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The Best Movies About the Holocaust 

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Updated March 6, 2020 6.8k votes 1.6k voters 81.3k views 54 items

The films on this list of the best movies about the Holocaust are ranked by the community as the absolute best. During the Holocaust, approximately 6 million Jews were killed at the command of Adolf Hitler. Many films have been made about this period and WWII in general. What are the best movies about the Holocaust?

This list features the best movies about the Holocaust, either from a historical viewpoint or by telling the stories of fictional characters set during this time in history. Some of these films are among the best movies of all time and many have won various awards as well. These films range over many different genres.

The best movies about the Holocaust on this list include Schindler’s List, Sophie’s Choice, Life is Beautiful, The Pianist, Train of Life, The Diary of Anne Frank, and The Pawn Broker. Vote up the best Holocaust films below or add a film you think is great but isn't already on the list.

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1
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Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

Released: 1993

Directed by: Steven 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

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Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Emilia Fox

Released: 2002

Directed by: Roman 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 ...more

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#32 of 210 The Best Movies About Music #93 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
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Roberto Benigni, Horst Buchholz, Richard Sammel

Released: 1997

Directed by: Roberto Benigni

Life Is Beautiful is a 1997 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 ...more

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#261 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #974 of 1,211 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
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Asa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon, Vera Farmiga

Released: 2008

Directed by: Mark Herman

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (released as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) is a 2008 British historical-drama film directed by Mark Heyman, based on the novel by John Boyne. During World War ...more

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5
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Shelley Winters, Ed Wynn, Millie Perkins

Released: 1959

Directed by: George 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 ...more

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Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Mia Wasikowska

Released: 2008

Directed by: Edward 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 ...more

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Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Peter MacNicol

Released: 1982

Directed by: Alan J. Pakula

Sophie's Choice is a 1982 American drama film directed by Alan J. Pakula, who adapted William Styron's novel of the same name. Meryl Streep stars as Sophie, a Polish immigrant who shares a ...more

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Judy Garland, William Shatner, Marlene Dietrich

Released: 1961

Directed by: Stanley Kramer

Judgment at Nuremberg is a 1961 American drama film dealing with the Holocaust and with the post-WWII geo-political complexity of the Nuremberg Trials. The picture was written by Abby Mann and ...more

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Alan Arkin, Rutger Hauer, Joanna Pacuła

Released: 1987

Directed by: Jack Gold

Escape from Sobibor is a 1987 British made-for-TV film which aired on CBS. It is the story of the mass escape from the extermination camp at Sobibor, the most successful uprising by Jewish ...more
10
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Trioxin245 added Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Lena Olin

Released: 2008

Directed by: Stephen Daldry

The Reader is a 2008 German-American romantic drama film based on the 1995 German novel of the same name by Bernhard Schlink. The film was written by David Hare and directed by Stephen Daldry. ...more

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Vlastimil Brodský, Henry Hübchen, Erwin Geschonneck

Released: 1975

Directed by: Frank Beyer

Jacob the Liar is a 1975 East German-Czechoslovakian Holocaust film directed by Frank Beyer and based on the novel of the same name by Jurek Becker. It starred Vlastimil Brodský in the ...more
12
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wbalazs91 added Géza Röhrig

Released: 2015

Directed by: Laszlo Nemes

Son of Saul is a 2015 Hungarian drama film directed by László Nemes. It is set in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, and follows a day-and-a-half in the life of ...more
13
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Julie Delpy, Hanns Zischler, Marco Hofschneider

Released: 1990

Directed by: Agnieszka Holland

Europa Europa is a 1990 film directed by Agnieszka Holland. Its original German title is Hitlerjunge Salomon, i.e. "Hitler Youth Salomon". It is based on the 1989 autobiography of ...more
14
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Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Heike Makatsch

Released: 2013

Directed by: Brian Percival

This film is a 2013 American-German drama film directed by Brian Percival and starring Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and Sophie Nélisse. The film is about a young girl living with her ...more

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#37 of 82 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels #164 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #169 of 222 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time

15
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Trioxin245 added Ian McKellen, David Schwimmer, Joshua Jackson

Released: 1998

Directed by: Bryan Singer

Apt Pupil is a 1998 American thriller film directed by Bryan Singer and starring Ian McKellen and Brad Renfro. It is based on the 1982 novella of the same name by Stephen King. In the 1980s in ...more

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Steve Buscemi, Mira Sorvino, Harvey Keitel

Released: 2001

Directed by: Tim Blake Nelson

The Grey Zone is a 2001 film directed by Tim Blake Nelson and starring David Arquette, Steve Buscemi, Harvey Keitel, Mira Sorvino and Daniel Benzali. It is based on the book Auschwitz: A ...more
17
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Mollevangsvagen added Surviving With Wolves Mathilde Goffart, Yaël Abecassis, Guy Bedos

Released: 2007

Directed by: Véra Belmont

18
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Brigette Cook Jones added Vanessa Redgrave, Christine Baranski, Maud Adams

Released: 1980

Directed by: Joseph Sargent, Daniel Mann

Playing For Time is a 1980 CBS television film, written by Arthur Miller and Fania Fénelon, based on Fénelon's autobiography, The Musicians of Auschwitz. Vanessa Redgrave stars as ...more
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Brigette Cook Jones added Woman in Gold Katie Holmes, Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds

Released: 2015

Directed by: Simon Curtis

Woman in Gold is a 2015 British-American drama film directed by Simon Curtis and written by Alexi Kaye Campbell. The film stars Dame Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Brühl, Katie Holmes, ...more

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Agust Diehl, Dolores Chaplin, Karl Markovics

Released: 2007

Directed by: Stefan Ruzowitzky

The Counterfeiters is a 2007 Austrian-German drama film written and directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky. It fictionalizes Operation Bernhard, a secret plan by Nazi Germany during the Second World War ...more

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Lindsey Kristoff added Kirsten Dunst, Brittany Murphy, Mimi Rogers

Released: 1999

Directed by: Donna Deitch

The Devil's Arithmetic is a 1999 TV movie based on the historical novel of the same name by Jane Yolen. It stars Kirsten Dunst as Hannah Stern and costars Brittany Murphy, Louise Fletcher, and ...more
22
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Trioxin245 added Jerry Lewis, Harriet Andersson

Released: 1972

Directed by: Jerry Lewis

The Day the Clown Cried is an unreleased 1972 film directed by and starring Jerry Lewis. It is based on a script of the same name by Joan O'Brien, who had co-written the original script with ...more
23
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Gabby Gellerman added Armin Mueller-Stahl, Erwin Geschonneck, Gerry Wolff

Released: 1963

Directed by: Frank Beyer

Naked Among Wolves is a 1963 East German film directed by Frank Beyer and starring Erwin Geschonneck and Armin Mueller-Stahl. The film is based on author Bruno Apitz's 1958 novel by the same
24
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Jon Voight, Hank Azaria, Donald Sutherland

Released: 2001

Directed by: Jon Avnet

Uprising is a 2001 war/drama television movie about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The film was directed by Jon Avnet and written by Avnet and Paul Brickman. It was filmed in multiple locations, ...more
25
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Morgan Freeman, Rod Steiger, Geraldine Fitzgerald

Released: 1965

Directed by: Sidney Lumet

The Pawnbroker is a 1964 drama film, directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Rod Steiger, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Brock Peters, Jaime Sánchez and Morgan Freeman in his feature film debut. It was ...more