Produced and directed by Otto Preminger, Exodus is a screen adaptation of the best-selling novel by Leon Uris. The film is concerned with the emergence of Israel as an independent nation in 1947. Its first half focuses on the efforts of 611 holocaust survivors to defy the blockade of the occupying British government and sail to Palestine on the sea vessel Exodus. Paul Newman, a leader of the Hagannah (the Jewish underground), is willing to sacrifice his own life and the lives of the refugees rather than be turned back to war-ravaged Europe, but the British finally relent and allow the Exodus safe passage. Once this victory is assured, 30,000 more Jews, previously interned by the British, flood into the Holy Land.