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Zorba the Greek (1964)

Alexis Zorbas (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 14 December 1964 (Greece)
3:21 | Trailer

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An uptight English writer travelling to Crete, on a matter of business, finds his life changed forever when he meets the gregarious Alexis Zorba.


Michael Cacoyannis


Nikos Kazantzakis (from the novel "The Life and Times of Alexis Zorba"), Michael Cacoyannis (screenplay)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Anthony Quinn ... Alexis Zorba
Alan Bates ... Basil
Irene Papas ... Widow
Lila Kedrova ... Madame Hortense
Giorgos Foundas ... Mavrandoni (as George Foundas)
Sotiris Moustakas ... Mimithos
Anna Kyriakou ... Soul
Eleni Anousaki ... Lola
Yorgo Voyagis ... Pavlo (as George Voyadjis)
Takis Emmanuel ... Manolakas


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


Life. Lust. Love. Zorba. See more »


Comedy | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »



Greece | USA


English | Greek

Release Date:

14 December 1964 (Greece) See more »

Also Known As:

Zorba the Greek See more »

Filming Locations:

Chania, Crete, Greece See more »


Box Office


$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:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The original Broadway production of "Zorba" opened at the Imperial Theater in New York City on November 16, 1968, starring Herschel Bernardi and Maria Karnilova. It ran for three hundred five performances and was nominated for the 1969 Tony Award for the Best Musical. Anthony Quinn and Lila Kedrova, who starred together in this movie, appeared in the revival of Zorba in 1982 and 1983. Lila Kedrova won the 1984 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. See more »


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 »


Alexis Zorba: On a deaf man's door, you can knock forever!
See more »


Referenced in In Broad Daylight (1971) See more »


Zorbas (aka Zorba's Dance)
Written by Mikis Theodorakis
See more »

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User Reviews

A depressing misrepresentation
31 March 2001 | by zeemantaSee all my reviews

Contrary to others who may think this film is some sort of tribute to living life to the fullest, it is completely depressing, pessimistic, and detestible. There is not one likeable character in the entire film. Zorba is a jackass who f***s up the lives of everyone he comes in contact with because of his selfish "zest" for life, i.e., wasting other people's time and money while lying to them. He's a man who has left his wife and family behind with no regret and works odd jobs, including wrecking Basil's mine and depleting his money. Basil thinks this is wonderful. Why? It's almost as if Basil has latent gay love for Zorba. One of the 2 most disturbing moments in the film is when the widow (Irene Pappas) is murdered in broad daylight by a crowd which is angry that she has somehow driven an unrequited lover to suicide. Basil does nothing, even though the widow's his love interest (interestingly though Basil did not previously sleep with the widow). Zorba tries to protect the widow, but she's still murdered, her throat slit like a lamb to the slaughter. INCREDIBLY, Zorba and Basil go on about their business like this is some sort of acceptable crime. WHAT THE HELL!! The level of mysogyny is disturbing.

Then, when the French hotel woman dies, the author/director maligns the poor villagers (and the people of Greece) by making them look like vultures that steal her possessions before she's even croaked. This isn't a celebration of life, but a sad portrayal of common people as evil idiots. I wish this story had never been made into a film.

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