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Top 10 Holocaust Movies: Best Holocaust Movies of All Time

Updated on August 15, 2014

Top 10 Movies to Remember Barbarism

The Top Ten Holocaust Movies will help us remember that our world is never safe from barbarism, that it has happened before and could happen again. We all have a duty to prevent a new Holocaust from happening again by looking at others, at those different from us, with human eyes and not, as the Nazis did, with monster eyes.

There are many other very good Holocaust movies that deserve to be on the Top 10 list. I have added Life is Beautiful and Holocaust in Amazon Spotlight on the right. Feel free to add your preferred Holocaust movie in the plexo.

And please vote for the Top 10 Holocaust Movies!

Screen capture from Schindler's List

Top 10 Holocaust Movies: Schindler's List

Schindler's List (Widescreen Edition)
Schindler's List (Widescreen Edition)

Schindler's List is based on a story by Thomas Keneally dating from 1982. It relates the extraordinary actions of Oskar Schindler, a businessman close to the Nazis who saved more than a thousand Jews to from deportation.

Contrary to other Spielberg's films, Schindler's List is a very simple one. It honors the courage of a man during the darkest moments of the history of mankind. A very brilliant and touching movie won seven Oscars in 1994 including best picture and best director.

After making this movie Spielberg established the Shoah Foundation, an organization whose objectives are to collect the testimonies of Holocaust survivors and produce documentaries promoting the duty of society to preserve memories.

Year of Production: 1993

Director: Steven Spielberg

Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley

Oscars won:

Best Art Direction-Set Decoration: Allan Starski, Ewa Braun

Best Cinematography: Janusz Kaminski

Best Director: Steven Spielberg

Best Film Editing: Michael Kahn

Best Music, Original Score, John Williams

Best Picture: Steven Spielberg, Gerald R. Molen, Branko Lustig

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published: Steven Zaillian

Plus 5 nominations. Also won 70 other awards.

 

Top 10 Holocaust Movies: The Pianist

The Pianist
The Pianist

It is difficult to emerge unscathed from Roman Polanski's The Pianist. The fate of the iconic virtuoso Wladyslaw Szpilman will upset you, but that's not all. The refined classicism and crude realism of the images t you will absorb you, will devour you, making words powerless. Then silence falls, and Chopin's "Nocturne", which seemed to have been stolen from us throughout the film, returns to haunt us long after the end of the credits. Little by little, everything goes back in place: the archive footage of Warsaw well alive, like the resurgence of the Polish-born filmmaker's memories in black and white, and then the vision of a walled city in agony, and then that of an eradicated people. The pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman, brilliantly played by Adrien Brody, is first and foremost a powerless witness to the unspeakable, almost indifferent to the horror. Yet it is he that Polanski's camera has chosen. Probably because music has no place in a ghetto. Neither does humanity. But music and humanity are omnipresent in the narrative. A paradox, as both had been wiped out at that sad moment of history. Yet, it is in this paradox that lies the magic of this great movie.

One of the Best Holocaust Movies of All Time.

Year of Production: 2002

Director: Roman Polanski

Stars: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann and Frank Finlay

The Pianist won the following awards: Academy Award for Best Actor - Adrien Brody; Academy Award for Best Director - Roman Polanski; Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay - Ronald Harwood; Palme d'Or, 2002 Cannes Film Festival; BAFTA Award for Best Film; BAFTA Award for Best Direction - Roman Polanski; Cesar Award for Best Actor; Cesar Award for Best Director; Cesar Award for Best Film; Cesar Award for Best Music Written for a Film; Cesar Award for Best Cinematography; Cesar Award for Best Production Design; and Cesar Award for Best Sound; Goya Award for Best European Film.

 

Top 10 Holocaust Movies: The Sorrow and the Pity

The Sorrow and the Pity
The Sorrow and the Pity

The Sorrow and the Pity, which was produced in 1971, has the merit of being the first movie to reject the myths that emerged after the Liberation: France resistant as a whole, liberated by herself, the myth of a united and unity free France.

Marcel Ophuls constructs his story as a Chronicle of a French city Under the Occupation. Numerous interviews of anonymous or famous people. Some are vibrant with intelligence and emotion (the testimony of Pierre Mendes-France is shocking). Others take the shade of confessions: Christian de la Maziere, engaged in the Charlemagne Division, explains the reasons for such a commitment. His testimony demonstrates a honesty that will not be found in others, like the lawyer Rene de Chambrun, who was close to Marechal Petain.

Year of Production: 1969

Director: Marcel Ophuls

Stars: Georges Bidault, Matthäus Bleibinger and Charles Braun

Nomination for Oscar:

Best Documentary, Features: Marcel Ophüls

 

Top 10 Holocaust Movies: Sophie's Choice

Sophie's Choice
Sophie's Choice

In 1947, Stingo, a young writer from South America, arrives in after-war Brooklyn. He befriends Sophie Zawistowski, a beautiful Polish immigrant, a survivor of Nazi camps, and her lover Nathan Landau. The relationship between Sophie and Nathan is endangered by their past. She is haunted by his sufferings, he is obsessed by the Holocaust. Stingo's feelings for Sophie's become stronger and stronger. A complex relationship is established between the three characters, gradually revealing the origins of Sophie's Choice...

Sophie's Choice is a masterpiece, one of the Best Holocaust Movies of All Time.

Year of Production: 1982

Director: Alan J. Pakula

Stars: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol

Oscar won:

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Meryl Streep

Nominations for Oscars:

Best Cinematography: Néstor Almendros

Best Costume Design: Albert Wolsky

Best Music, Original Score: Marvin Hamlisch

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium: Alan J. Pakula

 

Top 10 Holocaust Movies: The Diary of Anne Frank

Diary of Anne Frank, The 50th Anniversary Edition
Diary of Anne Frank, The 50th Anniversary Edition

In July 1942, in Nazi-occupied Holland, Anne Frank and her family settled in a secret apartment in the annex of a building. Anne took her diary with her, and during the two years she lives underground, she notes everything. She records her daily life in the secret annex, the fear of being discovered, and the vision of herself, that of a precocious teenager who tries to grow against all odds ...

The Diary of Anne Frank is Upsetting.

One of the Top 10 Holocaust Movies of All Time.

Year of Production: 1959

Director: George Stevens

Stars: Millie Perkins, Shelley Winters and Joseph Schildkraut

Oscars won:

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Shelley Winters

Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White: Lyle R. Wheeler, George W. Davis, Walter M. Scott, Stuart A. Reiss

Best Cinematography, Black-and-White: William C. Mellor

Plus 5 nominations; also nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival

 

Top 10 Holocaust Movies: The Murderers are Among Us

The Murderers Are Among Us
The Murderers Are Among Us

The Murderers Among Us is a very touching story.

It was the first feature film to be produced in Germany after the Second World War. It is set in Berlin just after the surrender of the Nazis. The characters move through destroyed or half-destroyed building. Susanne Wallner is a concentration camp survivor, eager to taste life anew. Dr. Hans Mertens is a former Nazi officer, unable to cope with the guilt of what he and his fellow officers have done. Both must learn to live side by side as they start to reconcile themselves with the past.

A beautiful and sensitive movie.

Year of Production: 1946

Director: Wolfgang Staudte

Stars: Ernst Wilhelm Borchert, Hildegard Knef and Arno Paulsen

 

Top 10 Holocaust Movies: The Pawnbroker

The Pawnbroker
The Pawnbroker

The Pawnbroker is based on a novel by Edward Lewis Wallant. It is the story of Sol (Rod Steiger in a superb performance), a lonely camp survivor who has coped with the destruction of his family by suppressing all emotion and sticking to the philosophy that only money matters. Sol cannot accept the friendship of his assistant, Ortiz, or of an equally lonely widow (Geraldine Fitzgerald, also superb). As the 25th anniversary of his wife's murder approaches, he loses his bearings, and it becomes clear that what he really is to join her.

One of the best of Sydney Lumet's, and certainly one of the Best Holocaust movies of all time.

Year of Production: 1964

Director: Sidney Lumet

Stars: Rod Steiger, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Brock Peters

Nomination for Oscar:

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Rod Steiger

 

Top 10 Holocaust Movies: Fateless

Fateless
Fateless

Fateless is based on the novel by Nobel prize winner Imre Kertesz.

From his arrest in Budapest to his release from the camp, an adolescent lived the nightmare of a time that had stopped, victim of horror as much as of the instinct of survival which made him compose with the unacceptable.

The story poses the question of what happens to the humanity of a man when he is deprived of any destiny.

One of the Best Holocaust Movies of All time.

Year of Production: 2005

Director: Lajos Koltai

Stars: Simon Srebnik, Michael Podchlebnik and Motke Zaidl

 

Top 10 Holocaust Movies: The Counterfeiters

The Counterfeiters
The Counterfeiters

Berlin, 1936. Salomon "Sally" Sorowitsch is the king of counterfeiters, an expert in bank notes. Jew betrayed in Nazi Germany, he is arrested by the Gestapo and interned in the Mauthausen camp. But Sally is soon transferred to the Sachsenhausen camp. He is welcomed by the Commissioner Herzog, who runs an undercover operation there. The Nazis want him to collaborate with them on Operation Bernhard: to weaken the economies of the allies...

Another masterpiece.

One of the Top 10 Holocaust Movies of All Time.

Year of Production: 2007

Director: Stefan Ruzowitsky

Stars: Karl Markovics, August Diehl and Devid Striesow

Oscar won:

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year: Austria

 

Previous comments on this lens

1. "I am so impressed, Rafick, with the issues you choose to spotlight. The amazing thing to me is that there are still people who believe the Holocaust never happened. That's pretty shocking. I appreciate all that you communicate in terms of ensuring these atrocities never happen again. I've seen some of these exceptional movies, but not all of them. I hope to watch them all. Thank you for this excellent review." RenaissanceWoman2010

2. "Great movie list! I have seen about half of them.... Will definitely check out the other half! Congratulations on your 50 lenses!!! (And they are all awesome!)" GabrielaFargasch

3. "Anne Frank is the first of these movies that I've seen, so I'm partial to it." linhah

4. "I like this page. I haven't seen the movies, but have, of course, read the Diary of Anne Frank. I would like to see Schindler's List, and was happy to hear about Spielberg's efforts to preserve more stories from that horrible time." CruiseReady

5. "Great work here. Very nice reviews. I did want to read your review of the movie Life Is Beautiful. This is a great Holocaust movie. Very moving and sad as most are. Thanks for sharing." dthonstad

6. "I have seen them all apart from the Counterfeiters, Fateless and the Murderers are upon us which I will try to watch. I liked the different take that Life is Beautiful gave on the Holocaust as it depicted the betrayal by an in-law and the bond of family and creativity by the father in his dire position." julietarot

7. "Schindler's List is surely awesome !" thethemit

8. "I was just thinking of the atrocities of the Holocaust as I read another book (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks). Stopped back by to revisit your reviews and to leave you a blessing. I am thankful for your continuous focus on the important things in life. You are appreciated!" RenaissanceWoman2010

9. "Very good page! I haven't seen all of these movies, I guess I should. Do you know 'Amen' by Constantin Costa-Gavras? It is very good, very interesting as well.' Quirina

10. "Excellent choices once again my friend, so hard to choose a favorite. I remember first seeing The Diary of Anne Frank in an assembly in junior high, and its impact has always stayed with me as has Schindler's List...there is the amazing capacity to do the right thing in all of us...blessed." Tipi

Squid Angel Blessing

This lens was blessed by RenaissanceWoman on 11/13/2011 and mismatch on 01/25/2011. Thank you very much, RenaissanceWoman and mismatch.

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    • profile image

      Niktravelfit 3 years ago

      Great lens and really good list - you did a great job!

    • leesholden profile image

      Lee 3 years ago from Derbyshire, UK

      Great list on such a horrific topic.

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      Excellent list I will have to watch several of these movies.

    • profile image

      AlexBPearl 4 years ago

      Schindler's List was an outstanding adaptation of Thomas Kenealy's powerful and beautifully penned novel based on meticulous research. The book and film have done much to publicize the horrors of the Holocaust, and keep alive the memory of its 6 million innocent victims.

    • Eric Mayo profile image

      Eric Mayo 4 years ago

      Schindler's List followed by Holocaust with Joe Bottoms are my favorites.

    • uneasywriter lm profile image

      uneasywriter lm 4 years ago

      Good list! Great work!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      The holocaust is so sad it is true part of history we must never forget , and it could happen again.

    • NEOman LM profile image

      NEOman LM 4 years ago

      I just wrote one on holocaust; did a search for similar lenses and found yours. What a place you have it in? Amazing impression.

    • Otto Phillips profile image

      Otto Phillips 5 years ago

      great lens! fantastic subject which should never be forgotten. The Holocaust has affected everyone on this planet in some way, shape or form.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @viscri8: Life is beautiful : )

    • potovanja profile image

      potovanja 5 years ago

      Great subject which we must remember, like you said. Great very interesting lens...

    • profile image

      Shadrosky 5 years ago

      The Counterfeiters is a fantastic film!

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 5 years ago

      wow great themem its got me thinking, I'll come back with that one

    • spellbindingsis profile image

      spellbindingsis 5 years ago

      Great idea for a Lens!

    • tylerabernethy22 profile image

      tylerabernethy22 5 years ago

      I have seen the pianist, that was a good one. Don't forget the Diary of Anne Frank (not quite a holocaust movie, but they do go to a concentration camp).

    • profile image

      BeyondRoses 5 years ago

      I have seen about half of these movies, actually the top 6 on your list. Sophie's Choice is one of my favorites. Watching one of these is a commitment, as they are so intense. Splendid selection, and presentation.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      How about someone making a movie about the 30 million native americans that where killed in america.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Anne Frank has got to be the one that I remember the most. I usually don't like watching movies like this.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 5 years ago

      I've seen most of these. You made excellent choices. Schindler's List is one of the best movies of all time I think.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i like Life Is Beautiful, really good movie

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Each of these movies are a jewel in itself but "Schindlers list" is the best!

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      @viscri8: It is called Life is beautiful (La vita e bella) and it is on the list (first place in plexo modul at the moment!).

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Another impressive list of touching movies. I hope we can all learn something from these movies...

    • profile image

      entertainmentev 5 years ago

      These movies are so powerful. Great list!

    • BusyMOM LM profile image

      BusyMOM LM 5 years ago

      Excellent! I've bookmarked it for future reference. My son is studying about the Holocaust in school right now, so this is perfect for him (and me). Nicely done.

    • viscri8 profile image

      viscri8 5 years ago

      There is another very good movie on the topic with a little boy and his father taken to a concentration camp and the father was joking all the time so that the child would believe it's all a big joke and wouldn't get terrified. The father will die shortly before their liberation but the boy escapes -- all along he believed that they were playing a funny game.It is a pity I can not remember the title. I bless this lens.

    • juditpaton profile image

      Iudit Gherghiteanu 5 years ago from Ozun

      I am impressed of this list, i did read only few of them, and saw a movie, it is good reminder of atrocities what human been is capable to do.

    • juditpaton profile image

      Iudit Gherghiteanu 5 years ago from Ozun

      I am impressed of this list, i did read only few of them, and saw a movie, it is good reminder of atrocities what human been is capable to do.

    • mary lighthouse15 profile image

      mary lighthouse15 5 years ago

      I have watched only Schindler's List among all in the list.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Shoa - a real masterpiece, but my favorits are Forgotten transports - especially Forgotten Transports to Estonia...

    • profile image

      dani_wong33 6 years ago

      that was very good movies... i've seen 3 of them... schindlers list, the pianeist and life is beautiful. but life is beautiful is my fave ones :)