The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 1993
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 196 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Embeth Davidtz, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Jonathan Sagalle
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Music by: John Williams
Written by: Steven Zaillian based on the novel by Thomas Keneally
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 5, 2013
Schindler’s list presents the indelible true story of the enigmatic Oskar Schindler, a member of the Nazi party, womanizer, and war profiteer who saved the lives of more than 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust. It is the triumph of one man who made a difference, and the drama of those who survived one of the darkest chapters in human history because of what he did.
Adapted from the novel by Thomas Keneally, Steven Spielberg’s masterful film tells the incredible true story of the courageous Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson). Initially a member of the Nazi party, the Catholic Schindler risks his career and life, and ultimately goes bankrupt, to employ 1,100 Jews in his crockery factory during the Holocaust.
Schindler’s Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley) serves as his conscience, as Schindler conducts business with an obstinate and cruel Nazi commander Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes), who viciously kills Jewish prisoners from the balcony of his villa overlooking a prison camp. Filmed entirely in black-and-white on location in Poland, Schindler’s List does not downplay the faults of its magnanimous and unlikely hero, but relates a story of the triumph of the human spirit in the face of horrific devastation and tragedy.
I would like to believe that most that have seen Schindler’s list were affected by it on at least some level. It is based on one of the darkest periods in human history however its subject represents a defining light amidst unspeakable atrocities. No matter how many times I have seen Schindler’s list it always evokes the same responses. Frankly, it isn’t a movie that leaves you yearning to see it over and over. However it leaves an indelible impression that serves as a reminder of past events, that while difficult to watch, should never be forgotten.
Director Steven Spielberg, screenwriter Steven Zaillian, composer John Williams, cinematographer Janusz Kaminski and the wonderful ensemble portray the story of Oskar Schindler and those he helped save with respect, dignity and at times brutal frankness that imparts perspective for audiences as to the heart wrenching events perpetrated upon the victims and the idea that one person can make a difference.
With its initial release in 1993, Schindler’s List rapidly became one of the most honored films of all time, garnering twelve Academy Award nominations and taking home seven Oscars, including Best Director and Best Picture for Spielberg. The film also earned Oscars® for composer John Williams, screenwriter Steven Zaillian and director of photography Janusz Kaminiski, as well as art directors Allan Starski and Ewa Braun, editor Michael Kahn and producers Gerald R. Molen and Branko Lustig.
Based on real events Schindler’s list is a powerful and moving film that tells a timeless and important story of survival during the holocaust and the man that discovered that whoever saves a life, saves the world entire. I am thrilled to add it to my Blu-ray library.
The rating is for language, some sexuality, violence and thematic material.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Schindler’s list comes to Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 Mbps.
Director Steven Spielberg supervised the high definition restoration of the original 35mm film negative and the results are impressive. Images onscreen have excellent depth with rendering that draws out plenty of delineation. Close ups and mid level pans reveal perceptible detail in the faces, hair and clothing worn by the cast as well as the texture on objects/surfaces within the frame which imparts a noticeable sense of depth. Blacks have plenty of dynamic range and consistency which plays very well against the various stages of white and gray. The film uses lots of low level sequences that feature streaming light, shading and mixed content. While there is some natural loss of visibility in dark backgrounds the level of shadow detail is excellent.
The superb cinematography by Janusz Kaminski uses a variety of lighting schemes, transitions and purposeful shadows that translate extremely well in this high definition presentation. Contrast is stable and supports the film’s elements naturally. Grain is presented in predominantly even layers that provide a satisfyingly filmic texture. The use of light artificial sharpening and digital noise reduction as tools in the restorative process can be seen from time to time however neither negatively impacts fidelity. 20 years later this wonderful film looks terrific thanks to a well executed restoration that gives fans the opportunity to experience it like never before. Kudos to Universal Studios on a job well done.
Presented via a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio surround mix this is an open and airy soundtrack where low level detail, musical accompaniment and the reproduction of dialogue, is integral to the story’s telling. I would say this is a dynamically satisfying (albeit reserved) and definitively refined audio presentation that rewards with sibilant free highs and a warm midrange that compliments the variants found in the recording. There are moments in the film where traditional/broader elements are present and all are delivered with supportively gratifying and complimentary results.
- Blu-ray feature of Schindler’s list
- DVD feature – part 1 of Schindler’s list
- DVD feature – part 2 of Schindler’s list
- Voices from the list – 77 minute documentary
- USC Shoah Foundation story with Steven Spielberg
- About I Witness – 3 minutes
- Digital Copy
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Schindler’s list needs no introduction among film enthusiasts and stands as a testament to its subject matter. I have loved it since first seeing it and fully appreciate the efforts of all of those involved in bringing such an important story to the big screen. It makes its debut on Blu-ray featuring beautifully restored high definition video, complimentary lossless sound and the same legacy supplements found on the 2004 DVD release. Schindler’s list is a marvelous cinematic gem that belongs in every video collection. If by some chance you have never seen it I can’t think of a better introduction than this terrific Blu-ray offering from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
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