Schindler's List is a 1993 American historical period drama film directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Australian novelist Thomas Keneally. The film follows Oskar Schindler, a Sudeten German businessman, who saved more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories during World War II. It stars Liam Neeson as Schindler, Ralph Fiennes as SS officer Amon Göth, and Ben Kingsley as Schindler's Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern.
Ideas for a film about the Schindlerjuden (Schindler Jews) were proposed as early as 1963. Poldek Pfefferberg, one of the Schindlerjuden, made it his life's mission to tell Schindler's story. Spielberg became interested when executive Sidney Sheinberg sent him a book review of Schindler's Ark. Universal Pictures bought the rights to the novel, but Spielberg, unsure if he was ready to make a film about the Holocaust, tried to pass the project to several directors before deciding to direct it.
Principal photography took place in Kraków, Poland, over 72 days in 1993. Spielberg shot in black and white and approached the film as a documentary. Cinematographer Janusz Kamiński wanted to create a sense of timelessness. John Williams composed the score, and violinist Itzhak Perlman performed the main theme.
Schindler's List premiered on November 30, 1993, in Washington, D.C. and was released on December 15, 1993, in the United States. Often listed among the greatest films ever made, it was also a box office success, earning $322 million worldwide on a $22 million budget. It was nominated for twelve Academy Awards, winning seven, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score, and won numerous other awards, including seven BAFTAs and three Golden Globes. In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked Schindler's List 8th on its list of the 100 best American films of all time. The Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2004.