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Antigone (1961)

Irene Papas , Manos Katrakis , Yorgos Javellas  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Irene Papas, Manos Katrakis, Maro Kodou, Nikos Kazis, Ilia Livykou
  • Directors: Yorgos Javellas
  • Writers: Yorgos Javellas, Sophocles
  • Producers: James Paris, Sperie Perakos
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Greek (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: September 14, 2004
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002T2QAQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,802 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Antigone" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Sophocles' immortal tragedy Antigone receives a definitive cinematic interpretation in this 1961 film. Irene Papas (Z, The Trojan Women, The Guns Of Navarone) heads a cast of over 500 actors of the Greek stage and screen, joined by soldiers and horsemen of the Greek Royal Guard. Performing in the original Greek, Papas and, in particular, Manos Katrakis as the tyrannical Theban King Creon, embody Sophocles' timeless themes with earthy conviction and irresistible passion. In the aftermath of a bloody civil war that fatally pitted both her brothers against each other, Antigone (Papas), daughter of Oedipus, picks through the carnage outside the gates of Thebes in search of her fallen siblings' bodies. Vowing to bury both men, Antigone defies a direct edict from Thebes ' King Creon that Antigone's rebel brother remain unsanctioned for having led the insurrection. Antigone's defiance of Creon and devotion to her shattered family divides the city of Thebes, threatens her sister's betrothal to Creon's son and invokes the wrath of a king willing to defy the gods themselves to satisfy his selfish vengeance. But by condemning Antigone, Creon unwittingly doomed himself to a sentence far crueler than any punishment he could inflict on his enemies. While remaining faithful to the original text, director Georges Tzavellas interprets Antigone as an intimate black and white epic that recalls Orsen Welles' Macbeth and Laurence Oliver's filmed Hamlet. As relevant now as it was in the fourth century BC, Antigone's riche tapestry, love and fate comes vividly to life in this superior film adaption.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
80 of 83 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
This 1961 version of Sophocle's tragic drama "Antigone" will not work as an introduction to Greek tragedy. The play is performed in Greek (with subtitles), so I would never recommend it as the first exposure any one has to the performance of an ancient play; there is a 1972 version with Genevieve Bujold that would better serve. However, this particular version does offer Irene Pappas, long considered one of the greatest of Greek actresses, in one of the greatest roles in the nation's history (the only thing better would be to see her perform "Medea"--or maybe Clytemnestra in the "Orestia"). Of course, when "Antigone" was first performed women were not allowed to be actresses; in fact, the only women allowed in the theater of Dionysus in Athens were prostitutes. Pappas is a shade too old for the role, but there is a sense in which performing these plays is more akin to opera than conventional theater. Besides, she plays up Antigone's stubborn streak in a way that gives entirely new shadings to much of the play.
Following the ending of "Oedipus the King," Oedipus was exiled from Thebes, blind and a beggar. We also learn from "Oedipus at Colonus" that his sons, Eteocles and Polyneices engaged in a civil war for the throne of Thebes. The two brothers kill each other and Creon (Manos Katrakis), brother of Jocasta, becomes king. He orders that Eteocles, who nobly defended his city, shall receive an honorable burial, but that Polyneices, for leading the Argive invaders, shall be left unburied. This leads Antigone (Pappas), sister to both of the slain brothers, to have to choose between obeying the rule of the state, the dictates of familial binds, and the will of the gods.
It is too easy to see the issues of this play, first performed in the 5th century B.C.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good film, but DVD suffers from poor transfer quality September 22, 2004
Irene Pappas is terrific as Antigone, and Manos Katrakis very impressive as Creon (with occasional moments of overacting). Despite the presence of hundreds of extras, the costumes and settings look a bit cheesy by today's standards. But with a story this great, and acting to match, it seems nit-picky to complain.

Unfortunately, the DVD was made from a dirty print. No restoration appears to have been attempted, and the video compression quality is very poor. Even so, this disc is a must-see for lovers of classic Greek drama and fans of Irene Pappas.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!! October 31, 2002
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Irene Pappas was the greatest!! I loved this Antigone. I imagine that everyone who would order this knows the story, so no need to go into it. The passion and range of Ms. Pappas is incredible. This is an extremely high quality presentation. Every lover of Greek theater should have this!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sophocles' Creon April 14, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I would rate this DVD three-and-one-half stars. As ever, Irene Papas is excellent as the protagonist, but unfortunately she is on the screen for so short a time that the film does not do her justice. Instead the tragedy focuses on the dead Jocasta's brother, Creon, who has become King of Thebes after the exile and death of Oedipus. One of the most interesting sections of the film is seeing the stychomythia--the fast exchange of single lines that heighten the emotional impact--between Creon and his son Haemon. The chorus has been reduced to a voice-over, with curly grey-bearded elders standing about only suggesting a chorus.

I found the production rather old-fashioned and heavy-handed in a Hollywoodish sort of way (if one can say that about a Greek production) in that there is an ongoing soundtrack that features blaring horns and reedy instruments that only detract from the drama. I'm afraid that "Antigone" simply does not compare to Cocoyannis' "Electra" in which Irene Papas is given the entire film to display her remarkable abilities as an actress of the first magnitude.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still relevant November 8, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Sticks to the play. Good acting. Great for classrooms who are reading Antigone. Wish they would remake this in English so they didn't have to read subtitles, but some of my students really felt the movie helped them to understand the play much better. It's a classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Performance of Antigone October 7, 2013
By Emilie
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding performance with authentic settings and costumes. I use it in my classes every semester.Irene Papas performance is magnificent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Greek Tragedy February 3, 2014
By chirp
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Story of course cannot be surpassed. The acting riveting. Director and actors
clearly understand the psychological and dramatic workings of Greek tragedy
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product and service.
he item was fully and accurately described. It was what I needed at a reasonable price. I appreciate your being there when I needed to make the purchase.
Published 11 months ago by esp
5.0 out of 5 stars An English Classic
Antigone is truly an inspirational DVD for students of English Literature. Students seem to enjoy it and love to watch it along the text in the book.
Published 18 months ago by woofy7
4.0 out of 5 stars Antigone
I believe this movie was a good interpretation of the play. I enjoyed the quality of the film and there was a great cast in the movie.
Published 24 months ago by nocchan
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Beneficial!!!!!
If I had known that the movie was not in English, I would not have purchased it. How could a movie not spoken in English be beneficial to English speaking students? Not! Read more
Published on April 13, 2012 by Fair
3.0 out of 5 stars Antigone
Not for me. I wanted to use this in my English 12 class. English subtitles will not work for these students. I sent an email to Moviemars about returning the item. Read more
Published on November 18, 2009 by Carol Schlotterbeck
1.0 out of 5 stars Be warned...
OK, so I didn't read the "fine print". I ordered this DVD for my English class. When it arrived, I was distressed to see in fine print across the case, "Greek with English... Read more
Published on February 11, 2007 by lovemypod
5.0 out of 5 stars Needs viewing thrice
It is true the more knowledge of the play by Sophocles and of Greek plays in general the more you can appreciate this rendition. Read more
Published on May 19, 2004 by bernie
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