Steven Spielberg on 'Schindler's List' Rerelease: "This Is Maybe the Most Important Time"

Schindler’s List_Steven Spielberg_Inset - Getty - H 2018
Courtesy of Photofest; Franco Origlia/WireImage

"When collective hate organizes and gets industrialized, then genocide follows," the Oscar-winning filmmaker tells 'NBC Nightly News' host Lester Holt.

Schindler’s List is being rereleased into theaters to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Oscar-winning film, and director Steven Spielberg says the timing could not be more crucial. 

Sitting down for an interview with Lester Holt, which will air Wednesday on NBC Nightly News, the filmmaker said the motion picture about Nazi Germany and the Holocaust may be more important now due to the rise in hate crimes, hate speech and propaganda. 

"I think this is maybe the most important time to rerelease this film," said Spielberg, according to a transcript of the interview released ahead of its broadcast.

Schindler’s List was originally released on Dec. 15, 1993.

"I think there’s more at stake today than even back then," added the director. 

As they talked, Holt mentioned the murder of 32-year-old Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, while she was opposing a white supremacist rally in August 2017. President Donald Trump — who has been accused of racism in the past — inflamed outrage by saying there were "very fine people on both sides" of the tragic event. 

A recent report released by the FBI indicated that hate crimes increased by 17 percent last year compared to 2016. Notably, of the 1,679 religious bias crimes reported in 2017, 58.1 percent were anti-Jewish, while 18.6 percent were anti-Muslim.

"I think it's just that — you know, hate has become less of — hate's less parenthetical today, it's more a headline," said Spielberg. 

When asked what he hoped a new audience will take away from the movie or previous audiences will remember, Spielberg replied, "Well, just that individual hate is a terrible thing. But when collective hate organizes and gets industrialized, then genocide follows."

Schindler’s List — which won seven Oscars, including for best picture, director, adapted screenplay and original score — will be rereleased in a limited engagement on Friday.