Schindler's List

Schindler's List

Steven Spielberg had a banner year in 1993. He scored one of his biggest commercial hits that summer with the mega-hit Jurassic Park, but it was the artistic and critical triumph of Schindler's List that 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

Director(s): Steven Spielberg
Production: Universal Pictures
  Won 7 Oscars. Another 82 wins & 49 nominations.
 
IMDB:
8.9
Metacritic:
93
Rotten Tomatoes:
97%
R (Restricted)
Year:
1993
195
Website
9,511 Views
Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.
The List Is Life.
A story of courage that the world needs now more than ever.
Una vela no pierde su luz por compartirla con otra. (Spanish, "A candle loses nothing by lighting another", attributed to Father James Keller)

Schindler:
There's a company you did the books for on Lipowa Street, made what – pots and pans?

Stern:
By law, I have to tell you, sir, I'm a Jew.

Schindler:
Well, I'm a German, so there we are. A good company, you think?

Stern:
Modestly successful.

Schindler:
I know nothing about enamelware, do you?

Stern:
I was just the accountant.

Schindler:
Simple engineering, though, wouldn't you think? Change the machines around, whatever you do, you could make other things, couldn't you? Field kits, mess kits, army contracts. Once the war ends, forget it, but for now it's great. You could make a fortune, don't you think?

Stern:
I think most people right now have other priorities.

Schindler:
Like what?

Stern:
I'm sure you'll do just fine once you get the contracts. In fact, the worse things get, the better you will do.

Schindler:
Oh, I can get the signatures I need – that's the easy part. Finding the money to buy the company, that's hard.

Stern:
You don't have any money?

Schindler:
Not that kind of money. You know anybody? Jews, yeah. Investors. You must have contacts in the Jewish business community working here.

Stern:
What "community"? Jews can no longer own businesses. That's why this one's in receivership.

Schindler:
Ah, but they wouldn't own it. I'd own it. I'd pay them back in product. Pots and pans.

Stern:
Pots and pans.

Schindler:
Something they can use. Something they can feel in their hands. They can trade it on the black market, do whatever they want. Everybody's happy. If you want, you could run the company for me.

Stern:
Let me understand. They'd put up all the money. I'd do all the work. But what, if you don't mind my asking, would you do?

Schindler:
I'd make sure it's known the company's in business. I'd see that it had a certain panache. That's what I'm good at, not the work, not the work – the presentation.

Stern:
I'm not sure I know anybody who'd be interested in this.

Schindler:
Well, they should be, Itzhak Stern. Tell them they should be.

Schindler:
People die, it's a fact of life. He wants to kill everybody? Great, what am I supposed to do about it?! Bring everybody over? Is that what you think? "Send them over to Schindler, send them all. His place is a 'haven', didn't you know? It's not a factory, it's not an enterprise of any kind, it's a haven for rabbis and orphans and people with no skills whatsoever." You think I don't know what you're doing? You're so quiet all the time. I know, I know.

Stern:
Are you losing money?

Schindler:
No, I'm not losing money. That's not the point.

Stern:
What other point is –

Schindler:
It's dangerous! It's dangerous to me. You have to understand, Goeth is under enormous pressure. You have to think of it in his situation. He's got this whole place to run, he's responsible for everything that goes on here, all these people; he's got a lot of things to worry about. And he's got the war. Which brings out the worst in people. Never the good, always the bad. Always the bad. But in normal circumstances, he wouldn't be like this. He'd be all right. There'd just be the good aspects of him, which... he's a wonderful crook. A man who loves good food, good wine, the ladies, making money-

Stern:
killing.

Schindler:
He can't enjoy it.

Stern:
Boyevski told me the other day. (Montage of Goeth murdering prisoners as Stern describes it) Somebody escaped from a work detail outside the wire. Goeth lined up everybody from the missing man's barracks. He shot the man to the left of Byevski, the man to the right. He walked down the line, shooting every other man with a pistol. (pause) Twenty-five.

Schindler:
(defensively) What do you want me to do about it?!

Stern:
Nothing, nothing. We're just talking.

Schindler:
[pause, he pulls out a slip of paper] Perlman. Husband and wife.


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