21 Best Concentration Camp Movies

The concentration camp films in this selection tell the story of people who managed to survive in inhumane conditions, their fortitude and heroism, and how the most despised people of the Nazi regime were able to endure the horrific events that took place in the occupied territories.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
  • Rating IMDB – 7.8
  • Genre: Drama, War, History
  • UK, USA production / 2008
  • Budget: $12,500,000
  • Worldwide gross: $40,416,563
  • Directed by Mark Herman
  • Cast: Isa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon, David Thewlis, Vera Farmiga, Amber Beatty, Sheila Hancock, Richard Johnson, Kara Horgan, David Heyman, Rupert Friend

An eight-year-old German boy, Bruno, unaware of the horrors of World War II, moves with his family to a new home after his father, the commandant of a concentration camp, is reassigned. While the whole family is busy with business, Bruno explores his surroundings and discovers a strange farm behind barbed wire, where all the people for some reason are dressed in striped pajamas.

His friendship with the perpetually hungry Jewish boy Shmuel on this side of the fence soon leads to terrifying consequences.

People who study the Holocaust have criticized the film for its factual inaccuracy.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by John Boyne.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies

God on Trial

God on Trial
  • Rating IMDB – 7.7
  • Genre: Drama, War
  • UK production / 2008
  • Directed by Andy de Emmony
  • Cast: Joseph Muir, Joseph Altin, Ashley Artus, Alexi Kay Campbell, Dominic Cooper, Lorcan Cranitch, Steven Dillane, Rupert Graves, Francois Guétary, David de Keyser

The film is set in the Auschwitz concentration camp. The Jewish prisoners, exhausted by the horrors of their situation, decide to put God on trial, accusing him of abandoning his people by allowing genocide.

This British television play is based on the play of the same name by Frank Cotrell Boyce. And the play itself is based on the story described by Elie Wiesel in his book. In an interview, the writer confirmed that this incident was not fiction and that he himself had witnessed it.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies


  • Rating IMDB – 7.4
  • Genre: Drama, War
  • Russia, Germany, Belarus production / 2020
  • Worldwide gross: $4,289,872
  • Directed by Vadim Perelman
  • Cast: Nahuel Perez Biscayrt, Lars Eidinger, Jonas Nye, David Schütter, Alexander Bayer, Andreas Hofer, Leonie Benesch, Louise-Céline Gaffron, Nico Erentheit, Giuseppe Scillaci

At the beginning of World War II, a Belgian with Jewish roots, Gilles Kremier, falls into the hands of German soldiers. To avoid becoming a victim of the Nazi regime, he hides his nationality and passes himself off as a Persian.

This deception saves his life, but he does not yet know what follows. Klaus Koch, who works as a cook in a concentration camp, dreams of going to Iran and opening his own restaurant there. Gilles becomes Klaus’ teacher, teaching him a non-existent language, which he passes off as Farsi.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies

The Counterfeiters

The Counterfeiters
  • Rating IMDB – 7.6
  • Genre: Drama, crime, war, history
  • Austria, Germany production / 2006
  • Budget: €4,200,000
  • Worldwide gross: $18,814,713
  • Directed by Stefan Ruzowicki
  • Cast: Karl Markowitsch, August Diehl, David Strissov, Martin Brambach, August Zirner, Veit Stübner, Sebastian Urzendowski, Andreas Schmidt, Thilo Prückner, Lenn Kudryavitski

1936, Berlin. Solomon, a notorious counterfeiter nicknamed “Sully,” who counterfeits money and documents, finds himself in a concentration camp, where he has to survive by painting pictures for Nazi propaganda.

Soon the German soldiers transfer Solomon to a closed camp, where the Fuhrer orders a group of prisoners to set up the production of counterfeit banknotes. The experienced counterfeiter “Sully” and printer Adolf Bürger must make a difficult choice: work for the enemy or die.

“The film won the Oscar in the category “Best Foreign Language Film of the Year”.

The screenplay was based on the book “The Devil’s Workshop” by Adolph Burger. The prototype of Solomon Sorovich was Solomon Smolyanov.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies

Life Is Beautiful

Life Is Beautiful
  • Rating IMDB – 8.6
  • Genre: War, comedy, drama, melodrama
  • Italy production / 1997
  • Budget: $20,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $228,847,384
  • Directed by Roberto Benigni
  • Cast: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini, Giustino Durano, Sergio Bini Bustric, Marisa Paredes, Horst Buchholz, Lidia Alfonsi, Giuliana Loggiodice, Amerigo Fontani

During World War II, an Italian Jewish father and son are sent to Nazi camps. The Italian wife voluntarily follows her family.

The father, wishing to protect his child from the horrors of reality, comes up with an idea: he tells him that everything that happens in the concentration camp is just a game that must be completed in order to win the grand prize. In order to do so, the child must be able to hide well and stay out of sight of the guards.

One of the best concentration camp films, it won three awards out of seven nominations at the 1999 annual Academy Awards. The film was based on the biography of the Italian Jew Rubino Romeo Salmoni.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies

Fog in August

Fog in August
  • Rating IMDB – 7.3
  • Genre: Drama, War
  • Germany, Austria production / 2016
  • Budget: $8,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $72,895
  • Directed by Kai Wessel
  • Cast: Ivo Pitzker, Sebastian Koch, Thomas Schubert, Fritzi Haberlandt, Henriette Confurius, Branko Samarovski, David Bennent, Jules Hermann, Niklas Post, Karl Markovic

The film is set in the midst of World War II, in southern Germany. A Roma teenager named Ernst is sent to a psychiatric hospital for forced treatment.

There, along with the other children, Ernst is subjected to experiments conducted by Nazi doctors. Out of fear, the boy becomes violent, which causes the anger of the staff.

The hero tries by all means to survive in terrible conditions and to help his friends, who developed during his stay in the asylum.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies

Schindler’s List

Schindler's List
  • Rating IMDB – 8.9
  • Genre: Drama, Biography, History, War
  • USA production / 1993
  • Budget: $22,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $321,306,305
  • Directed by Steven Spielberg
  • Cast: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Embett Davidtz, Jonathan Segal, Malgosha Goebel, Shmuel Levy, Mark Ivanir, Beatrice Macola

The film tells the story of the life of a German factory worker, a member of the Nazi Party, who managed to save nearly 1,200 Jewish prisoners from the imminent death of Hitler’s regime. In 1939, Oskar Schindler comes to Poland for the first time to build an enamelware factory on its territory.

He hires exclusively Jewish men as workers, which later saves their lives. Throughout the years of the war, he manages to rescue more than a hundred Jews from the clutches of Nazi soldiers.

At the 1997 Oscars, one of the best concentration camp films won seven awards out of thirteen nominations. Steven Spielberg, who worked on the picture, declined a fee. According to him it would have been “blood money”, as the director put it.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies


  • Rating IMDB – 6.9
  • Genre: Drama, melodrama, war
  • Hungary, Germany, UK, Israel, France, USA production / 2005
  • Budget: HUF 2,500,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $2,280,297
  • Directed by Lajos Koltai
  • Cast: Marcell Nagy, Bela Dora, Balint Pentek, Aron Dimen, Peter Fancikai, Zsolt Der, András M. Keczekes, Dani Szabo, Tibor Merz, Peter Vida

Dyerd, 14, lives in Budapest with a well-to-do Jewish family. At the height of the war he finds himself in the Auschwitz concentration camp. To avoid immediate death, he deliberately adds two years to his life.

After some time living in inhuman conditions of the camp barracks, the boy manages to survive the nightmare and return home. However, when he tries to tell his family about the hell he experienced, he encounters a negative reaction: no one wants to know what happened to the Jews in the death camps.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies

The Photographer of Mauthausen

The Photographer of Mauthausen
  • Rating IMDB – 6.8
  • Genre: Thriller, drama, military, biography, history
  • Spain production / 2018
  • Worldwide gross: $2,701,645
  • Directed by Mar Targarona
  • Cast: Mario Casas, Richard van Weyden, Alain Hernandez, Adria Salazar, Eduard Buch, Stefan Weinert, Nicola Stojanovic, Ruben Juste, Frank Faith, Marc Rodriguez

Spanish-born photographer and Republican Francisco Boix was exiled to France after the establishment of the Franco dictatorship. At the very beginning of the war, the young Francisco ended up in the Mauthausen concentration camp.

In the midst of this nightmare, not only did he manage to stay alive, but he also managed to do the impossible: take a series of photographs and hide them from the eyes of the warders. After his rescue, Francisco’s pictures, which denounced the crimes of the Nazis, were included in the evidence at the Nuremberg Trials against Fascism.

In fact, the SS man Franz Xavier Zirais killed forty prisoners on the day his son was born.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies

The Grey Zone

The Grey Zone
  • Rating IMDB – 7.0
  • Genre: Drama, War, History
  • USA production / 2001
  • Budget: $5,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $517,872
  • Directed by Tim Blake Nelson
  • Cast: David Arquette, Steve Buscemi, David Chandler, Allan Cordooner, Daniel Benzali, Mira Sorvino, Natasha Lyonne, Michael Stuhlbarg, Harvey Keitel, Velizar Binev

The historical drama tells the story of the Sonderkommando, a special unit made up of Jews who worked in a concentration camp. Selected by the administration, they had to escort prisoners condemned to death, clean blood from the walls of the gas chambers, and remove gold teeth and hair from the corpses.

To show their loyalty, the guards created a separate area inside the camp for the unit where they could get better food, tea, and smoking. Anyone who did not want to participate in helping the Nazis was shot on the spot.

The film about the concentration camp is based on real events.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies

Out of the Ashes

Out of the Ashes
  • Rating IMDB – 6.8
  • Genre: Drama
  • USA production / 2003
  • Directed by Joseph Sargent
  • Cast: Christine Lathy, Bruce Davison, Jonathan Cake, Jolion Baker, Jessica Bachman, Oliver Cotton, Michelle Fine, Zoe Palmer, Maria Ricossa, Ingrid Weninger

1948, New York City. Gisella Pearl, a Jewish gynecologist who wants to work in America, applies for citizenship. But before she can begin practicing medicine, she must be interviewed by the Immigration Service.

It is there that she tells the inspector what happened to her at Auschwitz.

1944. Along with the rest of the prisoners, Gisella finds herself in a concentration camp. In inhumane conditions, she finds an opportunity to save women’s lives from destruction in the ovens of the crematorium.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies

The Zookeeper’s Wife

The Zookeeper's Wife
  • Rating IMDB – 7.0
  • Genre: Drama, war, biography, history
  • USA, UK, Czech Republic production / 2017
  • Budget: $20,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $26,152,835
  • Directed by Niki Karo
  • Cast: Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenberg, Daniel Bruhl, Timothy Redford, Efrat Dor, Iddo Goldberg, Shira Haas, Michael McElhatton, Val Maloku, Martha Issova

The events of the film unfold at the height of World War II in Poland. The Nazi soldiers occupying the country begin to persecute the Jews. At the center of the story is the real story of the courageous exploits of the zoo keepers, Jan and Antonina Zabinski.

They saved the lives of over 300 Jews by hiding them in empty animal cages. Their already difficult situation is complicated by their relationship with a former friend, now a Nazi official, who is in love with Antonina.

The film is based on the events described in the book by Diane Ackerman, who in turn created the book based on Antonina Zhabinskaya’s diaries. Israel awarded the Zhabinsky family the title of Righteous among the Nations of the World.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies

Son of Saul

Son of Saul
  • Rating IMDB – 7.5
  • Genre: Drama, Military
  • Hungary production / 2015
  • Budget: HUF 280,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $6,659,121
  • Directed by Laszlo Nemes
  • Cast: Geza Rohrig, Levente Molnar, Urs Rehn, Todd Charmon, Jerzy Walczak, Sándor Joter, Marcin Czarnecki, Levente Orban

Auschwitz, 1944. Jewish prisoner Saul Auslander is a member of the Sonderkommando, escorts newly arrived prisoners, cleans the gas chambers of blood and waits for new prisoners. One day he recognizes his son as one of the thousands of people waiting to die, and decides that he must bury his body according to the law.

The task is not an easy one: he must preserve the body from being burned, hide it from the eyes of the commandants and find a rabbi. At the same time a rebellion is brewing in the camp, but Saul, one of the participants in the plan, is focused only on thoughts of his son…

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies

Naked Among Wolves

Naked Among Wolves
  • Rating IMDB – 7.2
  • Genre: Drama, War, History
  • Germany production / 2015
  • Directed by Philipp Kadelbach
  • Cast: Florian Stetter, Peter Schneider, Sylvester Groth, Sabine Tambrea, Robert Gallinowski, Rainer Bock, Raphael Stachowiak, Torsten Merten, Torsten Michaelis, Robert Mika

1945. Zachariasz Jankowski finds himself in one of Germany’s largest concentration camps, Buchenwald. The man arrived at the death camp with a single suitcase in which he secretly hid a three-year-old Jewish boy.

Zachariash manages to sneak the valuable “cargo” past the Nazi soldiers without registering it. He must, however, find a hiding place for the child so that he might not be subjected to reprisals. Together with the other prisoners, he tries to save the boy from the harsh realities of the concentration camp.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies

Calm At Sea

Calm At Sea
  • Rating IMDB – 6.7
  • Genre: Drama, War
  • France, Germany production / 2011
  • Directed by Volker Schlöndorf
  • Cast: Leo-Paul Salmain, Marc Barbet, Ulrich Mattes, Jean-Marc Roulet, Philippe Rezimon, Charlie Nelson, Martin Loisillon, Sébastien Accard, Gilles Arbonne, Arnaud Simon

1941. The film is set in occupied France, in an internment camp. Most of the prisoners are French Communists. Among the prisoners are the devoted Marxist Timbo and the young romantic Guy Moquet.

After the murder of a German high-ranking officer by resistance fighters, the Fuhrer orders the execution of 150 Frenchmen. Those selected for execution are mostly young men who are believed by the authorities to be on the side of the terrorists.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies

Hart’s War

Hart's War
  • Rating IMDB – 6.3
  • Genre: Drama, War
  • USA production / 2002
  • Budget: $70,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $32,287,044
  • Directed by Gregory Hoblit
  • Cast: Bruce Willis, Colin Farrell, Terrence Howard, Cole Houser, Marcel Huresh, Lynas Roche, Vicellous Rheon Shannon, Maury Sterling, Sam Jaeger, Scott Michael Campbell

The events of the film are set in 1944, at the end of World War II. The officer’s aide, young and brave Lieutenant Tommy Hart, finds himself in a German concentration camp for prisoners of war. Two black officers are brought there, one of whom is immediately killed.

The second, Lincoln Scott, is unjustly accused of killing the first and is about to be executed. Captive officer William McNamara manages to convince the Nazi soldiers to try Scott.

In this difficult situation, Hart is assigned to be the defendant’s lawyer. Now a man’s life depends on his skill and persuasiveness.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies

The Devil’s Arithmetic

The Devil's Arithmetic
  • Rating IMDB – 6.4
  • Genre: Fantasy, Drama, War
  • USA production / 1999
  • Directed by Donna Deitch
  • Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Brittany Murphy, Paul Freeman, Mimi Rogers, Louise Fletcher, Lilo Baur, Nitzan Sharron, Shelley Scandrani, Daniel Brocklebank, Kirsty McFarland

Hannah Stern, a modern teenage girl from a well-to-do Jewish family, goes to her aunt’s house to celebrate the Jewish Passover. All of Hannah’s relatives gather around the table. Her uncle begins a story about the mass extermination of the Jews, but the young heroine is completely uninterested in the history of her people.

According to tradition, on this day the youngest of the guests should open the door to the prophet. This time it is Hannah’s turn. She opens the door and finds herself…in occupied Poland, in the heart of the horror of the concentration camps.

The film about a German concentration camp is based on Jane Yolen’s short story of the same name.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies


  • Rating IMDB – 7.2
  • Genre: Drama, melodrama, war, story
  • UK, Japan production / 1997
  • Worldwide gross: $496,059
  • Directed by Sean Mathias
  • Cast: Clive Owen, Loter Bluto, Ian McKellen, Brian Webber, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Mick Jagger, Jude Law, Paul Bettany, Rachel Weiss, Gresby Nash

The height of World War II. The homosexual Max falls into the hands of the Nazi soldiers, who send him to the Dachau concentration camp. He denies his homosexual orientation and so receives the yellow patch given to Jews.

At the camp, Max falls in love with a prisoner named Frost, who unashamedly wears his pink triangle, which was used to mark gay men. Love helps them to forget for a while the horrors of the events around them.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies


  • Rating IMDB – 3.1
  • Genre: Drama, War, History
  • Germany, Canada production / 2010
  • Directed by Uwe Ball
  • Cast: Steffen Mennekes, Arved Birnbaum, Maximilian Gaertner, Friedhelm Gärtner, Uwe Boll, Nick Goldman, Harold Levy, Alexis Waverka

The film about the Jews in a concentration camp is divided into two parts: the first shows an artistic view of the terrible events that took place during World War II, the second shows the viewer a documentary chronicle, which the director himself comments on.

In order to make sense of the past, he interviewed contemporary German schoolchildren in order to understand how well they understand what happened.

At the Berlin premiere a number of critics boycotted the screening of the film, considering it too violent.

Sophie’s Choice

Sophie's Choice
  • Rating IMDB – 7.6
  • Genre: Drama, Melodrama
  • UK, USA production / 1982
  • Budget: $12,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $30,036,000
  • Directed by Alan J. Pakula
  • Cast: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Peter McNichol, Rita Karin, Stephen D. Newman, Greta Turken, Josh Mostel, Marcella Rosenblatt, Moyshe Rosenfeld, Robin Bartlett

Sophie, a young and beautiful immigrant, lives in sunny and comfortable Brooklyn. She shares an apartment with the mentally unstable but kind Jew Nathan Landau, who, like many others, fell under Nazi oppression.

Despite her present prosperity, Sophie still cannot recover from the horrors of the war, during which her husband and children were victims of a concentration camp. The heroine tries to find the strength to go on living in a post-war, well-fed America.

But no matter how hard Sophie tries, she cannot stop thinking about the fateful choice she made in the death camp…

Meryl Streep, who played Sophie, won the Oscar for Best Actress.

The screenplay is based on the novel of the same name by William Styron.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies

The Great Escape

The Great Escape
  • Rating IMDB – 8.2
  • Genre: Action, War, Drama, History
  • USA production / 1963
  • Budget: $4,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $11,744,471
  • Directed by John Sturges
  • Cast: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Donald, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn, Hannes Messer, David McCallum, Gordon Jackson

Much effort was expended by the Nazi soldiers to break the spirit of the prisoners of war in the German camps. But despite all the horrors of their situation, the prisoners never for a moment gave up the idea of escape.

American, British and Canadian prisoners of war masterfully dodged the overseers and carefully thought out their plan. Eventually they succeeded in escaping from the German camp in large numbers.

Two computer games were released based on the picture.

The screenwriters based the movie on the book of the same name by Paul Brickhill.

21 Best Concentration Camp Movies
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Анна Румянцева
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