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Reviews & Ratings for
"Holocaust" More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding Mini Series

Author: bigdave11 from United Kingdom
28 July 2005

Despite its length this still manages to hold attention throughout. The performances are excellent throughout, especially Meryll Streep as the 'good' German. The character of Eric Dorf very cleverly portrays the aridity of the Nazi mind and the fact that many of these monsters were terrifyingly 'ordinary' individuals who issued edicts condemning millions to their death as easily as they would order a change in traffic regulations. It has been many years since I first saw this on BBC TV and never forgot it. It is now available on DVD, though only it seems in France where a 4 disc set is available with a choice of English or French soundtrack. Highly recommended.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Watch it, and think how could this have happened?

Author: jmb3222 from United Kingdom
20 July 2002

Hindsight's wonderful, and it easy now to criticise this series. I saw it first in Germany and the effect it had there was quite profound. It caused a national debate and, it could be argued, helped Germany face up to what occurred between 1933 and 1945, not so much from the extermination camps, but that they, a civilised people, could be led along that path.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Excellent worth watching

Author: Niv-1 from Valley Stream, New York
5 September 2008

Holocaust is an excellent miniseries. The acting by Michael Moriarty, Meryl Streep, James Woods, Rosemary Harris, and other cast members is very good. One of the most powerful scenes in the entire miniseries is when the Streep character (who is a Christian) goes to church and the Priest starts to criticize the persecution of the Jews. As most of the congregation starts to walk out she sits their stoically. Moriarty convincingly transforms from fairly liberal German to someone who participates in crimes against the Jews. Also interesting is the script which repeatedly brings up why the Jews didn't fight harder against the Nazi's.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The impact of this movie has remained with me for 28 years

Author: wandamfisher from United States
19 November 2006

I remember watching this mini-series back in 1978. My husband was working nights at the time and I watched it alone. I was spellbound night after night! I will never forget the impact this movie had on me. I have often wished for the chance to see it again. At the time we did not have a VCR player to make a copy of it. I told my husband every day how much I wished he could have been there to see it and I felt that every American should have the opportunity, along with the duty, to see the movie. We SHOULD NEVER FORGET or LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN! I wish the movie would be re-broadcast, even if on a satellite channel. High school and college students should be required to view the movie. They would have a better understanding of why history should not be repeated and hopefully they would appreciate what being an American means in terms of their freedom from this type of oppression.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A valuable dramatization

Author: kenbarr-ny from United States
22 October 2005

"Holocaust" is a valuable dramatization of the Holocaust and its effects on ordinary people. The Weiss family, a prosperous Jewish family living in Berlin when the Nazi's came to power, suffer greatly as one would expect. It is the Dorf family, led by Michael Moriarity as Erik, whose suffering may be of more interest to the viewer. They suffer from a collapse of morality, and as the mini-series shows, their horror takes longer to develop yet is terrible in its wrath. Excellent work by Frtiz Weaver, Sam Wanamaker, Meryl Streep, Rosemary Harris, Joseph Bottoms, and Robert Stephans. David Warner is positively chilling as Heydrich, a role he would reprise in other works about the period. The viewer should keep in mind that "Holocaust" was originally aired on TV and was constrained by the standards and practices of the 1970s. Yet, it helped pave the way for more depictions of this period of history, including the dramatizations of Herman Wouk's "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance" and quite possibly helped create an audience for "Life is Beautiful," "Jakob the Liar" and the incomparable "Schindler's List."

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:


Author: rebelirish1862 ( from New Jersey, USA
31 December 2003

I am hoping to be a history teacher after college. As a history buff and a long time researcher on the Holocaust, I have to say the film Holocaust was one of the best movies on the subject I have ever seen. Even though the movie was 7.5 hours, it held my interest the whole way. Merryl Streep, James Woods, and the gentleman who played Doctor Josef Weiss (Fritz Weaver) were very good. Michael Moriarty who played Erik Dorf was very good at acting like the innocent just-out-of-college lawyer and then being a ruthless Nazi. Holocaust was an excellent movie and should be seen by all.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A 9 in 1979 and a 4 in 2010

25 April 2010

This series is to be applauded for it's (then) groundbreaking story of the holocaust. However there are now several movies and miniseries that present a more accurate and believable history of the holocaust. It is a shame that the producers of Winds of War and Remembrance were not involved. The excellent cast was wasted on this underfunded effort which shows almost from minute one. Going from 1936 to 1940 in 30 seconds destroyed any credibility for this production. This story deserves a true Miniseries with adequate funding (and cast) to show the beginning of Jewish persecution starting around 1932 in Germany until 1940. After 1940 "Winds" and Schilnder have it covered.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Extraordinary scope, superb acting

Author: ncgordon651 from Minnesota
29 June 2004

While the Holocaust has been treated in many excellent films and television shows, the 1978 TV mini-series "Holocaust" remains one of the finest. This was the second mini-series ever produced for television, and like it's predecessor, "Roots," the producers attempted to create something that would rival the best that Hollywood could produce for the movies, with the added ability of telling much more of the story by virtue of having much more time to do it in. Thus, the 1978 television mini series "Holocaust" is as well-produced, written and acted as Spielberg's extraordinary film "Schindler's List."

Particularly good performances are given by Meryl Streep as the aristocratic German wife to a Jewish artist, Karl Weiss, played by James Woods. (Did you know that Woods can be as good as a good-guy as he can as a bad-guy?) Karl Weiss is the eldest son of a prominent Berliner Jewish family. We follow him into the concentration camps, including Treblinka (the "show" camp) and eventually to Auschwitz (Oswiecim). Streep follows, sacrificing everything to try to stay with him, or at least near him, and to keep him alive.

Grandpa Weiss is a Jewish German patriot who fought for the Kaiser during WWI and is proud of it, and never can come to terms with the betrayal of his fellow patriots. Fritz Weaver is Papa Weiss, whose story takes us through the siege of the Warsaw Ghetto as he attempts to create some kind of order and safety in the midst of chaos and doom.

David Warner is remarkably sinister and urbane as Reinhard Heydrich, who came up with the legal gobbledygook to create the "Final Solution." Michael Moriarity plays Heinrich's assistant Erik Dorff, a former student and friend of the Weiss family. Moriarty chillingly portrays the seductive nature of National Socialism for the intellectual: He is given the choice of becoming a Nazi, and later Heinrich's assistant, or becoming cannon fodder on the Russian Front. He chooses the former, and goes about his task of carrying out the annihilation of the Jews, including his former good friends the Weiss', with cool logical efficiency. This may be Moriarty's finest hour as an actor.

Other actors of note include the actor's actor Ian Holm, former Brittish grand dame of the theater Rosemary Harris, Joseph Bottoms, Sam Wanamaker and Tovah Feldshuh.

This is entertaining history at its very best. Don't miss it.

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Tough to watch but brilliantly made and emotionally gripping.

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
29 September 2013

"Holocaust" is a brilliantly made mini-series that made a HUGE social impact when it debuted. Here in the US, the term 'Holocaust' was rarely used before 1978 and it's become a familiar part of our lexicon since. The series follows the Weiss family from 1935-1945 and shows how these Jews fared during the Holocaust. Additionally, the Dorf family who know the Weiss family is shown as a parallel. Unlike the Weiss clan, the Dorfs are gentiles. At first, they seem like decent people but over time, they become caught up in the SS and Erik becomes one of the architects of the Final Solution. The plots are all well-written and as the Weisses are disbursed, you see how each of them is caught up in the hate and hysteria. In addition to nice direction and writing, it didn't hurt that the show had an amazingly competent cast which included Fritz Weaver, Meryl Streep, James Woods, Sam Wanamaker, Michael Moriarty and many more.

While I truly believe that this is one of the greatest mini-series events of all-time, the show is not quite perfect. One problem is NOT the fault of the filmmakers and that is that the Jewish prisoners and ghetto residents look way too healthy. You cannot starve actors enough without killing them to really approximate how awful it really was--so it is, unintentionally, a bit sanitized. Also, while it was not necessary, it would have been nice to know the dates as events unfolded. Sometimes this is given--mostly is it not.

One final note. Although the series was apparently comprised of four episodes, on DVD, it's stretched into five.

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Fortuitous Error

Author: Jonathan C
10 September 2013

So one day in 1977, you have the brilliant idea of making a TV miniseries about a Berlin family that struggles to survive the holocaust. Several problems might occur to you when you do this: you will not be able to depict it realistically, because it is too horrifying for TV. You might get sucked into melodrama or soap opera, because this is the way TV goes. You might get overly ambitious, and kill the realism of the project again in a different way. You might be committing the ultimate tasteless act, because any project of this sort is going to fall short (except maybe Schindler's List). Then, for some inexplicable reason, you make the series anyway, throwing caution to the wind, and, lo and behold, you find just these criticisms launched at you by a future Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel. Does your project have any redeeming value?

Well, oddly enough, maybe. The reason is because, when the film is shown to audiences both in West Germany and the US, it creates an incredible impression because, for perhaps the first time, people in both countries get to see something resembling the holocaust come to life. It provokes an extraordinary culture-changing debate in West Germany, and helps mold late 20th-century Jewish identity elsewhere.

Does this make the film good? I don't know. I suspect the answer is no-- Wiesel is spot-on complaining that you just can't really do it right on TV--put the Holocaust on a 48-inch living room screen for real, and we would all be heading for the bathroom to throw up and cry for days. And yet, the performances and story are compelling, the issues are there for us to grapple with, and, at least in some measure, we see it. Maybe seeing it at least in some fashion might help us avoid it in the future- -anyone who visits even this sanitized version would never want anything to do the real thing.

And then again, maybe I'm wrong. Wiesel is smarter and wiser than me. Watch and decide, hopefully I have given you the parameters of the issue. I don't feel qualified to really judge this one.

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