A Day in the Life of a Dictator

Joseph Stalin. Idi Amin Dada. Muammar Gaddafi.

93 minutes 7.0/10 based on 10 votes

What is daily life like for an assassin who holds the power of life or death for millions of people? What are the mechanisms that lead an ambitious individual to a spiral of cruelty and excess?

This film offers an in-depth look at the intimate lives of three of history’s most murderous dictators: Joseph Stalin; the cold totalitarian dictator, Idi Amin Dada; the brutal superstitious dictator, and Muammar Gaddafi; the ultra rich depraved tyrant.

The film includes the dictators themselves with footage taken from actual archives that were used to recreate scenes from the daily lives of these men, some of which have been reenacted by professional actors. A lot of the information was obtained from interviews with each dictator’s entourage and the testimonials of family members and close friends.

An insatiable thirst for power was not the only thing these three men had in common. All three of them were extremely paranoid to the point of being afraid of the very people who were afraid of them.

Stalin lived in the middle of the forest and his house was protected with heavily armed soldiers. Nobody was granted access without the dictator’s express permission. Every night for years Stalin personally decided who would be murdered next in his ‘Purge’ system where he exterminated his ‘enemies’ whether real or imagined. The name he chose for himself during the Russian revolution means ‘the man of steel’. It’s quite an accurate description of his cold and insensitive nature.

Opposed to Stalin’s austere life, Gaddafi was very impulsive and suffered from numerous addictions to mind altering drugs. In his fifties it became increasingly more and more difficult for him to control his behavior in public. Ronald Reagan referred to him as a ‘Mad dog’ and many others thought he was just plain crazy. This drug addict sex maniac ruled Libya with an iron fist for decades. He lived in a house on a huge compound that was mostly buried underground surrounded by bulletproof glass, vicious watchdogs and soldiers. Only a few knew exactly where on the compound his house was located.

Like Gaddafi and Stalin, Amin Dada slept very little because night brought out his worst fears. Any dream that he determined to be premonition could result in hundreds of executions within hours. Even his closest collaborators were at risk of suddenly disappearing. Unlike Gaddafi and Stalin, Amin lived just a few feet away from the detention center. He built a tunnel that took him inside directly without being seen. Amin personally tortured his victims and finished them off with a sledgehammer.

What on Earth could have possessed these men to succumb to such brutality and heartlessness? Watch this now.

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Discuss This Documentary

  • Cat Callaghan

    Well done and informative documentary. I still can’t grasp what happened to these men to turn them from saviours of their people, into mass murderers. But it is chilling to see their tenderness toward their own children juxtaposed to merciless slaughtering of other’s children. Definitely worth watching.

  • Ricky Godsey

    Power corrupts…all these were dictators “for life”… meaning there own life depended on their protection n such…how many people wanted to kill them…? But…wow…these guys were legit psychopaths with high drive and IQs…an awful combination…Even Alexander the Great had some murderous intentions

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