Schindler's List

I saw this movie when I was very little and don’t remember much of it. I do remember hearing plenty of praise about it. A few weeks, ago, though, I read an interview with a guy who said “I can’t stand Schindler’s List because it’s a feel-good movie about the Holocaust.”

So what do you people think? Are we dealing with a timeless classic or another piece of stale Hollywood product?

I think it is a good film, and as far as Hollywood histories go, fairly accurate. I certainly wouldn’t say it was “stale”. It is a moving film. But I would obect to using it as a teaching tool by itself about the Holocaust. It can lead to the impression that many people survived, when in places like Poland, only a tiny percentage of Jews actually survived.
It is a great drama, but not a documentary, like Shoah.

A feel good movie about the Holocaust? You mean someone left the theatre feeling good afterwards?

First, it was a true story about Oscar Schindler, a war profiteer who ended up doing his best to save Jews from the concentration camps. I don’t know what he was expecting, considering this is what Schindler really did.

Second, how can anyone watch the scenes of a child hiding in shit or the murder of Jews at the camps (lined up and shot to save bullets) and think this is a feel-good movie? I’d hate to see this man’s opinion of a “downer.”

It’s a classic, IMO. Harsh and brutal while still showing the good side of men. The film showed that while Schindler was not as powerful as the Third Reich, one man could still make a difference.

As jaimest says, though, it is not a teaching tool. It is a dramatization of true life events, but I would in no way consider it a “feel good” movie.

Just as jaimest said, I also worried that people who were unfamiliar with the Holocaust could get the mistaken impression from the film that many Jews survived, and that concentration camps were essentially labour camps.

In fact, I was quite unconformatble when watching Schindler’s List for just that reason. I kept having to tell my wife, who is not Jewish, that she was seeing a unique, and unrepresentative, view of the saddest chapter of the 20th Century.

I have been struck since, though, with the depth of feeling, and the emotional response, elicited by Schindler’s among precisely those people I thought needed reminders of the enormity of the Holocaust, that six million did die.

In retrospect, I think I was misguided.

I think the movie is more about Oskar Schindler than it is about the Holocaust per se (although, as already pointed out, it does not gloss over the suffering and death that the Holocaust brought). I consider it one of the best movies ever made.

Although it focuses on the Jews who survive, it is not a “feel-good” movie in the usual Hollywood sense (i.e. a cheap “uplifting” ending that glosses over any loss or suffering that came beforehand). The ending is bittersweet. Schindler has made a transformation - in the beginning, he only cares about making money and will use anyone, including the Jews, to do it. At the end, we weeps over the lives he didn’t save.

The fact that it was a unique, albeit unrepresentative view of the Holocaust is the reason why the story is so gripping. How many others like Oskar Schindler accomplished what he did? His story is unique, and the impact he had was undeniable.

I haven’t seen the movie in a long time, but am I mistaken in my recollection of the text information presented at the end, which indicated that the number of descendents of the Schindler Jews actually outnumber the number of Jews in Poland today?

If this is indeed an accurate recollection, then it’s all the more reason why a story like this needed to be told. It truly does show the potential impact that one person could have. It is a reflection of a quote from the movie, where the Ben Kinglsey character says that “When one man saves a life, he saves the world entire.”

One person can make a difference, even in the face of unimaginable evil. That’s the message I got from the movie.

And no, I don’t think this is a “feel-good” movie.

I think it is one of the greatest movies ever made.

I really don’t think how anyone could see the film and think most Jews survived. More are killed on screen than live to tell the tale. But beyond that.
This film has a GREAT screenplay. GREAT acting. GREAT cinematography. GREAT editing. GREAT EVERYTHING!

As far as I know this film is a very accurate portrayal of a small part of a larger story. Why make a movie about Schindler and not about Dachau?(sp) If you made a film about one of the camps you would have to focus on at least one survivor. Then some people must complain that you tried to make a happy ending of a holocaust.

I think the most horrible part is the two Nazis arguing over why the pistol won’t fire; then they beat the guy to death.

What’s the deal with the little girl in the red dress?

The deal with the little girl in the red dress (as I understand it) is that in the middle of everything going on, that caught Shindler’s attention. He noticed the little girl wandering around in the midst of all that chaos. Later, he saw that same red dress in a pile, and seemed to realize they had killed the little girl.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie, but IIRC, it’s not long afterward that Schindler becomes more active in helping the Jews as opposed to making a profit. I could be misremembering when he starts actively helping the Jews though.

They don’t beat him to death - he survives! After trying to kill him with TWO pistols, both of which misfire, the Nazis give up and let the guy live. Strangely, I found this one of the most chilling scenes in the movie, even though nobody got killed.

IMHO, it’s a classic. Like it or not, IMHO Spielberg is the best director of our lifetime.

“It can lead to the impression that many people survived, when in places like Poland, only a tiny percentage of Jews actually survived.”

“I also worried that people who were unfamiliar with the Holocaust could get the mistaken impression from the film that many Jews survived, and that concentration camps were essentially labour camps.”

I wonder why people would say that? The title of the movie is not “Stories of the Jews in Poland”, it’s “Schindler’s List”.

Well this is why I would say such things.

Quite a few teachers show movies as teaching tools. Regretably, some use it almost as a substitute for actual teaching, especially at the high school level. When I was a senior in high school a teacher showed us *Dances With Wolves * to teach us about the American West. And not much else was discussed about the American Indians.
Maybe this is unusual, because I went to one of those crowded urban high school schools with 90% ‘minority’ students and a terrible drop out rate. So teacher’s were pressed to do something other than merely lecture history.
I would say that many young people in America (other than perhaps those of Jewish or recent European backgrounds) derive much, if not, all their knowledge about the Holocaust from dramatic films. And I think that’s bad.
I also know the film is not “Stories of The Jews in Poland”, but “Schindler’s List”. But the film is presented as if it was THE story of the Holocaust by all too many ‘educators’.

I agree with you in that it’s not THE story, but, IMHO, it’s the most realistic portrayal of what happened in the concentration camps. I’ve seen it once, and, as with films which affect me deeply in any way, I never want to see it again. The images in my mind are enough to send me screaming/crying from the room…

I just want to mention Raul Wallenburg, the Swedish diplomat, who saved thousands of lives by literally running down the platforms before the trains left handing out Swedish nationality to all and sundry.

Schindler only saved 650, I think.

At the end of the war Wallenburg was taken prisoner by the Red Army and sent to Siberia.

He could still be there now. He’d be about 96 though.

But Russia is still to come up with a satisfactory explanation as to what happened to him.

But Schindlers List is a great film. I think we should focus on the positive even in times of great evil. I think everyone got the message regarding the holocaust, I dont think many people left after watching that film thinking it was a feel-good movie.

There is a movie about Raoul Wallenberg, called Good evening, Mr. Wallenberg(1990). It’s not as good as Schindler’s list though, although there is no reason why it couldn’t be made into an excellent movie. It’s certainly a fascinating story.

Wallenberg saved about 100,000 Jews during his six months in the Hungarian capital. Then he was arrested by the Soviet authorities and has never been heard from since.

I think Schindler’s List is the best mnovie of the 90’s. I think I understand some of the complaints, although I don’t agree with them. I think it is important to show the more personal stories of the Holocaust and also important to showhope in the middle of hopelessness. AS far as using it as a teaching tool, I think they could show Schindler’s List and then maybe another Spielberg film, a documentary called The Last Days about the survivors of the final days of the war and the fact that the Nazis were still using valuable resources(men, trains, etc.) for carrying out the Final Solution as opposed to trying to win the war.

Well, many WERE labor camps. Although the eventual goal of the Nazis was to kill every Jew in Europe, the Nazis also used Jewish slave labor in manufacturing, as shown in the movie. Many German companies, like IG Farben and Krupp, were found guilty by deNazification courts after the war of having used Jewish slave labor. The Nazis were keeping the Jews just barely alive to work to free up German men for fighting. Eventually, the Jews would have been completely exterminated and the captured Polish and Russian populations in occupied territories would have become a permanent slave work force.

Only a few camps, like Treblinka, Auchwitz, Dachau, and Sobibor, were set up specifically for industrial murder. The very old, the very young, the sick, and the unfit were sent immediately to the gas chambers while able-bodied adults were kept alive as workers.

I think the most important lesson of Schindler’s List is that one person can make a difference in resisting evil.

That’s a problem with the teachers or schools more than the films although, as you note, they may have been using it as a technique to keep students interested and enrolled. Movies aren’t factual, they do dramatise. Using a movie as a discussion-starter is one thing, but using it as the syllabus is something else.

Onto the OP - I honestly don’t know how anyone could call Schindler’s List a ‘feel-good movie.’ I saw it when it first came out, and I’ve never seen it again, although I’ve had the chance to; it tore me up. I left the cinema feeling utterly wrung out.

It’s a great movie on several levels; technically it was damned fine, and on a human, storytelling level, it reached out and grabbed me. It’s one thing to read numbers in history books; it’s another thing entirely to watch a movie like this. It may have only portrayed facets of the Holacaust, but those facets alone were enough.

In the sense of getting labor out of them while you killed them.

I am reading Gilbert’s The Second World War, and I cannot understand it. They were killing people on the street in Poland in 1938. They shot Jews for being moments late for a curfew. The rope broke in hanging a man, so they added a pregnant woman and hanged them both. It makes no sense. It is totally insane and seems to be without reason or design, but is connected to the systemactic murders in the death camps of millions.

I believe Kubrick said something along the lines of “Shindler’s list isn’t a movie about the Holocaust. The Holocaust was about 6 million people dying, while Shindler’s list was about a hundred people living.” I’m looking for the quote.