Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe

10 Overlooked Jewish Films That You Can Stream For Free Right Now

The Internet is filled with oddities and lost gems. We took a dive into YouTube and found that some of the most interesting Jewish films are out there. And you can watch them right now.

1) The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

Ted Kotcheff’s 1974 screen adaptation of Mordechai Richler’s classic coming-of-age novel starred a young Richard Dreyfuss as the titular kid on the make in Montreal.

2) Battle of Blood Island

This obscure World War II film about a couple of American G.I.’s in Japan wouldn’t necessarily merit much of a mention but for the fact that it is the first film based on a work by Philip Roth, in this case the short story “Expect the Vandals,” which was originally published in Esquire.

3) The Critic

Mel Brooks won his first Academy Award for this film — a three minute short that lampoons both modern art and art criticism. It premiered in New York in 1963.

4) The Diary of Anne Frank

“The Diary of Anne Frank” has been adapted to film dozens of times, most famously in the 1959 version that George Stevens directed for Hollywood. 50 years later, it was made into this BBC miniseries.

5) The Dybbuk

S. Ansky’s classic, fantastical 1914 play was adapted into its most famous film version by Michał Waszyński.

6) Genghis Cohn

This eerie and unsettling film about a former SS officer haunted by the standup comic he executed is based on Roman Gary’s novel “The Dance of Genghis Cohn.”

7) Hester Street

Joan Micklin Silver’s classic 1975 film about Jewish immigrants on the Lower East Side was based on the story “Yekl,” by Forward founder Ab Cahan.

8) Isaac in America: A Journey With Isaac Bashevis Singer

This 1986 PBS documentary about the legendary author and storyteller was originally featured on “American Masters” and was nominated for an Academy Award.

9) The Jazz Singer

This is certainly not the most famous adaptation of Samson Raphaelson’s play (that would be the Al Jolson version) and it’s certainly not the most reviled (that honor goes to the Neil Diamond movie). But this made-for-TV film that starred Jerry Lewis, Anna Maria Alberghetti and Molly Picon may be the oddest “Jazz Singer” we’ve seen.

10) Mikey and Nicky

One of the most overlooked films of the 1970’s, this harrowing story of a childhood friendship gone bad stars Peter Falk and John Cassavetes and was written and directed by Elaine May.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.