Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust Reviews

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October 29, 2015
This was an amazing documentary. I loved it and enjoy watching it over and over. I seem to always discover moments or scenes I had missed during previous viewings of this film. I truly recommend that you view this work!
April 15, 2014
An interesting take popular censorship. Dependence on movies to bear witness to history including the atrocities of the holocaust means our perspective is always blunted by the filters applied in the making of such.
February 3, 2014
A fantastic look at how Hollywood dealt with Germany, before, during and after WWII. Covers pretty much all the bases and talks with film makers, survivors, and has several great film clips. Well worth a watch and it's on Netflix!
January 2, 2014
I have seen some of the films discussed in this documentary. I suppose I had never really thought about how Americans use film to display historical events. I had always assumed, naively I suppose, that any film about the Holocaust was good because it was reminding people that this happened...so that the chances of it occurring again would be reduced. But now I realize that any depiction of this event in history would automatically be colored by the views of the society who produces it. That changes over time and that society evolves. And in this case, the producers are even further removed from the events, not only by time, but by the American lens....American ideologies and self identities....of those who write and create these films.

Powerful and thought provoking.
November 12, 2013
Profound and telling. It's a different and compelling look at the Holocaust and what we, as Americans, know of it An how we depend on our media to inform and enlighten us about things, and in so many ways while the industry may have dropped the ball, they have also brought this story to us in so many ways as only something of such depth and breadty can be done; and they made it a gift to us all, a sense of spirit to carry of those who died and some shred of memory or image to hold.
½ December 23, 2012
Interesting documentary on how Nazi antisemitism and the holocaust have been portrayed in movies over the years. Pretty interesting.
July 26, 2012
a well informed movie. that really makes you think about the movies you take for granted
July 23, 2012
Narrated by Gene Hackman and labeled with an unusual title I was intrigued. That's where it stops.

Imaginary Witness is an overview of films made during and after the second world war that relate or perhaps fabricate and other times misstep fiction from truth. The documentator's goal was simple, seed out Hollywoods censorship, and propraganda. For me all it did was tell me what i already knew and what little Americans still don't know. My grandmother was born and raised in Germany during WW2, her stories alone would have made for a better summerization!
May 22, 2012
Extraordinarily fascinating. Offers an outside view of how Hollywood and our culture's comfort zone has influenced the portrayal of the Holocaust on film over the years. There has been a very identifiable and distinct evolution, as this film has pointed out. There are many moral dilemmas, even to this day that one faces when they set out to make a film on the subject.
½ January 15, 2012
I study the role music plays in our lives, so it was interesting to see the ties between Hollywood, the US, and the Holocaust.
December 23, 2011
A well done documentary on how the Holocaust has been portrayed in films.
December 10, 2011
An engrossing look at the way these two incredibly different subjects have intersected over the years. Talking heads are used sparingly (Anker seems more interested in presenting the real life horrors than in people over-analyzing the various films based on them), and Gene Hackman makes a fine narrator, guiding us with a warmth and humanity that is necessary to balance out the more harrowing and upsetting moments. Not the definitive final word on either the Holocaust or filmmaking in general, but as an examination of them together, it's quite effective.
½ November 29, 2011
Highly recommend this film to all history and film buffs!!!!
½ September 11, 2011
A little too self-congratulatory but otherwise good.
September 8, 2011
Better than any Holocaust documentary. This is really a documentary about the documentaries and Hollywood films. Start here. See the others later.
½ September 3, 2011
Ultimately this is an intelligent and informative documentary that explores Hollywood's uneven attempts to depict the Holocaust. As a movie about the power of movies, it works
½ July 8, 2011
This thoughtful documentary explores the history of Hollywood's portrayal of the Holocaust over the decades. It raises ethical and important questions about the impact these films have on society's views of the horrors of the holocaust. Once all the survivors are gone these films will be the main source of telling their story. Do these films water down the events for a mass audience? Are filmmakers exploiting the tragedy for shock value and entertainment as to make a profit? Or are they informing audiences so the atrocities aren't forgotten? Very thought provoking.
½ April 30, 2011
Well-made documentary on how Hollywood (the American film industry) portrayed the rise of the Nazis and the Holocaust - starting with the 1930s and moving on as far as "The Pianist." I appreciated the depth of the interviews & the willingness to deal both with film & television as important mediums.

What is more difficult with the film is to determine the intended message of the filmmaker... does he want us to be angry about how the subject was avoided or at how the mediums inherently trivialize the subject? I'm not sure he knows - and that indecision undercuts some of what he's trying to do. I know that some will see it as being an even-handed documentary filmmaker - but it makes some portions of the film tentative.
½ March 13, 2011
I study the role music plays in our lives, so it was interesting to see the ties between Hollywood, the US, and the Holocaust.
Super Reviewer
½ January 25, 2011
This is an excellent documentary, which depicts the Holocaust through Hollywood movies and television. Especially interesting is Hollywood's anemic reaction to Hitler's rise to power during the 30s, which shows how afraid Hollywood moguls were to offend Nazi Germany before America's entry into the war. The film clips of the Holocaust shown through movies is brilliantly depicted, and the commentary from historians and movie makers explains the evolution of how Hollywood movies became more honest and open in showing this horrible chapter in human history. Very interesting film.
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