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The Dictator's Playbook

The Dictator's Playbook

  • Premiered: 
    May 23, 2018
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Nat Geo UK
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Biography
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Historical
  • Tags: dictators

Buy This Show on DVD or Watch Online

  • Click a button to buy a DVD at Amazon
  • Complete Series
    • Amazon
Legal Full Episodes
Not Available Online
(That We Know Of)

Plot Synopsis

THE DICTATOR'S PLAYBOOK is a six-part documentary series that chronicles the rise and fall of six of the 20th century's most infamous rulers, examining the historical, sociological and psychological foundations of these dictators: Kim Il Sung, Saddam Hussein, Benito Mussolini, Manuel Noriega Francisco Franco, and Idi Amin. Through historical context and analysis, the series explores how these dictators functioned, how they influenced each other, and why they succeeded or failed. As different as these men were from each other, they followed a series of essential steps, from seizing power to eliminating enemies -- an unwritten "dictator's playbook." While focusing specifically on the individual dictators and their countries, each one-hour episode asks a series of questions that allows viewers to understand the politics and psychology of dictatorships, including: What drove their thirst for domination and control? How did they seize and wield power? What forces rose up against them resisted them in secret? How were they seen and accepted by other countries? How did they finally come to the bitter end? THE DICTATOR'S PLAYBOOK had its U.S. premiere on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at 10pm on PBS (check local listings).
PBS premiered the season finale of THE DICTATOR'S PLAYBOOK on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 10pm (check local listings). The season ender chronicles how Idi Amin used lessons learned in the colonial British army to build a powerful dictatorship in Uganda. Through a combination of populist charm and brutal violence, he ruled for eight years -- until his strategic blunders brought him down.

Other Titles

  • Originally aired as Dictators Rulebook

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Cream Productions
  • Produced by Twin Cities Public Television