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God on Trial (2008)

Stellan Skarsgard , Dominic Cooper , Andy DeEmmony  |  NR |  DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

Price: $29.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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God on Trial + The Trial of God: (as it was held on February 25, 1649, in Shamgorod)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Stellan Skarsgard, Dominic Cooper, Rupert Graves, Blake Ritson, Eddie Marsan
  • Directors: Andy DeEmmony
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: January 20, 2009
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001HZ30O0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,966 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Who is to blame for the greatest of all crimes? Facing extermination at Auschwitz, a group of prisoners solemnly weighs the case against God.Following the harrowing ritual of selection for death or hard labor, a group of new inmates unsure of their appointed fates begins asking how God could allow for so much suffering. Impulsively, the men decide to put God on trial for abandoning His chosen people. Amid the sound of prisoners outside being marched to the gas chamber, the trial unfolds, addressing the age-old question: How can there be evil in a universe ruled by an all-powerful, benevolent God?Some of the prisoners are passionate defenders of their faith, but as the hour approaches when many of them will be chosen to die, they reach a verdict. It is a surprising conclusion to this challenging and respectful proceeding.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exploring the meanings of suffering and evil November 16, 2008
Format:DVD
I watched "God on Trial" on Masterpiece on November 8, 2008. I found it to be an excellent film, well written and splendidly executed. The men of the film, prisoners at Auschwitz and daily facing death, put God on trial, questioning His commitment to the Jewish people. Why have the Jews suffered so if they are truly the Chosen People and the People of the Covenant? The discussion is deep, moving and at times shattering. I was touched by this film. As a Christian and a student of the Holocaust, I found this to be an excellent film and honest discussion. I highly recommend this film.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece Theater film is a Masterpiece November 10, 2008
Format:DVD
I just viewed this on PBS. It was excellent. It asks all of the most difficult questions that we all have about this most dark time of our history has human beings - especially those trying to understand G-d in such a time. And it doesn't end with neat answers and happily ever afters. It isn't afraid to ask things about G-d that are usually considered unspeakable. Neither is G-d diminished by the questions. For those that can handle it, it is a most worthwhile endeavor to be challenged by these questions, and to seek to come up with our own answers. The charge: Did G-d keep His covenant or did He break the contract He made. Excellent use of television.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars public television at its finest November 14, 2008
Format:DVD
Is an attrocity such as the holocaust compatible with a belief in a benevolent god? This question is argued passionately on both sides by the Jewish inmates of a concentration camp as they await their probable deaths at the hands of the nazis. Most of the talking points of the current atheist - theist dialectic are discussed in a wide-ranging, intelligent, and provocative debate. With fine performances, taut direction, and an incisive script, this is a first rate drama that builds to an emotionally charged conclusion.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
"God on Trial" is an insightful production in the Masterpiece Contemporary series that focuses on a group of Auschwitz inmates who convene a rabbinical court that basically puts God on trial on the charge that God broke his covenant with the Chosen Ones, the sons of Abraham. There are some amazing performances here from some familiar names - Stellan Skarsgard plays a former law professor who presides over the court, Rupert Graves is Mordechai, a modern Jew who is shunned by his father [Jack Shepherd] for turning his back on the traditional Jewish ways, Dominic Cooper plays an angry young Jew who rails against God for forsaking His people, and many more memorable performances.

The arguments swing back and forth as the various individuals make their case - be it in favor of a benevolent God who imposes suffering for a greater good or against an indifferent, wrathful God. This production is first-class - the dialogue is driven by intellectual insights that compel the viewer to think about a lot of things that may cross one's mind but that one never really gives voice to - how does one reconcile a benevolent God with acts of such brutality as perpetrated during the Holocaust and since then [Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur etc], questions to do with Man's faith, the nature of God etc. I could not stop thinking about all these things long after the show ended.

The introduction to the actual court setting [in an inmates' barracks] is well done - a busload of tourists get off at Auschwitz during a tour, and as they are led from site to site, an older visitor mentions an anecdote about the time some inmates put God on trial. This then provides the setting for the flashback to the past.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best philosophical movies of all time July 11, 2011
By Burkay
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I am a philosophy professor at an American university and whenever I teach an introductory philosophy course, I show my students this movie. I highly recommend it to those who are intrigued by the intersection of history, philosophy and religion.

The movie is set as a many-sided socratic dialog and it evaluates the problem of evil from the point of view of the Old-Testament. I enjoyed watching it at an intellectual level but it is also one of the most depressing movies I have ever seen. No graphic violence or gore, though. Just point blank argument vs counter argument, by which a roomful of Jewish concentration camp prisoners try to determine if God should be blamed for the whirlwind of horror, suffering and death surrounding them.

However, the movie is not at all just dry, abstract reasoning. It is emotionally provoking (to almost a traumatizing degree) and full of moving scenes and twists where the actors perform brilliantly and quite believably.

My only critical comment is that for some reason, the publishers of this DVD chose to market it as a "MASTERPIECE" and added a 4 minute footage to the beginning and the end of the original movie. In the extra footage, a young well groomed man with a smile as big as the Titanic lectures about how deep and masterful the whole movie is. This pompous packaging creates almost a comical contrast with the dark, realistic and modest outlook of the movie. I would recommend that the viewers skip the extra footage. When I watched the movie for the first time, I watched the extra footage unknowingly and I think it was detrimental to my overall viewing experience.

5 out of 5 stars
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant film.
There are so many questions to be asked of ourselves regarding this horrible event. There are also so many different feelings that are revealed in each character in this film. Read more
Published 2 months ago by M. Eckroat
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie, really makes one think
Excellent movie, really makes one think. Glad I could find it to purchase, as I had seen it some years ago on PBS.
Published 4 months ago by weave
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this!!!
Oh, my goodness! Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! Please, don't allow yourself to miss this. It is life changing regardless of your religious preference or background. Read more
Published 7 months ago by D. Sandifer
5.0 out of 5 stars Guilty or Not Guilty?
This is one excellent film. For as many movies I've seen with the holocaust as its backdrop, never has the accusing finger pointed at anyone but Hitler and his Nazis until now. Read more
Published 7 months ago by W. Powell
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking movie
A movie that confront the age old question...Why? Why do some people suffer? How could something like this happen.. Read more
Published 7 months ago by E. Stafford
5.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking
Very thought provoking handling of some tough subjects of faith and discouragement. Great acting. They jump from the present to the past which makes it a lttle wierd, but the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by agyes
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! Wonderful ! Makes you think.
Wonderful. This movie is as the title says, a trial; held in the European camps during the Second world war by prisoners of mainly Jewish blood lines, however, it does not over... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Gina Allensworth
5.0 out of 5 stars What about suffering?
This movie is a true inspiration. How do you believe in a loving God in the face of atrocities against the human person? What do you draw strength from? Read more
Published 11 months ago by Sister Pat Thompson, RSM
5.0 out of 5 stars A most thought provoking film
This is without doubt the best film on the World War ii Holocost I have ever seen. I believe it's based on a true story about Jews (and others) in a concentration camp who are... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Maryann O'Brien
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking Movie
I saw this movie on PBS. There is so many ideas and questions my mind has a hard time grasping it. I've watched it many many times and each time I catch something new.
Published 17 months ago by Robert Hudson
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