How to Become a Tyrant

Watch How to Become a Tyrant

  • TV-14
  • 2021
  • 1 Season
  • 7.4  (11,311)

How to Become a Tyrant is a six-episode documentary series that explores the lives and tactics of some of history's most infamous rulers. The show draws on insights from political scientists, historians, and psychologists to provide a fresh perspective on the rise and fall of authoritarian leaders throughout history.

Narrated by Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage, How to Become a Tyrant takes viewers on a journey through some of history's darkest moments. Each episode focuses on a different aspect of tyrannical rule, with topics ranging from propaganda and leadership cults to genocide and power consolidation.

The show is hosted by renowned political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, who brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the subject matter. Mesquita draws on his years of research on political leadership to provide a detailed analysis of each tyrant's tactics and motivations.

Another key expert featured on the show is Waller Newell, a professor of political science and philosophy at Carleton University. Newell provides insights on the historical and philosophical underpinnings of authoritarianism, as well as the psychological factors that can lead individuals to seek power at all costs.

The first episode of the series, titled "Seize Power," explores the various methods that tyrants have used to take control of governments throughout history. From military coups to organized revolts, the episode looks at the key strategies and tactics that have enabled authoritarian leaders to seize power and crush their opponents.

Subsequent episodes delve deeper into the specific tactics employed by tyrants to maintain their grip on power. The episode "Crush Your Rivals" looks at the various ways that dictators have eliminated potential threats to their power, including purges, executions, and forced exile. Meanwhile, the episode "Reign Through Terror" examines the role of violence and intimidation in maintaining control over populations, with a focus on regimes like Stalin's Soviet Union and Mao's China.

One of the most interesting aspects of How to Become a Tyrant is its focus on the psychological motivations behind dictatorship. The episode "Control the Truth" looks at the role of propaganda and media control in shaping public perception and maintaining a leader's power. The episode "Create a New Society" explores the ways in which dictators have sought to create their own vision of society, often by promoting certain ideologies or erasing cultural differences.

Throughout the series, viewers are treated to a wealth of archival footage and interviews with experts, as well as chilling insights into the mindsets of some of history's most notorious figures. The show is well-paced and engaging, with a gripping narrative that keeps viewers hooked throughout.

Overall, How to Become a Tyrant is a must-watch for anyone interested in the history of authoritarianism and the psychology of power. The show offers a nuanced and insightful look at the tactics employed by dictators throughout history, and provides valuable lessons for understanding the risks and dangers posed by authoritarian leaders today.

How to Become a Tyrant is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (6 episodes). The series first aired on July 9, 2021.

How to Become a Tyrant
Filter by Source

Rule Forever
6. Rule Forever
July 9, 2021
Seizing power is hard, but keeping it is harder. In North Korea, the Kim dynasty unlocked the secret to ruling forever: They declared themselves gods.
Create a New Society
5. Create a New Society
July 9, 2021
Free speech? Right to assembly? Rebel-turned-dictator Muammar Gaddafi realized that civil liberties had to go when reshaping society. But he got soft.
Control the Truth
4. Control the Truth
July 9, 2021
Through public relations spin, revisionist history and censorship, Soviet autocrat Joseph Stalin found a certain flexibility with the truth useful.
Reign Through Terror
3. Reign Through Terror
July 9, 2021
When keeping your population under control, is it better to be loved or feared? Idi Amin certainly thought he knew the right answer to that question.
Crush Your Rivals
2. Crush Your Rivals
July 9, 2021
You've secured your place at the top, but maintaining power means watching your back. Nobody did that better or more ruthlessly than Saddam Hussein.
Seize Power
1. Seize Power
July 9, 2021
Interested in becoming a tyrant? There are rules, and the playbook for a rise to dictatorship starts with one of history's most brutal: Adolf Hitler.
Where to Watch How to Become a Tyrant
How to Become a Tyrant is available for streaming on the Netflix website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch How to Become a Tyrant on demand at Netflix.
  • Premiere Date
    July 9, 2021
  • IMDB Rating
    7.4  (11,311)