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The Very Best Jewish Movies

Updated March 31, 2021 2.9k votes 165 voters 5.1k views70 items

List RulesMovies must have a primary focus on practicing Judaism—not just on Jewish characters. Includes documentaries.

When it comes to movies created by Jewish people, some of the greatest films ever made find their way onto the list. Hollywood has long been full of creative people from all nationalities, religious backgrounds, races, sexual preference, and anything else you can think of, but some of the most influential and creative people working behind the scenes have been Jewish. Determining what makes a movie "Jewish" requires looking into the people who worked on the film, but also the content.

You won't find every movie made by Mel Brooks or Woody Allen on this list seeing as Spaceballs and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid to Ask were made by Jewish people, but practicing Judaism or being Jewish was hardly the central theme of the film. Similarly, people like Steven Spielberg have a huge body of work, but only one of his films made the cut for this list and you can probably guess which one. Jewish films that make the cut for this list involve Jewish creators, but also content about Jewish people. Neil Simon's amazing body of work often involves his own life story, which is why movies like Biloxi Blues and Brighton Beach Memoirs can be found here. 

This list has everything from old Jewish movies like the 1947 Body and Soul to new films like 2017's Disobedience. Did your favorite Jewish film make the list? Add the best Jewish movies you think should have been included and rate your favorite to the top!

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  • 1

    Fiddler on the Roof

    Paul Michael Glaser, Chaim Topol
    67
    16

    Released1971

    Directed byNorman Jewison

    Fiddler on the Roof is a 1971 American musical comedy-drama film produced and directed by Norman Jewison. It is an adaptation of the 1964 Broadway musical of the same name, with music composed by...  more
  • 2

    The Pianist

    Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann
    58
    16

    Released2002

    Directed byRoman Polanski

    The Pianist is a 2002 historical drama film co-produced and directed by Roman Polanski, scripted by Ronald Harwood, and starring Adrien Brody. It is based on the autobiographical book The Pianist, a...  more
  • 3

    Exodus

    Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint
    46
    8

    Released1960

    Directed byOtto Preminger

    Exodus is a 1960 epic film made by Alpha and Carlyle Productions and distributed by United Artists. Produced and directed by Otto Preminger, the film was based on the 1958 novel Exodus, by Leon Uris....  more
  • 4

    Schindler's List

    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes
    63
    26

    Released1993

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and scripted by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas...  more
  • 5

    Cabaret

    Liza Minnelli, Michael York
    42
    12

    Released1972

    Directed byBob Fosse

    Cabaret is a 1972 musical film directed by Bob Fosse and starring Liza Minnelli, Michael York and Joel Grey. The film is set in Berlin during the Weimar Republic in 1931, under the ominous presence...  more
  • 6

    The Jazz Singer

    Myrna Loy, Al Jolson
    40
    11

    Released1927

    Directed byGordon Hollingshead, Alan Crosland

    The Jazz Singer is a 1927 American musical film. The first feature-length motion picture with synchronized dialogue sequences, its release heralded the commercial ascendance of the "talkies" and the...  more
  • 7

    The Ten Commandments

    Charlton Heston, Vincent Price
    51
    22

    Released1956

    Directed byCecil B. DeMille

    The Ten Commandments is a 1956 American religious epic film produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille, shot in VistaVision, and released by Paramount Pictures. It dramatizes the biblical story of the...  more
  • 8
    LawrenceVoltz added

    A Woman Called Golda

    Ingrid Bergman, Leonard Nimoy
    34
    6

    Released1982

    Directed byAlan Gibson

    A Woman Called Golda is a 1982 American made-for-television film biopic of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. Made by Paramount Television and directed by Alan Gibson, the film stars Ingrid Bergman...  more
  • 9
    rocky 35 added

    The Diary of Anne Frank

    Shelley Winters, Ed Wynn
    36
    9

    Released1959

    Directed byGeorge Stevens

    The Diary of Anne Frank is a 1959 film based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same name, which was based on the diary of Anne Frank. It was directed by George Stevens, with a screenplay by...  more
  • 10

    Yentl

    Barbra Streisand, Mandy Patinkin
    47
    22

    Released1983

    Directed byBarbra Streisand

    Yentl is a 1983 romantic musical drama film from United Artists, and directed, co-written, co-produced, and starring Barbra Streisand based on the play of the same name by Leah Napolin and Isaac...  more
  • 11

    Chariots of Fire

    Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh
    32
    9

    Released1981

    Directed byHugh Hudson

    Chariots of Fire is a 1981 British historical drama film. It tells the fact-based story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God,...  more
  • 12

    Funny Girl

    Barbra Streisand, Omar Sharif
    37
    16

    Released1968

    Directed byWilliam Wyler

    Funny Girl, the film, is a 1968 American biographical romantic musical comedy-drama film directed by William Wyler. The screenplay by Isobel Lennart was adapted from her book for the eponymous stage...  more
  • 13

    Dirty Dancing

    Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey
    40
    19

    Released1987

    Directed byEmile Ardolino

    Dirty Dancing is a 1987 American romantic drama film. Written by Eleanor Bergstein and directed by Emile Ardolino, the film stars Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the lead roles, as well as...  more
  • 14
    rocky 35 added

    Defiance

    Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber
    34
    13

    Released2008

    Directed byEdward Zwick

    Defiance is a 2008 WWII era film written, produced, and directed by Edward Zwick, and set during the occupation of Belarus by Nazi Germany. The film is an account of the Bielski partisans, a group...  more
  • 15
    rocky 35 added

    Anne Frank Remembered

    Glenn Close, Kenneth Branagh
    29
    7

    Released1995

    Directed byJon Blair

    Anne Frank Remembered is a 1995 documentary film by Jon Blair about the life of the diarist Anne Frank. The documentary was made in association with Anne Frank House, Walt Disney Pictures and the...  more
  • 16

    Ben-Hur

    Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins
    38
    18

    Released1959

    Directed byWilliam Wyler

    Ben-Hur is a 1959 American epic historical drama film, directed by William Wyler, produced by Sam Zimbalist for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and starring Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins, Hugh...  more
  • 17

    The Prince of Egypt

    Sandra Bullock, Michelle Pfeiffer
    49
    31

    Released1998

    Directed byBrenda Chapman, Simon Wells, Steve Hickner

    The Prince of Egypt is a 1998 American animated epic musical biblical film and the first traditionally animated film produced and released by DreamWorks Pictures. The film is an adaptation of the...  more
  • 18

    Keeping the Faith

    Ben Stiller, Edward Norton
    37
    22

    Released2000

    Directed byEdward Norton

    Keeping the Faith is a 2000 American romantic comedy film written by Stuart Blumberg, and starring Ben Stiller, Edward Norton (in his directorial debut), Jenna Elfman, Eli Wallach, and Anne Bancroft....  more
  • 19

    Life Is Beautiful

    Roberto Benigni, Horst Buchholz
    34
    23

    Released1998

    Directed byRoberto Benigni

    Life Is Beautiful is a 1998 Italian tragicomedy comedy-drama film directed by and starring Roberto Benigni. Benigni plays Guido Orefice, a Jewish Italian book shop owner, who must employ his fertile...  more
  • 20

    The Producers

    Gene Wilder, Kenneth Mars
    30
    20

    Released1967

    Directed byMel Brooks

    The Producers is a 1968 American satirical dark comedy film written and directed by Mel Brooks. The film is set in the late 1960s and it tells the story of a theatrical producer and an accountant who...  more
  • 21

    An American Tail

    Christopher Plummer, Madeline Kahn
    36
    27

    Released1986

    Directed byDon Bluth

    An American Tail is a 1986 American animated musical adventure film directed by Don Bluth and produced by Sullivan Bluth Studios and Amblin Entertainment. The film tells the story of Fievel...  more
  • 22

    Annie Hall

    Woody Allen, Diane Keaton
    34
    25

    Released1977

    Directed byWoody Allen

    Annie Hall is a 1977 American romantic comedy film directed by Woody Allen. Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer (Allen) falls in love with the ditzy Annie Hall (Diane Keaton)....  more
  • 23

    Crossing Delancey

    David Hyde Pierce, Geroge Martin
    23
    14

    Released1988

    Directed byJoan Micklin Silver

    Crossing Delancey is a romantic comedy film starring Amy Irving and Peter Riegert that was released in 1988. It is directed by Joan Micklin Silver and was based on a play by Susan Sandler, who also...  more
  • 24

    Bugsy

    Annette Bening, Ben Kingsley
    20
    12

    Released1991

    Directed byBarry Levinson

    Bugsy is a 1991 American drama film directed by Barry Levinson which tells the story of mobster Bugsy Siegel. It stars Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley, Elliott Gould, Joe...  more
  • 25
    23
    16
    Shoah is a 1985 French documentary film directed by Claude Lanzmann about the Holocaust. The film primarily consists of his interviews and visits to German Holocaust sites across Poland, including...  more