Best Movies by Farr
Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War Poster
Released Runtime Category
2016 90 Documentary
Director Language
Ken Burns, Artemis Joukowsky English
Tom Hanks, Marina Goldman

Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War

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What's it About

In 1939, Waitstill and Martha Sharp, a Unitarian minister and his social worker wife, left their two young children with their parish in Wellesley, Massachusetts and travelled to German-occupied Czechoslovakia. At great personal risk they worked for several months securing exit visas for Jews and dissidents. On a subsequent visit they helped groups of vulnerable children escape to America, never doubting their end goal or questioning their own safety.

Why we love it

Filmmaker Joukowsky, the Sharps’ grandson, structures this inspiring tale of quiet heroism around letters that Waitstill and Martha exchanged during their months in Europe (read by Hanks and Goldman). Trained only briefly in espionage, they accepted their perilous mission with courage and righteous determination. The use of archival footage only reinforces the enormity of their task, and testimonials from the children they helped add poignancy to this stunning portrait of ordinary people attempting the extraordinary.

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BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"