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America America (1963)

A young Anatolian Greek, entrusted with his family's fortune, loses it en route to Istanbul and dreams of going to the United States.




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Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview:
Frank Wolff ...
Vartan Damadian
Harry Davis ...
Isaac Topouzoglou
Elena Karam ...
Vasso Topouzoglou
Estelle Hemsley ...
Grandmother Topouzoglou
Gregory Rozakis ...
Hohannes Gardashian
Salem Ludwig ...
Odysseus Topouzoglou
Paul Mann ...
Aleko Sinnikoglou
Linda Marsh ...
Thomna Sinnikoglou
Aratoon Kebabian
Katharine Balfour ...
Sophia Kebabian


Elia Kazan, ethnic Greek but Turkish by birth, tells the story of the struggles of his uncle - in this account named Stavros Topouzoglou - in emigrating to America. In the 1890's, the young, kind-hearted but naive Stavros lived in Anatolia, where the Greek and Armenian minorities were repressed by the majority Turks, this repression which often led to violence. Even Stavros being friends with an Armenian was frowned upon. As such, Stavros dreamed of a better life - specifically in America - where, as a result, he could make his parents proud by his grand accomplishments. Instead, his parents, with most of their money, sent Stavros to Constantinople to help fund the carpet shop owned by his first cousin once removed. What Stavros encountered on his journey, made on foot with a small donkey, made him question life in Anatolia even further. Once in Constantinople, his resolve to earn the 110 Turkish pound third class fare to the United States became stronger than ever. But try after try,... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

greek | dream | america | money | turk | See All (307) »


One man's struggle to the golden shore See more »




See all certifications »




Release Date:

17 June 1964 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Hamal  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Gene Callahan was Kazan's 'set decorator' on films that Dick Sylbert, and his twin brother Paul, as an associate, had art directed for Kazan. The Sylbert twins had worked with Gene on CBS-New York Network and Local television productions as an art department team. Kazan asked Gene to travel with him to Greece, and to be his film's Production Designer. Noteworthy is that this is Gene's first 'art director' credit. During the film's location filming, Gene also decorated, as he supervised the sets preparation for filming (construction and set decorating) crews. During the film career of Kazan and Callahan, they performed as a team on many succeeding film projects. See more »


Hohannes Gardashian: [Looking from the ship to the shore] Can you swim that far?
Stavros Topouzoglou: They say I man learns what is necessary.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Director Elia Kazan narrates the main portion of the closing credits, reading the words as they appear on the screen, using complete sentences such as "The cinematography was by Haskell Wexler." See more »


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User Reviews

Sensational and touching movie with an excellent direction by Elia Kazan
28 October 2005 | by See all my reviews

The picture talks about a Greek young from Anatoly ( Turkey ) named Stavros ( Stathis Giallelis ). He is sent by his father to Constantinopla for helping their family . Howewer Stavros only thinks on America . Across the journey he will suffer several misfortunes , risks and odds in his relationships to friends (Frank Wolff, John Marley, Lou Antonio) and enemies . Later on , Stavros will work in laborious employments to obtain a passage in a splendid ship for the promised land.

The movie is a magnificent adaptation based on the autobiographic novel of Greek-Turkish director Elia Kazan who being a child emigrated along with his family to United States . Since the initiating he describes memories , emotions and infancy images , besides narrates the persecution to Greeks and Armenians by Turkish that finished in genocide . Kazan reflects the particular characters , rural sets in realism way , folkloric customs , glimmer landscapes as well as interior homes . Kazan achieved a real emotion and sensibility by means of slow-moving scenes and close-ups of protagonists full of dialogs dealing with essential feeling as familiar love , friendship or happiness . These images contrast with the breathtaking outdoors of the mountains and countrysides where are developed the events . Magnificent cinematography in black and white by Haskel Wexler . Awesome and evocative musical score in oriental style by Manos Hadjidakis ( Topkapi ). The motion picture is very well directed by Elia Kazan ( On the waterfront ) . The release won Academy Award , an Oscar for production design and attained three nominations referred to Director and original screenplay , plus obtained a Golden Globe for Director and the biggest prize in Festival of San Sebastian . Rating : Above average and astounding movie. Well worth watching .

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