action movies like 'Tarzan' and westerns with lonesome cowboys who saved the day. However, Stalin would constantly criticize American movies because they were too "anti-communist," and at one point he allegedly ordered John Wayne to be assassinated because he was standing in the way of the revolution. Luckily, Wayne dodged that bullet, and lived to make numerous other great movies.
3. Saddam Hussein Enjoyed a Good Thriller
After Saddam was overthrown, examples of his egomaniac mind were brought to the attention to the general public. Apparently, the man went to great lengths to enter the history books, even rebuilding Babylon with bricks which had his name encrypted on them.
As for movies, an insider claims that Saddam enjoyed complex thrillers, because he thought himself to be just as cunning as the intelligent movie characters he saw on screen. Some of his favorites were reportedly 'The Day of the Jackal' and 'Enemy of the State,' movies about conspiracy theories and hidden agendas that are obscured from average people. And when he wasn't imagining himself as the lead in a spy movie, Saddam also enjoyed watching classics like 'The Godfather' and 'The Old Man and the Sea.' At least he had good tastes when it came to Coppola.
4. Kim Jong-il Will Do Anything for a Good Movie
The North Korean dictator apparently loves movies so much, he'll kidnap a director and force him to make movies specifically for him. Such was the case with South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok, who spent about two years shooting more than 20 movies for Jong-il -- on a budget of $2.5 million, no less. Sang-ok reportedly drew inspiration from the dictator's private movie collection, which contains over 20,000 titles. (Titles like 'Rambo,' 'Friday the 13th' and the James Bond series are reportedly among said collection.)
Among Kim Jong-il's other interests: Barbara Streisand and Michael Jordan. In fact, he is one of the biggest supporters of the NBA. He even interrupted official government meetings because an important game was on. His interest in basketball is so notorious that the U.S. special services considered sending Michael Jordan to North Korea on a diplomatic mission. Michael politely declined -- perhaps because he knew about the kidnapped movie director.
5. Fidel Castro and Spielberg
It should come as little shock that Fidel Castro loved the 2008 biopic 'Che,' starring Benicio Del Toro as the titular political figure. But Steven Spielberg? That's another story. Many of the Oscar-winning director's films were allowed to be screened in Cuba, films like 'A.I.,' 'E.T.' -- even 'Minority Report.' Very strict with most imports, Fidel Castro seems to allow many American movies into his country, and often encourages stars and directors to come visit when their films are being screened. The communist leader enjoys being in the presence of famous people, and he often shows movies that spark debates among his followers. He is probably one of the best examples of how Hollywood's magic can affect anyone. Before you know it, you're eating popcorn in a crowded movie theater, forgetting about the despicable machinations you had planned to prepare.