The House of Rothschild

The House of Rothschild (1934) is an American film written by Nunnally Johnson from the play by George Hembert Westley, and directed by Alfred L. Werker. It chronicles the biographical story of the rise of the Rothschild family of European bankers.


The film begins at the home of Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812) and his wife Guttle Schnapper (1770–1812). As one of their sons sees the taxman coming, they hurry and hide their wealth, including currency, silver, etc. However, the taxman finds some of it hidden in the basement, and decides to charge Rothschild less than the amount due, but keep the money with him. Later, as Mayer Amschel Rothschild is lying on his deathbed, he instructs his five sons to start banks in different countries across Europe: Amschel Mayer Rothschild (1773-1855) in Germany, Salomon Mayer von Rothschild (1774-1855) in Austria, Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836) in England, Carl Mayer von Rothschild (1788-1855), and James Mayer de Rothschild (1792-1868) in France. As they fund the Napoleonic Wars of 1803–1815, they aim to gain respectability from the European nobility, which shuns them and refuses to treat them as equals because they are Jews. However, at the end of film, the House of Rothschild buys when all of society sells their own country stock, and because of faith became the rich and respected through a moral decision to buy against the tyranny over Jews.



The film was the biggest hit of the year for Twentieth Century Pictures.[1] It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

A scene from The House of Rothschild was used in the German antisemitic propaganda film The Eternal Jew (1940)[2] without the permission of the copyright holders.

2 thoughts on “The House of Rothschild

  1. I saw this film last year on TCM channel. I also noticed at the end when Rothchild is made to be the hero of the war! No doubt if this film was remade exactly today, the US media would label it anti-semetic… what a controlled environment we live in.

    Below is a 1934 review of the film in nytimes.

    “A little man with a top hat on the back of his head has poured forth £5,000,000 to save England. He is Nathan, and when understrappers declare that he is going too far, that he cannot last out, Nathan still coolly insists on giving the order to buy. Man after man comes up to him and they are told to continue buying. And amid this pandemonium Nathan keeps his head.

    Comes the report that Napoleon has vanquished Wellington, but Nathan sticks by his only weapon to fight wars—his gold—and pours more of it into bonds. He eventually receives first word of the result of the fighting on that June 18, 1815.”

Courteous opinions welcome

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