Schindler's List Movie Poster Image

Schindler's List

Accurate, heartbreaking masterpiece about the Holocaust.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1993
  • Running Time: 196 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The film shows the best and worst of human nature -- psychotic mass murder and altruistic saving of lives.

Positive role models

The film follows Schindler's transformation from greedy war profiteer to humanitarian who eventually saves the lives of 1,100 people destined for death at Auschwitz. He learns and demonstrates compassion, integrity, and perseverance.


Depictions of point-blank shootings, murders, beatings, and mass murders.


A few scenes of nakedness associated with sex, but many other scenes show concentration camp members naked in non-sexual contexts.


Anti-Semitic epithets.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The Nazi commander is often drunk. Schindler smokes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Schindler's List is a brutal, emotionally devastating three-hour drama that won several Oscars and has a powerful message about the human spirit -- but it pulls absolutely no punches when depicting the Holocaust. There are arbitrary murders and mass killings, Nazi commanders compare Jews to rats, children are killed, and there are scenes of shocking, grisly violence. There's also plenty of anti-Semitic language, smoking and drinking, and several scenes of nakedness. In two of them, a woman is naked from the waist up in bed and in sexual situations. But in the rest, nakedness is used to humiliate and harass Jewish residents of concentration camps.

What's the story?

In SCHINDLER'S LIST, Steven Spielberg displays the virtuosity of a great documentary film maker: The Holocaust, in which six million Jews, political prisoners, Jehovah's Witnesses, and gays were killed, is too vast and too atrocious to fathom. So Spielberg searches history for the one true story that will make it comprehensible. He gives us Czechoslovakian businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a grandiose, insinuating businessman bent on making a successful business on the backs of Jews who are robbed of their homes, jobs, property, and, many, their lives. The film follows Schindler's transformation from greedy war profiteer to humanitarian who eventually saves the lives of 1,100 people destined for death at Auschwitz. But there are two main characters in this film. If one is Schindler, the other, undoubtedly, is the Holocaust itself. Spielberg gives us the Holocaust in the names of the Schindler Jews, and uses real-life stories to make it real. We get Ihtzak Stern (played with quiet rage and dignity by Ben Kingsley), the Jewish accountant who runs Schindler's manufacturing plant. We get Helen Hirsch (Embeth Davidtz), the Jewish woman who serves as a Nazi commander's (played with icy sadism by Ralph Fiennes) maid and the object of his twisted adoration. We get, as the title implies, a list of people, of faces, of stories that make the atrocities of World War II real.

Is it any good?


There are few films more powerful and important than this 1993 winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, but that's not why you should watch this film. Watch it for the brilliant storytelling, great acting, and its message that one person can make a difference in the face of evil.

While Schindler's List is a brilliant film, its three-plus hour running time and true-to-life grisly violence make it mostly a film for adults. If you have a particularly mature teen, share this film with him and talk about it afterward. Families that watch the film may want to watch the bonus features on the real-life experiences of the Schindler Jews and on the Survivors of the Shoah Foundation. The film may prompt a discussion of genocide elsewhere in the world and what individuals can do to help put an end to it. It may also prompt a visit to a museum of tolerance or the Holocaust Museum.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about their reaction to Schindler's List's  emotionally difficult material. Do you believe the atrocities depicted here can happen again? Why or why not?

  • Families may want to watch additional DVDs produced by the Survivors of the Shoah Foundation designed to help kids understand and confront bias.

  • Discuss other ways in which individuals make a difference.

  • How do the characters in Schindler's List demonstrate compassion, integrity, and perseverance? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1993
DVD/Streaming release date:September 9, 2004
Cast:Ben Kingsley, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes
Director:Steven Spielberg
Studio:Universal Pictures
Character strengths:Compassion, Integrity, Perseverance
Run time:196 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language, violence, and some sexuality

This review of Schindler's List was written by

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Parent of a 17 year old Written byphilliesphanatic12 February 11, 2010

good for anyone whos not an imature tool thats laughs at the word poop

this movie is good for anyone 12 and up. its 3hrs long and hard to follow and understand if you are under the age of 10. there is 1 scene of sex, but its only visible form the side and only breasts are shown, but there are scenes before people go into the gas chambers ( though its not sexual of course ) who are completely naked, there are point blank shootings and a few uses of bad language, but it is one of my favorite movies of all time and. it is very sad at the end so watch it
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byPandorasbox13 August 4, 2009

A Postitive Message Shrouded in Brutality

This is another one of those films from Common Sense which they lower the age range simply because it has very positive messages about the goodness of the human heart. Don't be fooled. This is a terrific and realistic portrayal of what happened to a large group of Jews during Nazi Germany. On that note, the violence is stark and hits very hard. It is often brutal, and the only color in the whole film other than the very beginning and end is blood. In some of the scenes, women and men are naked, being publicly humiliated because of their creed. The drinking and smoking is at an okay range, which is fine for a rated R audience. The bad guys are obviously bad, and the good good, so no problems there. It is obvious who the bad role models are, therefore there arn't any problems in that area. I'd recommend this film to anyone interested in great cinema, but children should definitely not watch this movie, along with no one under age 17.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byjal34 January 11, 2009

desterbing great gritty

this is a outstanding movie that everyone should see at some point, it will change you. We see jews being tortured shot at point blank range and it doesn't hold back it shows the harshest and worst of humans and you ask yourself how can anyone do such a thing. We see fantastic character development through Oskar Schindler and ull see also the kindness of humans. What age can handle it completely depends after i myself saw it doent want to have anything to do with WWII again in my life others might inspire them to learn more it just depends.