Schindler's List (1993)

Schindler's List (1993, USA) C/B&W-197m. *** D: Steven Spielberg. Starring Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Jonathan Sagall, Embeth Davidtz. 'Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire." Emotionally exhausting war drama about real-life industrialist Oskar Schindler (Neeson), who during World War Two managed to save the lives of hundreds of Jews by employing them in his factory. Film details his relationship with the Nazis (especially German commander Göth, played by Fiennes) and his growing obsession with saving lives - while risking his own fortune and safety. Set against the backdrop of the brutal killing of thousands of Jews in Krakow, this is director Spielberg's personal working up of the Holocaust and a great film for most of the way, with excellent performances by Neeson and Kingsley (as Neeson's Jewish assistant and conscience). Let down occasionally by narrative that seems to be infected by the war-time chaos and confusion that Spielberg so brilliantly, harrowingly depicts. Perfect black-and-white cinematography by Janusz Kaminski, haunting, unforgettable score by John Williams. Filmed on location in Poland, where most of this film is set. Script by Steve Zaillian, based on the novel by Thomas Keneally. Winner of seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director (Spielberg's first), Best Score and Best Cinematography.


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© Ron Altman