Get ready to celebrate the Festival of Lights, Camera, Action! In honor of Hanukkah, DMG Entertainment has curated eight films that are sure to make anyone stand up and shout, “L’chaim!” So gather your favorite Hasidic homeboys and enjoy these classics in Jewish cinemas. Don’t forget: Sheket bevakasha!
THE HEBREW HAMMER (2003)
Director: Jonathan Kesselman
Actors: Adam Goldberg, Andy Dick, Judy Geer
Summary: The Hebrew Hammer, an orthodox Jewish superhero, must save Hanukkah from Damian, Santa Claus’s hateful son.
Best Quote: Mrs. Highsmith: “I hope you’ve all learned a very important lesson today. Just because Mordechai’s people are different from us, and just because they may appear strange to us with their furry hats, beady eyes, and long sideburns, not to mention their bizarre customs and unnecessarily guttural funny-sounding names; just because they control ALL of the world’s money, yet they are too cheap to buy their children anything better than spinning tops for presents, does not mean that we can’t learn to love and respect them as our equals. Happy Chanuyakah day seven, Mordy!”
Fun Fact: The Hebrew Hammer was the nickname of Hank Greenberg, a Detroit Tiger’s baseball legend.
A SERIOUS MAN (2009)
Director: Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Actors: Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Sari Lennick
Summary: In a modern retelling of the Book of Job, Larry Gopnik, a Jewish physics teacher, finds his strong moral character tested by a series of hardships and temptations.
Best Quote: Larry Gopnik: “The Uncertainty Principle. It proves we can’t ever really know… what’s going on. So it shouldn’t bother you. Not being able to figure anything out. Although you will be responsible for this on the mid-term.”
Fun Fact: A SERIOUS MAN took only 44 days to shoot.
ANNIE HALL (1997)
Director: Woody Allen
Actors: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts
Summary: Alvy Singer, a 40-year old Jewish stand-up comedian, reflects on the highs and lows of his relationship with ditsy wannabe singer Annie Hall.
Best Quote: Alvy Singer: “There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ‘em says, ‘Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.’ The other one says, ‘Yeah, I know; and such small portions.’ Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life – full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly. The… the other important joke, for me, is one that’s usually attributed to Groucho Marx; but, I think it appears originally in Freud’s ‘Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious,’ and it goes like this – I’m paraphrasing – um, ‘I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.’ That’s the key joke of my adult life, in terms of my relationships with women.”
Fun Fact: The scene when Alvy sneezes into the cocaine pile was not scripted. However, the scene had such a positive response from the audience, Allen decided to keep the scene.
EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS (2002)
Director: Seth Kearsley
Actors: Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Jackie Sandler
Summary: In this animated film, David Stone, A 33-year old party animal, runs into legal trouble and sentenced to perform community service. While serving his sentence as a referee for a youth basketball league, Stone learns the errors of his ways and falls in love with his childhood sweetheart.
Best Quote: Davey Stone: “Well right now, I’m going for another restaurant record: longest burp.”
Fun Fact: Davey Stone’s image is based on a picture of a 19-year old Adam Sandler.
THE PRODUCERS (1968)
Director: Mel Brooks
Actors: Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Dick Shawn
Summary: Unsuccessful theatrical producer Max Bialystock and nervous accountant Leo Bloom discover they can turn a profit by producing a major flop. Bialystock and Bloom team together in the hopes of creating the most offensive play ever conceived, “Springtime for Hitler”.
Best Quote: Max Bialystock: “That’s exactly why we want to produce this play. To show the world the true Hitler, the Hitler you loved, the Hitler you knew, the Hitler with a song in his heart.”
Fun Fact: Germany banned THE PRODUCERS due to the “Springtime for Hitler” musical play. However, Germany lifted the ban when a Jewish Film Festival featured THE PRODUCERS.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (1971)
Director: Norman Jewison
Actors: Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey
Summary: In the pre-revolutionary Russian village of Anatevka, poor milkman Reb Tevye reaches out to matchmaker Yente to arrange marriages for three of his daughters. While Yente tries to arrange ideal matches for Tevys’s daughter, the village must confront growing anti-Semitism spreading throughout Europe.
Best Quote: Tevye: “A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But here, in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy. You may ask ‘Why do we stay up there if it’s so dangerous?’ Well, we stay because Anatevka is our home. And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word: tradition!”
Fun Fact: United Artist executives brought director Norman Jewison in the project under the assumption he was Jewish. Within minutes of meeting the executives, Jewison stated, “You know I’m not Jewish… right?”
CHARIOTS OF FIRE (1981)
Director: Hugh Hudson
Actors: Ben Cross, Ian Charleston, Nicholas Farrell
Summary: In this true story, Harold Abrahams, an English Jewish competitive runner, competes in the 1924 Olympics to combat anti-Semitism.
Best Quote: Harold M. Abrahams: “Aubrey, I’ve known the fear of losing but now I am almost too frightened to win.”
Fun Fact: The film never mentioned Harold Abrahams had an older brother who competed in the 1912 Olympics as a long jumper. His brother never won a medal.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Actors: Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Marie-Josee Croze
Summary: After the Black September incident taken place in the 1972 Munich Olympics, the Israeli Prime Minster gathers a team of five Jewish operatives and sends them on a mission to assassinate anyone involved in the terrorist attack. As the team successfully assassinates the terrorists involved in Black September, the operatives begin to question their morality.
Best Quote: Robert: “We are supposed to be righteous. That’s a beautiful thing. And we’re losing it. If I lose that, that’s everything. That’s my soul.”
Fun Fact: In the film, Guri Weinberg plays Moshe Weinberg, his own father. Moshe Weinberg, the former Israeli wrestling champion, died in the Black September incident when Guri Weinberg was only one month old.
Chag Sameach and Happy Hanukkah to all!
Stay tuned to DMG Entertainment for the latest updates on our upcoming feature films.