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Schindler’s List (1993)

Updated on March 30th, 2019

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.

Oskar Schindler is a vainglorious and greedy German businessman who becomes an unlikely humanitarian amid the barbaric German Nazi reign when he feels compelled to turn his factory into a refuge for Jews. Based on the true story of Oskar Schindler who managed to save about 1100 Jews from being gassed at the Auschwitz concentration camp, it is a testament to the good in all of us.

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Movie Reviews: “Schindler’s List

Movie Review: Seattle Times

The most visible and ambitious of these, Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Thomas Keneally’s 1982 novel, “Schindler’s List,” was recently endorsed by President Clinton, as he responded to a heckler who claimed that the president had done little about the AIDS crisis.

“It’s about a non-Jew who as a member of the Nazi Party saved over 1,000 Jews by his personal efforts in World War II from the Holocaust,” said the president. “The reason I ask you to go see the movie is you will see portrait after portrait of the painful difference between people who have no hope and have no rage left and people who still have hope and still have rage. I’d rather that man be in here screaming at me than having given up altogether.”

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Movie Review: The New York Review of Books


Something of the same doubts stole into my mind when I heard that Steven Spielberg was finally making his long-deferred film of Schindler’s List. Disney was the greatest popular entertainer of his time. Spielberg is his closest contemporary equivalent. Such words are not to be lightly spoken; they argue a kind of genius. But popular entertainment has its limits, and anything you can profitably say about the Holocaust—except, perhaps, at the level of simple lessons for children—lies well beyond them.

Spielberg’s films up until now have mostly been fairy tales or adventure stories, or a mixture of both. Like other fairy tales, they have their terrors and sorrows, but terrors and sorrows that are firmly contained by the knowledge that it is all finally make-believe. And at the same time, much of his most effective work has been purely playful. This past year, reading press stories about the making of Schindler’s List, I found myself recalling the fun-and-games Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. (In The Last Crusade Hitler himself puts in an appearance.) Both movies are highly enjoyable hokum but one wouldn’t have said that the sensibility which informs them was particularly well equipped for dealing with the realities of slave labor and genocide.

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Movie Review: Entertainment Weekly

By the time Jack Nicholson starred in Milos Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (R, 133 mins., 1975), he was on a magical run. After Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, The Last Detail, and Chinatown, he’d become the ideal leading man for the Vietnam/Watergate era. No one could sniff out phonies or flip the bird at authority with the same cocked-eyebrow cunning. But madhouse merry prankster R.P. McMurphy remains the greatest character in the bunch. Based on Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel, Cuckoo’s Nest kicks off as Nicholson’s hell-raising McMurphy is transferred to a grim mental hospital for evaluation.

He isn’t insane, though, just crazy like a fox, inciting the ward’s sedated patients against Louise Fletcher’s Nurse Ratched, a prim sadist beneath a serene smile. There’s never a doubt who’ll win — after all, the film is a product of the downbeat ’70s. But Nicholson’s live-wire performance turns what could have been a standard movie malcontent into a martyr. Cuckoo’s Nest swept all of the top categories at the 1975 Oscars, giving Nicholson his first statuette.

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