Schindler's List

February 1994195 minutes
Drama
653

One of the most historically significant films of all time, Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List is a powerful story whose lessons of courage and faith continue to inspire generations. Winner of seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, this incredible true story follows the enigmatic Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), who saved the lives of more than 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust. It is the triumph of one man who made a difference and the drama of those who survived one of the darkest chapters in human history because of what he did.
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Rotten Tomatoes® score
Audio language
English (Stereo)
Eligible for Family Library
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Run time
195 minutes
Steven Spielberg directed this powerful, realistic re-creation of WWII's D-day
invasion and the immediate aftermath. The story opens with a prologue in which a veteran
brings his family to the American cemetery at Normandy, and a flashback then joins Capt.
John Miller (Tom Hanks) and GIs in a landing craft making the June 6, 1944, approach to
Omaha Beach to face devastating German artillery fire. This mass slaughter of American
soldiers is depicted in a compelling, unforgettable 24-minute sequence. Miller's men
slowly move forward to finally take a concrete pillbox. On the beach littered with
bodies is one with the name "Ryan" stenciled on his backpack. Army Chief of Staff Gen.
George C. Marshall (Harve Presnell), learning that three Ryan brothers from the same
family have all been killed in a single week, requests that the surviving brother, Pvt.
James Ryan (Matt Damon), be located and brought back to the United States. Capt. Miller
gets the assignment, and he chooses a translator, Cpl. Upham (Jeremy Davis), skilled in
language but not in combat, to join his squad of right-hand man Sgt. Horvath (Tom
Sizemore), plus privates Mellish (Adam Goldberg), Medic Wade (Giovanni Ribisi), cynical
Reiben (Edward Burns) from Brooklyn, Italian-American Caparzo (Vin Diesel), and
religious Southerner Jackson (Barry Pepper), an ace sharpshooter who calls on the Lord
while taking aim. Having previously experienced action in Italy and North Africa, the
close-knit squad sets out through areas still thick with Nazis. After they lose one man
in a skirmish at a bombed village, some in the group begin to question the logic of
losing more lives to save a single soldier. The film's historical consultant is Stephen
E. Ambrose, and the incident is based on a true occurance in Ambrose's 1994 bestseller
D-Day: June 6, 1944.
The fortunes of a family of Hungarian Jews are followed over the course of nearly 150 years in this epic historical drama, with leading man Ralph Fiennes playing three different roles. The story begins in the late 18th century, as Aaron and Josefa Sonnenschein (the name means "Sunshine" in German) die in an explosion while making an herb tonic for sale in their village. Their son Emmanuel (David de Keyser), the only survivor of the tragedy, travels to Budapest, carrying the recipe for the medicine with him. He's able to parlay the formula into a successful business, and Emmanuel and his wife Rose (Miriam Margolyes) raise two sons, Ignatz (Ralph Fiennes), who becomes a successful lawyer, and hot-tempered Gustave (James Frain). The Sonnenscheins also make room in their home for Valerie (Jennifer Ehle), but Emmanuel and Rose become furious when Valerie becomes romantically involved with Ignatz. Eventually, Valerie and Ignatz raise two children, Istvan (Mark Strong) and Adam (Ralph Fiennes), and the family changes its name to Sors in hopes of avoiding the anti-Semitism sweeping Europe. In time, Adam goes so far as to convert to Catholicism, and he marries another Catholic, Hannah (Molly Parker). He soon begins an affair with his brother's wife, Greta (Rachel Weisz), who is unable to persuade Adam to leave as the Nazis rise to power. Adam and Hannah have only one son, Ivan, who is fated to watch his father die in a concentration camp; as Ivan grows to adulthood (now played by Ralph Fiennes), he swears revenge on the forces of fascism and embraces Communism. Ivan throws in his lot with Communist leader Andor Knorr (William Hurt), but a liaison with the wife of a party official (Deborah Kara Unger) leads Ivan to tragic consequences and a jail term. In time, Valarie and Gustave are reunited at the family's estate as the only two members of the Sonnenschein clan who survive to witness the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. Hungarian director Istvan Szabo co-wrote Sunshine's original screenplay in collaboration with American playwright Israel Horovitz.
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