Even serial killers and ruthless dictators have some downtime, and they enjoy movies just like you and I. Find out which tyrants loved which films, and whether you share the same cinematic taste with some of the world’s most evil people…
Adolf Hitler loved… ‘Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs’
It’s a well-known fact that before he became the leader of the Third Reich and the Nazi Party, young Adolf Hitler was a keen painter and loved the work of fledgling artist and animator Walt Disney. Unverified paintings of characters from ‘Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs’ and ‘Pinocchio’ were found, signed by ‘A Hitler’, and Adolf was known to adore the first Disney feature film, given that it was an adaptation of a classic German fairytale and he had held viewings in his private cinema. Hitler was also partial to the original 1933 movie ‘King Kong’.
Joseph Stalin loved… ‘Tarzan’
The Soviet tyrant actually fancied himself as an uber-producer and curator of the cinematic arts: he commissioned films, wrote scripts and offered ‘coaching’ to Russian directors. (Imagine a slightly less scary Harvey Weinstein). Stalin inherited Nazi minister for culture Joseph Goebbels’ film collection after the war, and developed a taste for classic Chaplin movies, and a document was discovered wherein Stalin requested a screening of the 1932 adventure ‘Tarzan The Ape-Man’, starring Johnny Weissmuller. However, he did not like Westerns, and once ordered John Wayne to be assassinated as he was deemed to be an enemy of Communism. Thankfully, Stalin died before his order was ever carried out.
Saddam Hussein loved… ‘Enemy Of The State’
A profile of the Iraqi despot in a 2002 edition of The Atlantic revealed that Saddam Hussein enjoyed many western movies – and that he was a fan of Big Willy Styles. Fittingly, he liked tyrannical power epic ‘The Godfather’ and surveillance drama ‘The Conversation’, but was apparently also partial to 1998 Will Smith cyber-thriller ‘Enemy Of The State’. Who knows how far Hussein went down the Will Smith rabbit hole? Did he see ‘Bad Boys’? Or ‘Bad Boys II’? Did he ever listen to the seminal 2000 album Willennium in full? Did he know the lyrics to the theme tune of ‘The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air’? We’ll never know.
Richard Ramirez loved… ‘The Silence Of The Lambs’
Otherwise known as The Night Stalker, avowed Satanist Richard Ramirez committed 13 murders and countless other sexual assaults and burglaries California in the late 80s. It seems evil enjoys evil: after his incarceration, Ramirez revealed to the New York Post that he was a fan of ‘The Silence Of The Lambs’, specifically Ted Levine’s portrayal of serial killer Buffalo Bill. “That guy on the show ‘Monk’, I really liked him,” said Ramirez. “That scene where he says, “It rubs the lotion on its skin”, I really like it.” Just when you thought he couldn’t get any creepier.
Kim Jong-Il loved… ‘Rambo’
North Korea’s Dear Leader was known to be a big-time movie buff and had a collection of over 20,000 videos and DVDs. He even kidnapped South Korea’s most famous director Shin Sang-ok and forced him to make movies for him, like ‘Godzilla’ rip-off ‘Pulgasari’. Says Shin: “Kim Jong Il tries to understand capitalism through movies. James Bond was a favourite and he liked ‘Rambo’ also, and ‘Friday The 13th’ and Hong Kong action movies. But he doesn’t know what fiction is. He looks at these movies as if they were records of reality.” Allegedly, the man known as ‘Glorious General, Who Descended from Heaven’ and ‘Ever-Victorious, Iron-Willed Commander’ was also a fan of Barbra Streisand musicals.
Jeffrey Dahmer loved… ‘Return Of The Jedi’
The dictionary definition of ‘evil’ had to be rewritten after Dahmer’s killing spree between 1978 and 1991, but did you know he was partially inspired by Darth Vader? Forensic psychologist Park Dietz spent 18 hours with Dahmer in custody to determine his mental state, during which they watched movies including ‘Hellraiser III’ and ‘Return Of The Jedi’. Dahmer told Dietz that he admired the Emperor, and that the movie had inspired him to create a temple made out of his victims’ skulls. “He wanted a black leather chair so that he could sit in the leather chair and admire his collection,” said Dietz. “If he did this, and had it set up this way, he…could somehow get touch with some spiritual force or power.”
Muammar Gaddafi loved… ‘The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai’
This sounds too strange to be true, and it’s almost impossible to verify, but one of many rumours surrounding Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi before his death was that his favourite movie was 1984 space epic ‘The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension’. Gaddafi was reported to have loved the movie so much, he demanded that a Libyan TV station played the John Lithgow movie – and only this movie – around the clock. This may just be rumour, but given all the other insane stuff Gaddafi did during his tyrannical rule, you wouldn’t bet against it.
Idi Amin loved… ‘Tom & Jerry: The Movie’
The Ugandan dictator’s son, Jaffar Amin, revealed in 2007 that his father – known affectionately as ‘Big Daddy’ – enjoyed cartoons like ‘Tom & Jerry’ as well as other western forms of entertainment. “He was a great fan of cartoons, he enjoyed slapstick,” Jaffar said. “’Tom & Jerry’ was his favourite.” After Amin was deposed, officials searched his bedroom and found a box full of ‘Tom & Jerry’ cartoons… and grenades. It’s easy to see why Amin enjoyed the cartoon violence of the classic animation – because he had precious little connection with the effect of violence in the real world too.
Benito Mussolini loved… ‘Ecstasy’
Italian fascist leader Mussolini reportedly had a treasured copy of Gustav Machatý’s 1933 drama ‘Ecstasy’ and was obsessed with actress Hedy Lamarr. The actress was married to Austrian munitions magnate Freidrich Mandl and parties held at their home were reportedly attended by Mussolini and his wingman Adolf Hitler. Mussolini was also partial to silent film actress Anita Page, who later admitted the two shared correspondence: “Leni [Riefenstahl] had Hitler and I had Mussolini. Maybe Leni and I should get together, you know, girls comparing notes. I got the sweetest letters from Mussolini, real nice.”
Peter Sutcliffe loved… ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys: D’Movie’ (Possibly)
We’re extrapolating from the scant evidence available here, but it’s highly likely that the Yorkshire Ripper was a big fan of Brendan O’Carroll’s debut big-screen outing. The Sun revealed that Sutcliffe’s TV favourites included Saturday night prime time staples including ‘The X Factor’, ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’, meaning that the sick and twisted Ripper would likely jump at the chance to watch the feature-length Agnes Brown adventure.