Best Movies about Jews

Peter Jacksonby:

Education

Without a doubt, the movie industry is currently at its peak. Millions of people go to the cinemas every week to watch the latest releases and enjoy the plots. We all have a favorite actor and director whose work we just have to see.

The great thing about this industry is that it allows the creators to tell so many different stories in so many different ways. It gives them an opportunity to tell their stories through main characters, their qualities, things that happen to them, even settings.

It is commonly known that artists implement a part of their life in their work, whether they want it or not. In the following text, we are going to focus on films that introduce us to Jewish culture and their way of living. We have gathered a list of movies, and you have probably already seen some of them. If there are some motion pictures that you haven’t had a chance to get familiar with, well then you should add them to your watch list.

“Annie Hall” is the first one that we are going to tell you about. Both the director and the star of this 1977 romantic comedy is Woody Allan. Besides him, other cast members include Diane Keaton and Toby Roberts.

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A forty-year-old Alvy Singer (Allan) tells the story to the audience about the development and downfall of his relationship with night club singer, Annie Hall (Keaton). He also reflects on his childhood memories, young adult years, and everything that had happened in his life before he met Annie.

The representation of the Jewish identity is one of the main features since the differences between the two main characters are often perceived as the differences between the two cultures. Also, the typical stereotypic view of Jews by Americans is exhibited in the movie. According to Vincent Brook, “Alvy dines with the WASP-y Hall family and imagines that they must see him as a Hasidic Jew, complete with payot (earlocks) and a large black hat.” Here, we have a description of clothes usually worn by the Jews, and you can learn more about some of the items on jewish.shop.

It won three Academy Awards (Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actress), as well as a Golden Globe and four BAFTA Awards. Even today, it is considered to be Woody Allan’s best movie and everyone’s favorite.

Now, we are going back to 1920 to introduce you to a silent horror movie called “The Golem: How He Came into the World”. If you are familiar with the Jewish folklore, then you might know that Golem is a creature made of clay by a rabbi who brought it to life to protect the Jews from prosecution. However, when Golem gets possessed by Astaroth, things take a turn for the worse.

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It was created by Carl Boese and Paul Wegener who also plays Golem. Interestingly, this was his third film about the Golem – he also made “The Golem” from 1915 and “The Golem and the Dancing Girl from 1917, and it is also the most popular one and the only one hasn’t been lost. If you like horror movies, then you shouldn’t miss this one because it is on the list of “101 Horror Films You Must See Before You Die”.

We are moving on to the 2013 WWII drama film called “The Book Thief”. The plot revolves around a young girl, adopted by a German family, who is trying to find solace in reading books and sharing them with Jews that are hidden in the basement of her home.

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It is directed by Brian Percival and the cast includes Geoffrey Ruff, Emily Watson, and Sophie Nélisse. The movie is based on the novel by Markus Zusak and it got BAFTA, Golden Globe, and an Oscar nomination for the original music that was created by John Williams.

While on the subject of World War II war movies, we cannot skip “Schindler’s List”. This 1993 motion picture is also based on a novel called “Schindler’s Ark” by Thomas Keneally. As you probably know, this is a story about Oscar Schindler, a businessman who employed over a thousand Jews in his factories in order to save them from the Holocaust.

The director is Steven Spielberg, even though he tried to pass this project to other directors, one of them being Roman Polanski, before he decided to take it. The role of Oscar Schindler is played by Liam Neeson, and Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes play the roles of Itzhak Stern, Schindler’s accountant, and SS officer, respectively. It is shot in black and white and most of it was filmed in Krakow, Poland.

One of the most famous lines, “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire” is actually a quotation for the Talmud.

Today, it is considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made and it is ranked 8th on the list of the 100 best American films by the American Film Institute. So it comes as no surprise that it was nominated for twelve Academy Awards and won seven of them, as well as three Golden Globes and seven BAFTA awards.

“Inglourious Basterds” is a revisionist war film from 2009. This black comedy tells the story of a group of Jewish-American soldiers who come up with two plans to assassinate Nazi leaders. The first plot is created by a cinema owner, Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent), and the other by the soldiers that are led by First Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt). The film also stars Daniel Brühl, Diane Kruger, Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender, and so on.

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Quentin Tarantino is both the writer and director of this film. One fun fact is that he wrote this script in 1998, but he wasn’t sure how he wanted to end to it, so he moved on to another project. It premiered at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival and it became Tarantino’s highest-grossing movie at that moment.

It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and Christoph Waltz received numerous awards for his performance of Hans Landa.

To sum up, in this article we have discussed only five films. We have tried to include some old ones that are considered to be classic, but also some that have been released recently. Clearly, this is only a fraction of movies, which means that you can find numerous others online.

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