Schindler’s List (1993)
The Film: Profiteering businessman Oskar Schindler bribes Nazis and opens a factory making uniforms, but his conscience causes him to change his ways and help many of his Polish Jewish workers escape the holocaust.
Why it works as a stand-alone feature: WWII was a finite event, thankfully, and this story encompasses the whole thing, leaving no major plot point unexplored and serving as a fine reminder of the atrocities of war.
Where the franchise could have gone: Unfortunately there were several other genocides committed against the human race in the 20th Century.
Schindler’s Cambodia: Racked with guilt and living in hiding for 30 years, 60 year-old Schindler travels to Cambodia and takes on Pol Pot.
Schindler’s Rwanda: Attempting to once again use his experience and political heft to influence change, Schindler finds that his guerrilla tactics take more of a toll on his 80-something body, and he dies after helping others live.
Mrs. Schindler’s List: Carrying on the work of her husband, Mrs. Schindler travels to Bosnia where she opens a factory and attempts to smuggle her workers out of the country.
Next: Taxi Driver