A Disclaimer! This particular post is not about Tropico, the 27-minute long short movie by Lana Del Rey. Yes, there is such movie, but this post is not about it.

It is, however, a post regarding the cool Tropico video game(s). Coincidentally we do have plenty of Tropico games on sale here at IndieGala.

Including the latest title: Tropico 6. But, at the same time, we thought that it would be a good idea to touch on the subject. The subject of cruel dictators. We figured, we already had a post about great leaders and statesmen. So why not go the opposite way?

It’s not like there’s a shortage of dictators in the world’s history. Practically almost every country has had one such tyrant. Some in the past, while some in the present times. Some indeed had a handful of them. But we’re not going to dive into semantics, nor specifics.

Tropico and the fun of Construction and Management Simulation

Before diving into the explanation of the game itself, it’s really useful to take a step back and explore the CMS. That’s short for Construction and Management Simulation, Tropico is one hell of a CMS game. CMS is a type of simulation game in which players expand, build or manage fictional communities with very limited resources. A lot of creativity is needed for such games, they’re a great exercise in efficiency and resourcefulness as well. 

Tropico and the goal to stay in power

Let’s take the aforementioned Tropico 6 as an example. It’s all about the fame and prestige in this game. Not to mention the main character -El President needs to stay on top of that to stay in power. 

As a player, you get to do a lot of interesting things in this game. First and foremost, you’ll get to customize the looks of your palace. Secondly, you’ll get to send your agents on raids to foreign lands to steal world wonders and monuments. You know… To add them to your collection. 

And last but certainly not least, Tropico 6 features a revised research system that heavily focuses on the political aspects of being a great dictator. Making speeches, stealing from your people and giving promises you can’t keep to stay in power. Very important aspects in the making of a dictator.

Developed by Limbic Entertainment, and published by Kalypso Media, Tropico 6 is a must have for every avid gamer or management enthusiast.


Dictators: Ancient VS Modern Era

Seems like every era had its leaders with absolute power. And in the basic form, “dictator” is generally used to describe a leader who holds or abuses an extraordinary amount of personal power. A dictator suspends elections and civil liberties, repress political opponents. Moreover, has a disregard for the law and forms a type of cult of personality. 

But unlike today, the term dictator did not hold a derogatory meaning in Roman times for instance. Seems like, today we attach that term to plenty of historical leaders. Hitler, Franco, Pinochet, Stalin, Mugabe, Hussein. And most recently to Kim Jong-un. Each of them made a huge mark in history for sure. But leave it to Hollywood (and European cinema as well) to make entertainment out of them. Which brings me to…

Dictators in modern cinema

And much like the abundance of dictators all around the world, there’s no shortage of dictator-themed movies as well. Especially from Hollywood. Most often than not they’re serious historical dramas. But once in a while, you can find a comedy that puts a lighter (yet cautious) tone on the subject.

For instance, Sacha Baron Cohen’s 2012 comedy The Dictator. More of a political satire than anything else, The Dictator is a story about Admiral General Aladeen. A dictator of the fictional Republic of Wadiya, who’s visit to the USA prompts a lot of controversies. General Aladeen checked every stereotype imaginable in this movie. But in all honesty, that’s what made the movie fun. It was obscene, vulgar, but there’s no denying that it was fun. 

While still keeping the satire on point, I can’t help but mention The Great Dictator. Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece. Chaplin brilliantly mocked Hitler during the early years of WW2. And I must say that it was a bold move on his part. If you haven’t seen The Great Dictator, I beg of you. Watch it. You will thank me later.

However, there’s another movie that utilizes one actor’s acting abilities in a dual role. Not exactly on the level of The Great Dictator, but still…The Devil’s Double is a great movie to check out. Directed by Lee Tamahory, it’s a biopic about Latif Yahia. An ex-soldier who was later recruited in being Uday Hussein’s body double. Dominic Cooper plays the double role and it’s an interesting movie to watch for sure.


Drama and fantasy

The Last King Of Scotland offers a rather interesting view on the subject. The point of view in the story is done through the eyes of Idi Amin’s doctor (played by James McAvoy). Forest Whitacker was deserving of his Oscar for best actor for sure (for his portrayal of the ruthless Idi Amin). But McAvoy was brilliant nonetheless. Don’t you agree?

Chile’s No addresses the last days of Pinochet’s reign in the country. While Warren’s Beatty’s Reds dealt with the idealism of the Communist Revolution in Russia. 

Pan’s Labyrinth although primarily a fantasy story, was set in the early days of Franco’s regime in Spain. And finally…. A Twelve-Year Night is a harrowing story about the 12-year long incarceration of the Tupamaros. A radical left-wing urban guerrilla group In Uruguay that was active during the ’60s and ’70s.

Your picks

What are your picks for this post? What great movies depicting dictatorship did I forget to mention? There are plenty of other great movies on the subject, so feel free to share your favorites. We’d love to know all about them.


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