Steven Spielberg’s Greatest Movie Had A Last Minute Ending

Steven Spielberg reveals Schindler's List ended the way it did to combat Holocaust denial.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

From Schindler’s List (1993)

Steven Spielberg has revealed his reasons for the final scene of Schindler’s List taking place in a graveyard. In an interview with The Times, the director said the ending was a way to verify that everything in the movie was true. “Holocaust denial was on the rise again,” he said. “That was the entire reason I made the movie in 1993.”

The final scene of the film shows the holocaust survivors visiting the grave of real-life Oskar Schindler. Steven Spielberg also explained that it was a late addition to Schindler’s List. “I have never made a movie that so directly confronted a message I thought the world needed to hear,” he told the publication.He added that its message is more important today than it was in 1993.

“Because anti-Semitism is so much worse today than it was when I made the film,” Steve Spielberg said about Schindler’s List. The filmmaker also called the movie a tribute to his parents and their Jewish identity. Along with its important political message, the film was also critically acclaimed, taking home 7 Academy Awards.

This included the trophies for Best Director and Best Picture for Steven Spielberg and Schindler’s List. Written by Steven Zaillian, the movie is based on the 1982 novel Schindler’s Ark by Australian author Thomas Keneally. The story follows a German industrialist named Oskar Schindler who saved Jewish refugees from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories during World War II. 

Helmed by Steven Spielberg, Schindler’s List stars Liam Neeson as Schindler, Ralph Fiennes as SS officer Amon Göth, and Ben Kingsley as Schindler’s Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern.Following its release, the film became one of the top-grossing black-and-white entries locally and earned $321.3 million at the global box office.

steven spielberg schindler's list
From Schindler’s List (1993)

Several world leaders met with Steven Spielberg after seeing Schindler’s List just to praise his handling of a horrific event. Three decades later, the movie still holds a 98% critics score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The site’s general consensus says the movie “blends the abject horror of the Holocaust with the director’s signature tender humanism,” thereby creating a “dramatic masterpiece.”

Steven Spielberg talked about Schindler’s List during his promotional tour for his latest offering, The Fabelmans.  Written by Tony Kushner, the move is loosely based on the director’s adolescence and first years as a filmmaker. However, the story is told through the fictional young filmmaker named Sammy Fabelman who explores how the power of film can help him see the truth about people around him.

Steven Spielberg’s latest project, much like Schindler’s List, has been nominated for seven Academy Awards. The Best Screenplay nod is extra special to the director since he began toying with the idea in 1999. He initially had reservations about exploring his family’s story because he thought his parents may be unhappy.

That led to the movie being shelved for 20 years.

Fortunately, his doubts faded and he began working on The Fabelmans with Kushner in 2019. The screenplay was completed by the end of 2020 and development began soon after. The film was released on November 11, 2022.

While the new Steve Spielberg movie may not have the same gravity as Schindler’s List, it’s sure to cement its place in pop culture.