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Reviews & Ratings for
Z More at IMDbPro »

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Index 79 reviews in total 

162 out of 167 people found the following review useful:

Historical moment at the Oscars and Tonight Show

Author: lhwilliams (lhwilliams@ev1.net) from Houston, Texas
29 August 2004

When the preview of "Z" was shown at the Oscars, it received a standing ovation. I didn't know why until I saw the movie. The Oscar forced it to be shown in the United States. At the time, the US backed the military government in Greece. The totalitarian government represented a stand against communism. This movie depicts the true story of a beloved olympic athlete who became a doctor and began speaking out against his Greek government. For that, he was murdered. This is about a brave investigator who begins to search for the origin of the orders to have the doctor killed.

It leads to the downfall of a country. Mikis Theordorakis wrote the music from house arrest in Greece and it was smuggled out to be placed on the film. Yves Montand played the lead role and was blacklisted from getting a US Visa for his participation until some strings were pulled and he was allowed a 24 hour visa, to be extended each 24 hours in order to allow him to film "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever". At the end of filming,that night he made a surprise appearance on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. He told the story about "Z" and commented that he was in the care and custody of US Immigration and the FBI. The camera panned right and a dark suited man slid quickly behind the curtain. He apologized for his abruptness, but his visa expired at midnight and he had to get to the airport. When I saw these things, I was shocked my government would take a movie so seriously. When it showed up in an obscure movie theater in Houston, I had to go. I was the only person buying a ticket just after noon that day. Upon entering the theater, a dark suited man was sitting in the lobby. I walked into theater and then stuck my head back out to see what the only other individual in the theater was doing. He was stepping away from the ticket booth. I watched as he walked the short distance to my car, took out a notebook and wrote in it while looking at my license plate. This is how it happened. It was 1969. J. Edgar Hoover had stated publicly that no truly loyal American would pay money to see such a movie. It was unpatriotic. Newspaper articles that spring reported it.

Watch this movie and consider the importance "entertainment" can have on government, media, and yourself.

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71 out of 73 people found the following review useful:

One of the few, however great, films concerning a dark period of Greek history

9/10
Author: Kostas from Crete
23 July 2001

The film '' Z '' is based upon the same-titled book written by Vassilikos and referring to a real-life event: the assassination of one of the most honorable Greek politicians ( his real name was Grigoris Lambrakis ), who sacrificed his life in the name of peace and human dignity. Costas Gavras did his best to present the prevailing atmosphere and the political situation in Greece ( although Greece is at no point straightly mentioned, but implied ) during May of the year 1963, which is the year when the real events took place. Choosing an adventurous, thrilling or hilarious style according to the facts and scenes presenting at each part of the story, he made an '' all time interesting and provocative '' film. Great acting was also put in by everybody and particularly by Jean-Louis Trintignant, who was great as the Examining Magistrate. As long as the script is concerned, the plot builds up very satisfactorily and carefully, thus not leaving any holes. Great respect should also be paid to Mikis Theodorakis who wrote the original score for the movie, helping it gain the marvelous rythm it retained right until the very end of it. As a concluding remark I would like to mention that anybody who's interested in late Greek history ( from post World War II era to date ) should watch it carefully. The whole result is very rewarding.

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69 out of 73 people found the following review useful:

The most important political film in Greece

9/10
Author: Angeneer from Athens, Greece
13 July 1999

First and foremost, it is a true story. It's the story of the assassination of Grigoris Lambrakis, that eventually led to the military junta. Every time I see it, it gives me the chills. Since Z was released while the junta was still in power, it was banned in Greece for several years. After the fall of the military junta, Z was worshiped, although we saw it on TV much later in order to avoid stirring passions. In terms of the plot, if you're not Greek, it's quite possible you might be left with many unanswered questions, but, in general, it is an accurate description of Greece during that era.

While Vassilikos' novel (written in 1966) has driven him to exile from 1967, Theodorakis was still in Greece under surveillance and managed to write his excellent score secretly.

Costa-Gavras gives us a top-class fast paced direction which hasn't aged even today, although I'm sure the Oscar was as much a political decision as a purely artistic one. What is truly spot-on is the casting. Both Montand and Trintignant excel, but even minor roles like Vago and Yago are portrayed in an extremely realistic way. My small objection would be Irene Papas staying near-silent throughout the movie. Although her talent allows her to pull it off with class, I really didn't understand why she was not supposed to talk.

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62 out of 74 people found the following review useful:

stunning political drama

10/10
Author: mark worrell (nuntukamen@hotmail.com) from naples, florida
21 May 2005

Having seen this at the Art Theatre in Akron, Ohio, upon its first American release, this film was a forcefully stunning, face slapping wake up call to keep a vigilant eye on most politicians because they are controlled only by the constraints we present and confine them with. Grown men left the theater with tears pouring down their cheeks not only because of the great performances and story, but because these were the Nixon years, and the film made us realize we were only a pen stroke away from the horror of losing freedom and democracy here in the United States. No country is safe, and it could be argued in areas of Florida today that, even though we preserved our nation and eliminated Nixon, it was a Pyrhic victory, a temporary victory, and our democracy and how it is supposed to ethically work was left disheveled and browbeaten in the end, anyway. One thing is for certain; the rats are in the cupboard now. And this film hits all the right buttons; great music, acting, an avant garde documentary style of filming that was sensational in its time and still is good today, but so many people have copied it, it seems to lack originality since we are so accepting now of something that was novel at the time...but this is the real thing that started it all. A film that should be in everyone's home and shown to every civic class in America.

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41 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

A great film.

10/10
Author: suzy q123 from United States
15 May 2001

One of the best political/muck-wracking films ever made, it set the stage for the great US political films of the 70's. Costa-Garvas at his finest, it's filled with detailed performances and camera work, a memorable score, and breathtaking content. If only they made films like this now, I'd be a happy camper. By the way, it was the first foreign film (French) to be nominated for Best Picture. That should tell you something.......

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36 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

A powerful film I waited a long time to see.

Author: roarshock from Oregon USA
9 July 2000

I have to start by getting slightly off topic. I've wanted to see this film for thirty years. Not because I've read or heard anything about it, but entirely because of the trailer I saw when it was first released, back when I was 14. Although I now remember more the feelings the trailer inspired than the trailer itself, it still reminds me how awful trailers almost always are. The trailer for "Z" was some the most intense, exciting few seconds of film I had ever seen, and I wanted to see more. A brilliant ultra-short film production. And it did it without revealing and spoiling the movie's story. So when I finally did see "Z" I was able to enjoy something fresh and new.

It wasn't what I expected, but turned out to be one of the best political thrillers I've ever seen. You don't really have to know Greek history to see it, in part because the movie never explicitly mentions Greece. Better to do it the other way around, by getting swept up in the gritty often tawdry intrigues you will be learning Greek history without realizing it. Or if you are into conspiracies and cover-ups in general you'll learn how they really aren't the brilliantly crafted master-plans of distant omnipotent figures that most movies show, but are usually the creation of dull mediocrities, full of flaws, stupidities, and ham-fisted improvisations. That they often succeed is more because of brute force than any innate cleverness. This is a powerful and effective movie, which is almost certainly due to its being based closely on reality and the passions that inspired it's making, and from it not being a recycled and denatured Hollywood product. I highly recommend it.

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37 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

Greece under military rule

10/10
Author: Lee Eisenberg (lee.eisenberg.pdx@gmail.com) from Portland, Oregon, USA
2 August 2005

I would like to give a little history of Greece from WWII to the time when "Z" happens. The Greek people had successfully expelled the Nazis when English forces invaded the country and put the Nazi collaborators in power. The US army took over the effort in 1947, rounding up thousands of people and putting them in reeducation camps. By 1949, the "civil war" was over, with Greece under military rule.

Then, the story portrayed in "Z". Dr. Gregorios Lambrakis was beginning to speak for the people, when the junta gunned him down. In "Z", we get to see the investigation into the murder, exposing how the generals orchestrated it. They never say that the movie happens in Greece (although it clearly does), and more than simply a look at the CIA-installed regime that was ruling Greece from 1967 to 1974, it's a reminder of all totalitarian governments in the world. "Z" will very likely chill you.

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27 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

A few interesting facts and misconceptions about the film.and the true story that it is based upon.

10/10
Author: gletzes from Greece
24 August 2006

This is not a review.All that is need to be written about this masterpiece of a film has already been written.

However there are 1-2 things worth mentioning that might interest some folks that are not from Greece: Jean Louis Trintignant's character "The Examining Magistrate" was in reality Christos Sargetakis who became the president of Greece for 5 years(1985-1990).

The film ends with the rise of the military dictatorship and it is suggested that the upposition didn't really capitalise on Lambrakis' assassination.That's not what happened in reality.

In reality the Lambrakis assassination caused the resignation of prime minister Karamanlis(the right wing P.M of Greece at that time) and the triumph of the upposition(something like the democrats in the U.S,the G.Papandreou party,NOT Lambrakis' left wing party) in the elections of 1963 with a whooping 54% which becomes even bigger when taking into account the situation in Greece at that time,with right-wing police controlling everything and manipulating the citizens.

Of course the film was made after the democratic-elected government had fallen and junta had taken over.(in fact the democratic government had fallen 2 years*in 1965* before the junta took over and we had a false semi-democratic government that consisted right wing members of parliament and defected members of the G.Papandreou party)

So in reality the Lambrakis assassination DID make a difference in Greece,if only for 2 years(1963-1965) while on the film nothing changed.I guess with the ultimate rise of the junta that was reigning at the time the film was made it was proper to make the film bleaker than the true events.

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23 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

conspiracy, tension and

9/10
Author: Emerenciano from Campina Grande, Brazil
7 January 2005

This is a great Costa-Gavras' masterpiece about a political confusion caused by a murder of a politic. Costa-Gravas again shows his talent in this interesting film that is full of conspiracy, tension and confusion. The plot is complex but you can follow it and, once you do it, you enjoy the film a lot. There's this dark atmosphere in the whole length of the movie that gives it a nice and enchanting look. I think the best way to watch "Z" is in total silence, with your eyes glued to the screen and your mind turned towards the frames and all the great actions and dialogues.

My rate 8 out of 10

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

The films of Costa-Gavras: Z

10/10
Author: Miyagis_Sweaty_wifebeater (sirjosephu@aol.com) from Sacramento, CA
18 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Z (1969) was a controversial film that documents the events in Greece that led to the exile of many people (including the director). A conservative government was trying to maintain political power (and receive more favors from the United States). They held "elections" but one candidate had charisma and with his left wing leanings was marked for erasure. But the government just couldn't do it publicly, so they out sourced the job to a bunch of right wing thugs. They do the job but the people wanted justice. So a public investigator was hired to look into a possible conspiracy. Even though his politics were pretty far right, he wanted to do his job and discovers a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top. The government officials persuaded him to drop the case, His morals wont allow him to do so. The indictments are handed out. But before any legal action can be taken place, a lot of the people involved either disappear or have nasty accidents. A military cabal was formed and there would be no more talk about free elections. The name of the dead politician would forever be remembered by the letter '"Z".

This is an awesome film. I was completely blown away by it. Oliver Stone must have liked it to because he loosely based J.F.K. on this movie. The conspiracies are eerily similar as well. I loved the way this film was structured. Costa-Gavras was a director who would change the way movies were made forever.

Highest recommendation possible.

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