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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


Anthony Quinn plays Zorba. NO - Anthony Quinn IS 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?


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


At the beginning Basil picks up three books and puts them under his right arm. He walks around a small group of people, and in the next shot they are under his left arm. See more »


Basil: I... couldn't help.
See more »


Referenced in Seinfeld: The Good Samaritan (1992) See more »


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

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User Reviews

not easy to cinematize but they really did it!
31 August 2005 | by elsinefiloSee all my reviews

A young Englishman is writing on a manuscript about the Buddha. He meets Alexis Zorba who greatly influences his outlook on life. The narrator, whose name is not revealed, hires Zorba to superintend the workmen in his lignite mine in Crete. Zorba the Greek is a book and a movie by nature on the contrast between the Apollonian and the Dionysian outlook on life. Apollo/the boss(Alan Bates) represents the spirit of order and rationality, while Dionysus/Zorba(Anthony Quinn) represents the spirit of ecstatic, spontaneous will to life. Anthony Quinn's performance is really great. I read the book about a month ago and I guess I couldn't visualize the Zorba image in my mind that well. His looks,one-liners,his dancing sirtaki on the beach,his harmony with Madame Hortense(Lila Kedrova)just looks so nice.It is really surprising that Lila Kedrova got "Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress" while Anthony Quinn just got the nomination for best actor in a leading role.(Such a pity that he didn't get it.) Well that work of art is not so great as "Jesus Re-crucified" or "The Last Temptation of Christ " but is a still great Kazanthakis art.And the adapted movie is a really good one coz given that the whole book is based on a contrast introduced by Friedrich Nietzsche and it is not supposed to be easy to cinematize a philosophical book.Great Quinn! Great movie!(But I Don't THINK LILA KEDROVA DESERVES THAT AWARD) If you have ever read Kazanthakis you should absolutely see this movie!

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