7.8/10
17,062
73 user 29 critic

Zorba the Greek (1964)

Alexis Zorbas (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 14 December 1964 (Greece)
An uptight English writer traveling to Crete on a matter of business finds his life changed forever when he meets the gregarious Alexis Zorba.

Director:

(as Michael Cacoyannis)

Writers:

(from the novel "The Life and Times of Alexis Zorba"), (screenplay) (as Michael Cacoyannis)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Won 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Mavrandoni (as George Foundas)
...
Mimithos
...
Soul
...
Lola
...
Pavlo (as George Voyadjis)
...
Manolakas
Edit

Storyline

An aimless English writer finds he has a small inheritance on a Greek island. His joyless existence is disturbed when he meets Zorba, a middle aged Greek with a real lust for life. As he discovers the earthy pleasures of Greece, the Englishman finds his view on life changing. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

crete | writer | greek | greece | sirtaki | See All (132) »

Taglines:

Anthony Quinn plays Zorba. NO - Anthony Quinn IS Zorba! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 December 1964 (Greece)  »

Also Known As:

Zorba the Greek  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$783,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$9,000,000, 31 December 1964

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$23,500,000, 31 December 1964
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Cannon Films planned a movie version of the Broadway musical with Robert Wise directing. Anthony Quinn was to reprise his role, and John Travolta was slated to take the Alan Bates part. See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the movie, when the log is coming down the hill it is seen as fairly round and the bark is rough and peeling, like a natural log. But when the log gets to the end of the cable, it appears to be a fake log with no bark and a visible framework that makes it look multi-sided rather than round. See more »

Quotes

Alexis Zorba: Silly old bitch. She's not alone, she's with Suleiman Pasha having a hell of a time.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The King of Queens: Mild Bunch (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Riri Ririka
from the operetta "Our Ririka" (1929) (uncredited)
Written by Stathis Mastoras
Performed by Madame Hortense (Lila Kedrova)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Alexis and Basil
24 April 2006 | by See all my reviews

Nikos Kazantzakis' novels lend themselves to cinematic treatment. Jules Dassin made a great adaptation of "He Who Must Die", and Michael Cacoyannis was equally successful in bringing "Alexis Zorbas" to the screen. Watching this film for a second time puts into perspective a lot of things that escape many a viewer the first time around.

Michael Cacoyannis changed the order of events in the book, as well as Nikos, who he transforms into Basil, the Englishman. The changes are not without merit since all the elements contribute to blend well together in the finished product. The director was fortunate to find such collaborators as Mikis Theodorakis, the genial composer of the music score and Walter Lassally, who photographed the barren area where most of the action takes place. Viewing the film on cable recently, shows Lassally's crisp black and white photography in mint condition.

The film is totally dominated by Zorba, who is a figure larger than life, as he takes Basil under his wing from the start. Anthony Quinn was a perfect choice for playing the title character. Mr. Quinn had worked with other brilliant directors, Federico Fellini, being one of them. It's almost impossible to think of Mr. Quinn as being an American because the magnificent transformation he undergoes here to portray Zorba.

Alan Bates, who is seen as Basil, the Englishman of Greek descent, who is going to Crete to see the family's land and mine. By underplaying Basil, Mr. Bates set the right tone, in sharp contrast with Anthony Quinn's exuberance. Alan Bates, in the end, made perfect sense with the way he played Basil.

Lila Kedrova is another surprise in the film. She is the tragic Madame Hortense, who has lived in the island for quite a while. It's ironic that love always eluded her until she finds in Zorba a reason for keep on living. Irene Papas is equally intense as the widow who is haunted by all the men in town. She has little to say, but just a look from her smolders the screen, be it, for the lust she felt for Basil, or the hatred for the town male population.

Michael Cacoyannis uses these men, as a sort of Greek Chorus, so important in Greek tragedies. The same could be said of the older women of the town who resent the arrivals of strangers. The Greek cast one sees is quite effective in the context of the movie.

"Alexis Zorbas", or "Zorba, the Greek", is a film that will stay with the viewer for quite a while because of what the director accomplished with it.


44 of 52 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 73 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page