Maven's Jewish Essentials

The Essential movies that helped define the identity of a generation of American Jews, a sub-set of:

Maven's Jewish & Israeli Jewels for popular movies,
Maven's Jewish & Israeli Documentaries,
Animated Jewish & Bible Stories and
Select Jewish-Israeli non-English Movies
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1.
The Ten Commandments (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The Egyptian Prince, Moses, learns of his true heritage as a Hebrew and his divine mission as the deliverer of his people. (220 mins.)
 
2.
Shoah (1985 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Claude Lanzmann's epic documentary recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with witnesses - perpetrators as well as survivors. (566 mins.)
Director: Claude Lanzmann
 
3.
Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
In prerevolutionary Russia, a Jewish peasant contends with marrying off three of his daughters while growing anti-Semitic sentiment threatens his village. (181 mins.)
Director: Norman Jewison
 
4.
The 50 Years War: Israel and the Arabs (1999 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
(300 mins.)
 
5.
Schindler's List (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans. (195 mins.)
 
6.
The Jewish Americans (2008 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Acclaimed filmmaker David Grubin traces 350 years of Jewish American history, from the arrival of the first Jews in 1654 up to the present day... (360 mins.)
 
7.
Exodus (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The state of Israel is created in 1948, resulting in war with its Arab neighbors. (208 mins.)
Director: Otto Preminger
 
8.
Heritage: Civilization and the Jews (1984 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
(540 mins.)
Stars: Abba Eban
 
9.
The Prince of Egypt (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
An Egyptian prince learns of his identity as a Hebrew and his destiny to become the chosen deliverer of his people. (99 mins.)
 
10.
Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A reporter pretends to be Jewish in order to cover a story on anti-Semitism, and personally discovers the true depths of bigotry and hatred. (118 mins.)
Director: Elia Kazan
 
11.
Cast a Giant Shadow (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
In 1947, following the U.N. decision to split British Palestine into separate Jewish and Palestinian states, a former U.S. Army officer is recruited by the Jews to reorganize the Haganah. (146 mins.)
 
12.
The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Harrowing story of a young Jewish girl who, with her family and their friends, is forced into hiding in an attic in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. (180 mins.)
Director: George Stevens
 
13.
The Pianist (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II. (150 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
 
14.
One Day in September (1999 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The Palestinian terrorist group Black September holds Israeli athletes hostage at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich. (94 mins.)
Director: Kevin Macdonald
 
15.
Munich (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Based on the true story of the Black September aftermath, about the five men chosen to eliminate the ones responsible for that fateful day. (164 mins.)
 
16.
The Reader (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Post-WWII Germany: Nearly a decade after his affair with an older woman came to a mysterious end, law student Michael Berg re-encounters his former lover as she defends herself in a war-crime trial. (124 mins.)
Director: Stephen Daldry
 
17.
Six Days in June (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The shooting lasted on six tense days in June 1967, but the Six Day War has never really ended. Every... (105 mins.)
Director: Ilan Ziv
 
18.
Raid on Entebbe (1976 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
True story of a daring Israeli commando assault on the Entebbe Airport in Uganda to free hostages of a terrorist hijacking. (145 mins.)
Director: Irvin Kershner
 
19.
A Woman Called Golda (1982 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The story of the Russian-born, Wisconsin-raised woman who rose to become Israel's prime minister in the late 1960s and early 1970s. (240 mins.)
Director: Alan Gibson
 
20.
Life Is Beautiful (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp. (116 mins.)
Director: Roberto Benigni
 
21.
The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (1998 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The life and career of Hank Greenberg, the first major Jewish baseball star in the Major Leagues. (90 mins.)
Director: Aviva Kempner
 
22.
The Devil's Arithmetic (1999 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A 16-year-old American girl with an apathetic view towards her Jewish family history finds herself pulled through time into 1941 to a small Polish village where the Nazi have just began their genocidal propaganda. (95 mins.)
Director: Donna Deitch
 
23.
They Came for Good: A History of Jews in the USA (1997 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Comprehensive two-part PBS series that tells the fascinating true story of 250 years of Jewish immigration in America.
Director: Amram Nowak
 
24.
Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The history of Hollywood's handling of the Nazis and its later depiction of the Holocaust they perpetrated. (92 mins.)
Director: Daniel Anker
 
25.
Auschwitz: The Nazis and the 'Final Solution' (2005 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
The history of the Final Solution phase of the Nazi Holocaust, particularly with the most infamous of the death camps. (285 mins.)
 
26.
Holocaust (1978 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
The saga of a Jewish family's struggle to survive the horror of Nazi Germany's systematic marginalization and extermination of their community. (475 mins.)
 
27.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner's vengeful plans for the same. (153 mins.)