20 films about the Holocaust

The theme of the Holocaust in films raises serious questions that cannot remain unanswered. Millions of people suffered and died at that time, the military echo will reverberate in the minds and excite society for many years to come. The following list of the best feature films about the Holocaust and the genocide of Jews during World War II tries to convey the atmosphere of that historical period, the emotions of those people, their experiences and pain.

Children of Windermere (2020)

End of the war, 1945 Holocaust survivors arrive in England. Some of them are less than three years old. Here, in a foreign land, they are alone, without parents, not knowing the language, looking for the beginning of a new life. The town of Carlisle with local volunteers at first conjures up images of concentration camps – the children are frightened and cannot believe in the liberation. Will they be able to recover under the care of their guardians and return to the world?

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title:
The Windermere Children

Genre:
Drama, military

Actors:
Thomas Kretschmann, Romola Garay, Ian Glen …

Country:
Germany, UK

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:
12+


Witnesses (2018)

The film includes 3 short stories that tell different stories of Holocaust victims. In the first, the protagonists are graceful women’s shoes, setting off on a journey from a shop window. The second shows a German Shepherd, which the war deprived of a beloved home and turned into a watchdog. The last part of the trilogy is dedicated to an orchestra of talented Jewish musicians who were forced to play by the Nazis during the torture of their fellows.

Genre:
Drama, history

Actors:
Oksana Fandera, Filipp Yankovsky, Vladimir Koshevoy …

Country:
Russia, Belarus, Czech Republic, France, Poland, Israel

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.7, IMDb – 6.8

Age restrictions:
12+


The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)

Niki Caro’s new film about the Holocaust is based on real events. The director of the Warsaw Zoo Jan Žabinsky and his wife Antonina love what they do and take good care of the animals . But the Second World War begins, the zoo comes under bombardment and many animals die. Then Jan and his wife become members of the Polish underground, sheltering hundreds of Jews in their zoo.

Original title:
The Zookeeper’s Wife

Genre:
Drama, military, biography, history

Actors:
Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenberg, Daniel Brühl…

Country:
Czech Republic, UK, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 7.0

Age Limits :
16+


Bag of marble (2017)

The action of an interesting foreign film takes place in Paris during the Second World War, when France capitulated. The fascists who occupied the city legally restrict the rights of Jews. A family with two underage boys Joseph and Maurice are going to get out of the occupation and get to the free zone. The difficulty of the transition lies in the fact that the young brothers must make it on their own.

Original title:
Un sac de billes

Genre:
Drama, biography, history

Actors:
Dorian Le Clech, Batyste Fleurial, Patrick Bruel…

Country:
France, Canada, Czech Republic

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
12+


Son of Saul (2015)

The Hungarian film tells about a Jew in a concentration camp, who, together with a group of the same prisoners, burns the corpses of fellow citizens in ovens. One day, among the slain captives, Saul finds the body of his son. Not wanting to burn his son, Saul decides to hide the body from the watching Nazis. At this time, the group learns that an order is being prepared to destroy it.

Original title:
Saul fia

Genre:
Drama, military

Actors:
Geza Rörig, Levente Molnar, Urs Rehn…

Country:
Hungary

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.7, IMDb – 7.5

Age restrictions:
18+


Remember (2015)

Zev Gutman, once a prisoner of Auschwitz, is trying to forget about the horrors that happened there. 70 years have passed since then, Zev lived a good life, and now lives in a nursing home. Suddenly, old friend Max comes on the trail of a German who is guilty of killing many Jews. Together, friends decide to restore justice, only Max is confined to a wheelchair, and Zev suffers from dementia.

Original title:
Remember

Genre:
Thriller, drama, detective

Actors:
Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, Jurgen Prochnov …

Country:
Canada, Mexico, Germany, South Africa

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.5

Age restrictions:
18+


Ida (2013)

1960, Poland. Before taking her vows, Anna, a young novice of the monastery, goes to visit her aunt. She tells the girl the truth about her parents – they were Jews and died during the war. Anna decides to visit the graves of her relatives and, together with her aunt, goes on a journey that will reveal many secrets of the past. The film about the persecution of Jews during World War II received an Oscar in 2015.

Original title:
Ida

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Agata Kulesha, Agata Tshebukhovskaya, David Ogrodnik…

Country:
Poland, Denmark

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.9, IMDb – 7.4

Age restrictions:
16+


Spikelets (2012)

Frantisek left Poland 20 years ago. After so much time, the Pole has to return to his homeland, having received news about the problems of his brother Jozef. In his native village, Jozef finds tombstones from the old Jewish cemetery. The brothers begin their investigation, which leads to the dark events of World War II.

Трейлер

Original title:
Poklosie

Genre:
Thriller, drama

Actors:
Maciej Stuhr, Ireniusz Chop, Zbigniew Zamakhovsky…

Country:
Poland, Russia, Netherlands

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Into the Dark (2011)

The next film about Jews during the war is also based on real events. Lvov, 1943, the city is occupied by the Nazis. Leopold Soha is the caretaker of the sewers. One day while working, he discovers that a group of Jews are hiding from execution in the sewer tunnels. The man helps them escape, taking a lot of money for it. At first, Leopold only wants to earn money, but soon his attitude towards these people changes.

Original title:
In Darkness

Genre:
Drama, military

Actors:
Robert Wieckiewicz, Benno Furman, Agnieszka Grochowska …

Country:
Poland, Germany, Canada

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
18+


Roundup (2010)

The movie tells the story of three families of French Jews who ended up in German-occupied Paris during the war. They were detained by the police and sent to a ghetto set up in the Stade Vel d’Hiv. Thousands of Jews were held there in appalling conditions. Many people committed suicide, and some were killed while trying to escape.

Original title:
La rafle

Genre:
Drama, military, history

Actors:
Jean Reno, Melanie Laurent, Gad Elmaleh…

Country:
France, Germany, Hungary

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.0, IMDb – 7.1

Age restrictions:
16+


Her name is Sarah (2010)

Julia, an American-born Parisian, is an investigative journalist on the crimes of the Nazis in France. In 1942, many Jews died at the Vel d’Hiv stadium. A little Jewish girl named Sarah also disappeared there. Julia is trying with all her might to get to the truth, which can be very unexpected.

Original title:
Elle s’appelait Sarah

Genre:
Drama, military

Actors:
Kristin Scott Thomas, Melyusin Mayans, Niels Arestrup …

Country:
France

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 7.5

Age restrictions:
16+


Braveheart of Irena Sendler (2009)

An American film about the genocide of Jews by the Nazis tells the story of a young Polish woman working in the Warsaw Health Department. Most people see her as a modest woman living a measured life. Only a few are aware that Irena is a member of an underground organization dedicated to saving children from the Jewish ghetto.

Original title:
The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

Genre:
Drama, military, biography

Actors:
Anna Paquin, Marsha Gay Harden, Goran Visnich …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:
12+


The Diary of Anne Frank (mini-series 2009)

Based on real events, the series tells the story of a 13-year-old Jewish girl, Anne Frank, who, together with her family, is hiding from the Nazis in occupied Amsterdam. They hide in various office buildings formerly owned by Anna’s father. For two years, the girl has been keeping a diary, telling about all the horrors of the war.

Original title:
The Diary of Anne Frank

Genre:
Drama, military, biography, history

Actors:
Kate Ashfield, Geoff Breton, Ron Cook …

Country:
United Kingdom

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 7.5

Age restrictions:
18+


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)

The film shows an unusual for the times of the Great Patriotic War, the story of the friendship of boys, one of whom is a Jew and a prisoner of a concentration camp, and the second is the son of the head of this same camp. Bruno, a nine-year-old German boy, during a walk finds an incomprehensible fence, behind which he sees dirty, thin and always hungry people in pajamas. With one of them, his age, Bruno strikes up a dialogue.

Original title:
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Genre:
Drama, military, history

Actors:
Asa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon, David Thewlis, Vera Farmiga …

Country:
UK, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.2, IMDb – 7.8

Age Limits :
12+


Black Book (2006)

A young Jewish woman hides from the Nazis wherever she can. In the Netherlands, Rachel meets a member of the local resistance movement. The girl has many trials of fate, and soon she joins the Resistance herself. With his help, Rachel plans to take revenge on the German officer who killed her loved ones. Paul Verhoeven’s film, which has earned a high rating and many reviews from viewers, is considered one of the best films about the Holocaust and the genocide of Jews.

Original title:
Zwartboek

Genre:
Thriller, drama, military

Actors:
Carice van Houten, Sebastian Koch, Tom Hoffman…

Country:
Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 7.7

Age restrictions:
18+


Without Destiny (2005)

The film tells the story of a 14-year-old Hungarian boy who ended up in a Jewish concentration camp. There Girk is waiting for inhuman trials, which not every adult can cope with. A teenager finds a friend, and together they steadfastly overcome all the hardships of existence. But a sudden illness sends the young man to the infirmary.

Original title:
Sorstalanság

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, military

Actors:
Marcell Nagy, Bela Dora, Balint Pentek…

Country:
Hungary, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, France, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 6.9

Age restrictions:
16+


Babi Yar (2003)

The action of this war film about Jews takes place in Kyiv, in 1941. When the Soviet army leaves the city, chaos begins around. People understand that the Nazis will soon capture their homeland. Two families, Lerner and Onufrienko, have been living side by side on the outskirts of the city for many years. When the occupiers come, families try to escape together into the forest and do everything to survive in this harsh time.

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Michael Degen, Barbara De Rossi, Catherine Zass …

Country:
Germany, Belarus

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.5, IMDb – 6.1

Age restrictions:
18+


Pianist (2002)

The painting by Roman Polanski has long been a classic of world cinema. Based on real events, the film shows the story of a Polish musician of Jewish origin who experienced the horrors of World War II first hand. The film won three Oscars and many other prestigious film awards.

Original title:
The Pianist

Genre:
Drama, military, biography, music

Actors:
Adrien Brody, Emilia Fox, Daniel Caltagirone…

Country:
Poland, France, Great Britain, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.5, IMDb – 8.5

Age restrictions:
16+


Gray Zone (2001)

The American film tells about Sonderkommandos – groups of workers of Jewish concentration camps. Under the threat of death, they were forced to help the Nazis by undressing the captives and sending them to the gas chambers. For this work, the prisoners received certain privileges. The film tells the story of the only such group, who decided to rebel in order to save the lives of their fellows.

Original title:
The Gray Zone

Genre:
Drama, military, history

Actors:
David Arquette, Steve Buscemi, David Chandler…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 7.0

Age restrictions:
18+


Life is Beautiful (1997)

A family of Italian Jewish origin with a young son ends up in a camp. The boy is still too small to perceive what is happening around, so the father tries to present everything to him in the form of a game. According to her rules, the child must hide from the guards. The main prize is a real tank , which the boy really wants to get.

Original title:
La vita è bella

Genre:
Military, comedy, drama, melodrama

Actors:
Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini…

Country:
Italy

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.6, IMDb – 8.6

Age restrictions:
12+


Schindler’s List (1993)

The most famous film about the salvation of Jews during the war, based on real events, won 7 Oscars at once. Oskar Schindler is a large German businessman who hired only Jewish workers in his firm, which ensured their survival. Schindler was able to negotiate with a high-ranking SS officer so that he would not burn the workers in the concentration camp. The Nazis allowed Oskar to draw up a list of those who would be left alive.

Original title:
Schindler’s List

Genre:
Drama, biography, history, military

Actors:
Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.8, IMDb – 8.9

Age restrictions:
16+


Other films about the Holocaust

  • Operation Endgame (2018)
  • Denial (2016)
  • Paradise (2016)
  • Riphagen (2016)
  • Phoenix (2014)
  • In hiding (2013)
  • Suskind (2012)
  • In the wake of the unknown Holocaust (2011)
  • Lidice (2011)
  • Inglourious Basterds (2009)
  • Judgment on God (2008)
  • Eichmann (2007)
  • Nina’s House (2005)
  • Anne Frank (mini-series) (2001)
  • Jacob the Liar (1999)
  • Island on Bird Street (1997)
  • Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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