It was nearly certain that Schindler's List, Steven Spielberg's Holocaust saga, would draw big audiences in New York, L.A., and other cities with large Jewish populations. But with a slew of Oscars seemingly in the bag, the film is finding its audience across the nation. In Peoria, Ill., where the film opened Feb. 11, moviegoers reflected on the somber saga of Oskar Schindler and his Schindlerjuden.
Nancy Blew, 43, social worker ''Seeing this film was the most incredible, moving experience of my life. I'm a movie fanatic and I can't think of anything I've ever seen that kept me so riveted. We love to snack during movies, but we were so swept up by the film that we couldn't even eat we have popcorn, candy, and soda left.''
Keith Masterson, 40, retail manager ''Here's proof Spielberg really is an artist which is something you start to wonder about after projects like Tiny Toons. Schindler's List redeems him as a responsible filmmaker. He's assured of the Best Director Oscar.''
Teri Klaus, 53, business manager ''It's moving and educational, but certainly not entertaining though I really loved the music. The effect of black and white made for some very powerful images that will stick with you.''
Gail Capshaw, 39, clerical worker ''This makes me think Spielberg's a lot deeper and more intense, more serious than I ever thought. That he's Jewish certainly played into his telling of the story. I probably wouldn't have seen it if the movie had a non-Jewish director.''
Jim Spohn, 20, sign artist ''I think it was absolutely necessary that it was done in black and white. I can't imagine what the rating would have had to be if all the blood had been shown in color.''
Mitch Robinson, 30, television marketing director ''The people who least want to see it are the people who probably need to see it most.''
Richard Fisher, 43, sheet-metal worker ''I stayed awake through the whole thing, which is a big accomplishment for me. It may win some Oscars, but it shouldn't win Best Picture. We saw The Fugitive and it was much better.''