Terry Gilliam criticizes Spielberg and Schindler's List

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Arian hmn : I am sure Terry Gilliam has a nice house too

gutz1981 : I personally think Spielberg is at his best when he was making fun adventure films "Raiders of the Lost Ark' 'E.T' 'Jurassic Park' and 'Jaws'. He is very Hollywood stream in that regard and he is great at it. But to see his more hard edged work, he is indeed a great story teller, but it feels like Kubrick's films are the more out there and thought provoking as Gilliam stated. I will not fault Steven for making block busters, but I will say that if all films came out with a grim ideological feel like Kubrick's movies, then cinema would become a chore very quickly. Spielberg should go back to doing adventure films.

Fangornmmc : Am I the only person to think that there's room for both comforting and provocative films? I like my Kubrick and Gilliam just as much as I like my Spielberg.

Trent csqw : Terry Gilliam is so wrong on this. Schindler did save those people, but the whole point of the ending is that he could have saved more. Schindler isn't proud of the people he saved, he is depressed about his failure in realizing that he could have done more.

Noah King : I don't want to get into the whole Kubrick/Gilliam vs Spielberg debate that seems to be going on in these comments (they're all brilliant IMO) but I must say the pretentious film school students I'm seeing here who seem to think that ambiguous automatically equals more intelligent are amusing to me. Just because a film gives you answers doesn't mean it's any less smart or any less honest than one that doesn't.

caleb wheeler : There must be 1,000 films about the Holocaust. Spielberg's movie was about Schindler, a tale worth telling. What's wrong with that, Terry?

Josh L : I see what he means, but not every film has to be deep and ambiguous to be good.

alma6911 : People need to remember that opinions are not facts.

Rose Carlson : To think that Schindler's List was just a movie about a guy that saved 1200 ppl and that makes for a happy ending is completely missing the point of the movie. Ironic considering Gilliam compares it against Kubrick where he states Kubrick deliberately leaves questions unanswered as if that promotes deeper, philosophical thinking. Schindler's List is profoundly deep and not a happy ending. The ending makes us realize how many more lives could've been saved if only more people had cared. It asks the uncomfortable question of what lengths would a society go through to save each other, or watch others die. In this movie, Schindler is merely a symbol of how humanity should have stepped up and done something and is a painful reminder of how millions died because very few did.

Art Trivia : I feel bitterness from Gilliam. The other guy who I have heard speaking of other directors like this is Oliver Stone. The curious thing about this whole discussion, is that one of the biggest fans of Steven Spielberg was Stanley Kubrick.

nunouno001 : I have to say that I both agree and disagree with Terry Gillian. Steven Spielberg, while I do admire him as a film maker and a story teller. As a romantic filmmaker he is more focused on sentimentality, concrete scripts, and streamlined storytelling. This is obvious with Jaws, arguably the first blockbuster ever made. We can debate its long term effects for better and worst for years; but overall It is downgraded, simplified, and more comforting then anything Stanley Kubrick or John Carpenter would make. As a result he does have a hit(Indiana Jones, ET, Jurassic Park) and miss(War of the worlds, Hook,Crystal Skull) record. However I don't think that's a bad thing. The one great about film is its wide range and ability to accomplish so many things from creating worlds, exploring ideas, telling stories from the past or fiction for a large variety of purposes. They can make you think, or they can make you feel something. You can say that's a cop-out, but when a filmmaker is able to successfully generate sympathy for a Nazi party leader. That's quite an accomplishment. And that's why I feel that Schlinder's list is ultimately a good movie. It wasn't about the failure of civilization in preventing the Holocaust. It was about Oskar Schlinder in his personal journey from a nazi leader and his eventual transformation into a decent who was powerless to stop the horrors around him, but saw that in his own limited ways could have saved this few people from a pointless death. Because even in the darkest period of human history, there were still those who managed to retain their humanity.  Does that make Schlinder's List any better or worst then Shoah or the Pianist? I don't know. All I do know is Spielberg is a master of his craft, and that craft is romantic filmmaking or more commonly known as blockbusters. And I don't see any reason why anyone should hold that against him. Is he as good as Kubrick, definitely not, but at the same time I don't think the size of Speilberg's house should have any part in how his movies are evaluated. 

creative+world : Gilliam is so entirely off his abstract expressionist marble here, that I'm ashamed of him. AND I'M A CREATIVE PROFESSIONAL. Gilliam is brilliant. But he's managed to distill an important (and brilliant film) into a source for his own ethos of what "irony" or "satire" should be. Kubrick made satire. Deep dark human satire. Schindler's List IS NOT A SATIRE. Schindler's List is not about "success" as Gilliam so dimly frames it. Schindler's List is about the smallest of lights of human hope in the face of the unspeakable. If Gilliam wants to see a film about "failure" in the subject of the Holocaust like he stupidly posits, then take 6 million people and line them up into a death march into the fires of Auschwitz. THEN, you would see the sheer magnitude of the failure of humanity.... AND HAVE A VERY BAD, DEPRESSING FILM. Thank goodness (the very word of it) that Spielberg made this film.

Liam Redmond : I don't know, I might be wrong but that seems a little ungracious to me. Spielberg may be different from Kubrick but his vision a film-maker seems no less sincere or genuine to me . And I think its a little unfair to dump Spielberg with the rest of 'Hollywood' so to speak. To me he's set apart from that and any resemblance between the two can be seen as an attempt by the latter to ride Spielberg's coat-tails. I think Gilliam is just being a bit cynical here.

Johnny Cardinale : Spielberg = McCartney Kubrick = Lennon

Alex Allan - Aulas Particulares de Inglês : Spielberg once said "In the movie industry, you either get the money or the awards!" He is fully aware that he is there to sugar-coat reality in escapist movies. Kubrick was the true auteur, making his own movies regardless of what audiences might think. Spielberg is more of  a businessman, while Kubrick was more of an artist.

Pr0DlgY : There is no single or "correct" way to make movies. Not every movie needs to be deep and philosophical. Spielberg invented the blockbuster and he has his own style. There is a reason why he is so succesfull, because people ENJOY his movies.. that is the whole point, to entertain. How dare he critizise someone else's hard work? It's like critizising a person's form of entertainment. what a shame.. no one is forcing you to watch anything.. some people like artsy fartsy movies, others don't. personally i like both. Variety is a good thing.

NovemberTheHacker : The point of the movie was, even in the darkest hours of humanity, "save one life and you save the world" That has meaning much deeper than the actual event.

MrChrispy777 : Spielberg stepped away from his usual, light-hearted fare, to tell a story that had to be told. Gilliam gave a juvenile critique, dismissing Spielberg's balance of overt horror versus silent heroism. Gilliam states that a movie which leaves you questioning is superior to one that offers answers "tied up in a neat little bow." This completely ignores the obvious and voluminous questions that stem from this "massive failure of humanity," regarding what makes human beings act and react the way they do, during times of war AND peace. How can we foresee and avoid future holocausts? Spielberg focused on both aspects of our potential for inhumanity and humanity, ending on a positive, uplifting note. Schindler DID save 1100 Jews. Subsequently, 6000 individuals WERE given life because of Oskar Schindler's heroics, despite his seemingly contradictory vices. Hitler and the German Army WERE defeated, and that was GREAT NEWS for the entire free world. Even in the midst of all the horrors, and their aftermath, there are big and small victories along the way, as in any tragedy. If Gilliam had made "Schindler's List," I probably would've walked out of the theater and jumped off the nearest bridge. As he criticizes Spielberg for being too simplistic, he, himself, is being simplistic in criticizing a well-told, complex, historical fact of history, with brutal accuracy, evoking deep sympathy and pathos.

Glen Hanley : I love Terry Gilliam, but this is complete ignorance. First off, he suggests that all films should leave you questioning and pondering, why? Why can't a film just be a nice ending to a horrible event, Spielberg didn't suggest that the Holocaust was all sunshine and rainbows because those few people survived. This whole idea about films should only be made one way is backwards, and also, Spielberg and Kubrick were *friends* and they loved each others films. Gilliam is taking quotes from Kubrick out of context to suit his own bogus agenda on cinema.

Dillon McManus : Spielberg movies do an amazing job of affecting you on a visceral level. You feel thrilled, sad, or elated, when you watch his movies. That's why I love Spielberg. While I admit his movies may not challenge my brain(as much as kubrick), they hit me in the gut and the heart. And when I say "heart" I don't mean that they are feel-good movies. Simply that they are truly engrossing and eyes-pinned-to-the-screen fun. What's wrong with fun?

The Drifter Within : Stop saying that Gilliam is "jealous" of Spielberg. What a shallow thing to say. He's just disappointed that mainstream audiences care more for entertainment and easy answers than for compelling cinema. You may criticize him for this idea that "everything should be art, should be Kubrick": I believe that both styles of cinema - art and escapism - can be great into their own. About Spielberg, I'm just sad to see what happened to him these last years. He used to make real escapist masterpieces such as "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", but since 1993... he's just not the same guy anymore. Don't get me wrong: I thought "Schindler's" was a good film, but far from this masterpiece everybody has made it to be. I think Spielberg doesn't have the touch for making these "serious movies": he is best served as an escapist director.

kokoro : Sorry Gilliam, disagree here. Kubrick and Spielberg are both great filmmakers. But they make completely different films, not only in a sense of "giving answers". Kubrick made two very special, "questioning" films - "2001" and "Clockwork Orange" (the others are great too, but don't give those open questions he is talking about). You can't compare those in any way to "Schindler's List" or other serious Spielberg movies. Both are great artists, but they use different ways to tell their story. And storytelling is what filmmaking is all about. And honestly - what about Gilliams Movies...he should do his own movies differently first before blaming others. I have seen all his movies, and those are neither leave big questions, nor have the quality of a Spielberg-Movie.

TheRealBeatMaster : Interesting opinion, but Schindler's List is still one of the best movies ever made

JK : I don't think he ever even watched Schindler's List.

Susan : The Holocaust isn't *about* anything, it's just an event that happened. It's given significance by individuals and, surprise surprise, alot of Jewish people choose to see it as a triumph not a failure. To them it's about the whole world trying to extinguish their people but them resisting and surviving and building a new land for themselves, Kubrick and Gilliam have as much right to see it as the failure of humanity as Spielberg does to see it as the triumph of the Jewish people because *nobody* is right or wrong, it's all about personal perspective. This interview, or this clip at least, portrays Gilliam as a very jealous and bitter person and I really hope that's not the case because I love his work.

pinba11wizzard : lol, looks like spielberg's fanboys really butthurted.

quentinlynch : Imho: Kubrick produced art and was also able to entertain, Spielberg produces entertainment but isn't able to produce art. The question is whether the topic of Schindler's List is appropriate for entertainment or not. Do we really want a movie about the Holocaust that makes us feel good and relieved after having seen it?

emanmark : I think Gilliam is missing the point. We are all aware of the horrors of war, and it seems Spielberg wasn't interested in making another movie about that, but raise questions about the nature of humanity. If Evil = fear, control, cruelty, bigotry, and hatred - Can acts of kindness, compassion, and empathy grow from such a horrible place? Ultimately, that is what Schindler's list is about, and I thought it was a great film.

Kurdt Nbk : speilberg is a storyteller, not a self serving filmmaker who is trying to impress people with his vast importance. this is sour grapes all the way and gilliam is a really pretentious guy.

Jeff Blackman : Personally, I've always felt that Spielberg's films were a little too simplistic and too formulated. However, I still enjoy them and think they are well crafted stories. Kubrick's are also marvelous. I think we are really talking about two different types of film genres - the apples and the oranges.

M.J. Cruz : TIL Schindler's list is a happy story lol

jbaz77777 : Interesting, because Gilliam couldn't carry Spielberg's jock strap.

KatarnCrusader : In Spielbergs Defense - Schindlers List is called "Schindlers List" and its about Oskar Schindler at his life. Its not called "Holocaust the Movie"

Munrais : I don't think this man understands what Schindler's List was all about. All you have to see is the scene when the list is typed and finished and Stern shows it to Schindler: STERN: “The list is an absolute good. The list is life. All around its margins lies the gulf.”

Happy Schizophrenic : When I think of my favorite directors Speilberg is never in that mix. Like ever.

bobbygnosis : Spielberg's movies: half trash / half awesome Kubrick's movies: half art / half masterpieces

DJ_Bullets : Spielberg is a master of sentiment, Kubrick was the master of intellectual observation. Both needed in storytelling and cinema/ both appreciated. I find Spielberg's films - particularly his 80s cannon do well made and endearing that that feeling alone provides me with optimism and motivation. Kubrick at times, provides that, and then some.

Alexandru Moraras : So based on this idea everything that doesn't make you think, be it a film, a song or a painting it's because it's not made by a good artist. Well I enjoy both, and really I get sick of these things. It's very hard to make space odyssey and it's very hard to make the hobbit for exaple. but in the end the best movie in the world is the one you like.

B Hill : Thoroughly disagree with what he is saying here! Spielberg makes films that reflect human emotion on several levels. They dont just wrap themselves up in a patronising bow, they have an ending, a conclusion. I also like films that make you think but thats not to say that these films are superior to ones with a conclusion, quite the contrary. When i watch films like Spielberg's dramatic pictures it is his story, his view, he is driving the bus - I dont want to be let off a stop early and told to find my own way home. The schindlers list analogy is wrong on so many levels. The fact that the character did save these people points out how many were lost. It goes even further to highlight the survivors one by one and contrasts the number of souls to that of which were lost. For someone who likes to think about endings, he obviously never gave this one much thought! 

Mohamed Monem : At long last, someone said it; "Spielberg and the success of most films in Hollywood these days I think is down to the fact that they are comforting, they tie things up in nice little bows, gives you answers, even if the answer is stupid" and no one could have said it better than Terry Gilliam.

arfer : It is a bit simplistic of Gilliam to suppose that every film should be of a certain kind.....there is room in the film industry for lots of styles/approaches.

VicenzoV : This is the power and failure of Hollywood at the same time. Many people when they think about the Holocaust, they think about Schindler's List, yet Schindler's List is a fairytale.

Pearcey80 : I love how half the comments are people trying to defend Spielberg by saying "Some people like films with answers and happy endings", which is just another way of saying "I hate films that make me think". Gilliam must be pretty ignorant to offend another director for being too Hollywood and it's not particularly ground-breaking to cite Kubrick as an American director that broke conventions, but it's even more ignorant for Gilliam to honestly believe that a wide mainstream audience could honestly want a film that challenges them. I'm far more concerned about the critical success directors like Nolan and David O. Russell get, it's essentially telling all aspiring directors to dumb down their films to be accepted by critics.

smxwing : But Schindler saved those people, its a fact. Is Spielberg supposed to make it end differently for him. I know the movie was about the Holocaust but it was also about this mans life and the lives he saved.

Anthony Monaghan : Steven Spielberg's good, no doubt about it, but Stanley Kubrick is the real thing. No comparison.

Fer Abra : I do agree that Spielberg is keen on happy endings and oversimplifies subjects sometimes. That said, I think Schindler's List is a powerful movie that stands and will stand the test of time. Extremely well shot, great soundtrack, well acted, and very well scripted. Also, it appears to be pretty accurate. As for "happy endings" take "The Pianist", another holocaust movie by a great director who actually lived in Poland during the holocaust. Roman Polanski. What about that ending (SPOILER!) with the good nazi?  Also, I don't think Schindler's List is oversimplified. Actually Oskar Schindler's ambiguity is there on the screen. And Goeth is played as a nazi, racist, mean and brutal. I guess there were nice nazis that loved their wives and children and their pets, but that wouldn't have made Amon Goeth more 3D and complex. It just wouldn't have made sense. Stanley Kubrick was a genius, but so is Spielberg, and Schindler's List is one of his masterpieces. Terry Gilliam was a genius too when he was in Monty Python.

Mobley Hernandez : Beyond how an audience member reacts to a film, movies are what their creators intend them to be, and just because Spielberg's vision differs from Kubrick's doesn't make it worse or better. It may be better for Terry Gilliam, who personally prefers films that are more provocative and open-ended, but Spielberg didn't intend for Schindler's List to be enigmatic in any way, and that's not a flaw. Gilliam is asking Spielberg to make a different movie, not a better version of the one he made. It's not fair of him to criticize cinema in general when mentioning how some filmmakers prefer closure rather than ambiguity. Some films are fit to have the former, some the latter. Not EVERY movie has to be open-ended and ambiguous. That's a silly criticism and only a personal preference of Gilliam. And I love movies that are dense and can be interpreted many ways! But the beauty of art and the movies is the diversity and versatility in it. Sometimes a filmmaker will make a film that intends to simply entertain, and if it is greatly effective, then it is a great film IN ITS OWN RIGHT. I'm surprised that Terry Gilliam, the imaginative filmmaker that he is, would put a ceiling on what movies can do. I'm surprised he'd set such limitations on them. Schindler's List was a great film in its own right, and it wasn't trying to be Kubrickian and doesn't have to try. I love Spielberg AND Kubrick for different reasons. Sue me. Spielberg is not a manipulator, he's a humanist. Kubrick is too, but he's much more unconventional, which is also fine. They're great filmmakers for different reasons with different visions and if Gilliam can't see that and thinks a movie only has ONE job then that's unfair judgement.

kobathedread : What a great quote from Kubrick

Rex Spencer : Do I detect a little jealousy?

MrFennic : Just another comment on the internet.