The Dark Knight

Can someone judge the value of one person's life over another?

This video encourages the discussion of Jewish values as they relate to contemporary culture. Jewlarious does not endorse any particular film.

Comments (47)

(47) Josh Franklin, July 16, 2013 3:28 AM

The Perfect Talmudic Equivalent

Bava Metzia 62a

When two are on a journey [far from an inhabited area], and one has a pitcher of water, if both drink, both will die; if one of them drinks, he will get to a human settlement. Ber Petura preached: It is better that both drink and both die, rather than that one should see the death of his fellow. But then Rabbi Akiva came and taught that . . . that your life takes precedence over the life of your companion.

שנים שהיו מהלכין בדרך, וביד אחד מהן קיתון של מים, אם שותין שניהם מתים, ואם שותה אחד מהן מגיע לישוב. דרש בן פטורא: מוטב שישתו שניהם וימותו, ואל יראה אחד מהם במיתתו של חבירו. עד שבא רבי עקיבא ולימד: וחי אחיך עמך חייך קודמים לחיי חבירך

(46) Josh Franklin, July 1, 2013 5:15 PM

Whose blood is redder? It cannot be determined

If someone is given the ultimatum "Go and kill so and so; if not, I will kill you," The Talmud advises that you let yourself be killed rather than commit murder, because all lives have equal value: "who knows that your blood is redder? Perhaps his blood is redder." (B. Sanhedrin 74a)

(45) Jacob and Yael, February 23, 2011 7:32 PM

Can someone judge the value of one person's life over another?

According to the Rabbi Dorff's theory of relativity, each individual is unable to see the world around them from any perspective expect for their own. Therefore, one cannot be an accurate judge of the value of another's life, because we are incapable of truly comprehending someone else's perspective. Considering our limited ability to understand others, it is impossible for us to truly judge whether or not one life outweighs another.

(44) Sani & Ronit, February 23, 2011 7:29 PM

No, you can't value someone's life over another just because they have been to jail before. That should not affect who gets to live or die. Also, the prisoner on the jail boat who threw the detonator out the window knew that they were not in the position to choose who gets to live or die. It was not their choice to make....

(43) Gefen Matan Joey, February 23, 2011 7:29 PM

We think that it is unfair to say that one persons life is more important then another's. How can you judge without saying that you are more important, you would bound to be biased. But sometimes you might be forced to choose, and then you would have to decide whose life was more important. Some people might be more useful though, and you would have to choose.

(42) Jason C, Gil A, February 23, 2011 7:29 PM

The black on the prison ship was very noble for tossing the detonator out the window. THE END

(41) Jeremy & Jesse, February 23, 2011 7:27 PM

The black guy had the guts

More people should be like the black guy and understand if they did something wrong, that they should take responsibility. All the civilians hadn't done anything harmful in their lives but the other boat was full of criminals and we think that if you had to choose one boat, we would choose the civilians. If we were on their boat, we would've turned the key on the remote.

(40) Eric Sayag, February 23, 2011 7:26 PM

Making a change, and Saying vs. Doing

The boat filled with criminals decide to let the innocent people to live because they are trying to change their ways. The innocent citizens decide to let the criminals live because they cannot bring their selves to kill anyone. It is easy for them to say, "let them die," but it is harder to do.

(39) Noah M / Rebecca P, February 23, 2011 7:26 PM

Can someone judge the value of one person's life over another?

We think that morally one can value the life of one person over another, but only in certain cases - when there is an obvious difference as to whom has a greater potential to contribute to society in the future, you can. However, when the line is more blurred, it is morally unjust.

(38) Rachel, September 27, 2010 3:32 PM

Who decides and what do they decide?

Do the regular people have the right to feel that the criminals deserve to die more? The regular people don't have any right to kill the criminals because that makes them at the same level. Although if i was in that situation I would kill the criminals. Rachel, Moriah

(37) AlexKramer MattHalpern, September 27, 2010 3:30 PM

The joker has two boats, one with convicts and one with people who have done nothing wrong, and each has to blow the other up or they both blow up, but nothing happens.

So the joker has set two boats out in the water, one boat filled with convicts of crime and the other boat has normal people who have done nothing wrong. Each boat has a trigger to blow up the other boat, and if neither boats are blown up by midnight, the joker blows both up. In the end both boats couldnt do it and the batman saved them all from blowing them up. Both boats were safe. Alex Kramer and Matthew Halpern

(36) Janie&Jeremy, September 27, 2010 3:22 PM

They have the right to judge but not take action.

You cannot control weather someone thinks something is right or wrong, it is their opinion. People are able to judge others while not taking action on their opinion. People should never feel that someone is so superior or inferior that they have to hurt them.

(35) Leah, Gabrielle, September 27, 2010 3:21 PM

They were supposed to kill each other but they didn't.

It was a good thing that the people trusted that faith would make them stay alive. They didn't want to kill anyone no matter what they did.

(34) Annie Gabi Penina, February 17, 2010 6:52 PM

Can someone judge the value of one person's life over another?

You cannot judge the value of one person's life over another; however it is human instinct to think that one can; and that one's own life is more important than another. In some situations that are life threatening, it is essential to consider the person's impact that he could make in the world, social status, medical complications and conditions, age, etc. We can also take into account what the person had accomplished in his life and what he has to give to the world. In Dark knight what specifically stood out to us were the criminals vs. the innocent civilians. We asked ourselves if the criminals should have the same value as the innocent civilians. We think that it depends on what the criminal has done in his life. For example if he had stolen something and is still at a young age he should be thought to have more value than a criminal who has murdered or has done something very bad in his lifetime.

(33) Avi, Daniel, February 17, 2010 6:51 PM

Can someone judge the value of one person's life over another?

We can judge the value of someones life based on the pureness of them. The prisoners killed people and had been sentenced in prison. On the other hand the civilians were honest workers and did not commit any crimes or have any prison sentences which means that we think they are more of a value to society.

(32) Danielle and Alexa, February 17, 2010 6:47 PM

no we dont think so

We don't think that someone can judge the value of someones life over another person's because you don't know what they have experienced in life. Life has the same value for everyone no matter who you are or where you came from, no one should be judged by their bad doings. You might not know how many people you would hurt if you hurt the person. He/ she might have children and you would be taking them away from them. No one has a greater value in life then another person, we are all equal no matter what we might have been through.

(31) Michelle and Dmitri, February 17, 2010 6:42 PM

Can someone judge the life of one person over another?

Dmitri: I think that what happened in the end was fair, but if they had to choose, I think that killing the prisoners would be best because they did something very bad (killing people, rapists, etc.) whereas the other people have not. Also, the regular people had kids with them. Michelle: People shouldn't judge the life of one person over another, but it happens anyway. People naturally would rather themselves to live rather than someone else, but there are other reasons people chose a certain person over an other. People chose for youth, people chose for usefulness, and several other things too. But, though it's better to let someone, if anyone, live, if you have the choice, it's surely fairer to not chose at all. but like Dmitri said, it's probably better to have the prosoners die for the above reasons.

(30) Noa, Sahara, Maayan, February 17, 2010 6:42 PM

In general no because everyones life matters, it does not matter who you are and what you have done. You can not decide who can live and who can die, it is not the fair way. But like so life is not fair, like when put in the position of having to kill someone else in order to survive, you are split minded, because on one hand your selfish will to survie kicks in but then you also must take away anothers life. You do not know what to do and how to deal with what to do. It is not anothers decision to take away someone elses life, it is just unjusticed and not fair.

(29) Aliza and Elad, February 17, 2010 6:40 PM

Can someone judge the value of someone's life over another?

We think that people shouldn't have the right to judge the value of someone's life, but that doesn't stop them from doing it. Everyone is important but when someone does something wrong, people tend to judge them based on that. When someone does something bad, you should look at what they did, and realize it's bad and learn from it. But that doesn't mean that it's a right thing to judge the value of someone's life.

(28) Itai, February 17, 2010 6:40 PM

One side is Yes Another Side is No

Some poeple can and will judge one man's life ove another while others just can't do it. Centeruies ago people did judge the value of others. The literal answer is yes, people can judge other peoples life over another, but i believe many people won't and can't today. I am one who will not judge my life over another but I can't know what it is like being a hostage or about to die. In the scene they couldn't do it, in life i beleive they would do the same but it is very hard today to judge a person's value over some else's. That is one the answer is both Yes and No. Not many people would do that. There are many reasons why the answer should be yes, and there are many reasons why the answer should be no. That is why I am saying that both answers are appropriate. Yes is literal, no is illiteral (in my opinion).

(27) Emma and Jonny, February 17, 2010 2:09 PM

Although it is completely natural, and only human instinct, someone should not judge anothers life over someone else's. Even if someone is in prision it does not make them inferior to the rest of society. There is no way to determine a person's potential and therefore, there is no way to decide who is better than the other.

(26) Elana, Nicky, Mike, February 17, 2010 2:04 PM

Can someone judge the value of one person's life over another? In this movie scene you have saving people in jail or saving citezens. We think that both boats should have an equal opprotuinty. The fact that thepeople are in jail doesnt mean that their lives should have any less value than any other person. There is a limit to how bad your actions can go and oneof those limits leads you to jail. People in the citezens boat arent saints, we are sure some of them have done bad things in their lives, it just didnt reach a limit or could have reached a limit where they went to jail. You can't judge the value of a group of people's lives over another group. You would have to look at an individual person vs. another person.

(25) Sydney Solomon, February 17, 2010 1:57 PM

Can someone judge the value of one person's life over another?

No, in the movie the boat full of civilians wanted to use the remote to blow up the boat full of criminals. There thought process was why should a boat full of criminals live when all they did in their life was murder people and steal? I think that is not the right way to look at it. The criminals might have made a mistake but they were the ones to throw the remote away first. This represents that people can change and should always be given a second chance at life. The civilians, the innocent people who have never stolen or murdered, were the ones who came closely to committing mass murder. That represents that even if you were a model citizen you can easily become a criminal, you can easily make a mistake. Overall, this video showed that you can not put a price on life; some criminals, if given a second chance, will do something great in life whereas people we look up to like some famous people end up committing a crime. It shows you life is not set in stone and people’s actions in the past should not characterize them as a person but instead people should look at the full potential a person possesses and look into the future.

(24) Maddy Paulson(worked with Sydney), February 17, 2010 1:54 PM

Can someone judge the value of one persons life over another?

I think in this situation you can't but it really depends on the situation. If you absolutely had to pick one person to die you would probably pick a murderer and not a civillian who does good. I don't think you can truly judge the value of someones life, but sometimes you have to, and sometimes, it depends on what kind of person they are, if they are a murderer, rapist, or a normal hardworking civillian.

(23) Frankie,Katie,Matti, February 17, 2010 1:53 PM

No, someone can not judge the value of one person's life over another.

No, someone can not judge the value of one person's life over another. Every one's life is just as important. Also, its your life to live, and what you do with it is your own choice. No one should judge it but yourself. Just as you wouldn't want someone deciding over your future or death, you can't judge others or choose to have them killed.

(22) Jonny and emma, February 17, 2010 1:49 PM

no you cannot judge one life over another because you don't know who they are or what they can do to better the world or how one person is better than another person

(21) max, gideon, and sherbert, February 17, 2010 1:48 PM

We think that everyone has the same rights to life whether they are in jail or not so the way it turned out in the movie is the best way it could've. All people have the ability to be good.

(20) Ilanna, September 19, 2009 11:31 PM

Can someone judge the value of one person's life over another? I believe that it is ethically incorrect to judge the value of one person's life over another. I am not saying that people don't do it all the time. People know that it is wrong, however in these stressful circumstances, I don't think we have much of a choice.

(19) Elise and Ariel, September 15, 2009 4:01 PM

Can someone judge the value of one person's life over another? We have opposing opinions on this question after watching part of the Dark Knight. Elise believes that you can judge the value of one person’s life, for example, if one person is a mother and one person isn’t, you should keep the mother alive because she has more responsibility for her children than someone who isn’t a mother. Age is also an issue because someone younger has more years left and deserves to live. Ariel thinks that nobody should judge the value of someone’s life over another. In the case of the Dark Knight, criminals die, ordinary people die, or everyone will die. Just because the criminals have done bad things before does not mean that they deserve less than someone who isn’t a criminal. Everyone deserves a second chance to be a good person.

(18) lfsbaf, September 14, 2009 1:33 PM

Triage Based on the video we were assigned to watch, we think both boats made the right decision. In that particular situation I don’t think we can really say what boat should have been saved. It was incorrect for either boat to make the decision to kill the other boat. But can someone judge the value of one person's life over another? This is a hard question to answer because this decision occurs in many situations. For example what if a 14 year old girl and a mass murderer were both deathly ill and in need of a special antidote? Well let’s say there was only enough antidote to save one of them. What do you do? Or let’s say you have to choose between a dying 40 year old man and a 90 year old woman. As you can see even though we all say that it is unjust to judge the value of one person's life over another, we make decisions where we do it everyday. It’s hard to say whether it is wrong, we know it is but do we have a choice?

(17) natalie and hannah, September 14, 2009 1:31 PM

Ethically we have both decided that it isn’t right to value someone’s life more than the other. For example a prisoner who has committed a crime or a homeless person shouldn’t be valued more than a husband or a father. Because we are all human and living people and we all hold the right to be able to live. No matter what the bad choices we mad or good choices.

(16) t and v, September 14, 2009 1:25 PM


We do not think you can value the life of one person’s life over another’s. You can’t judge a book by its cover so we can’t judge other people. If a person has a criminal background they could actually be a good person that bad things happen to, but people wouldn’t listen because the person is a convict. On the other hand, people would listen to everyday people because they just go day by day doing things they are told and they abide by the law. We think if people were put in a life and death situation both people have an equal right to live.

(15) YItzy, Jill, Danielle, September 14, 2009 1:15 PM

Response for Ethical Dillemas Class. Mr Lipman

No, people cannot judge the value of a life over another person's life. This is because everybody leads their own lives and every life is meaningful, and just because one person may have accomplished more in their life than another person, doesn't mean that their life is more important or meanigful than another's. Everyone has something to live for.

(14) reuben&ethan, September 14, 2009 1:09 PM

This is a powerful scene from a good movie. We feel that in generic situations, you cannot judge one life's value over another's, but in a hypothetical situation like the one shown in this clip, it would be better to save at least half of the people. But we do respect the people in both boats who decided that it would be better to die rather than kill.

(13) Jordan/Debi, September 14, 2009 1:06 PM

We think that no one has the right to say one life is more important than another. You have the right to kill someone because of their past.

(12) mike, April 14, 2009 4:20 AM

people are inheritly good! this scene illustrates that beautifully!

(11) Trav, March 11, 2009 5:39 PM

One of the best moments of the movie....

...I think this illustrates that society, by and large, has the capacity to do what's right, when left to their own devices. Granted this is a work of fiction, but I think that everyone who's ever seen this movie has put themselves into the places of the people on both boats. Certainly everyone's initial reaction would be to "push the button", but when you think about it, can you really take the lives of other en masse? No sane person can, unless you're like The Joker, and just want to watch the world burn.

(10) Cat, March 3, 2009 2:24 PM

Think about it...

If the words you just spoke or wrote were the last words out of you, would you have spoken them, wrote them down, or even say it again. Besides murder never solves anything or any problem. It makes it loads worse. The ones on the other boat had their chance... In the eyes of God...He decides who has had their final chance and who hasn't.

(9) Rosa, February 19, 2009 9:44 PM

Nope, I can not decide on someone else's life, its up to them to decide what type/kind of live the want to live, good, bad or wrong. it is up to me to decide if I want to break free from those I think they are doing wrong.

(8) deanna, February 16, 2009 6:54 AM


it is inhuman for one individual or group to do tis to another but that is what is happening. how does one defend himself from the enemy? nothing is going to work unless the infants born into this world learn that this is not the way to achieve their goals and this will probably never happen..........a dilemma............shall we ask solomon what to do?

(7) Isaac, February 15, 2009 6:11 PM

Not Very Jewlarious

I thought that this was not very jewlarious. When i go to a site entitled, I expect a certain amount of Jewlarity. This was just an edited version of the last scenes of the Dark Knight. I rank this 1 out 5 mitzvahs.

(6) Do Lern Hwei, February 6, 2009 5:44 AM

Very Thought Provoking

I think that it is good to put another's interest above our own just like the people on both boats did.

(5) RSdaCat, February 6, 2009 1:04 AM

Perfectly tasteful, and not meant to be funny

Especially during the time of a tenuous ceasefire in which a very small, very patient, nation has finally had enough of those who would seek to kill and maim innocents. No human should ever have to decide to take a life. But innocent bystanders who stand by while there elected governments KILL and allow others to kill without concern, are NOT INNOCENT. The people of GAZA are not INNOCENT, nor is an Israeli govt. that would stand idly by while there own people are terrorized. The people of GAZA choose their fate. Just as the people of Israel will choose theirs. Utimatley G-d will have the final say...and somehow I am betting on His choice being the right one. He is the final word on all RIGHT.

(4) Helen Schwab (Chaiah), February 4, 2009 4:05 PM

Jewish law says no one's blood is redder than another's.

Aish needs another topic heading for these "dark humor" or non-humorous topics, Jewlarious they are not. Maybe "Jtube Goes Deep" ? Yet topics like these can lead to valuable thought & discussion. I learned that Jewish law says no one's blood is redder than another's. It's worth studying what the Rabbis had to say about this, they had plenty to say! On a related subject, I disagree with Comment #3, this seems to me a very valuable topic to think about, at any time. But she's right: it isn't humor!

(3) Katherine, February 3, 2009 7:08 PM

Taking God's power into our own hands

I don't believe this is a really tasteful nor wise 'storyboard' to play during the current tenuous ceasefire in Israel. Please consider that what you, jewlarious, chooses to broadcast is not a joke nor a innocent bystander in the unconscious minds of those who choose to partake. Is this humor?? Heaven forbid!!

(2) Laiv, February 2, 2009 11:07 AM

choosing to live

Every decision we make is utlimately a life and death decision. In this example by choosing to die well, these people choose to live. Because the decision of life and death is not ultimately made by us, but by Hashem when we stand before Him and are judged for our actions. Choose well.

(1) Moshe Rosen, February 1, 2009 7:22 AM

inclusion and exclusion

Even if inclusion and exclusion is not the matter of taking or saving lives, it's a matter of whether one wants to include them in an opportunity or the recipient of the opportunity doesn't really want to take advantage of it. Where I work, I try to be as inclusive as I can be in giving everyone an opportunity to ride a carousel, and try to manage making a decision whether to let people on during 30-min. break periods, thereby postponing the breaks, or no breaks at all, depending on the popularity of the carousel. Nonetheless, there should be other chances of riding the carousel, whether it be closed or temporarily shut down for a break...I remember in the original 1989 Batman, the question was asked, "if not now, when?", which really depends on good timing. As for this new Batman movie, The Dark Knight, it appears much darker, yet overrated by many...It's all a matter of managing and strategizing complexities when making difficult decisions that can be right, but unpopular - that's life in many aspects as we get older and attempt to get wiser thinking of who goes, who stays, or even who gets the opportunity and who doesn't (until possibly another time). Furthermore, this also reminds me of health insurance companies that make decisions whether to accept new clients or decline them for a pre-existing condition. In this case, just because a certain policy says to "decline pre-existing conditions" doesn't make it right, where such individuals can die early, even though it could've been prevented. At least things don't have to be perceived as more difficult than they really are, right? Even so, how do we avoid taking certain things as more difficult than they appear?


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