* AdaptationDisplacement:
** Thomas Keneally's ''Schindler's Ark'' was hardly an obscure book, having won the Booker Prize in the year of its publication, but the movie is on a whole different level; subsequent reprints of the book have even changed the title to match the film.
** Spielberg made several changes from the source material; in particular, he exaggerated Schindler's journey from [[OnlyInItForTheMoney money-grubbing]] {{Jerkass}} to hero. In the book and in real life, Schindler was trying to save as many Jews as possible almost from the moment the Final Solution was implemented. He even traveled to Budapest, Hungary and met with representatives of Jewish organizations there to tell them what was happening in Poland as early as 1942.
* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: During the Liquidation of the Krakow Ghetto, one man in a white coat (most likely a pharmacist) drags his almost dead wife with him (at the 1:03:15 mark). A German soldier tells him to leave his wife since she is as good as dead. The pharmacist begs to take her with him, after which the soldier kills her. This could be interpreted as a cruel act by the soldier. On the other hand, the soldier might have done that to at least save the man. By dragging his wife, the pharmacist risks his own life as well, since the trigger happy SS soldiers probably do not like to be slowed down. By killing the woman, who was almost dead anyway, the soldier at least gave the man a chance to live. It also speaks for the soldier that he is actually talking in a normal tone to the pharmacist, instead of shouting like all the others do.
* AwardSnub:
** Mike Newell, the director of ''Film/FourWeddingsAndAFuneral'', felt guilty when he won best foreign film at the 1995 César Awards (France's equivalent of the Oscars) instead of this film. That's right, '''the director who won an award felt this happened'''. To say nothing of what everyone else at the ceremony said.
** There's also Creator/RalphFiennes losing both the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor, as well as the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor to Creator/TommyLeeJones from ''Film/TheFugitive''.
** Some people also feel that Creator/LiamNeeson losing the Globe and Oscar for Best Actor to Creator/TomHanks from ''Film/{{Philadelphia}}'' is also this, though emphasis on some, as the latter was also near-universally acclaimed.
** While not as regularly cited as the above omissions, a few critics (notably Creator/GeneSiskel of the Chicago Tribune) thought Creator/EmbethDavidtz was worthy of a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her work as Helen Hirsch. In most years people would've cried foul, but because Anna Paquin's win was so monumentally significant, this omission has largely been overlooked.
** Some also thought Creator/BenKingsley could've additionally been given a Best Supporting Actor nomination.
** For all of the quibbles, the trope was averted overall by the Academy, as voters showered the film with 7 Awards, including Spielberg's first ever competitive Oscars for Directing and Producing (coming years after getting passed over for his more commercial pictures). It also remains the only Spielberg film to win a Best Picture Prize.
* SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic: Do we expect anything less from Music/JohnWilliams?
** John initially refused to do the film because ''he didn't think he was good enough''. Spielberg's reply? "[[LastOfHisKind Anyone who is better is dead.]]"
** Itzhak Perlman, the Jewish violinist who provided the theme, considered it to be the most important decision he ever made in his career. At first, he said he wasn't going to be involved in such a movie...and then he saw how well Spielberg did it.
* CatharsisFactor: [[DefiedTrope Defied]]. Amon Goeth's execution scene is relatively brief, lasting less than a minute, and after all the suffering he caused, he [[DefiantToTheEnd lacks the decency]] [[VillainousBreakdown to plead for undeserved mercy]].
* CompleteMonster: [[BigBad SS officer Amon Goeth]] is in charge of [[UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust liquidating the Krakow Jewish ghetto]], and is later in charge of the [[POWCamp Plaszow concentration camp]]. When a Jewish forewoman protests the structure they are building is unsound, Goeth has her killed for raising her opinion, only to follow her instruction to improve the structure. Tormenting his prisoners [[ForTheEvulz for his amusement]], Goeth shoots them from his quarters with a sniper rifle for sport; kills 25 in anger for one escaping; and laughs at the crying parents of children he sends off to the gas chambers. [[RedemptionRejection Subverting any chance at humanity]] he is given, when Oskar Schindler tries to convince him to show mercy, Goeth briefly considers sparing a Jewish boy who failed to clean spots from his bathtub before killing him; and finding himself attracted to a Jewish woman, decides to blame her for his own lust and savagely beats her.
* CriticalResearchFailure: The Israeli song ''Yerushalayim Shel Zahav'' ("Jerusalem of Gold") is prominently featured near the end of the film, playing as the Schindler Jews leave the factory for the final time. When the film was first shown in Israel, local audiences were amused by this scene because this song was written in 1967, and is closely identified with the [[UsefulNotes/ArabIsraeliConflict Six-Day War]].[[note]]The song was originally performed less than a month before the war, and the original songwriter added a third verse immediately after the war.[[/note]] The song was immediately replaced for all Israeli showings (and for all Israeli home video releases) by ''Halika [=LeKaysarya=]'' ("A Walk to Caesarea"), also known as "Eli, Eli"a song that ''is'' Israel's unofficial Holocaust anthem. However, it should be noted that even this song is a minor example of this trope, as its lyrics are a poem written in 1942 and not set to music until 1945.
* GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff: While the film did well all over the world, Germans (understandably) liked the sympathetic portrayal of a German in a Holocaust movie that nevertheless portrayed the overall monstrosity of the Nazi regime and condemned its actions in no uncertain terms. There was an uproar the first time the film was to be broadcast on German television when the network announced that it would take two commercial breaks; in the end, the network agreed to show only one break, with only a few ads and a short newscast. Today, the film is always broadcast uncut with no breaks.
* HilariousInHindsight: At least ironic in Hindsight. Goeth lectures his men before an Aktion.
--> Today is history. Today will be remembered. Years from now, the young will ask with wonder... about this day. Today is history, and you are part of it.
** Another ironic in hindsight would be Schindler's "people will remember my name"-speech. The first part of it came true. The second part... Not so much. Bonus points for the word "here", as anyone who has been in Krakow after the movie was released will tell you.
** A behind-the-scenes example is more straightforward; at one point Creator/MelGibson expressed interest in playing Schindler.
** These lines after Ralph Fiennes played the role of Ramses in ''WesternAnimation/ThePrinceOfEgypt'':
-->'''Schindler:''' They're my people, I want my people.
-->'''Goeth:''' Who are you, Moses?
** Another actor who failed to get the role of Schindler was Bruno Ganz, now best known for his [[WebVideo/HitlerRants memetic]] portrayal of Adolph Hitler in ''Film/{{Downfall}}''.
* HypeBacklash: It is VERY popular on review websites such as Website/IMDb to bash this film for being cloying, melodramatic and [[RealityIsUnrealistic unrealistic]], or simply [[ItsPopularNowItSucks just too well liked.]] Extra points if it's being criticized by a [[ThoseWackyNazis Neo-Nazi]] or a Holocaust Denier. In some ways, this is probably the ultimate movie to criticize if someone wants to make themselves look cool, smart, and nonconformist. (Not that there ''aren't'' people who genuinely dislike it, but there are many people who do it just for attention.)
* MagnificentBastard: Schindler himself. He's not the only one though - step forward Itzhak Stern, who played an unspeakably huge role in getting a lot of people who would otherwise have been slaughtered early on into Schindler's Factory. Poldek also arguably qualifies, being cunning enough to survive both the failed escape attempt in the sewers at Krakow and moments later a direct encounter with Goeth. He even gets himself a job as Goeth's mechanic at Plaszow.
* MoralEventHorizon: Goeth crosses this line within the first hour of the movie. He's definitely crossed it when he [[ForTheEvulz shoots prisoners for sport]] with a sniper rifle from his balcony.
* NoYay: The Helen Hirsh / Amon Goeth subtext. He is the camp commandant of a Nazi concentration camp, a [[TheSociopath complete sociopath]], and a sadistic mass murderer. She is one of the Jewish inmates, who was forced to become his maid. He [[VillainousCrush secretly desires her]] even though he wants to see her people exterminated. At one point he nearly (creepily) comes on to her, but he decides to beat her up instead, blaming her for trying to "seduce" him. Some of the fans think that his love for her could have redeemed him. This ignores the fact that he sees her more as property than as a human being.
-->'''Goeth:''' I would like so much to reach out to you and touch you in your loneliness. What would it be like, I wonder? What would be wrong with that? I realize that you are not a person in the strictest sense of the word, but, um, maybe you're right about that too. Maybe what's wrong, it's not us, it's this... I mean, when they compare you to vermin, to rodents and to lice. I just, uh, you make a good point. You make a very good point. Is this the face of a rat? Are these the eyes of a rat? "Hath not a Jew eyes?" I feel for you Helen.[leans forward to kiss her] No, I don't think so. You Jewish bitch, you nearly talked me into it, didn't you?
* ParanoiaFuel: Because of the Nazis' gradually escalating efforts to exterminate the Jews, it means that there's very little keeping the Jewish characters from being killed at any moment. The worst example has to be when the women and children get shipped to Auschwitz instead of to Schindler's factory ''because of a typo''...
* RetroactiveRecognition: Goetz Otto appeared as a small-time concentration camp guard in this movie. Over time, he would eventually play [[Film/{{Downfall}} Otto Gunsche]] (though in this movie, he [[WebVideo/HitlerRants doesn't inform anyone about anything]]). And later still, would become [[Film/IronSky Fuehrer of the Moon Nazis]].
* SignatureScene: Certainly has many options, but the liquidation of the ghetto, the girl in the red coat and specially the mass burning of corpses will always stand out.
* SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped: The whole reason that the movie exists. This was a story that '''needed''' to be told about an event in history and the people involved that must never be forgotten. Especially considering that most of what's shown in the film is ''tame'' compared to what really happened. Spielberg was very reluctant to do it for a while, until Holocaust denial started becoming trendy and he decided he had to do his part to put the truth out. Jewish Gene Siskel specifically thanked him for this in his review with Ebert.
* {{Squick}}: The scene of the children hiding in the latrines of the work camp.
* ValuesDissonance: For some people unfamiliar with Jewish customs, the GraveMarkingScene in which the Schindler's Jews put stones over Schindler's grave is this, as they question why use rocks instead of something else (like flowers) and thus complain of characterizing the [[AllJewsAreCheapskates Jews as cheapskates]]. In reality of course, for Jewish tradition this is meant to be a tremendous sign of respect and reverence to a deceased person.
* WhatAnIdiot: At his 36th birthday party, a young Jewish woman and her daughter present Schindler with a small gift on behalf of the workers. Oskar, already a little tipsy, and used to trying it on with any attractive woman he sees, absentmindedly gives the woman a kiss... ''in a room full of SS officers.'' GilliganCut to him waiting in a jail cell.
* TheWoobie:
** By the end of the film, every single one of the Jewish people.
** Schindler himself applies.
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