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Steven Spielberg had a banner year in 1993. He scored one of his biggest commercial hits that summer with the mega-hitJurassic Park, but it was the artistic and critical triumph ofSchindler's Listthat Spielberg called "the most satisfying experience of my career." Adapted from the best-selling book by Thomas Keneally and filmed in Poland with an emphasis on absolute authenticity, Spielberg's masterpiece ranks among the greatest films ever made about the Holocaust during World War II. It's a film about heroism with an unlikely hero at its center--Catholic war profiteer Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), who risked his life and went bankrupt to save more than 1,000 Jews from certain death in concentration camps.

By employing Jews in his crockery factory manufacturing goods for the German army, Schindler ensures their survival against terrifying odds. At the same time, he must remain solvent with the help of a Jewish accountant (Ben Kingsley) and negotiate business with a vicious, obstinate Nazi commandant (Ralph Fiennes) who enjoys shooting Jews as target practice from the balcony of his villa overlooking a prison camp. Schindler's List gains much of its power not by trying to explain Schindler's motivations, but by dramatizing the delicate diplomacy and determination with which he carried out his generous deeds.

As a drinker and womanizer who thought nothing of associating with Nazis, Schindler was hardly a model of decency; the film is largely about his transformation in response to the horror around him. Spielberg doesn't flinch from that horror, and the result is a film that combines remarkable humanity with abhorrent inhumanity--a film that functions as a powerful history lesson and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the context of a living nightmare. --Jeff Shannon

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CastBen Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson, Embeth Davidtz, Caroline Goodall, Jonathan Sagall
DirectorSteven Spielberg
Genre:  Biography, Drama, History, War
Release Date:  December 15, 1993
Screen WriterSteven Zaillian, Thomas Keneally
Runtime:  195 minutes
Studio:  Universal Studios
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More Schindler's List reviews
Quick Tip by . March 31, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
I know I'll be loathed for not giving Schindler's List a perfect rating, but here's my stance on it.      While the overall story was presented in a really good fashion, what I thought hindered this movie a little was the black-and-white cinematography and the use of English-speaking actors speaking in German accents.  The former in that the visuals don't show the true colors of the horrors of the Holocaust, merely making it look …
review by . April 22, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Theatrical poster
Steven Spielberg has always been a director for whom I have a great deal of respect and admiration. Throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, Spielberg had one colossal success after another (not including his mega-flop 1941) and yet he never received the critical praise that he deserved. Most of Spielberg's films at the time fell into two categories: adventure and science fiction. Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark became his crowning achievements in the adventure genre and Close Encounters of the Third …
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Powerful performances of all actors masterfully put together into a great film by Spielberg.
review by . November 12, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
I have only seen this on the big screen so I am not sure how it looks on video. The use of black and white was sheer genious and the times color was used was the most effective since The Wizard of Oz. I am not a huge Liam Neelson fan but his performance in this film was huge. The film is the closest I have seen to capturing the horror of the holocaust while still having the characters appear very human.
review by . July 12, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Curious about the etymology of "holocaust," I again consulted John Ayto's ever-reliable Dictionary of Word Origins and learned that the word has classical origins (as do most other words) and was first used in English by John Milton in reference to "complete destruction by fire." Related meanings include "a complete burning" (from "burnt offering") and "a sacrifice completely consumed by fire." In our own time we capitalize the word when referring to the process of systematic elimination by the …
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