Based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a man who risked his life to save 1,100 people from the Holocaust, Schindler's List is widely considered to be Steven Spielberg's best film. It earned him his first (of two) Best Director Oscar in 1993. However, his original intention was to pass on making the film!
In 1983, Spielberg convinced Universal Studios to buy the rights to the novel "Schindler's Ark," and met with the writer. He told the writer he would get started on the movie "ten years from now." At first, Spielberg was unsure of his maturity as a director to take on a movie about the Holocaust.
He first asked director Roman Polanski to film it, who turned it down because his mother had been killed at Auschwitz. Later, Martin Scorsese was attached to the film, but Spielberg decided to do it himself, because he didn't want to let go a chance of making a movie for his children and family about the Holocaust.