7.8/10
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79 user 31 critic

Zorba the Greek (1964)

Alexis Zorbas (original title)
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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:

Michael Cacoyannis

Writers:

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

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Cast

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
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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 »
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Details

Country:

Greece | USA

Language:

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 »

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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:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George P. Cosmatos: the disgruntled boy who writes down the illiterate Zorba's thoughts for him. 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

Madame Hortense: You are cruel! Why you abandon me? The whole village is laughing at me. Where is my white satin? Where is my wedding dress?
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Connections

Spoofed in Vradya epitheorisis: Episode #1.5 (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
Alexis and Basil
24 April 2006 | by jotix100See 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.


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