Picks and Pans Review: DVD View

updated 03/22/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/22/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

With Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ stirring up passions both pro and con among moviegoers in theaters, here's a timely look at three newly released DVDs that focus, one way or another, on religion.

Schindler's List (1993, Universal, $26.98)

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This is the moving story of how one imperfect man, factory owner Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), helped save more than 1,000 Jews in Poland from near-certain death at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. It deservedly won seven Oscars in 1994, including Best Picture and Best Director for Steven Spielberg.

Extras: An eloquent 77-minute documentary featuring Holocaust survivors and witnesses telling their stories and a short feature on the archival and educational outreach work of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, founded by Spielberg. What's missing and missed, though, is audio commentary on the making of List by Spielberg or others connected with the film. (R)

The Ten Commandments (1956, Paramount, $19.99)

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The life of Moses (Charlton Heston at his steeliest) from birth to parting the Red Sea is told with pomp and circumstance—and now-cheesy-looking special effects—by director Cecil B. DeMille, an old hand at biblical epics.

Extras: Film historian Katherine Orrison provides an exhaustive and admiring audio commentary of the 3-hour, 40-minute film, and there are fond, often funny reminiscences from Heston and other cast members. (G)

The Magdalene Sisters (2003, Buena Vista, $29.99)

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A compelling drama inspired by real-life abuses and exploitation suffered by young women banished to Catholic convents in Ireland for what was considered wayward behavior.

Extras: Sex in a Cold Climate, the harrowing documentary that spurred writer-director Peter Mullan to make Sisters. (R)

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