Exodus, the Movie—Half a Century Later The Interplay of History, Myth, Memory, and Historiography

Aviva Halamish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The movie Exodus (1960) is the saga of a ship laden with Jewish European refugees sailing to British-ruled Palestine, and the story of the Zionist struggle against the British up to the beginning of the 1948 war between the Arabs and the Jews. The content of the movie, the timing of its release, and its vast distribution created complex relations among the movie and the events that took place in the years 1945–1948; the historiography of those years; the private and collective memory; and, to some extent, Israel’s history. This article presents and interprets these multidirectional relations, arguing that, because of the movie’s popularity and the way it portrayed historical events, Exodus changed history in a number of ways. The film’s plot ingredients and their sequence diverge from “what really happened”; the movie itself was an event in the history of early 1960s Israel; and as a result of its location on the axes of Israeli history and the evolution of the historiography of the pre-state period, Exodus had an enormous influence on the presentation of history.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)123-142
Number of pages20
JournalJewish Film and New Media
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017

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© 2017, Wayne State University Press. All rights reserved.


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