Schindler's List - Film Analysis Essay

Paper Type:  Movie review
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1260 Words
Date:  2022-06-02


Schindler's List is a movie that talks about the Holocaust. History records the Holocaust as a genocide that took place in Germany during the Second World War and resulted in the death of over six million Jews (Stone, pp1-58). Adolf Hitler executed these murders with the help of his Nazi Army. The movie is about Oskar Schindler, an unsuccessful businessman who decides to go to Poland to manufacture arms for Germany. Germany had lost in the First World War and was very bitter. It was therefore on a mission to restore its lost glory. Arouh (92) comments that the movie has the most memorable clips since it ignites feelings, critical thoughts and much opinions regarding the Holocaust. One, therefore, wonders what became of Oskar Schindler.

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The protagonist arrives in Krakow, Poland in 1939 a very ambitious man who is ready to reap a fortune from the just started World War II. Schindler joins the Nazi Party specifically to get access to the German markets and also to protect himself and his business. He uses inappropriate ways such as bribing to find his way out. The ambitious Schindler works hand in hand with the Nazi to oppress the Jewish slaves to work on his factory. He develops a brilliant idea of using the Jews slaves for cheap labor in his factory. He was a very greedy and ruthless man who wanted to make millions of shillings.

The SS starts to exterminate the Jews in the Krakow ghetto. The extermination of a young girl makes him change his mind and develops a sense of humanity. He began to realize that the Jews were human too (Picart, pp 536-553). Due to this, he started saving more Jews from extermination and incineration, a situation that created conflicts between him and the Nazi Party. He helped them escape. These were a total of about 1100 Jews, giving the movie its title. The Schindler's list is, therefore, a list of saved Jews by Oskar Schindler. The film was adapted from Schindler's Ark, a book by Thomas Keneally and is believed to be a real story.

Character Analysis

Oscar Schindler

He is the main character in the film, and Liam Neeson plays his role. He is a survivor and protagonist of the movie. At the very beginning of the film, the movie director portrays Schindler as a greedy man who gains from the World War II through the production of ammunition. Fensch (28) sees him as a womanizer and a con artist who is very law abiding and would never do anything outside the law. He is a factory owner and also a member of the Nazi party.

Schindler s also engages in money grabbing. However, he gradually changes to become a hero, one who ends up saving 1100 Jews. It happens after he started to see Jews as humans and develops compassion for them. It is this love that pushes him to protect these people at risk. He ended up losing everything and became bankrupt to achieve this noble mission. He stands out as a generous, selfless and a thoughtful character because he lost his wife, his two factories, and money (Fensch, pp 30). He ended up suffering at the plight of the Jews and ran away from the police until h met his death.

Itzhak Stern

Ben Kingsley played this role. Itzhak is Oscar Schindler's accountant and a Jew. He is smart and knowledgeable. When the transferring of the Jews to the ghetto happened, Schindler recruited him. Being an intelligent man, he discovers that Schindler's factory can act as a hideout for the Jews. To execute this, Stern decides to forge papers and employs more Jews into the factory. He plays the role of appealing to Schindler and wins the moral side of his boss. They get fond of each other at the end of the film (Fensch, pp 30). The fact that he didn't initially like Schindler changes and turned to be his closest friend. He is also a leading character.

Amon Goeth

Ralph Fiennes plays his role. He is a Nazi soldier who is in charge of the Plaszow work camp. He is an evil person and actively presents the sinful nature of the SS soldiers and the Nazi party. Amon is an individual who is used to killing and is inhuman. He is quickly tempered malicious, for instance, there is a case when he randomly shoots the Jews from his balcony. He shares common traits with the protagonist. Goeth is also evil and is at the crossroads of being attracted to her Jewish maid and hatred for the Jews. He succumbs at the end of the film.

Emilie Schindler

She is the wife of Oskar Schindler who on Schindler chats on her on multiple occasions. She decides to move to Czechoslovakia and leaves her husband. She exhibits characters of patience. Her going away from her husband shows that she has pride since the husband cannot promise to remain faithful to her. Towards the end of the film, Schindler bends down low and agrees to be a good husband. She is also a significant character.

Poldek Pfefferberg

He is a Jewish smuggler who connects Schindler to the black market. He plays a vital role in Schindler's business. He does this because he is struggling to survive. He is a man with quick wit and a shrewd astute who survives in complex environments. He also acts as the main character.

Other Characters

The film has other characters, referred to as minor characters, which helps in developing and running the plot and themes of the movie. These characters are Helen Hirsch (Embeth Davidtz)- the Jewish maid; Marcel Goldberg (Mark Ivanis) -a ghetto policeman; Julian Scherner (Andrej Seweryn)-an SS officer bribed by Schindler; Chaja and Danka Dresner (Miri Fabian and Mucha)-mother and daughter who are inseparable; and many more characters.

The Setting of the Movie

A setting refers to the time at which a story develops and the geographical location of the story. Setting helps develop mood for a story. Its elements include culture, language, and geographical location and also time. The movie is set at Poland (German Colony), during the beginning of Second World War. This war took place between 1939-1945. This movie was however released in 1993. The black and white motion picture of the movie depicts the dark and evil events that took place during the Holocaust. There is also an appealing artistic quality of docudrama which brings out deeply the underlying meaning of these events. The setting therefore triggers multiple questions such as what could have led to Holocaust? Why? And Why could people let it take place? The setting also questions the humanity of human beings and through this, Schindler brings darkness and light.


From the preceding, it is evident that this movie is very educative to the entire human population. It is because it enlightens the generation that never had the experience with the genocide that happened during the Holocaust. The movie also reminds the age of the World war of the events that occurred during that time and also teach the humans to learn from their mistakes (A rough, pp 110). History is therefore recorded here for future generations.

Work Cited

Arouh, Melenia. "Schindler's List Revisited." Ex-Centric Narratives: Journal of Anglophone Literature, Culture and Media 1 (2017): 92-104.

Fensch, Thomas. Oskar Schindler and his List: the Man, the Book, the Film, the Holocaust and its Survivors. BookBaby, 2015.Picart, Caroline Joan S. "The Documentary Impulse and Reel/Real Horror." A Companion to the Horror Film (2014): 536-553.

Stone, Dan. Histories of the Holocaust. Oxford University Press, 2010.

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