This 1977 film, directed by Fred Zinnemann (FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, THE DAY OF THE JACKAL) stars Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards, and Maximilian Schell and recounts the friendship between playwright Lillian Hellman and her lifelong friend, Julia. When Julia – who as an adult has taken up the battle against fascism – reaches out to her friend desperate for help, Lillian finds herself assisting the Anti-Fascist cause and rushing to find her friend. But will it be too late? This remarkable film is beautiful to behold, and the acting across the board is impeccable.
Not all Jewish films need to be about the Holocaust in order to appear on this site – fact is, there are many fine examples of Jewish-themed films that aren’t even tangentally related (THE CHOSEN, JULIA – both reviewed on this site). But I’d be remiss if I didn’t list at least one more, aptly named HOLOCAUST.
This was actually a NBC miniseries in 1978 – and it managed to be a zeitgeist moment in Jewish film history. Schools everywhere used this series as a tool from which they built entire lessons, it was that impactful. And still is.
In the series, we follow several groups of central and eastern Europe’s Jews, examining what happened to them between 1935 and 1945. As well, we get a unflinching look at not only one camp, but several, including Auschwitz, Theresienstadt, Buchenwald, and Sobribor. We see how Nazi occupation changed the Warsaw ghetto, and the evolution in the methods of exterminating the Jews. With an amazing cast that includes Nigel Hawthorne, Ian Holm, James Woods, Meryl Streep, Fritz Weaver, Tovah Feldshuh, Michael Moriarty, Timothy Bottoms and David Warner), this is a miniseries with unparalleled emotional impact.
You are likely to see built up areas that were the jewish ghettos, and they are often taller neighborhoods. Certainly nothing like any highrise waterfront real estate that you might see today though.