Schindler's List (Widescreen Edition)

by Steven Spielberg (Director)

DVD, 2004

Call number




Universal Studios Home Entertainment (2004)


The story of a Catholic war profiteer, Oskar Schindler, who risked his life and went bankrupt in order to save more than 1,000 Jews from certain death in concentration camps. He employed Jews in his crockery factory manufacturing goods for the German army. At the same time he tries to stay solvent with the help of a Jewish accountant and negotiates business with a vicious Nazi commandant who enjoys shooting Jews as target practice from the balcony of his villa that overlooks the prison camp he commands.

Media reviews

Despite its seven Oscars I doubt that Schindler’s List will survive its season either as a memorable film or as a comment on the concentration camps, for the evil that Spielberg tries to portray lies beyond his imagination... Except to the people whose lives he saved, Schindler made no
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difference to the outcome of the Holocaust. But the film’s aim is to show that he made a huge difference, for he is meant (like Spencer Tracy at Black Rock, etc.) to prove that remarkable individuals can outsmart evil. What then of the others? Did they die by the millions simply because they weren’t clever enough themselves or lucky enough to find a Schindler of their own?
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2 more
Chicago Sun-Times
The relationship between Schindler and Stern is developed by Spielberg with enormous subtlety. At the beginning of the war, Schindler wants only to make money, and at the end he wants only to save "his" Jews. We know that Stern understands this. But there is no moment when Schindler and Stern
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bluntly state what is happening, perhaps because to say certain things aloud could result in death... The French author Flaubert once wrote that he disliked Uncle Tom's Cabin because the author was constantly preaching against slavery. "Does one have to make observations about slavery?" he asked. "Depict it; that's enough." And then he added, "An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere." That would describe Spielberg, the author of this film. He depicts the evil of the Holocaust, and he tells an incredible story of how it was robbed of some of its intended victims. He does so without the tricks of his trade, the directorial and dramatic contrivances that would inspire the usual melodramatic payoffs. Spielberg is not visible in this film. But his restraint and passion are present in every shot.
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The American Prospect
After all this time, I'd almost forgotten how acerbic a lot of it is, with little shocks of black comedy that take far more chances with the audience's undependable (cf. Oakland) reactions than is Spielberg's norm. He usually relies on composer John Williams to spell out everything's meaning as
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schmaltzily as possible, but Williams's work here is uncommonly sophisticated... You also have to admire how Spielberg and his screenwriter, Steven Zaillan, stress the Final Solution's bureaucratic methodology. Each new enormity is signalled by petty officials setting up open-air desks and arranging their stamp-pads.

Purely as a piece of filmmaking, the terrifying liquidation of the Krakow ghetto is probably the greatest sequence Spielberg has directed, topping even Saving Private Ryan's opening Omaha Beach bloodbath. Yet in both cases, one's perhaps already self-congratulatory sense of vicariously experiencing What It Was Probably Like gives way to a distracting recognition that this is one heck of a set-piece. Just how do you navigate the difference in priorities between "Never again" and "Right up there with D.W. Griffith"?
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User reviews

LibraryThing member comfypants
A WWII German businessman saves his slaves' lives.

I don't know what people see in this sort of movie. Okay, this one in particular is shot really well and all that, and I was able to appreciate the craftsmanship. But the show-people-something-horrible-that-really-happened story just seems so...
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Concept: F
Story: C
Characters: C
Dialog: B
Pacing: C
Cinematography: A
Special effects/design: A
Acting: A
Music: B

Enjoyment: C

GPA: 2.6/4
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LibraryThing member librisissimo
Nothing more can be added to the powerful reviews from the original release.
We did not allow our children to attend R-rated films in their younger years, but we had our teen-agers watch this one at home, because of the important historical impact.


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