Nick is a writer in New York when he gets posted to a bureau in Greece. He has waited 30 years for this. He wants to know why his mother was killed in the civil war years earlier. In a ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rosalie Crutchley ...
Dimitra Arliss ...
Ana (Czechoslovakia)
Steve Plytas ...
Peter Woodthorpe ...
Jon Rumney ...
Alison King ...
Lukas' Wife
Stefan Gryff ...
Andrea Laskari ...


Nick is a writer in New York when he gets posted to a bureau in Greece. He has waited 30 years for this. He wants to know why his mother was killed in the civil war years earlier. In a parallel plot line we see Nick as a young boy and his family as they struggle to survive in the occupied Greek hillside. The plot lines converge as Nick's investigations bring him closer to the answers. Written by Robert B. Young <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 December 1985 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Eleni - A Guerra Selvagem  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Greek mountain town of Lia seen in the movie was actually a set construction built on a shooting location in Spain. Show-business trade-paper 'Variety' reported in its review that "the impoverished Greek village" was "suitably recreated in Spain". See more »

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User Reviews

Fine moving drama of family by Communists
4 December 2003 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

As another reviewer wrote, this is a movie about a family, not about politics - even though it is terror that causes that family to be harmed.

As the mother, Kate Nelligan is absolutely superb, shining, wonderful. As the son as an adult, John Malkovich is curiously detached.

Again, although the movie was first rate, I question the decision to alternate time periods with a parallel narratives throughout. I think it lessens the impact. I see no reason the story couldn't be told chronologically, to greater effect.

Those two reviewers from Argentina and Greece who wrote that the movie was propaganda are being silly. Neither this movie nor anyone denies that the Communists (and those democrats defending the former king and government who had returned to power after the war - the king wishing to reign but not rule) fought the Nazis during the Second World War.

This movie does not take place during that war - and doesn't refer to it.

Further, when the Second World War ended, there WERE no native Greek fascists fighting in the Civil War - when a reviewer writes that this was a fascist war, it's crazy. In the movie, you hear the Communists using the term, "fascist" in the same loose propagandistic way that, say, Prime Minister Tony Blair is referred to as a fascist - falsely.

As the Soviet Union's proxies looked to be gaining in the Civil War, Britain asked the United States to participate in an effort to aid the Greek government with financial aid and weapons. over this and the Communist insurgency in turkey, was the Truman doctrine of containment of Communist totalitarianism born. These are simply facts.

Moreover, the fact that the Greek Communists took tens of thousands of children from their parents and shipped them off to Communists countries such as Albania and Czechoslovakia is obviously well-documented in the book and movie. However, as I wrote above, the movie simply looks at a human story of a mother and her love for her children.

Kate Nelligan makes the movie heartfelt, moving, powerful. She should have won the Oscar for this performance.

20 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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