As haunting now as it was on its original release, Schindler's List remains an ambitious, emotional and quite brilliant piece of filmmaking, whose impact and importance has not been diluted one jot. Director Steven Spielberg had certainly dabbled in his fair share of serious dramas before Schindler's List, but this always felt like it was something different. An adaptation of Thomas Keneally's book, Schindler's Ark, the narrative centres on Oskar Schindler, played by Liam Neeson, whose actions in World War II saved the lives of many Jewish people from the hands of the Nazis.
Spielberg's film never downplays the horror either, channelling much of it through the character of Ralph Fiennes' brutal, nasty Nazi commander. This was Fiennes' breakthrough performance and it still chills. Rightly so.
Filmed in black and white and on location in Poland, Schindler's List's three hour running time goes quickly, but the feelings it stirs up don't. This new Blu-ray, released to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the film, digs deeper into the story behind the movie too, with some thoughtful, heartbreaking extra material. The main feature itself is exquisitely presented on Blu-ray, and John Williams and Itzhak Perlman's music has never sounded better.
Schindler's List may not be the kind of film to put on every week, but it's an important, very watchable and extremely thought-provoking piece of cinema. 20 years on, its telling of history seems more important than ever. --Jon Foster
Based on a true story, Schindler's List is Steven Spielberg's epic drama of World War II Holocaust survivors and the man who unexpectedly came to be their saviour. Unrepentant womaniser and war profiteer Oskar Schindler uses Polish Jews as cheap labour to produce cookware for the Third Reich. But after witnessing the violent liquidation of the walled ghetto where the Krakow Jews have been forced to live, Schindler slowly begins to realise the immense evil of Nazism. When his employees are sent to a work camp, they come under the terrorising reign of sadistic Nazi Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes). With the help of his accountant, Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), Schindler creates a list of 'essential' Jews. Bribing Goeth, Schindler manages to get 1,100 people released from the camp and brought to the safety of his munitions factory in Czechoslovakia. Spielberg's glorious film is wondrously evocative, visually stunning, and emotionally stirring.