Shoah - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Shoah Reviews

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September 1, 2016
How can a doc made 40 years ago, focused on a topic that happened 70 years ago yet has remained ubiquitous, be so eye opening? While watching, I kept ponging between "most tedious film experience ever" to "masterpiece of journalistic immersion". By the end, I realized, for a 9+ hour film of talking and long takes of scenery, its palpable emotions make it fly by (relatively) quickly. Its refusal to be pompously or glorifying is stunning, ultimately making it a singularly great film I'll never watch again.
August 19, 2016
Nearly ten hours of the most unsettling stories you will ever hear. Greatest documentary ever made.
May 10, 2016
goes on & on but never looses u
April 14, 2016
This is one of this movie that cannot leave anyone unmoved.

I honestly can say that I didn't get to comprehend the extension and meaning of the Holocaust until I watched this 9h documentary. Probably, I still don't even get to be close to its understanding now but this has been clear to me after watching the movie.

This is the kind of historic document with incalculable value to leave proof of what happened during WWII so nobody can really put it in question. I would even say that this movie should be passed in history class in high-schools all around the world.

The work done is huge and, although I would say that, at some points, I don't understand why Lanzmann makes some kind of trivial questions, I reckon that the actual purpose is to make the viewer to understand all the aspects of the happenings: the extraordinary and the casual usual ones.

A must to be seen, if you feel strong enough to face the terrible truth and fate of millions of people.
September 24, 2015
I did it! It took me a long time to get through it, and every time i took a break from it, i felt a bit of shame -- that my life allows me respite from even the tiniest of distresses, that i have the freedom to eat any food i want whenever and however much i want, that i have warm shelter from the cold and cool comfort under the summer heat, i have every expectation of a long life ... yet i can't sit through 566 straight minutes that chronicle one of the single greatest evils the world has ever known.

Oddly, "Shoah" isn't a masterfully structured narrative -- not even its episodes are necessarily chronological. Although some subjects appear through various parts of the film, there is no through-line, no single subject to relate to through the film's length.

That said, this is a phenomenal record of history -- both of the holocaust and incidentally, life under Communism in late 70s / early 80s Eastern Europe where many of the film's interviews and extensive footage is shot. The quiet establishing shots of this dark history's locations -- 30 to 40 years later -- are at once haunting and beautiful. The subjects' stories are profoundly moving, but somehow not overwhelming -- they often speak coldly, decades of practice suppressing their emotions, many of them having suffered unimaginable guilt for their relatively good fortune.

"Shoah" is a film to be seen. Do it.
July 20, 2015
Maybe the greatest documentary ever made.
March 10, 2015
Worst documentary about holocaust. I can't even stand 20 minutes of that ridiculous interpreter-subtitle routine and the expoliting questions of that smart-a..
March 3, 2015
In what can only be a disturbing and shocking film I was amazed at how beautiful were the countryside settings for the death camps. It was also very interesting to see what is now archive footage of central and eastern Europe esp. the railway sequences.

This is a must see for all mankind.
March 2, 2015
one of the most powerful things i've ever seen
December 13, 2014
It's taken me a long time to decide what to say about this film because it left me fittingly speechless. I still feel at a loss for words trying to describe why this film is one of the most important pieces of filmmaking ever created. It's something I believe everyone should see at least once in there lifetime. It's indescribable and simply needs to be experienced to be understood. I give it a five star, but the film sort of transcends my typical rating system. Just seek it out if you ever get the chance. You don't need to watch it in a single sitting, break it up, because it's a monumentally draining film.
December 10, 2014
The greatest documentry and most important ever made.
October 8, 2014
If you can stomach almost ten hours of the Holocaust, this is a powerful movie...fascinating in the incredible, sometimes seemingly inconsequential details that the director extracts from his subjects (victims, Nazi officers and Polish citizens).
August 17, 2014
An extremely valuable document of the extermination of Jews during WWII. The twenty-five years since it's release add a second layer as a document of the 70s, when it was filmed. I am ambivalent about the length of the film. The length allows us to get to know the interviewees and the locations well and become immersed in the details of lives lived so immersed in horror that it became, for some, routine. On the other hand, the innumerable and sometimes repetitious advancing or retreating shots and the subtitling of the interviews conducted via translator could have been tightened up in editing to cut an hour or more off the running length with little chance of undermining it's impact.

I expect that the running time was more effective in the mid-Eighties when the film was released and these stories were a revelation than it is now when most of us have been exposed to many, many details of WWII that were less easily shared in the decades closer to the war.
February 23, 2014
One of the great cinematic achievements; one of the worst horrors of mankind.
TheDudeLebowski65
Super Reviewer
October 20, 2013
Documentaries are wonderful in terms of presenting an important subject for a viewing audience. The medium has had its fair share of meaningful films. Some documentaries have been very important in terms of its subject. Shoah is such a film. The film, with a run time of over nine hours and directed by Claude Lanzmann is the definitive work on the Holocaust. With extensive interviews with survivors and a few guards and others involved in this horrible tragedy, which gives a comprehensive understanding of the entire ordeal. Brilliantly crafted, with pure subtlety, not using archive footage, Lanzmann paints a vivid picture of this tragedy with interviews and filming the locations where it all happened. I've seen my fair share of documentaries on the subject, and read plenty of books, but Claude Lanzmann's picture is the most comprehensive, detailed and in depth work that will definitely give a better understanding of the horrors of the Holocaust. Even with its terrifying and tragic subject, Shoah is a beautiful, subtle film that manages to be very powerful and eye opening. Never before or since has a documentary been this important. Shoah is a film that needs to be seen due to its subject. Yes, the film is very long, but in watching it, you'll get a better understanding of the Holocaust. Shoah is hard to watch, but ultimately it is necessary so that we can comprehend this tragedy that claimed the lives of so many people. This film is an important history lesson, and it is a film that will stay with you long after you've seen it. The film is nine hours, and is long, like I've stated before, but it covers so much detail that it is necessary to tell the entire story of the Holocaust. Claude Lanzmann has crafted something truly powerful; here. This is an unmatched picture that is in a category of its own, and even if you have doubts about watching it due to its run time, you must definitely give this documentary a shot, you won't regret it. If you've ever been interested in the subject, Shoah is the perfect film to watch and you'll walk away from it with a better understanding of the cruelty of the Nazis towards the Jews during the Second World War. This is among the most powerful films ever made, and if you end up watching it, I think you'll agree.
September 11, 2013
This 9 hr and 30 min documentary focusing on the persecution, torture, and injustices committed against the Jews during WWII might be the most groundbreaking and timeless documentary ever created, for any subject. There isn't many words that can adequately explain the depth of this movie. It features interviews with Holocaust survivors, war personnel and historians, family members of those persecuted, and even former Nazis filmed with a hidden camera, all in a variety of languages and locations. Filmed in 1985, the persons portrayed in this movie are still young enough to have the war still fresh in their minds, and this definitely shows in several scenes where seemingly tough and emotionless victims break down in tears as they recount their stories to the director who is off screen. The documentary touched me deeply and I definitely feel changed after having experienced it. I recommend it for everyone, although obviously not in one sitting. And definitely with a frame of mind ready to absorb difficult emotions.
August 4, 2013
Devastating and unforgettable.
July 23, 2013
So everybody say "Shicndler's List" is the greatest film ever made based on deafning nightmares of The Holocaust. But for me nothing will come close to this 9 and 1/2 exhaustive piece of genocide and brutality. Shoah hits you like a shot in the heart.
June 27, 2013
I'd give it 7 stars out of 5 if I could, the only word to accurately describe this film is 'Monumental'.
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