Director Cameo: [Steven Spielberg] a liberated Schindler Jew among the hundreds crossing a field near the end of the film.
Director Trademark: [Steven Spielberg] [father] Oskar Schindler tells his wife he can't commit to a family.
At Steven Spielberg's request, Aaron Sorkin did a "dialogue wash" on the excessively wordy script.
Steven Spielberg's resolve to make the film became complete when studio executives asked him why he didn't simply make a donation of some sort rather than wasting everyone's time and money on a depressing film.
Juliette Binoche was offered a role, which she has described in interviews as a woman who was to be raped and then murdered, but she turned it down. She had already turned Steven Spielberg down once that same year, passing on the role of Ellie Sattler in Jurassic Park (1993) to make Three Colours: Blue (1993).
When Survivor Mila Pfefferbergwas introduced to Ralph Fiennes on the set, she began shaking uncontrollably, as he reminded her too much of the real Amon Goeth.
Production designer Allan Starski's replica of the forced labor camp at Plaszow was one of the largest sets ever built in Poland. The movie set was constructed from the plans of the original camp. The production built 34 barracks and seven watchtowers and also recreated the road into the camp that was paved with Jewish tombstones.
Both Kevin Costner and Mel Gibson offered their services, but Steven Spielberg decided to go with less familiar names, as the presence of a major star would be too distracting.
Violinist Itzhak Perlman performs John Williams' haunting score on the soundtrack. Perlman is on record as saying that his contribution to the film is one of his proudest moments in an illustrious career.
Embeth Davidtz deliberately chose not to meet Helen Hirsch, the character she was playing in the film, until after shooting had been completed.
Sid Sheinberg brought "Schindler's List" to Steven Spielberg's attention when the novel was published in 1982 and purchased the rights, hoping that Spielberg would someday direct it. The movie's enormous success finally came at around the same time that Sheinberg was leaving MCA/Universal.
The real Oskar Schindler was said to resemble George Sanders and Curd Jürgens.
As Oskar Schindler is given a tour of the camp, he passes a boy in prisoner's clothing with his hands raised over his head and a sign hanging over him. It reads "jestem zlodziejem ziemniaków", "I am a potato thief."
Filming completed in 72 days, 4 days ahead of schedule. The same time was used for Steven Spielberg's other movies, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and War of the Worlds (2005).
When Oskar Schindler berates Itzhak Stern for sending too many force-labor camp workers to his factory, Stern (Ben Kingsley) reminds him about Amon Goeth shooting 25 men from Bejski's camp. The Bejski that Stern refers to is none other than Moshe Bejski - who eventually became Schindler's document forger and later the Israeli Supreme Court Judge from 1979 to 1991. He is mentioned in the book. In the list, he is #531 on the men's list and occupation was a draftsman.
During the list scene, there was an exchange between Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley) and Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) that goes as: Stern - "How many cigarettes do you smoke?" Schindler - "Too many". This exchange was taken directly from a real-life exchange between Edward the Duke of Windsor and his physician (Edward was asked the exact question) weeks before his death in 1972.
A direct copy of the real list, which was among other things in Thomas Keneally collection, was found by the staff of the National Library in New South Wales, AU. The 13 page list, after the restoration, is displayed in the library's museum.
Helen Hirsch is based on Helen Jonas (nee Sternlicht), whose story in shown in the documentary Inheritance (2006/I).
One of two Best Picture Oscar winners to show a child jumping into the waste pond under a toilet. The other is Slumdog Millionaire (2008).
During the night time raid on the Krakow ghetto by the SS, two officers see a man playing a piano and wonder if the music is Johann Sebastian Bach or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The piece is actually Bach's "English Suite No.2 in A Minor" despite the one officer's conclusion that it was Mozart.
Ironically, the set decorator on the film's Polish crew is named Ewa Braun, which is almost the same name as Evan Braun, Adolf Hitler's wife.
On Roger Ebert's list of great movies.
Schindler's List (1993) and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) are the two films Steven Spielberg would like to be remembered for.
Steven Spielberg waited 10 years to make the film because he felt he wasn't ready to tackle the Holocaust in 1983 at the age of 37.
The film that finally netted Steven Spielberg the Oscar for best director, something that had eluded him in the past.
The Amblin logo, showing the bike flying past the moon from E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), a regular sight at the end of every Steven Spielberg film, isn't present here, perhaps because of the somber subject matter.
Spielberg had to make Jurassic Park (1993) before Schindler's List (1993). It was even written into his contract because if he made Schindler's List (1993) first, he would have been too drained to make Jurassic Park (1993).
According to Czech filmmaker Juraj Herz, the scene where a group of women confuse a shower for a gas chamber was taken direct from his own The Night Overtake Me (1986) shot for shot. Herz wanted to sue but he couldn't come up with the money to fund it.
Steven Spielberg refuses to put his autograph on materials related to this film.
This film's closing epilogue states: "There are fewer than four thousand Jews left alive in Poland today. There are more than six thousand descendants of the Schindler Jews." This film's closing memorial / dedication states: "In memory of the more than six million Jews murdered."
The first war film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture Oscar since Platoon (1986), a gap of seven years. The first predominantly black-and-white war film and the first predominantly black-and-white World War II war film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture Oscar since The Longest Day (1962), a gap of thirty-one years. The first predominantly black-and-white World War II war film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture Oscar since From Here to Eternity (1953), a gap of forty years. Other black-and-white World War II war films which have won the Academy Award for Best Picture Oscar include Mrs. Miniver (1942); Casablanca (1942) and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). As such, Schindler's List (1993) is the fifth black-and-white World War II war film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture Oscar. The first World War II film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture Oscar since Patton (1970), a gap of twenty-three years. The first World War II film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture Oscar since John Boorman's Hope and Glory (1987), a gap of six years. The first predominantly black-and-white film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture Oscar since The Apartment (1960), a gap of thirty-three years. The first war film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture Oscar since Born on the Fourth of July (1989), a gap of four years. The first predominantly black-and-white film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture Oscar since both The Elephant Man (1980) and Raging Bull (1980), a gap of thirteen years. The first Steven Spielberg war film and the first Steven Spielberg World War II war film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture Oscar since Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), a gap of twelve years. The first Steven Spielberg war film and the first Steven Spielberg World War II war film since Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), a gap of four years.
Steven Spielberg, as director, has made a number of World War II films or films relating to World War II. They include (in chronological order): Fighter Squad (1961); Escape to Nowhere (1961); 1941 (1979); Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981); Empire of the Sun (1987);Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989); a remake of the WWII movie A Guy Named Joe (1943) entitled, Always (1989); Schindler's List (1993); and Saving Private Ryan (1998).
After filming this movie, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes became very good friends.
The story features a character called Poldek Pfefferberg. Later, a Leopold Pfefferberg places a stone on Schindler's grace. Finally, a Leopold Page is credited as a consultant on the film. Despite the different names, these all refer to the same person. Poldek Pfefferberg changed his name to Leopold Page after the war when he moved to the United States.
Though Oskar Schindler did in fact have a Jewish accountant named Itzhak Stern, his role is expanded in the movie, where he serves as a composite of several accountants Schindler had working for him.
Saul Bass was asked to design the poster for this film. Eventually, his version consisting of an image of barb wire spiking paper containing the names of the people, Schindler saved, was refused.
SPOILER: The girl in the red dress was a real girl named Roma Ligocka. Unlike her film counterpart, she survived the war, and wrote a memoir titled "The Girl in the Red Coat: A Memoir".
SPOILER: During the Jewish ghetto liquidation scene, a Jewish boy being dragged by two SS soldiers is shot and killed by a third SS man as the SS soldiers walk towards him. What follows is a heated exchange between the two SS soldiers. In the subtitles of the DVD version, it is possible to see exactly what is being said in the original German. The text translates as: "Just what did you think you were shooting at, are you crazy? With this rifle you could have shot me! You came that close to shooting me!" The second soldier then mumbles something unintelligible and then the original barks: "What do we call excuses here? You are certainly crazy!" Thus, the translation sheds light that the SS soldier was not concerned that the Jewish boy had just been murdered, but rather that the SS soldier was in the line of fire.