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87 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History in Black and White
Thomas Keneally's bestselling book was made into a movie of awesome power and emotional impact. Oskar Schindler was a Catholic war profiteer during World War II. He initially prospered because he went along with the Nazi regime and did not challenge it. But Schindler ultimately saved the lives of more than 1,000 Polish Jews by giving them jobs in his factory, which...
Published on 24 Nov. 2007 by Jay

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97 of 108 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for the film but this boxed set is only worth 2
Important note - this review is of the boxed set contents for this limited edition release of Schindler's List and not for the film itself, which is an absolutely essential buy.
The boxed set really adds nothing to the standard release of Schindler's List on DVD, which is beautifully packaged and has some interesting extras. On top of this standard release you also...
Published on 20 April 2004 by Anthony Lynas


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Schindler’s List is a masterful blend of direction, cinematography, scope, score and performances, resulting in an epic of overw, 20 July 2014
By 
J. Hawkins - See all my reviews
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WWII and The Holocaust were events of mind bending statistics and proportions. Tens of thousands dead in single bombing raids, 20+ million Soviets dead, 15+ million Chinese dead, 6+ million Poles dead, 7+ million Germans dead, 11 million the victim of Nazi genocide – it just beggars belief. The European and Pacific theatres were so dreadful, so massive, that it’s impossible for one to fully process it emotionally.

Schindler’s List is one of the finest cinematic depictions of those dark years; a sweeping, brutal film that brings a remarkable story to the attention of millions of viewers. However, as with all historical films, it does not serve as the definitive source of information.

The film follows Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a Sudeten German businessman who reaped the benefits of slave labour during WWII. With his imposing presence and magnetism, he charms his way through Nazi circles, soon operating an enamelware factory in Kraków, Poland using Jewish labour. At this point Schindler appears largely indifferent to the persecution all around him, or rather he avoids confronting the ugly truth of the Nazi’s approaching final solution.

He eventually becomes acquainted with perhaps the most memorable character of the film Amon Göth, the callously evil commandant of the Płaszów concentration camp who is performed excellently by Ralph Fiennes. Göth was an incredibly violent man, the extent of his crimes were such that his sentencing was phrased as following: ‘Amon Göth himself killed, maimed and tortured a substantial, albeit unidentified, number of people.’ Göth’s violence isn’t sugarcoated in the film, he shoots dozens of defenceless people and never shows even a modicum of remorse, so fanatical is his hatred for them. The film is starkly brutal, there is no cinematic sheen, the scores that are shot bleed profusely as they fall to the ground like rag dolls.

Fiennes, whose face can be both that of a mild-mannered Englishman and sinister villain all at once, delivers a performance that’s nuanced and restrained yet hauntingly evil. Just like an inundated office worker, Göth complains to Oskar about the pressures of the job, which at the time is the exhumation of thousands of rotting corpses – ‘Can you believe this? As if I don’t have enough to do they come up with this? I have to find every rag buried up here and burn it.’

Like Adolf Eichmann, the logistics man responsible for the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews, Fiennes’ depiction of Amon Göth is another example of Hannah Arendt’s phrase ‘the banality of evil’. It is a compelling depiction of one of the Third Reich’s most committed defenders; a man deeply entrenched in Nazi ideology that has lost almost all humanity.

The relationship between Schindler and Göth and his SS cronies is quite uneasy for the viewer. Schindler enjoys pushing the boundaries, he thrives off being a renegade, in one scene he kisses a Jewish woman in the presence of a whole party of SS officials.

As the film progresses and Schindler realises both the abhorrence of the situation and his power to do something about it, something of a good vs. evil dichotomy arises. Deriders may say this is a simplistic construct, but it isn’t, they are two complex characters. Their exchanges shows that Schindler is the strongest leader between him, he has personality and charm, whereas Göth only has ruthless barbarism, something Göth realises and struggles with.

The film has grand scope and many brilliant set pieces. A notable example is the ‘Red girl’ scene during the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto, it is very impressive logistically, there are countless extras who all need directing. Schindler, who is atop a hill witnessing the brutality below, is the camera’s point of view, following this little girl in a red coat (famously one of the few moments of colour in the film) as she navigates her way through all the murder and pillaging. The scale of the scenes at the Płaszów concentration camp is also considerable, particularly as great masses of prisoners, naked and completely dehumanised, are shuffled around like cattle for inspection.

Interestingly, Spielberg said that Schindler really did see a red girl walk down the street unharmed during the liquidation; Spielberg then said that her bright red coat represented the obviousness of the Holocaust and how the Allied governments were aware of what was happening yet didn’t take any decisive actions in stopping it. I am not one for finding grand metaphors in an item such as a red coat, I think the scene is most interesting as a re-enactment of Schindler’s account, however I’m sure many would.

Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski said that the film was shot in black and white so it would look ‘timeless’. I think the colouring achieved the desired effect, and I also think the film’s visceral edge and authenticity was achieved through the hand-held, shaky cinematography that would later work so well in Saving Private Ryan (1998).

A great film will almost always have a great score, and it is no different with Schindler’s List as Spielberg once again found a masterful auditory companion in John Williams, whose beautifully melancholy score, particularly the central violin melody, has become instantly recognisable to many people.

The depiction of the mass exhumation at Chujowa Górka (pictured above) is set against the backdrop of Immolation (With Our Lives, We Give Life), the stirring operatic vocals and chords of which make the scene almost apocalyptic. There is also notable use of Hebrew music, such as the ebullient Yerushalaim Shel Zahav and the haunting Oyf’n Pripetshek/Nacht Aktion. Even the trailer leaves a huge impression through music. ‘Exodus’, a work by the celebrated Polish composer Wojciech Kilar, has a brooding subtlety that emphasises the trailer’s ominous ambiguity, making its two minutes and twelve seconds most moving and unsettling.

Despite massive universal acclaim, the film inevitably had its detractors, most notably Stanley Kubrick, who said:

‘The Holocaust is about 6 million people who get killed. Schindler’s List is about 600 who don’t.’

Firstly, around 1200 were saved, not 600. Kubrick suggests that ‘Schindler’s List’ is somehow a sugar-coated account of the Holocaust, it certainly isn’t. It is a true story, Oskar Schindler really did save 1200 people, it isn’t a fanciful, maudlin figment of a screenwriter’s imagination. It is an emotionally affecting yet tactful depiction of both the systematic murder of scores of defenceless people and a complicated man’s remarkable act of humanity in the face of unimaginable suffering.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Day This Is All Going To End, 16 Mar. 2014
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Schindler's List - 20th Anniversary Edition [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
No matter what one might think (in general) of Steven Spielberg’s cinema or (in particular) of his choice to bring to the big screen this 1993 depiction of the Holocaust and the 'conflicted Samaritan’ Oskar Schindler – such as ‘its subject matter provides an “easy win”, accolade-wise’ or 'the true horrors of this episode cannot be authentically portrayed by someone who did not experience them’ (both actual criticisms levelled at Spielberg’s film) – for me, Schindler’s List actually demonstrates what a master craftsman Spielberg can be. Not only is his film a (perhaps surprisingly) unsentimental, hard-hitting depiction of one of the bleakest episodes in human history, but it also represents over three hours of cinematic virtuosity, showcasing a riveting (and intimately human) narrative and a host of brilliant (career best, in some cases) acting turns.

Looks-wise, Spielberg pulled a (perhaps obvious) masterstroke in choosing to depict the predominantly harrowing events in cinema-vérité style black-and-white (courtesy of cinematographer Janusz Kaminski), thereby both enhancing the film’s period authenticity (for the bleak depiction of the ‘in-construction’ Plaszow concentration camp) and giving his film a 'noir look’ (for its 'lush’, atmospheric interiors). Similarly, Spielberg’s decision to cast relative unknowns, Liam Neeson as Schindler and Ralph Fiennes as the cruel and inhuman Nazi, Amon Goeth, ensured that their character depictions were not compromised by any 'film-star baggage’. Thus, the film is set up to portray one of cinema’s most powerful and challenging 'two-handers’ – Neeson’s suave entrepreneur and (initially) Nazi-sympathiser, an 'insider’ attempting to lure Fiennes’ 'random supremacist’ into providing the most miniscule relief (e.g. water hoses on sweltering, packed trains) for his humiliated and dehumanised captives.

Acting-wise, mention should also be made of Ben Kingsley’s stoic accountant Itzhak Stern and Embeth Davidtz’s stunningly powerful turn as Goeth’s subjugated maid, Helen Hirsch, but equally to Spielberg’s chosen cast of thousands of extras (including many Israelis and Poles), whose 'enforced anonymity’ is one of the film’s abiding memories. Of course, along the way we are given a seemingly endless series of uncompromising acts of Nazi 'matter-of-fact’ cruelty (sadistic executions, forced family separations, mass destruction of possessions, etc) and many powerfully cinematic moments (Schindler’s 'turning point’ on espying the 'girl in the red coat’, Schindler/Goeth’s 'power discussion’, Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit playing on the radio, the women’s Auschwitz ordeal, etc).

It is also interesting to note that Roman Polanski turned down the opportunity to make the film and whilst his own later film The Pianist covers much similar ground almost as effectively, it is difficult to conceive of any other portrayal of this subject surpassing Spielberg’s.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful beyond Belief - A true Masterpiece., 20 July 2011
By 
TheRavingReviewer (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
Schindler's List is the story of a War profiteer turned humanitarian warrior in war torn Poland. Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), the main character of the film, starts the war looking for ways to make money from it by means of selling enamelware to the German Army. He becomes very successful very quickly and becomes very well off over night. However, as the war progresses and the darker sides of the Third Reich begin to present themselves to him, Schindler begins to question his loyalty to fascism. In what is the probably the most striking moment of the film, Schindler is out riding with his Mistress when he is confronted by a hillside view of a genocidal cleansing of a local town. Supremely affected by this, he decides to take matters into his own hands. With the help of his Jewish collaborator Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), Schindler begins to care for his workforce, whilst at the same time trying to keep the Jewish camp commandant Amon Goethe (Ralph Fiennes) unaware of his activities; Or at least paid off and happy.

This definitely isn't a film for the whole Family, far from it, but take the time to give it a watch and you'll appreciate the dark beauty found within. Filmed entirely in Black and white, except for one symbolic section involving the coat of a child that goes on to become a victim of the holocaust, the film is very distinct in its character. This portrayal of wartime Poland, a time and place full of wrong doing and deceived voyeurs, is deeply moving. This film adaptation of the book, and real life story, captures the worst and best of humanity. A personal favourite scene, Schindler's breakdown at the end of the film, is strikingly powerful and it has me in bits every time. A great Actor selection for the main roles, and a directorial jewel in the already bright crown of Spielberg's work, this film demands that you see it at least once, just to remind yourself that even in the deepest darkest places, light can still shine bright.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tangible realistic portrail of the Holocaust, 1 May 2008
By 
K. P. Rose "kprrefocus" (London soon to be Wellington NZ) - See all my reviews
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We all have a concept of the shoal or holocaust, learnt in school from santitised history books. I once visited the concerntration camp at dachau just outside Munchen, even walking through the entrance to the camp with the title 'arbiet macht Frei' emblazoned on the gates, or seeing the cramped bunks or the piles of shoes, hair and suitcases or seeing the massive showers that doubled as a gas chamber, this did not truely bring home fully the horrors of the final solution to me. Your imagination could try and fill the gaps of what is being shown to you, but your mind can not imagine the horror of what happened and how it must have been to find oneself caught up in this.

In reality we don't want to really know. This films fills those reality gaps that we find difficult to take in. The suffering and callousness that is portraed sets our knowledge of the holocasts into stark reality and gives us a realism of what it was like. It gives our learnt concept of the holoocaust a right old reality kick and makes one appraise what it was really about but alligned to that is the uplifting story of the actions of Oskar Schindler, who as a member of the Nazi party, womaniser and a blackmarkteer, become a hero by becoming determined to make a difference by saving over 1100 jews from certain death. It shows that even in the most desperate and forbidding times someone can stand up and make a difference.

If you haven't seen it it should be top of your to see list. The script setting, acting and photography combine to create one the greatest films of all time. I know for one it really created a better understanding of what occured
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STUNNING BLU RAY TRANSFER, 16 April 2013
i'm not going to say to much about the film,except this is Steven Spielberg s masterpiece.this is one of the best blu ray transfers i have ever seen its stunning.I think i can safely say that if you read that " Steven Spielberg has supervised the restoration" its going to be something special(take a look at the jaws blu ray ).this blu ray is worth every single penny.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Schindlers List - A Must See Film For Every Generation, 27 May 2012
I watched this film and was not just moved and extremely saddened by what I saw, but once I started watching the film I could not switch it off and had to watch it to the end. Ralph Fiennes plays a brillaint role as the evil and very disturbed Amon Goeth,the physical likeness is uncanny.

Liam Neeson is just brilliant as Oscar Schindler, his performance is so good you feel his struggle and heartbreak whilst watching the film and you can see how much he wants to save the lives of all those Jews and help them. One of the most moving scenes is the little girl in the red coat, watching the people being taken to the gas chambers, I cried all the way through seing all the luggage piled up and a large pile of peoples shoes, glasses and personal belongings.

These people having their identity taken away from them is so heartbreaking to watch, watching the trains pull up, the woman and men and children having to be seperated, the mothers having their children snatched away from them, husbands, wives, families being seperated. Everyone should watch Schindlers List once in their lifetime to really get a feel for what it was like in a concentration camp, the most moving scene for me was at the end, this film is not only powerful, moving and extremely sad the events shaped history and it should never ever be forgotten.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haven't made it yet..., 29 Oct. 2007
By 
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When I first saw this it was at the Leicester Square Odeon cinema. When we all left we were in a state of shock and genuine anguish and I clearly remember that as we all filed out we had to pass those who were waiting to come in for the next viewing. I still to this day remember the faces of those people as they looked at our own faces. This is more than a film - it is an experience and a harrowing and disturbing one at that.

I have seen this film many times and one day I will watch it without having to stop the film to wipe the tears away. Haven't made it yet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every human being must watch this film., 28 Aug. 2007
By 
I dont want to say the word 'film' because from the moment the film starts, you are not watching a film, YOU are transported to a terrible time in history. You are there in the moment. My heart beat so fast. My chest was full of every emotion, fear, absolute sadness, anger, and sheer horror. I knew about the holocaust in my mind, but after watching this film... 'I truly 'GOT IT'.

I didn't just watch a film and neither will you... Steven Speilberg will take you back in time, and you WILL be there!!

I cried during the film and after. I felt the film in my heart for days, and it will stay in my mind forever.

Steven Speilberg is an absolute Genius. Filming in black and white was very important. You dont need colours. You are educated with the horror of this awful Holocaust. No amount of colours will change anything.

The Actors are FIRST CLASS.

At the end, seeing the real people who were portrayed in the film was so emotional and gave me some comfort.

This will always be my top film. I cannot praise Steven Speilberg enough. Thank you for taking me there, and for letting my eyes see the TRUTH.

You must watch this film. It will stay with you forever.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars generally worthy of its subject, as far as a film can be, 22 April 2007
By 
hillbank68 "almac1975" (Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I think this film has faults but its merits are so great that it would be ungenerous to dwell on them. For me, Schindler's outburst of weeping as he leaves his 'factory' to escape from the advancing Russians is a sentimental addition - I wonder if the historical Schindler did that and suspect he did not. The clever device of the little girl in red works well, though - it is so true that the plight of an individual affects most of us far more than the equally terrible plight of nameless thousands - and the very end of the film, when it moves into colour and genuine survivors appear, is most imaginative and very, very moving - a coup de cinema. There is great skill in the way in which the times have been recreated visually, and the atmosphere of the film is about right all the way through. The central performances are very good, particularly that of Ralph Fiennes as Goetz, the appalling camp commandant. As an adjunct to this film there is a very good TV documentary from perhaps 20-25 years ago with archive film of Schindler, Goetz and other key figures and extended contrubutions from Schindler's long-suffering wife, Goetz's mistress and many Schindler 'employees' which, if still available, it's more than worth looking out for. It is a tribute to the integrity of this film that it maintains the spirit and. largely, the letter of what we learn from that documentary.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Depression on the move!, 10 April 2013
Great film and very moving but seriously who needs a UV copy of Schindler's List?! I can't imagine ever being out and about and thinking "Oh quick lets whip out the iPad and watch some Schindler's - depression on the go!"
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Schindler's List - 20th Anniversary Edition [DVD] [1993]
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