Schindler's List (1993)

R | 185 mins | Drama | 15 December 1993

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HISTORY

According to a 6 Feb 1994 LAT item, in the early 1970s, writer Howard Koch wrote a screenplay for MGM based on the life of Oskar Schindler, a Nazi war profiteer who saved the lives of roughly 1,100 Jews. When Thomas Keneally’s novel, Schindler’s List, was published in 1982, MCA chairman Sidney Sheinberg sought film rights, with the hope that Steven Spielberg would direct a film adaptation for MCA’s Universal Pictures, as noted in a 24 Nov 1982 NYT item. However, according to the 17 Dec 1982 Publishers Weekly, MGM still owned film rights to Schindler’s basic story. The deal between Universal and Keneally was held up until Universal bought back MGM’s rights for an undisclosed amount, as noted in a Jan 1983 Publishers Weekly item. The studio then optioned Keneally’s novel for $500,000—two-thirds of which went to the Schindler Organization for surviving “Schindler Jews.”
       A rival $2-million Oskar Schindler project was rumored to be in development at Cannon Pictures sometime in the late 1980s, but never came to fruition.
       Steven Spielberg did not officially sign on to direct until 1992, according to a 24 Aug 1992 HR item. In the meantime, as noted in the 23 Dec 1989 Screen International, Spielberg considered producing with Martin Scorsese on board to direct. On 13 Aug 1990, a People magazine item reported that Spielberg had recently conducted a table reading of Steven Zaillian’s script, with Warren Beatty reading the part of “Oskar Schindler.” Beatty was considered for the role, as was Daniel Day-Lewis, according to a 9 Jun 1992 DV brief. Liam ... More Less

According to a 6 Feb 1994 LAT item, in the early 1970s, writer Howard Koch wrote a screenplay for MGM based on the life of Oskar Schindler, a Nazi war profiteer who saved the lives of roughly 1,100 Jews. When Thomas Keneally’s novel, Schindler’s List, was published in 1982, MCA chairman Sidney Sheinberg sought film rights, with the hope that Steven Spielberg would direct a film adaptation for MCA’s Universal Pictures, as noted in a 24 Nov 1982 NYT item. However, according to the 17 Dec 1982 Publishers Weekly, MGM still owned film rights to Schindler’s basic story. The deal between Universal and Keneally was held up until Universal bought back MGM’s rights for an undisclosed amount, as noted in a Jan 1983 Publishers Weekly item. The studio then optioned Keneally’s novel for $500,000—two-thirds of which went to the Schindler Organization for surviving “Schindler Jews.”
       A rival $2-million Oskar Schindler project was rumored to be in development at Cannon Pictures sometime in the late 1980s, but never came to fruition.
       Steven Spielberg did not officially sign on to direct until 1992, according to a 24 Aug 1992 HR item. In the meantime, as noted in the 23 Dec 1989 Screen International, Spielberg considered producing with Martin Scorsese on board to direct. On 13 Aug 1990, a People magazine item reported that Spielberg had recently conducted a table reading of Steven Zaillian’s script, with Warren Beatty reading the part of “Oskar Schindler.” Beatty was considered for the role, as was Daniel Day-Lewis, according to a 9 Jun 1992 DV brief. Liam Neeson’s casting as Schindler was announced in the 13 Jan 1993 HR.
       A 4 Mar 1995 TV Guide item stated that actress Claire Danes was offered a role, but declined when she could not arrange for an on-set tutor in Poland.
       The 24 Aug 1992 HR announced that filming on the $22-$24 million picture would begin in Feb 1993, roughly one month after Spielberg wrapped principal photography on Jurassic Park (1993, see entry). Shooting was slightly delayed, with principal photography beginning on 1 Mar 1993 in Krakow, Poland, according to production notes in AMPAS library files. Krakow was one of the few Polish cities spared devastation in World War II; thus, many original locations were used, including Oskar Schindler’s enamelware factory and apartment building, the Church of St. Mary’s, Rynek Glowny market square, Krakow Glowny train station, streets and buildings in the Stare Miasto district, and Niepolomice, which doubled as Brinnlitz, Czechoslovakia. A replica of the Plaszow labor camp was built according to original plans for the camp, within one mile of the original site. The set included thirty-four barracks, seven watchtowers, and a copy of Amon Goeth’s villa. Two days of filming took place outside Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Oswiecim, Poland. Although Spielberg initially planned to shoot inside the camp, the World Jewish Congress protested, as noted in the 17 Jan 1993 NYT and 3 Feb 1993 HR, fearing that filming might “lead to a pattern of desecration.” Spielberg compromised by shooting just outside the camp, at a replica of the train tracks leading into Auschwitz.
       Principal photography was completed four days ahead of schedule, after seventy-two days of filming.
       According to an article in the 28 Dec 1993 LAT, Spielberg’s main requirement for the thousands of extras needed was that they look like Sephardic Jews of Eastern European descent; however, most of them turned out to be Polish Catholics, not Jews. Due to a poor economy, Poles were eager to work on the film at a rate of $22 U.S. dollars per day, with hot meals (soup, kielbasa, and bread) cooked by the Polish Army. Some received extra pay to appear naked, while others sold 1940s period clothing to the wardrobe department. On some particularly cold nights, when regular extras did not show up, producer and unit production manager Branko Lustig recruited others from homeless shelters. In addition to maintaining strict diets to keep their weight down, some extras struggled with the harrowing subject matter. During the filming of a shower scene set at Auschwitz, one Israeli woman who had been born in a concentration camp became so overwhelmed with grief that she had to leave the set.
       Color schemes used by production designer Allan Starski and costume designer Anna Biedrzycka-Sheppard were determined according to color values as they appeared in black-and-white. The color green was ruled out, for instance, because it did not look good on black-and-white film stock. Wall colors and clothing had to sufficiently contrast each other and the actors’ skin tones.
       A 20 Dec 1993 DV item noted that holocaust survivors presented Steven Spielberg with a ring like the one Schindler Jews made for Oskar Schindler, inscribed with a Hebrew saying that translates to, “He who saves one life saves the world entire.” In turn, Spielberg gave copies of the ring to several of his collaborators, including Sidney Sheinberg and Lew Wasserman.
       On 30 Nov 1993, Oskar Schindler’s widow, Emilie Schindler, was presented with a commemorative medal by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, in Washington, D.C. That night, the Washington, D.C. premiere was attended by Spielberg, and MCA-Universal executives Wasserman, Sheinberg, and Tom Pollock, among others. A Los Angeles, CA, benefit premiere followed on 9 Dec 1993 at the Cineplex Odeon in Century City, with proceeds going to the Oskar Schindler Humanities Foundation and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
       The film was slated to open in twelve-to-fifteen markets on 15 Dec 1993, as noted in the 4 Oct 1993 HR. The initial markets included New York City; Los Angeles; Toronto, Canada; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco and San Jose, CA; Chicago, IL; Miami and West Palm Beach, FL; Boston, MA; Philadelphia, PA; Seattle, WA; and Dallas, TX. By late Jan 1994, the release was set to widen to 200 theaters. Universal’s “low-key” promotional campaign and “slow roll-out distribution pattern,” determined by the film’s sensitive subject matter, targeted intelligent moviegoers aged twenty-five and up, as noted in the 22 Nov 1993 LAT.
       After it had been released on home video, the film was reissued in fifty-five theaters on 23 Sep 1994, as noted in a 22 Sep 1994 LAT item.
       By Sep 1994, an estimated one million students had viewed the film for free through various educational programs. A 24 Mar 1994 DV news item stated that Universal Pictures had partnered with theater owners and the California Department of Education to create the Schindler’s List Project, which offered free screenings to high school students. Similar screenings were arranged in Vienna, Austria, through a project announced by Mayor Helmut Zilk, as noted in a 21 Mar 1994 LAT brief. Castlemont High School in Oakland, CA, made headlines when sixty-nine of its students were thrown out of an educational screening for laughing at scenes depicting Nazi atrocities, as stated in a 27 Jan 1994 LAT brief. A spokesperson for Spielberg said the director did not blame the teenagers for their “desensitization to violence.” On 11 Apr 1994, Spielberg visited Castlemont High School and received a standing ovation after speaking to the student body about the Holocaust and intolerance, according to the 12 Apr 1994 LAT.
       On 6 Jan 1994, in a San Diego, CA, movie theater, moviegoer James Kirby shot a woman during a screening of Schindler’s List. Kirby reportedly told police investigators he was trying to “test God” and wanted to protect Jews from danger, as noted in an 8 Feb 1994 LAT item, before pleading guilty. The shooting victim suffered a partially collapsed lung.
       Steven Spielberg turned down an invitation to the Berlin Film Festival, which offered to showcase Schindler’s List on a “special platform,” according to a 7 Feb 1994 DV brief. The much-anticipated German release was preceded by a 1 Mar 1994 benefit premiere at the Frankfurt Opera House. German President Richard von Weizaecker attended the premiere, as did Spielberg, according to the 1 Mar 1994 LAT. Weizaecker’s aide stated the film was “another opportunity for Germans to be confronted with our own history and the history of Europe.” London, England-based United International Pictures (UIP) planned to expand the German release to 200 theaters in the first week.
       The film was a global commercial success, although, as noted in the 7 Apr 1994 NYT, R several Arab and Islamic countries, including Jordan, Lebanon, and Malaysia, banned it. Citing nudity, the Philippines and Thailand also initially banned the film, but reversed their decisions when Spielberg refused to make cuts, according to items in the 7 Mar 1994 and 14 May 1994 LAT. A 3 Jun 1994 DV brief listed the cumulative domestic box-office gross as $92,852,228, and overseas box-office gross as $200,774,374, to that time.
       Schindler’s List was deemed 1993’s “most critically acclaimed” picture in the 17 Feb 1994 LAT. Its numerous accolades included Academy Awards for the following: Directing; Film Editing; Cinematography; Art Direction; Music (Original Score); Writing (Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published); and Best Picture. It was also nominated for Academy Awards in the categories of Sound; Makeup; Costume Design; Actor in a Supporting Role (Ralph Fiennes); and Actor in a Leading Role (Liam Neeson). In 2007, Schindler’s List was ranked #8 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies – 10th Anniversary Edition list of the 100 greatest American films of all time, up from the ninth position it originally held on AFI’s 1998 100 Years…100 Movies list. The film was also ranked #3 on AFI’s 2006 100 Years…100 Cheers list of the most inspiring American films; and Oskar Schindler was ranked #13 on AFI’s 2003 100 Years…100 Heroes & Villains list. As noted in a 5 May 1994 LAT item, Spielberg received a commendation from the U.S. Department of Defense, for, as stated by Defense Secretary William Perry, “harnessing the power of motion pictures to focus on a time we must never, never forget.” The director also received an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. As noted in a 10 Jan 1994 LAT item, Steven Zaillian received his second University of Southern California (USC) Scripter Award, after winning for Awakenings (1990, see entry), and was honored along with Thomas Keneally on 29 Jan 1994.
       Spielberg used profits from the film to start the Righteous Persons Foundation. Among other things, the foundation donated $1.6 million to Brandeis University to “help Jewish teens connect with their heritage,” according to a 5 Jan 1996 HR brief.
       A 1 Feb 1994 HR “Rambling Reporter” column stated that problems arose with black-and-white film prints. Within the first few weeks of release, Universal received dozens of complaints from viewers across the U.S., who claimed the prints they viewed were out of focus, scratched, and appeared to contain holes. A 20 Dec 1993 LAT item also listed “jumping frames” and “shutter flutter” as problems that arose in early screenings. Universal sent a letter with specific handling instructions to the first twenty-five theaters showing the film, but suspected some projectionists ignored the instructions. Thinner than color stock with three layers of photographic emulsion, single-layer, black-and-white stock did not easily glide through modern projectors, geared specifically for color films. To avoid such problems, Technicolor reportedly ran tests to print the film on color stock instead of black-and-white, but Spielberg rejected the idea. According to an 11 Jan 1994 DV item, Deluxe Labs in New York City was the only laboratory in the U.S. capable of printing black-and-white film on black-and-white stock on a large scale, and because several colored sequences had to be manually inserted, the laboratory could only produce 100 prints of Schindler’s List per week.
       As noted in a 10 Feb 1994 DV item, Emilie Schindler received an undisclosed percentage of the proceeds. She initially responded positively to the film, in which she appears in the final scene, describing it as “pure truth.” However, an 8 Oct 2001 NYT obituary claimed Mrs. Schindler thought the filmmakers minimized her role in keeping the Schindler Jews alive.
       A 6 Dec 1994 LAT item stated that the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) paid $50-million for early broadcast rights to Schindler’s List and Jurassic Park. The deal included two airings of Schindler’s List.
       The following title cards are interspersed throughout the film: “September 1939, the German forces defeated the Polish army in two weeks. Jews were ordered to register all family members and relocate to major cities. More than 10,000 Jews from the countryside arrive in Krakow daily”; “The Judenrat: The Jewish council comprised of 24 elected Jews personally responsible for carrying out the orders of the regime in Krakow, such as drawing up lists for work details, food and housing. A place to lodge complaints”; “March 20, 1941: Deadline for entering the ghetto”; “Edit 44/91 establishes a closed Jewish district south of the Vistula River. Residency in the walled ghetto is compulsory. All Jews from Krakow and surrounding areas are forced from their homes and required to crowd into an area of only sixteen square blocks”; “‘Jewish Town’ Krakow ghetto winter ’42”; “Untersturmführer Amon Goeth”; “Plaszow forced labor camp under construction”; “Liquidation of the ghetto, March 13, 1943”; “Metalworks factory inside Plaszow forced labor camp”; “Department D orders Goeth to exhume and incinerate the bodies of more than 10,000 Jews killed at Plaszow and the Krakow Ghetto massacre”; “Zwittau-Brinnlitz, Czechoslovakia, Oskar Schindler’s hometown”; “Auschwitz”; “For the seven months it was fully operational, Schindler’s Brinnlitz munitions factory was a model of non-production. During this same period, he spent millions of Reichmarks to sustain his workers and bribe Reich officials.” The film concludes with the following title cards: “Amon Goeth was arrested while a patient in a sanatorium at Bad Tolz. He was hanged in Krakow for crimes against humanity”; “Oskar Schindler failed at his marriage and several businesses after the war”; “In 1958, he was declared a righteous person by the council of the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, and invited to plant a tree in the Avenue of the Righteous. It grows there still.” The final scene shows surviving “Schindler Jews” visiting Schindler’s grave, and identifies them as: Janek Dresner, Danka Dresner, Mordeci Wulkan, Ryszard Horowitz, Niusia Horowitz (little girl kissed at Schindler’s birthday), Joseph and Rebeka Bau, Olek Rosner, Manci Rosner, Henry Rosner, Leopold Rosner and his wife Helen, Mila Pfefferberg, Leopold Pfefferberg, Mrs. Itzhak Stern, and Helen Hirsch. Mrs. Emilie Schindler is also shown, and the final title cards read: “There are fewer than four thousand Jews left alive in Poland today. There are more than six thousand descendants of the Schindler Jews. In memory of the more than six million Jews murdered.”
       Actor Georges Kern’s name is misspelled “Goerges Kern.” End credits include the acknowledgments: “Filmed in Krakow, Poland”; “The producers wish to thank the following: Waldemar Dombrowski, Włodzimierz Sztejn, Jewish Tradition; The mayor of Krakow and the people of Poland; The Simon Wiesenthal Center; Technical Museum, Republic of Slovenia; Alef-Judaica, Los Angeles; Maciej Skalski; Facilities provided by Kompas-Hertz Lubliana; Yves Albiez – Senator Travel; Andrzej Wajda”; and, “For Steve Ross.” Ross, as noted in the 13 Jun 1993 NYT, was the chairman of Time Warner and a good friend of Spielberg’s who died in 1992. Spielberg modeled some of Oskar Schindler’s mannerisms after Ross, and shared home videos of Ross with Liam Neeson, who incorporated his gestures into his performance.
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
9 Jun 1992.
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Daily Variety
30 Nov 1993.
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Daily Variety
8 Dec 1993.
---
Daily Variety
20 Dec 1993.
---
Daily Variety
11 Jan 1994.
---
Daily Variety
7 Feb 1994.
---
Daily Variety
10 Feb 1994.
---
Daily Variety
24 Mar 1994.
---
Daily Variety
3 Jun 1994.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jan 1993
p. 1, 47.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Feb 1993
p. 3, 41.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Oct 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 1994.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 1994.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Mar 1994.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jan 1996.
---
Los Angeles Times
27 Jan 1993
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
15 Feb 1993
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
22 Nov 1993
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
15 Dec 1993
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
17 Dec 1993
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
20 Dec 1993
Calendar, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
28 Dec 1993
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
7 Jan 1994
Section A, p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
10 Jan 1994
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
10 Jan 1994
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
27 Jan 1994
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
30 Jan 1994
Calendar, p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
6 Feb 1994
Calendar, p. 22.
Los Angeles Times
8 Feb 1994
Section A, p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
11 Feb 1994
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
17 Feb 1994
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
1 Mar 1994
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
7 Mar 1994
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
21 Mar 1994.
---
Los Angeles Times
24 Mar 1994
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
12 Apr 1994
Section A, p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
5 May 1994
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
14 May 1994
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
25 May 1994
Section A, p. 20.
Los Angeles Times
22 Sep 1994
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
6 Dec 1994
Calendar, p. 2.
New York Times
24 Nov 1982
Section C, p. 18.
New York Times
17 Jan 1993
Section A, p. 25.
New York Times
13 Jun 1993
Section A, p. 15.
New York Times
15 Dec 1993
Section III, p. 19.
New York Times
20 Dec 1993
Section C, p. 16.
New York Times
7 Apr 1994
Section C, p. 15.
New York Times
8 Oct 2001
Section F, p. 6.
People
13 Aug 1990.
---
Publishers Weekly
17 Dec 1982.
---
Publishers Weekly
Jan 1983.
---
Screen International
23 Dec 1989.
---
TV Guide
4 Mar 1995.
---
Variety
13 Dec 1993
p. 36.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Plaszow SS guards:
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PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Universal Pictures presents
An Amblin Entertainment Production
A Film by Steven Spielberg
From Amblin Entertainment
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Prod mgr, Heritage Films, Poland
Unit prod mgr, Heritage Films, Poland
Prod mgr, Croatia
Prod mgr, Israel
1st asst dir
1st asst dir, Heritage Films, Poland
2d asst dir
2d asst dir, Heritage Films, Poland
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op, United States
1st asst cam, United States
1st asst cam, United States
2d asst cam, United States
Cam asst, Croatia
Still photog, United States
Gaffer, United States
Elec best boy, United States
Rigging best boy, United States
Key grip, United States
Dolly grip, United States
Rigging grip, United States
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir, Heritage Films, Poland
Art dir, Heritage Films, Poland
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed, United States
Asst ed, United States
Asst ed, United States
Asst ed, United States
Negative cutter, United States
SET DECORATORS
Prop master, United States
Prop master, United States
Prop master, Heritage Films, Poland
Set dec, Heritage Films, Poland
Set dresser, Heritage Films, Poland
Set dresser, Heritage Films, Poland
Set dresser, Heritage Films, Poland
Const coord, Heritage Films, Poland
Const coord, Heritage Films, Poland
COSTUMES
Asst cost des, Heritage Films, Poland
Asst cost des, Heritage Films, Poland
Asst cost des, Heritage Films, Poland
Asst cost des, Heritage Films, Poland
MUSIC
Violin solos by
Mus ed, United States
Mr. Perlman accompanied by members of, United Stat
Clarinet solo performed by, United States
Mus contractor, United States
Mus preparation, United States
Orch, United States
Mus scoring mixer, United States
Scoring rec, United States
Scoring rec, United States
SOUND
Prod sd mixer, United States
Prod sd mixer, United States
Supv sd ed, United States
Supv sd ed, United States
ADR supv, United States
Re-rec mixer, United States
Re-rec mixer, United States
Re-rec mixer, United States
Re-rec, United States
Re-rec, United States
Sd ed, United States
Sd ed, United States
Sd ed, United States
Sd ed, United States
Sd ed, United States
Sd ed, United States
Sd ed, United States
Sd ed, United States
Sd ed, United States
Sd ed, United States
Sd ed, United States
ADR ed, United States
ADR ed, United States
Asst sd ed, United States
Asst sd ed, United States
Asst sd ed, United States
ADR asst, United States
ADR asst, United States
Processed sd eff, United States
Foley artist, United States
Foley artist, United States
Foley artist, United States
Foley artist, United States
Foley mixer, United States
Foley mixer, United States
Foley rec, United States
Foley rec, United States
Sd boom op, Croatia
U. K. voice casting
ADR mixer, England
ADR rec, England
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord, United States
Titles and opticals by, United States
Spec eff, Croatia
Spec eff, Croatia
Spec eff, Croatia
Visual eff supv, Industrial Light & Magic
Prod, Industrial Light & Magic
Scanning supv, Industrial Light & Magic
Opt supv, Industrial Light & Magic
Ed, Industrial Light & Magic
Coord, Industrial Light & Magic
Sr staff, Industrial Light & Magic
Sr staff, Industrial Light & Magic
Sr staff, Industrial Light & Magic
Sr staff, Industrial Light & Magic
Digital artist, Industrial Light & Magic
Digital artist, Industrial Light & Magic
Digital artist, Industrial Light & Magic
Digital artist, Industrial Light & Magic
Digital artist, Industrial Light & Magic
Digital artist, Industrial Light & Magic
Digital artist, Industrial Light & Magic
Scanning op, Industrial Light & Magic
Scanning op, Industrial Light & Magic
Scanning op, Industrial Light & Magic
Asst ed, Industrial Light & Magic
Negative cutter, Industrial Light & Magic
Opt processing, Industrial Light & Magic
MAKEUP
Make-up supv, United States
Hair supv, United States
Addl make-up, United States
Make-up artist, Heritage Films, Poland
Hair stylist, Heritage Films, Poland
Hair stylist, Heritage Films, Poland
Hair stylist, Heritage Films, Poland
Hair stylist, Heritage Films, Poland
Make-up, England
Make-up, England
Hair, England
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting
Casting
Extras casting, Heritage Films, Poland
Extras casting, Heritage Films, Poland
Prod assoc
Consultant
Unit pub, United States
Prod coord, United States
Prod coord, United States
Prod controller, United States
Prod accountant, United States
Asst accountant, United States
Asst accountant, United States
Asst to Mr. Spielberg, United States
Asst to Mr. Molen, United States
Asst to Mr. Molen, United States
Prod asst, United States
Prod asst, United States
Prod asst, United States
Intern, United States
Intern, United States
Intern, United States
Intern, United States
Projectionist, United States
Post prod supv, United States
Post prod coord, United States
Loc mgr, Heritage Films, Poland
Asst loc mgr, Heritage Films, Poland
Prod consultant, Heritage Films, Polan
Prod coord, Heritage Films, Poland
Prod asst, Heritage Films, Poland
Prod asst, Heritage Films, Poland
Prod asst, Heritage Films, Poland
Prod asst, Heritage Films, Poland
Interpreter, Heritage Films, Poland
Asst to Mr. Lustig, Heritage Films, Poland
Secy to Mr. Rywin, Heritage Films, Poland
Prod secy, Heritage Films, Poland
Barber, Heritage Films, Poland
Transportation mgr, Heritage Films, Poland
Picture vehicle coord, Heritage Films, Poland
Prod supv, Croatia
Scr supv, Croatia
Caterer, Croatia
Caterer, Croatia
Facilities, Croatia
Facilities, Croatia
Facilities, Croatia
Dialect supv, Germany
Prod office coord, Austria
Asst prod office coord, Austria
Prod supv, Israel
Prod coord, Israel
Prod coord, Israel
Processing by
Black & white film
STAND INS
Stunt coord, Heritage Films, Poland
COLOR PERSONNEL
Lab timer, United States
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally (New York and London, 1982).
MUSIC
"La Capricieuse Opus 17," composed by Edward Elgar, arranged by Jascha Heifetz, performed by Itzhak Perlman on violin and Sam Sanders on piano, courtesy of EMI Classics, under license from CEMA Special Markets
SONGS
"Mamatchi" ("Mommy Buy Me a Pony"), written by Oskar Schima and F. X. Kappus, performed by Mim Thoma, courtesy of The RCA Records Label of BMG Music
"God Bless the Child," written by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog, Jr., performed by Billie Holiday, courtesy of MCA Records
"Die Holzauktion," written by Otto Teich, performed by Rudi Scherfling with the Egon Kaiser Orchestra, courtesy of BMG Ariola Muenchen GmbH
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SONGS
"Mamatchi" ("Mommy Buy Me a Pony"), written by Oskar Schima and F. X. Kappus, performed by Mim Thoma, courtesy of The RCA Records Label of BMG Music
"God Bless the Child," written by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog, Jr., performed by Billie Holiday, courtesy of MCA Records
"Die Holzauktion," written by Otto Teich, performed by Rudi Scherfling with the Egon Kaiser Orchestra, courtesy of BMG Ariola Muenchen GmbH
"Gute Nacht Mutter," composed by Werner Bochmann, text by Erwin Lehnow, arranged by Werner Eisbrenner for Electrola, performed by Wilhem Strienz and FFB Orchestra, conducted by Werner Eisbrenner, courtesy of EMI Classics, under license from CEMA Special Markets.
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DETAILS
Release Date:
15 December 1993
Premiere Information:
Washington, D.C. premiere: 30 November 1993
Los Angeles premiere: 9 December 1993
Los Angeles and New York openings: 15 December 1993
Production Date:
1 March--late May 1993
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 February 1994
Copyright Number:
PA659866
Physical Properties:
Sound
DTS in selected theatres
Black & white with color sequences
Lenses/Prints
Filmed with ARRIFLEX cameras & lenses; Prints by Deluxe®
Duration(in mins):
185
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32781
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In September 1939, at the onset of World War II, German entrepreneur and Nazi party member Oskar Schindler goes to Krakow, Poland, where tens of thousands of Polish Jews have been forced to relocate under German occupation. Schindler wants to open a ceramics factory but lacks the necessary capital. He asks Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern to help him recruit Jewish investors, who would go unnamed, as Jews are no longer allowed to own businesses. Stern rejects the idea. However, in March 1941, when Krakow Jews are forced out of their homes and into a sixteen-block walled ghetto, Stern reconsiders. He recruits investors, who initially balk at Schindler’s offer to repay them in ceramic goods, but agree to invest when Schindler convinces them their money will be of no value in the ghetto. Itzhak Stern recruits Jewish workers for Schindler’s factory. Because it is located outside the ghetto, the workers must be deemed “essential” and receive blue cards to allow them to come and go. Stern helps some elderly and handicapped Jews get hired by forging paperwork to prove they are essential. Schindler reprimands him for this practice, but does not fire anyone. He establishes contracts with the German army, and the business gets off to a strong start. Schindler’s estranged wife, Emilie, arrives, and is not surprised when she finds her husband with another woman. Schindler brags to Emilie that he has finally achieved success, and is proud to be a war profiteer. They briefly reunite, but when Emilie offers to stay, if he promises to be faithful, Schindler sends her away. One day, he gets word that Stern has been sent to a concentration camp. He rushes ... +


In September 1939, at the onset of World War II, German entrepreneur and Nazi party member Oskar Schindler goes to Krakow, Poland, where tens of thousands of Polish Jews have been forced to relocate under German occupation. Schindler wants to open a ceramics factory but lacks the necessary capital. He asks Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern to help him recruit Jewish investors, who would go unnamed, as Jews are no longer allowed to own businesses. Stern rejects the idea. However, in March 1941, when Krakow Jews are forced out of their homes and into a sixteen-block walled ghetto, Stern reconsiders. He recruits investors, who initially balk at Schindler’s offer to repay them in ceramic goods, but agree to invest when Schindler convinces them their money will be of no value in the ghetto. Itzhak Stern recruits Jewish workers for Schindler’s factory. Because it is located outside the ghetto, the workers must be deemed “essential” and receive blue cards to allow them to come and go. Stern helps some elderly and handicapped Jews get hired by forging paperwork to prove they are essential. Schindler reprimands him for this practice, but does not fire anyone. He establishes contracts with the German army, and the business gets off to a strong start. Schindler’s estranged wife, Emilie, arrives, and is not surprised when she finds her husband with another woman. Schindler brags to Emilie that he has finally achieved success, and is proud to be a war profiteer. They briefly reunite, but when Emilie offers to stay, if he promises to be faithful, Schindler sends her away. One day, he gets word that Stern has been sent to a concentration camp. He rushes to the train station, threatens the Nazi officers, and retrieves Stern, who apologizes, explaining he accidentally left home without his work card. The exasperated Schindler wonders what would have happened if he had not made it to the station in time. In the winter of 1942, Krakow Jews struggle to withstand the demoralizing conditions of the ghetto. Austrian Schutzstaffel (SS) officer Amon Goeth arrives in Krakow to oversee the building of the Plaszow forced labor camp, and establishes himself as a ruthless killer when he shoots a Jewish engineer for being too argumentative. In March 1943, Krakow Jews are again forced to relocate to Plaszow. Their “liquidation” from the ghetto results in mass bloodshed, as Nazi guards gun down anyone who attempts to hide or flee. Schindler observes the atrocity, and is struck by a young Jewish girl in a red coat, moving alone through the chaotic streets. In the ghetto’s infirmary, a Jewish doctor and nurse administer a fatal dose of medicine to patients just before SS officers burst in and shoot them in their hospital beds. At Plaszow, Goeth amuses himself by shooting slow-moving or resting workers with a sniper rifle. When Schindler’s workers fail to report to the factory, he goes to Plaszow to inquire about their whereabouts, and must ingratiate himself with Goeth to allow for their release. Word spreads that Schindler is a benevolent boss. Regina Perlman, a young Jewish woman living in Krakow under a false identity, begs Schindler to hire her parents. Schindler again reprimands Itzhak Stern for his charitable hiring practices. He defends Goeth as someone who is under tremendous pressure, who would not normally act like a tyrant. Stern relays a story about Goeth executing prisoners at random, and urges Schindler to fight against Goeth’s brutality. Schindler relents and hires Regina Perlman’s parents. The next time he visits Goeth, Schindler pulls aside his Jewish housemaid, Helen Hirsch, who recalls Goeth beating her on the first day of work, and predicts he will someday kill her. Upstairs, Schindler tells the drunken Goeth that true power is refraining from killing someone when you have every reason to do it. The next day, Goeth experiments with showing mercy toward the Jewish prisoners, but quickly gives up and kills his houseboy for failing to properly clean his bathtub. Later, Goeth paces in Helen’s quarters, struggling to restrain himself despite his strong attraction to her. Finally, instead of kissing her, he beats her. In the women’s barracks, a female prisoner shares a rumor that at some camps, Jewish prisoners are lured into gas chambers disguised as showers and killed en masse. Others cannot believe it, and laugh it off as impossible. With an incoming shipment of Hungarian Jews arriving at Plaszow, German doctors are called to determine which existing workers can stay, and who must be sent to concentration camps. Children are loaded into trucks and driven out of the camp, as their parents chase after them in desperation. Schindler goes to the train station, where departing Jews are packed into unventilated train compartments. He suggests hosing them down as a prank, but Goeth realizes Schindler is doing it out of pity, to keep them from overheating. Soon, Schindler is arrested for kissing a Jewish worker who presented him with a birthday cake. Goeth negotiates his release. In April 1944, a Nazi edict requires that buried Jewish bodies be exhumed and burned. Plaszow workers are tasked with digging up the dead bodies. Goeth tells Schindler that the “party is over,” and everyone will soon be sent to Auschwitz. Schindler concocts a plan to start a new factory in his hometown of Zwittau-Brinnlitz, Czechoslovakia. He uses all his money and belongings to bribe SS officials, including Goeth, to allow over 1,000 of his workers, named on a list, to be transferred to the new factory. He wants to add Helen Hirsch to the list, but Goeth plans to shoot her. Schindler entices him to wager Helen in a card game, and Goeth loses, allowing Schindler to rescue her. Although Schindler’s male workers arrive in Zwittau-Brinnlitz, the women are diverted to Auschwitz, due to an alleged clerical error. There, their hair is cut off and they are forced to shower in a large room that they fear is a gas chamber. Schindler goes to Auschwitz and uses diamonds to negotiate their release. SS officers try to steal his child employees, but Schindler insists he needs their small fingers to polish shell casings. Back in Zwittau-Brinnlitz, Schindler forbids SS guards from shooting any of his workers, or carrying guns on the factory floor. He reunites with his wife, Emilie, and promises to be faithful to her. When Stern warns Schindler that the company’s new artillery shells are failing tests, the satisfied Schindler vows never to produce working artillery. The workers are allowed to resume observing the Sabbath, despite the SS guards’ dismay. Just as Schindler and the factory run out of money, Germans surrender to Allied forces, bringing an end to World War II. Schindler makes an announcement to his workers and the SS guards that he is a war criminal and will flee that night. He urges the guards, who have received orders to kill all the Jews at the factory, to return home as men instead of murderers. The guards reluctantly leave. Schindler observes three minutes of silence for the Jewish victims of the war. One of the workers allows three of his gold teeth to be pulled, to fabricate a gold ring as a parting gift for Schindler. At midnight, they present him with the ring, engraved with a Hebrew saying that states, “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.” Stern credits Schindler with saving 1,100 people. Schindler breaks down in tears, disappointed in himself for not saving more. He dons a concentration camp uniform, and flees with Emilie. The next day, a soldier arrives to tell the workers that they have been liberated, but discourages them from going back to Poland. He points them in the direction of the nearest town, where they walk to find food. In time, Goeth is arrested at a sanitarium and hanged for war crimes. Schindler’s marriage and subsequent business ventures fail. In 1958, he is named a “righteous person” by the council of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel. The descendants of the Jews he saved eventually outnumber all the Jews in Poland. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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