Schindler's List

Schindler's List is a 1993 movie based on the book Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally (the book was later renamed Schindler's List as well). The movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, relates the tale of Oskar Schindler, a German entrepreneur who was instrumental in saving the lives of over one thousand Polish Jews during the Holocaust. The title refers to a list of the names of 1,200 Jews whom Schindler hired to work in his factory and kept from being sent to the concentration camps.

Plot Summary

Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow.

The movie begins with a depiction of a Jewish prayer.

The German Army Invades Poland

The Polish Army has been defeated by the German Army in the initiating event of World War II in Europe. Jews living in occupied Poland are ordered to relocate to population centers. The film's action starts with crowds of Jews from all over the country, hasidic, assimilated, rich, and poor, detraining in Krakow, and submitting their names to German officials waiting on the station platforms with typewriters and lists.

As this is happening, a newcomer has arrived in Krakow; his name is Oskar Schindler. Schindler, a heretofore unsuccessful businessman from Germany, has come to Poland with the hope of using the now abundant slave labor force of Jews and Poles to manufacture goods for the German Army. Schindler makes a very good impression with the occupation authorities early on, being a member of the Nazi Party and lavishing gifts and bribes upon the army and SS officials now running southern Poland. He becomes a friend to the SS and Police Leader of Krakow, Julian Scherner, and quickly calls in favors as Schindler begins to establish himself as a businessman in the Krakow region.

Schindler's Factory

With his military sponsors in his back pocket, he sets out to acquire a factory for the production of enamelware, mainly cookery. He hasn't the money to buy it, and his administrative skills are dubious at best, but he finds through his contact Itzhak Stern, a functionary in the local judenrat (Jewish Council) who in turn has contacts with the now underground Jewish business community. Schindler makes the Jewish businessmen a deal they cannot refuse: they will loan him the money for the factory, and he will give them a small share of the pots and pans produced. He takes particular pleasure in telling them that they must take him at his word, and that no court would ever uphold a contract between a German and a Jew.

Schindler gets his money and starts the factory; he keeps the Nazis happy and enjoys his new-found wealth, while Stern actually operates the factory and uses his position to help his fellow Jews, who have now been confined to a ghetto within Krakow. Workers in Schindler's factory are allowed outside the ghetto, and are certified as "essential workers," guaranteeing that they will not be rounded up at night by the Gestapo. This last point is key, and Stern uses his considerable skills to make sure as many people as possible are deemed "essential" by the Nazi bureacracy, even children, the elderly, and the infirm - people who would otherwise be rounded up and sent away. Schindler becomes aware of what is going on, and seems embarrassed by the whole arrangement, but takes no action to stop it.

Where exactly the "unessential" people are sent is a matter of rumor among the Jews; a few suggest that they are taken off to concentration camps, but people hearing this reject the idea as ridiculous. One old woman exclaims, "We are their work force! Why would they want to kill their own work force?"

The Razing of the Ghetto

At this point, an SS officer named Amon Goeth arrives in Krakow to initiate construction of a labor camp, Plaszow, and to take over control of the Ghetto. In one of the most sickening scenes in the film, a Jewish engineer explains that a foundation has been improperly laid, and for this he has her shot in the head. He then, in the next breath, orders that everything she requested be done. Goeth is the focus of the film's depiction of Nazi sadism and inhumanity, not only taking pleasure in murder and torture, but considering it an integral part of his job, a matter of duty. In one scene, he decides not to shoot a young boy for not properly cleaning his bathtub, but then, after reflecting, decides that he must be firm, and shoots him in the back as he walks away.

In due course, Goeth razes the Krakow ghetto, sending in hundreds of troops to clear the cramped rooms and shooting anyone who refuses or cannot leave. Schindler watches the massacre from the hills overlooking the ghetto, and is profoundly affected. But, he now faces the more immediate problem of how to run his factory without his workers. He meets Goeth, befriends him, and convinces him to let him keep his workers for considerable bribes and payoffs. Schindler is now, though reluctantly, sheltering people who have very few skills in his factory.

It is during the clearing out of the ghetto that Spielberg introduces a character known as "the girl in red": a young girl wearing a red coat. The color of the coat stands out, because it is the only object that appears in color throughout the entire film (except for two instances of a candle flame); the rest of the movie is filmed in black-and-white, except for the final present-day coda. Film critics and scholars have suggested the appearance of the girl in the red coat is a "marker" used by Spielberg to denote the transformation of Schindler's personality. The first time she appears, Schindler changes from a cold-hearted businessman interested only in profit into a person struggling to do the right thing; he makes his first attempts to covertly assist his workers and save them from persecution and death afterwards. With the second appearance of the girl in red, Schindler makes a further transformation into an altruistic angel whose primary motive is not profit, but rather to save the lives of his workers.

The List

To Amon Goeth's considerable consternation, and to Schindler's horror, an order arrives from Berlin commanding Goeth to exhume and destroy all bodies of those killed in the ghetto razing, to dismantle the Plaszow, and to ship the whole population to Auschwitz. Goeth remarks sarcastically, "It will take about four weeks for me to do the paperwork -- that ought to be fun." Schindler prevails upon Goeth to let him keep his workers, so that he can move them to a factory in his old home of Zwittau-Brunnlitz, Czechoslovakia, away from the Holocaust - now fully underway in Poland. Goeth acquiesces, for a payoff in the order of millions of Reichsmarks. So that his workers can be kept off the trains to the killing centers, Schindler, with Stern, assembles a list of his workers.

This list of "skilled" inmates was Schindler's List, and for many of the inmates of Plaszow camp, being on the list meant the difference between life and death. Except for a railway mishap, in which one of the trains carrying women was accidentally redirected to Auschwitz, all the people on Schindler's list arrive safely at the new site. Those who went to Auschwitz were soon returned by a train which was sent to Schindler's camp, after Schindler bribes another Nazi official. Once the workers arrive in Czechoslovakia, Schindler institutes firm controls on the Nazi guards assigned to the factory, permits the Jews to observe the sabbath, and spends the rest of his fortune bribing Nazi officials. He runs out of money just as the war in Europe comes to an end.

As a German, a Nazi, and a "profiteer of slave labor" (his words), Schindler must flee the oncoming Soviet Army. He packs a car in the night, and bids farewell to his workers. They give him a letter, explaining to others that he is not a criminal, and they also give him a ring, engraved with the Talmudic quotation, "Whoever saves one life saves the world entire." Schindler is wracked with guilt, seeing his car, and realizing he could have bribed ten more people from Goeth for it. He pulls the Nazi Party pin from his lapel, and cries, "This is gold. I could have gotten one more person for this. He would have given me one... One more person." He then leaves. The next morning, a Russian dragoon arrives, and announces to the Jews, "You have been liberated by the Soviet Army!"

The Coda

The film ends in Israel, at the grave of Oskar Schindler, in the present day. The actors portraying the major characters in the film pass by the grave, and place stones on it, while the actual persons they portrayed walk beside them doing the same. The camera pans, revealing a long line of people.

In a final shot, a man places a flower on the grave, and stands contemplatively over it. Though many believe it to be Director Steven Spielberg, it is actually the shadow of Liam Neeson who portrayed Oskar Schindler in the film. (www.imdb.com)

Tagline: Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.

The Movie

The girl in red

The movie was directed by famed director Steven Spielberg, who later spoke of the making of the movie as affecting him deeply. It was produced almost entirely in black and white (with a color prologue and epilogue, a red coat in two scenes, and color candle flames in another). It starred Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler, Ben Kingsley as Itzhak Stern, and Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth. Its tagline was simply, "Whoever saves one life saves the world entire" a quote from the Talmud. Critically acclaimed, the film won praise for depicting—often in exceptional, graphic detail—the horrible brutality of the Holocaust.

Nominated for twelve Academy Awards, this movie won seven, including the coveted Best Picture and Best Director awards for Spielberg, which many of his supporters felt he had been unfairly denied for prior productions, although he had previously received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.

In the years since its release, Schindler's List has risen in status to be considered one of the greatest movies of the 1990s, if not of all time. It is also considered to be Steven Spielberg's greatest directorial accomplishment by many viewers and critics; the former vote it consistently among the top ten (#6) movies on the Internet Movie Database Top 250, while the latter voted it #9 in the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest Movies series.

Following the critical and box office success of Schindler's List, Spielberg founded and continues to finance the Shoah Project, a non-profit organization with the goal of providing an archive for the filmed testimony of as many survivors of the Holocaust as possible, so that their stories will not be lost in the future.

However, the Holocaust historian David M. Crowe has questioned in a new book the authenticity of the facts portrayed in the movie. "Schindler had nothing to do with the list," the author writes in the new biography of the German businessman. Oskar Schindler was in jail for bribing the Secret Service commander Amon Goeth when the famous list was being drawn up and had little involvement in it, according to a New York Times report. From the total of nine lists, four were drawn up primarily by Marcel Goldberg, a corrupt Jewish assistant to the SS officer in charge of transporting Jews, Crowe wrote.

Credits

  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Cast: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall
  • Writing credits: Thomas Keneally (novel), Steven Zaillian (screenplay)
  • Composer: John Williams
  • Editor: Michael Kahn
  • Producer: Branko Lustig, Gerald R. Molen, Steven Spielberg for Amblin Entertainment / Universal Pictures.

1997 TV controversy

In February of 1997, the film was shown on television in the United States, being carried by NBC in two parts, on consecutive Sunday and Wednesday evenings (February 23 and 26). The telecast was the first ever to receive a TV-M (now TV-MA) rating under the TV Parental Guidelines that had been established at the beginning of that year, and many fundamentalist and evangelical Christian groups stridently objected to the film's being shown on network television at all, due to scenes of nudity and the use of vulgar language which were not edited out of the TV production.

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The telecast was the first ever to receive a TV-M (now TV-MA) rating under the TV Parental Guidelines that had been established at the beginning of that year, and many fundamentalist and evangelical Christian groups stridently objected to the film's being shown on network television at all, due to scenes of nudity and the use of vulgar language which were not edited out of the TV production.
. In February of 1997, the film was shown on television in the United States, being carried by NBC in two parts, on consecutive Sunday and Wednesday evenings (February 23 and 26). Tony runs out into the street, where he is shot by Chino; in the aftermath of his death, Maria is able to finally bring all the young people together. From the total of nine lists, four were drawn up primarily by Marcel Goldberg, a corrupt Jewish assistant to the SS officer in charge of transporting Jews, Crowe wrote. Bernardo's girlfriend, Anita, agrees to help, but when she is taunted by the Jets, she invents a story that Maria has been killed by Chino, the man she was supposed to marry. Oskar Schindler was in jail for bribing the Secret Service commander Amon Goeth when the famous list was being drawn up and had little involvement in it, according to a New York Times report. He and Maria plan to run away together.

"Schindler had nothing to do with the list," the author writes in the new biography of the German businessman. When the gangs arrange a "rumble", Maria pleads with Tony to prevent the fighting, but when Bernardo unintentionally stabs Riff to death, Tony, in a rage, kills Bernardo. Crowe has questioned in a new book the authenticity of the facts portrayed in the movie. The Sharks are led by Maria's brother, Bernardo, and the Jets by Tony's best friend, Riff. However, the Holocaust historian David M. Tony and Maria fall in love, despite the fact that they are associated with rival gangs - Tony with the Jets, and Puerto Rican-born Maria with the Sharks. Following the critical and box office success of Schindler's List, Spielberg founded and continues to finance the Shoah Project, a non-profit organization with the goal of providing an archive for the filmed testimony of as many survivors of the Holocaust as possible, so that their stories will not be lost in the future. The story line is a reworking of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, with minor variations, set among American and Puerto Rican street gangs in New York City's Upper West Side.

It is also considered to be Steven Spielberg's greatest directorial accomplishment by many viewers and critics; the former vote it consistently among the top ten (#6) movies on the Internet Movie Database Top 250, while the latter voted it #9 in the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest Movies series. Nominations (1). In the years since its release, Schindler's List has risen in status to be considered one of the greatest movies of the 1990s, if not of all time. Wins (10). Thalberg Memorial Award. Book by Arthur Laurents
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed and Choreographed by Jerome Robbins. Nominated for twelve Academy Awards, this movie won seven, including the coveted Best Picture and Best Director awards for Spielberg, which many of his supporters felt he had been unfairly denied for prior productions, although he had previously received the Irving G. On AFI's 100 years, 100 songs, "Tonight" was #59, "America" was #35, and "Somewhere" was #20.

Critically acclaimed, the film won praise for depicting—often in exceptional, graphic detail—the horrible brutality of the Holocaust. The film was #41 on American Film Institute's 100 Years, 100 Movies and #3 on its 100 Years, 100 Passions, and has been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. Its tagline was simply, "Whoever saves one life saves the world entire" a quote from the Talmud. It won a Grammy award in 1985. It starred Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler, Ben Kingsley as Itzhak Stern, and Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth. Generally known as the "operatic version" of West Side Story, it stars Kiri Te Kanawa as Maria, Josť Carreras as Tony, Tatiana Troyanos as Anita, Kurt Ollman as Riff, and Marilyn Horne who sings "Somewhere" as an anonymous character. It was produced almost entirely in black and white (with a color prologue and epilogue, a red coat in two scenes, and color candle flames in another). In 1984, Bernstein decided to re-record the musical, conducting his own music for the first time.

The movie was directed by famed director Steven Spielberg, who later spoke of the making of the movie as affecting him deeply. Some of the songs include "Something's Coming," "Maria," "America," "Somewhere," "Tonight," "Gee, Officer Krupke," "I Feel Pretty," "One Hand, One Heart," and "Cool.". Tagline: Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire. Bernstein's score for the musical has been extremely popular. (www.imdb.com). West Side Story is still produced frequently by local theatres and is occasionally produced by classical opera companies. Though many believe it to be Director Steven Spielberg, it is actually the shadow of Liam Neeson who portrayed Oskar Schindler in the film. The dark theme, sophisticated music, and focus on social problems marked a turning point in English language musical theatre, which had previously (with rare exceptions) tended toward light and fluffy themes.

In a final shot, a man places a flower on the grave, and stands contemplatively over it. The film won ten Motion Picture Academy Awards including Best Picture, the most Oscars received by any movie musical. The camera pans, revealing a long line of people. In 1961, it was made into a motion picture and released on October 18 by United Artists, directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise. The actors portraying the major characters in the film pass by the grave, and place stones on it, while the actual persons they portrayed walk beside them doing the same. West Side Story debuted on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theater on September 26, 1957 and played 732 performances before going on tour - a very successful run for the time. The film ends in Israel, at the grave of Oskar Schindler, in the present day. West Side Story is a musical written by Arthur Laurents (book), Leonard Bernstein (music), and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics), and was originally produced, choreographed, and directed by Jerome Robbins.

The next morning, a Russian dragoon arrives, and announces to the Jews, "You have been liberated by the Soviet Army!". Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium - Ernest Lehman. One more person." He then leaves. Academy Award for Sound - Fred Hynes (Todd-AO SSD), and Gordon Sawyer (Samuel Goldwyn SSD). He would have given me one.. Academy Award for Original Music Score, of a Musical Picture - Saul Chaplin, Johnny Green, Irwin Kostal, and Sid Ramin. I could have gotten one more person for this. Academy Award for Film Editing - Thomas Stanford.

He pulls the Nazi Party pin from his lapel, and cries, "This is gold. Academy Award for Directing - Jerome Robbins, and Robert Wise. They give him a letter, explaining to others that he is not a criminal, and they also give him a ring, engraved with the Talmudic quotation, "Whoever saves one life saves the world entire." Schindler is wracked with guilt, seeing his car, and realizing he could have bribed ten more people from Goeth for it. Academy Award for Costume Design, Color - Irene Sharaff. He packs a car in the night, and bids farewell to his workers. Fapp. As a German, a Nazi, and a "profiteer of slave labor" (his words), Schindler must flee the oncoming Soviet Army. Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Color - Daniel L.

He runs out of money just as the war in Europe comes to an end. Gangelin, and Boris Leven. Once the workers arrive in Czechoslovakia, Schindler institutes firm controls on the Nazi guards assigned to the factory, permits the Jews to observe the sabbath, and spends the rest of his fortune bribing Nazi officials. Academy Award for Best Art Direction- Set Decoration, Color - Victor A. Those who went to Auschwitz were soon returned by a train which was sent to Schindler's camp, after Schindler bribes another Nazi official. Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress - Rita Moreno. Except for a railway mishap, in which one of the trains carrying women was accidentally redirected to Auschwitz, all the people on Schindler's list arrive safely at the new site. Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor - George Chakiris.

This list of "skilled" inmates was Schindler's List, and for many of the inmates of Plaszow camp, being on the list meant the difference between life and death. Academy Award for Best Picture - Robert Wise, producer. So that his workers can be kept off the trains to the killing centers, Schindler, with Stern, assembles a list of his workers. Goeth acquiesces, for a payoff in the order of millions of Reichsmarks. Goeth remarks sarcastically, "It will take about four weeks for me to do the paperwork -- that ought to be fun." Schindler prevails upon Goeth to let him keep his workers, so that he can move them to a factory in his old home of Zwittau-Brunnlitz, Czechoslovakia, away from the Holocaust - now fully underway in Poland.

To Amon Goeth's considerable consternation, and to Schindler's horror, an order arrives from Berlin commanding Goeth to exhume and destroy all bodies of those killed in the ghetto razing, to dismantle the Plaszow, and to ship the whole population to Auschwitz. With the second appearance of the girl in red, Schindler makes a further transformation into an altruistic angel whose primary motive is not profit, but rather to save the lives of his workers. The first time she appears, Schindler changes from a cold-hearted businessman interested only in profit into a person struggling to do the right thing; he makes his first attempts to covertly assist his workers and save them from persecution and death afterwards. Film critics and scholars have suggested the appearance of the girl in the red coat is a "marker" used by Spielberg to denote the transformation of Schindler's personality.

The color of the coat stands out, because it is the only object that appears in color throughout the entire film (except for two instances of a candle flame); the rest of the movie is filmed in black-and-white, except for the final present-day coda. It is during the clearing out of the ghetto that Spielberg introduces a character known as "the girl in red": a young girl wearing a red coat. Schindler is now, though reluctantly, sheltering people who have very few skills in his factory. He meets Goeth, befriends him, and convinces him to let him keep his workers for considerable bribes and payoffs.

But, he now faces the more immediate problem of how to run his factory without his workers. Schindler watches the massacre from the hills overlooking the ghetto, and is profoundly affected. In due course, Goeth razes the Krakow ghetto, sending in hundreds of troops to clear the cramped rooms and shooting anyone who refuses or cannot leave. In one scene, he decides not to shoot a young boy for not properly cleaning his bathtub, but then, after reflecting, decides that he must be firm, and shoots him in the back as he walks away.

Goeth is the focus of the film's depiction of Nazi sadism and inhumanity, not only taking pleasure in murder and torture, but considering it an integral part of his job, a matter of duty. He then, in the next breath, orders that everything she requested be done. In one of the most sickening scenes in the film, a Jewish engineer explains that a foundation has been improperly laid, and for this he has her shot in the head. At this point, an SS officer named Amon Goeth arrives in Krakow to initiate construction of a labor camp, Plaszow, and to take over control of the Ghetto.

One old woman exclaims, "We are their work force! Why would they want to kill their own work force?". Where exactly the "unessential" people are sent is a matter of rumor among the Jews; a few suggest that they are taken off to concentration camps, but people hearing this reject the idea as ridiculous. Schindler becomes aware of what is going on, and seems embarrassed by the whole arrangement, but takes no action to stop it. This last point is key, and Stern uses his considerable skills to make sure as many people as possible are deemed "essential" by the Nazi bureacracy, even children, the elderly, and the infirm - people who would otherwise be rounded up and sent away.

Workers in Schindler's factory are allowed outside the ghetto, and are certified as "essential workers," guaranteeing that they will not be rounded up at night by the Gestapo. Schindler gets his money and starts the factory; he keeps the Nazis happy and enjoys his new-found wealth, while Stern actually operates the factory and uses his position to help his fellow Jews, who have now been confined to a ghetto within Krakow. He takes particular pleasure in telling them that they must take him at his word, and that no court would ever uphold a contract between a German and a Jew. Schindler makes the Jewish businessmen a deal they cannot refuse: they will loan him the money for the factory, and he will give them a small share of the pots and pans produced.

He hasn't the money to buy it, and his administrative skills are dubious at best, but he finds through his contact Itzhak Stern, a functionary in the local judenrat (Jewish Council) who in turn has contacts with the now underground Jewish business community. With his military sponsors in his back pocket, he sets out to acquire a factory for the production of enamelware, mainly cookery. He becomes a friend to the SS and Police Leader of Krakow, Julian Scherner, and quickly calls in favors as Schindler begins to establish himself as a businessman in the Krakow region. Schindler makes a very good impression with the occupation authorities early on, being a member of the Nazi Party and lavishing gifts and bribes upon the army and SS officials now running southern Poland.

Schindler, a heretofore unsuccessful businessman from Germany, has come to Poland with the hope of using the now abundant slave labor force of Jews and Poles to manufacture goods for the German Army. As this is happening, a newcomer has arrived in Krakow; his name is Oskar Schindler. The film's action starts with crowds of Jews from all over the country, hasidic, assimilated, rich, and poor, detraining in Krakow, and submitting their names to German officials waiting on the station platforms with typewriters and lists. Jews living in occupied Poland are ordered to relocate to population centers.

The Polish Army has been defeated by the German Army in the initiating event of World War II in Europe. The movie begins with a depiction of a Jewish prayer. The title refers to a list of the names of 1,200 Jews whom Schindler hired to work in his factory and kept from being sent to the concentration camps. The movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, relates the tale of Oskar Schindler, a German entrepreneur who was instrumental in saving the lives of over one thousand Polish Jews during the Holocaust.

Schindler's List is a 1993 movie based on the book Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally (the book was later renamed Schindler's List as well). Molen, Steven Spielberg for Amblin Entertainment / Universal Pictures. Producer: Branko Lustig, Gerald R. Editor: Michael Kahn.

Composer: John Williams. Writing credits: Thomas Keneally (novel), Steven Zaillian (screenplay). Cast: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall. Director: Steven Spielberg.

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