These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
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-grubbingJerk 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 CÚsar 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.
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.
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 murder 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 is left with 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 completely unable to understand basic compassion and human decency when he's confronted with it.
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.
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.
Nightmare Fuel: Auschwitz, the ghetto massacre, the huge piles of burning Jewish bodies.
The scene where the women accidentally get sent to Auschwitz. They're all stripped and sent into a shower. Earlier in the movie, one of them tells the others a story she heard about Nazis sending Jews into showers and gassing them to death. The looks on all of their faces, afraid that they are literally about to die, is just devastating. Luckily, they live, and they were sent to an actual shower.
Amon Goeth becomes more and more this the more we see him. A close-up his face becomes scary when you wonder if he's going to murder someone or not.
In Real Life, Fiennes's portrayal was apparently so lifelike that when a survivor who had personally encountered Goeth asked him to do his Goeth performance, a single line of his was enough to cause them to shake uncontrollably.
No Yay: The Helen Hirsh / Amon Goth 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...
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.
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 to some. In Real Life, much less subjectively so. Think on what his sacrifice (which left him destitute for the rest of his life) meant to the Jewish community that he, a former member of the Nazi party, would be interred on Mount Zion after death and declared Righteous Among Nations for his efforts.