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Schindler's List
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Schindler's List More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A strong standout worthy of its placement on the top one hundred films ever made

Author: Steve Pulaski from United States
4 June 2011

For a movie as monumental as Schindler's List, I believe a review should be conducted in a different style. Normally, my reviews consist of multiple paragraphs, summarizing the plot and my thoughts on the film. This time I want to give five reasons why Schindler's List was easily one of the most powerful and breathtaking motion pictures I've ever seen. It goes above and beyond anyone's expectation, and cements itself on the list of greatest films of all time. Here's why.

1. Acting. No one could write about Schindler's List and not talk about Liam Neeson's Oscar worthy performance as Oskar Schindler, the business man from Czechoslovakia. He plays it with power and full force, grade A acting. Still shocked his leading performance didn't win him the Oscar in 1994.

2. Storyline. Instead of focusing on one of the survivors, or a fictional story for that matter, Spielberg chooses to focus on Oskar Schindler, a rather unsung chapter and character of The Holocaust. Oskar Schindler worked for the Nazis, and is famous for using his great wealth to buy hundreds of Jews to make them work in his factory. It wasn't much, but it prevented death, and they would make bowls for the Nazis. Even though the film goes into a subject, some may not know, the storyline is definitely one of the strongest points.

3. The end sequence. I don't want to ruin the final scenes in the film, but let's just say, it's one of the most effective and well done scenes in film history.

4. The film's desire to "show it all." When Holocaust movies are made, so try to water the film down by not showing the terrible treatment of innocent Jews. This one doesn't. Despite the event being gruesome, tasteless, and ignorant, no movie should subject itself to water down the scenes. Unless it's PG-13, and I doubt many Holocaust movies are. Schindler's List isn't all about the gas chambers and things most of us already know. We witness two of the worst things possible; (1) innocent people taken out to the yard and being shot in the head with absolutely no feeling on the guard's part and (2) we see the heart-wrenching scenes of peoples belonging getting tossed off balconies like garbage. That part I almost couldn't bear to watch.

5. The complete carelessness for human life. Face it, the Jews and many other races were dehumanized come time of The Holocaust. Life didn't matter to anybody. You could tell a Nazi officer that you just killed sixty thousand Jews in one day and they wouldn't flinch, yell, smile, or object. They would say "Good work." They wouldn't take into consideration you just killed sixty thousand mothers, father, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, and worst of all, children of both sexes. One scene in the film, right before a woman is shot in the head, the camera zooms in on her to show her frightened reactions, her pale face, and her clearly nervous behavior. Spielberg most likely did that to remind viewers that the victims in this movie were people and they were innocent people with their own feelings in life. Dehumanization lived in The Holocaust.

Schindler's List currently ranks number nine on the American Film Institute's (AFI) list of one hundred greatest American films ever made. I am a firm believer that if this wasn't in Spielberg's hands, it wouldn't touch that list. Thankfully, we get one down to Earth and very vibrant Holocaust movies that manages to accomplish what it should. Just an all around amazing film.

Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Jonathan Sagall, and Embeth Davidtz. Directed by: Steven Spielberg.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Powerful message conveyed with brutal honesty

Author: MartianOctocretr5 from Redondo Beach, CA
27 September 2009

One of the finest productions ever put on film; also one of the most difficult films to watch that you will ever experience.

It pulls no punches; therefore, it conveys just what a horrifying evil World War II's Nazi Germany really was. The reality of just what hatred and bigotry can influence one person to do to another is shown as ugly as it really is, and it's truly painful to see. The atrocities of this perverse dictatorship could easily be dismissed as a fluke of a violent era, but this film's underlying theme warns it could happen again.

Spielberg outdid himself in this brilliant work. The hopelessness that must have been experienced by the victims of this vile time are captured so well on every level. The acting is superb: the psychotic Nazi colonel was a standout. Liam Neeson is memorable as the guilt ridden German businessman Schindler who endeavors to rescue political prisoners right out from under the Nazis' noses. The many Jewish people targeted and viciously abused in concentration camps are ably portrayed by the cast with strong conviction.

Explicit scenes of ruthless killing and other abhorrent violence are not withheld, and this film is a rare case where such brutal honesty is appropriate and effective. There were scenes where I had to look away; I could almost feel the kick, the punch, the spit, the bullet. It was painful empathy for the terror of those in peril, and witnessing the many disgusting indignities they endured.

It's a guarantee this is not a pleasant watch; some of the imagery may horrify you, especially with the realization that these things depicted actually took place. You will see the lowest and most detestable behavior by people imaginable, and it will stick with you. However, it is a necessary precautionary message. This was Spielberg's finest hour.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

I watch it annually, it's THAT good!

Author: doyle_cm from United States
16 September 2009

Everyone needs a slap in the face once in awhile to jar their senses...and this movie was that slap for me. I needed to be jarred awake from my apathy over the events of the Holocaust. In 1993 I got that awakening thanks to this film by Spielberg.

This is probably one of the most graphic and compelling accounts from a Nazi death camp, juxtaposed to more modern fare, say "The Boy in Striped Pajamas" which left me very disappointed and unmoved.

Schindler was very moving. It made me cry. At times the images shocked me enough to want to look away, but I did not. I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. I loved the use of black and white film, except where the color red was splashed in (i.e. the little girls coat at the beginning).

I've made it an annual ritual to rent this film and watch it. And when my daughters get old enough, they'll join me in this important ritual. Never again will I get apathetic towards the horrors of the Holocaust.


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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Steven Spielberg At His Best!!!

Author: retasulover from Berlin, Germany
20 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's difficult for any one person to pick ONE movie by Spielberg that stands above all his others. However, if i had to choose his greatest movie when it came to sentimental value, and pure power, Schindler's List is THAT movie.

It's very painful for anyone to see such authentic acting displaying the mistreatment and sorrow of European Jews during WWII in Nazi Germany, but it is especially hard for me, as i am actually Jewish, and my grandfather was a German soldier in WWII in Russia.

Schindler's List is a very faithful and powerful film send up of the novel of the same name. Liam Neeson delivers an incredibly devoted and emotional role as Oskar Schindler, who is indeed one of histories few true heroes. The slow transformation in Oskar Schindler from greedy businessman to savior throughout the movie, is one of the greatest character developments in film history.

It's rather difficult to pull off a memorable villain role when it comes to being historically accurate, but Ralph Fiennes pulls it off as the sadistic and crafty Nazi officer, Amon Goeth. Ralph Fiennes truly knows how to chill the viewers to the bone when his presence is nearby, especially when he is upset, and therefore probably going to kill a few Jews just to shake off his bad mood. The scene where a hungover Amon wakes up with a naked woman still in his bed and he wordlessly grabs a sniper rifle from his villa balcony and snipes a few working Jews in the camp at the foot of the hill is especially shocking, showing just how heartless this man truly is.

One of this films strongest points, is the masterful soundtrack that is made up of a slew of traditional Jewish folk songs, and a heart-wrenching violin score by John Williams and Itzhak Perlman.

An especially emotional scene where the music is at its best is of course, the finale when the war in Germany has officially been declared finished. Oskar notifies the 1,100 Jews he had saved from Auschwitz by taking them to work in his factory that the Allies will come looking for him and most likely kill him. Perlman's violin score is almost able to send goosebumps up your spine as Schindler leaves for his car and is given a solid gold ring made from one of his Jews' golden teeth as a token of gratitude, and he breaks down crying, while lamenting that he didn't save more. Truly, this is Liam Neeson at his best.

Anyone who couldn't find any good points for this film, would either have some very strong Nazi beliefs, or not truly appreciate what a good film really is. For any Spielberg devotees like myself, this is a film that I strongly recommend. Let it be known lastly, that this is a very emotional movie, and it was just the same backstage too, as Spielberg has noted that he was actually crying while behind the camera on multiple occasions while filming Schindler's List.

This is one of the greatest movies ever made, and should always be recognized as such.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Malaysia did NOT ban this film !!!

Author: timgui-1 from Australia
15 May 2005

Contrary to popular belief, the Malaysian Government did NOT ban the film. All the Govt wanted was to edit/delete NUDITY scenes in keeping with the country's strict censorship laws (and laws against public nudity) which applies to ALL films, not just this one.

However Mr Spielberg's petulant & intransigent insistence that the film be unadulterated (no one censors HIS films, you see) meant that the film could not be seen at cinemas.

Malaysia did however allow the DVD to be rented/purchased hence people could still see the film in the privacy of their homes. The same policy applied to Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ" where the Government did NOT ban the film. It simply stipulated tickets be sold strictly at Christian churches only. Not bad policies & compromises when you consider that this IS a Muslim country.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A hero amidst the horror

Author: hall895 from New Jersey
10 July 2012

Oskar Schindler did not set out to be a hero. He set out to make money. He was a war profiteer, making money off of the misfortune of Poland's Jews. They were cheap, easy labor. But somewhere along the way things changed. Schindler saw what was happening all around him. The extermination of a people was underway. And in these circumstances a hero was made. For Schindler it was no longer about making money. It was about saving Jews. His Jews. Amidst the darkness of the most unspeakable of horror there was a small light shining bright. Yes, the number of those who were saved pales in comparison to the number of those lost. But this story, and this film, shows us that there can be something good even where all seems so impossibly bad. Even in the worst of circumstances there is room for hope. There is room for a hero.

Setting the right tone for this film seems an impossible task. You have to celebrate those who were saved. But you must also honor those who were lost. Steven Spielberg walked this fine line wonderfully. He told his uplifting story of Oskar Schindler. But the bigger picture was never lost. The horror of what took place comes through very clearly. Spielberg does not just tell the story of those saved, he makes it vividly and brutally clear just what they were saved from. The pain, anguish, horror and terror is all very real. Seeing the greatest evil the world has known on display is enough to make you lose your faith in humanity. Seeing the bravery and heroism of Oskar Schindler restores that faith.

Spielberg was fortunate in that he had three terrific performers to work with. Liam Neeson played Schindler so beautifully. Here was a character who evolved so much over the course of the film and Neeson was pitch-perfect each step of the way. War-profiteering Nazi or heroic savior of Jews, whatever the moment called for Neeson nailed it every time while maintaining an air of mystery. Who was Oskar Schindler really, why did he do the things he did? He was an enigma who Neeson portrayed wonderfully. Ben Kingsley played Schindler's accountant Itzhak Stern. At first Schindler and Stern have very different motivations. But a bond is formed, a friendship blooms. And Stern plays his part in helping to save his people. A quiet, yet determined, presence whom Kingsley personifies so well. And then there is Ralph Fiennes portraying one of history's true madmen, the disgustingly evil Amon Goeth. Any story of a hero needs a villain and Goeth, as played chillingly by Fiennes, is as villainous as they come. Perhaps the scariest thing about him is that there are moments of humanity, kindness even. But in the blink of an eye the moment is gone and the homicidal monster is there before us. Kingsley is very good, Neeson is terrific but Fiennes absolutely takes your breath away. He makes this monster his own, an acting performance of the absolute highest quality.

The three stars certainly play a big part in the success of the film. But Spielberg makes such great use of so many performers. Some play characters who we get to know a little bit. Many are nameless, just part of the multitude being led to the slaughter. The hordes in the ghetto and in the camps convey the magnitude and the great sadness of what went on. Spielberg holds nothing back in portraying the manner in which these people were dehumanized. And the specter of death always looms. It's a film of over three hours in length which does not seem nearly that long. It grips you throughout, never lets up, never lets you go. And there are some moments which are nearly unbearable, the tension unlike anything you've ever seen. One scene in a shower may well have your heart beating through your chest. And you're just watching, people actually lived this. This was such a challenging story to tell and Spielberg tells it so well. The Holocaust is an odd place to look for a hero. But here a hero was found. And Oskar Schindler's story is one we can all remember when we are ready to give up hope for this world.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

This movie is my Roots

Author: drummist53 from United States
27 April 2011

Both of my entire families were killed by the Nazis. My mother who is now 88 years old is still alive. She saw her entire family murdered. This film is my roots. It shows just a taste of the reality that was the Holocaust. Mr. Spielberg applied his immense talents in this masterpiece and recognized his Jewish heritage, after establishing himself with other nice movies, but none of this importance. My mother was interviewed for the foundation he created after making this film. Her story has been documented along with many other in his Shoah project. This is a difficult movie for me to watch, but an essential one, for it is my heritage, my roots. I thank Mr. Spielberg for making it.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The possibility that one simple idea can change your life and the lives around you.

Author: Matthew Irwin from United Kingdom
28 December 2010

The connection between the people in the film and the audience is almost incomparable with any other film. Even the people who are not regulars, you feel that you know who they are, that you've experienced what they have been through but also realising that how bad this film portrays the war the experience of the Jews will never be displayed to its full effect on the people involved. Spanning through the workers at the end brings to light what a good job Spielberg has done with this connection.

In my opinion this film has more in common with inception then any other . in that there is the possibility that one simple idea can change your life and the lives around you. In the case of Schindler it was the red coat of the young girl who provoked an idea to grow and i believe this is the reason for this film to be black and white. To make sure the audience got the poignancy of that scene, that something so beautiful cannot help but stand out against the rest of the world and effect the people involve more so.

Ralph Fiennes brings a brilliant typically perceived German into the picture, ruthless and cold blooded in the way he unnecessarily kills the workers for fun almost but eventually shows heart. One of the hardest rolls in the film well played.

The ending of the film is perfect as you feel that it has already climaxed with 20 minutes to go and in ways of personal actions changing the storyline drastically it has but in drama it has certainly not . An unbelievable performance by Liam Neeson in its last moments is what pushes this film to 10/10

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A masterpiece

Author: Rectangular_businessman from Peru
18 June 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Without a doubt the best movie about the holocaust ever made. Spielberg's vivid picture of the horrors of Hitler's Germany is so affecting and honest, it's hard to take your eyes off the screen. Ralph Fiennes creates one of the most convincing villains of all-time in his depiction of Amon Göth. Beautifully filmed,written and acted, it's a film that will be watched for years to come, not just as entertainment, but as a legitimate historical document as well. This is not overrated at all: It deserves all the praise that it receives, because it's one of the best films ever made and it is easily the best movie from Steven Spielberg, which is a great filmmaker.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Great film and great direction

Author: subingeorge from India
19 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is one of the greatest movie that I have ever watched. The director is one of my favorite. It talk about a man who has no work but used his work in saving the Jews. The director has used different colors and different shots. it also shows us and tries to remember us the holocaust day. The acting of the actors where great and they did their best. Liam Neeson and Ben Kingsley acted very nicely.The director tries to use colors to show us some pity towards the characters. I don't know about the research that they did, but it sounded as if true. when i saw Spielberg(director)in one shot I also felt that how nice would it be when we get freedom

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