Do you know anything about The Holocaust? Or, are you still unknown about this genocide that happened during World War II?
Well, the Holocaust occurred during 1941-1945 in Europe. It was the systematic murder of Jews and minorities organized by Nazi Germany—and their counterpart nations. The German-led authorities created extermination camps, gas chambers, and mass shooting programs. Around six million Jews were killed, many were brutally tortured, and forced to leave their home.
If you want to learn more about The Holocaust, there are many articles, novels, and movies on the internet. The easiest way to discover/learn things is through watching movies. That’s why here are the five best Holocaust movies:
[Disclaimer: The list is solely written by researching the reviews, and IMDb score, the reader’s disagreement is welcomed.]
5. The Reader (2008) – IMDb 7.6
This romantic-drama film directed by Stephen Daldry is based upon the novel of the same name—The Reader, written by German author Bernard Schlink. The movie stars Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, David Kross, and it revolves around only two characters: Hanna Schmitz and Michael Berg.
Michael Berg, a 15-year old boy, who is infected with scarlet fever, vomits nearby an apartment while returning from school. He gets help from a 36-year old woman, Hanna Schmitz, who works in a tram. The story moves when the boy comes to visit the woman’s apartment bringing flowers. After that, Hanna seduces Michael, and they fall in love. Hanna likes Michael reading books, they often have sex together.
Hanna leaves Micheal and goes away. After many years, Michael finds Hanna and others accused of being SS guard in the concentration camp. Other defendants plot a conspiracy against Hanna. Being illiterate, she defies the handwriting test, so she gets charged for murders.
The movie was nominated for five categories in Academy Awards. Kate Winslet won Best Actress for her performance.
4. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008) – IMDb 7.8
This Holocaust drama film is basically known for the representation of the Holocaust through children’s eyes. The film revolves around two young 8-year-old boys who become friends without knowing their reality.
Young Bruno is a son of the Nazi commander, who is in charge of the main office of the Nazi extermination camp. Bruno’s father takes Pavel (Jew) in his home. Being curious, Bruno talks with him, he thinks that he is from the garden and his dress is pajama.
Bruno gets bored to stay in his home, he decides to explore the area. He sees smoke coming from far away when he observes the area he finds bad smell coming from the chimney. He decides to go near the chimney, where he finds a boy Shmuel. He begins to talk and play with him. He develops a friendship with him.
At the end of the film, both Bruno and Shmuel, being unknown, enter the gas chamber, and die. This leads to a tragic end for his father, who himself organized the extermination.
3. The Pianist (2002) – IMDb 8.5
The film stars Academy Award winner Adrien Brody as (Wladyslaw Szpilman) the pianist who works for the radio in Warsaw. The film is directed by Roman Polanski. It is based upon a Holocaust memoir by a Jewish-Polish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman.
The plot starts through the invasion of Germany in Poland in September 1939. A bomb explodes in Warsaw radio station. After that, he loses his job and begins searching for a new job. Eventually, he is forced to leave Warsaw with his family. He stays in Warsaw Ghetto, but after some time left for concentration camps.
But his friend, a Jewish police officer, working as Jewish Ghetto Police, warns him to run away. He gets separated from his family and hides in Warsaw with the help of his non-Jewish friends. At last, he survives the war.
The film won three Academy Awards including best actor and director.
2. Life is Beautiful (1997) – IMDb 8.6
Life is Beautiful is an Italian comedy-drama film directed by Roberto Benigni. He himself starred as the lead character Guido Orefice in the film. The film was the first movie to show The Holocaust in a comic way.
Guido falls in love with Dora, he decides to marry her at any cost—eventually, they marry. Guido, a comical and sharp man, is a Jew. He is forced to leave to the concentration camp with his son Grouse on his birthday. Seeing them leaving, Dora cannot stop herself, so she decides to volunteer for the camp.
At the camp, he entertains his son in different ways. He tells his son that they are playing a game, the winner gets a tank in the prize—he communicates with his wife in a funny and romantic way. In the end, the U.S army attacks in Italy, Guido is taken by officers—also, he tells his son to hide, the officers kill him. A tank appears Giouse thinks he has won the game.
The film won two Academy Awards including best actor.
1. Schindler’s List (1993) – IMDb 8.9
This epic-historical Holocaust drama was directed and produced by Steven Spielberg. The film stars Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler, Ben Kingsley as Jew Accountant Itzhak Stern, and Ralph Fiennes as a SS officer Amon Goth. This film is regarded as the best film of all time, it is based upon the real-life incidents of Oskar Schindler—a rich businessman, who rescued about 1200 Jews by paying his all capitals. His rescued Jews are known as Schindlerjuden (Schindler’s Jews).
Oskar Schindler sees Jews suffering in the Ghetto, he decides to employ them in a factory to produce enamelware. He gives them a job—and good meals. Oskar believes, they wouldn’t have to suffer more. But Amon Goth, a SS officer plans to take away from Plaszow concentration camp. He kills many Jews, but Oskar pays him and rescues some of them.
After that, Schindler creates his “list” and lists more than eight hundred Jews to be rescued from the camp. He takes them away to another factory. Schindler becomes bankrupt and penniless and goes away from the factory hoping he will find Americans. Later, the Russian Red Army discovers the factory and liberates the Jews.
The film won seven Academy Awards including best picture and best director.