troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
X
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
YMMV: Schindler's List
  • Adaptation Displacement: 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 money-grubbing Jerk Ass 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.
  • Award Snub:
    • Mike Newell, the director of Four Weddings and a Funeral, 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 Ralph Fiennes losing both the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor, as well as the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor to Tommy Lee Jones from The Fugitive.
    • Some people also feel that Liam Neeson losing the Globe and Oscar for Best Actor to Tom Hanks from Philadelphia is also this.
    • While not as regularly cited as the above omissions, a few critics (notably Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune) thought Embeth Davidtz was worthy of a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her work as Helen Hirsch.
    • Some also thought Ben Kingsley 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.
  • Awesome Music: Do we expect anything less from John Williams?
    • John initially refused to do the film because he didn't think he was good enough. Spielberg's reply? "Anyone who is better is dead."
    • Itzhak Perlman, the Jewish violinist who provided the theme. At first, he said he wasn't going to be involved in such a movie...and then he saw how well Spielberg did it.
  • Catharsis Factor: Defied. Amon Goeth's execution scene is relatively brief, lasting less than a minute, and after all the suffering he caused, he lacks the decency to plead for undeserved mercy.
  • Complete Monster: Amon Goeth is the Ax-Crazy Nazi Lieutenant in charge of the liquidation of the Krakow Jewish ghetto and is the overseer of the Plaszow concentration camp. Goeth's true nature is first exposed when he encounters a Jewish forewoman protesting that the foundation of the structure in the camp they're building is unsound, and this will lead to the building's eventual collapse. Goeth's response is for her to be killed in front of the other workers. He then orders his men to follow the dead woman's instructions anyway. This is merely the first instance in a long line of pointless and unpredictable violence from Goeth. Some of his most infamous crimes are shooting prisoners with a sniper rifle for sport, personally killing twenty-five men in a rage after one man from their barracks managed to escape from his work detail, and laughing at crying parents as he sends away trainloads of their children to be gassed. Every time a possible flicker of humanity is exposed in Goeth, it is quickly subverted then extinguished. When Oskar Schindler tries to convince Goeth that true power is mercy, Goeth briefly tries out being merciful, even sparing the life of a Jewish boy who was unable to clean the stains in Goeth's bathtub. Then, on a whim, he decides to kill the boy anyway. When he finds himself attracted to his Jewish maid, Helen, he attempts to clumsily come on to her, only to eventually blame her for his own sexual feelings and savagely beat her afterwards. Following the events of the film, the viewer gets an impression that Goeth is a pure sociopath driven only by his erratic whims. Ultimately Goeth's only able to ape the basic mannerisms of a human being and finds himself unable to understand basic compassion and human decency when confronted with it.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Amon and Helen, pairing occasionally supported by viewers, despite unlikelihood of it ever possibly working out, particularly since Amon mostly seems to see her as something he likes to possess than actually caring about her.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: 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 Mel Gibson expressed interest in playing Schindler.
    • These lines after Ralph Fiennes played the role of Ramses in The Prince of Egypt:
    Schindler: They're my people, I want my people.
    Goeth: Who are you, Moses?
  • Hype Backlash: It is VERY popular on review websites such as IMDb to bash this film for being cloying, melodramatic and unrealistic, or simply just too well liked. Extra points if it's being criticized by a 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.)
  • Magnificent Bastard: 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.
  • Magnum Opus: Often considered the best movie of Spielberg's career.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Goeth crosses this line within the first hour of the movie. He's definitely crossed it when he shoots prisoners for sport with a sniper rifle from his balcony.
  • No Yay: The Helen Hirsh / Amon Goeth subtext. He is the camp commandant of a Nazi concentration camp, a complete sociopath, and a sadistic mass murderer. She is one of the Jewish inmates, who was forced to become his maid. He 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?
  • Paranoia Fuel: 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...
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The only reason its not actually Anvilicious, is because some of the things shown were based on events that actually happened, which were often worse.
  • Tear Jerker: The movie. However, the most powerful scene would have to be Schindler's breakdown near the end of the film.
    • A close second would be Schindler seeing the body of the little girl in the red coat pass by him on the way to the crematorium.
    • The song "Jerusalem Of Gold" - an Israeli hymn of praise and longing for the (old) city - playing as the Schindler Jews walk hand in hand to freedom, just before their real-world counterparts come to pay their respect at Schindler's grave on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. This is really the only mention of the State of Israel - the final destination for many of the Schindler Jews - anywhere in the movie.
      • This depends a lot on your political affiliation; Israeli leftists would see this as the kind of fear-mongering propaganda used to bring Jews to Israel, the sort that's constantly used by the Israeli government, which muddies up the rest of the film’s humanistic message.
  • What an Idiot: 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 feeling up any attractive woman he sees, absentmindedly gives the woman a kiss... in a room full of SS officers. Gilligan Cut to him waiting in a jail cell.
  • The Woobie: By the end of the film, every single one of the Jewish people.
    • Schindler himself applies.

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
19242
31