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Phaedra (1962)

Melina Mercouri , Anthony Perkins , Jules Dassin  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Melina Mercouri, Anthony Perkins, Raf Vallone
  • Directors: Jules Dassin
  • Writers: Jules Dassin, Margarita Lymberaki, Euripides
  • Producers: Jules Dassin, Noel Howard
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM
  • DVD Release Date: June 6, 2011
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0052SO0YC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,445 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The wife of a Greek shipping tycoon has a love affair with her stepson.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it while you can. July 27, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a limited edition and once people find out how good it is, it won't be available for very long, I should think. The DVD transfer - from whatever source - is fabulous. Clear, crisp print, good as new, in super wide screen. No black borders, just glorious Greece, London and Paris and Melina Mercouri and Anthony Perkins as the doomed lovers, not forgetting the magnetic Raf Vallone. It's just as good as when you first saw it in the cinema. And if you haven't, you absolutely MUST see it now. You won't see the likes of it again, not very likely.
Don't be discouraged by the stupid "lesbian " tag this film is given on this [the amazon] and other websites. It has nothing to do with lesbianism. But it has a lot to do with Greek tragedy. Powerful performances by Mercouri and Perkins. Neither was ever better in any film. Oh yes, almost forgot, and then there's the music by Theodorakis. Hauntingly beautiful. Thanks to MGM/Fox for making this film available. FINALLY!
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Human Nature Never Changes August 31, 2011
I once asked my 92 year old grandmother what was the single most memorable event that had occurred during her long life. Was it the invention of the automobile? TV? A-bomb? Men on the moon? Her reply was that she couldn't speak to my question but one thing she knew for sure: human nature never changed.

Greek tragedies are studied in institutions of higher education because they resonate in the psyches of people today in much the same way they did before Christ was born, largely because human nature never changes. The story of Phaedra's tragic mis-alliance with her stepson plays out in this movie because there are elements within it that are simply timeless.

Phaedra, the pampered, adored but bored wife of a shipping tycoon, finds herself inexplicably and inexorably drawn into an affair with the tycoon's son from an earlier marriage. It's a glorious thing. He's young, attractive, sexually inexperienced and a breath of fresh air. She's older but still beautiful, a rose in full bloom, no longer a bud but still desirable in the catnip way older women appeal to younger men today. She's secure in herself and offers the promise of being an experienced lover.


When the stepson enters into business with his tycoon father, the impossibility of continuing the affair becomes apparent. Phaedra is now repelled by the tycoon's sexual attentions and jealous of his son's youthful companions. The stepson is young and trying to do the right thing, but can't deny he still has feelings for Phaedra. It's doomed.

The familiar story of Aristotle Onassis's life provided ample parallels with the backstory of this movie.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greek myths made luscious July 12, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is about as good as it gets when it comes to making those dreary Greek myths palatable. The casting was brilliant and the acting is superb. If she was my stepmother, I'd certainly give it a shot! A haunting and unforgetable face that will stay with you for days, maybe a lifetime. And, forget Norman Bates, Perkins as a lovesick boy is much more appealing and convincing. These are Oscar worthy performances. The real surprise though is Vallone as the modern day irrepressible Zorba pushed finally to the limit. Man can be destroyed but not defeated! The black and white cinematography is lovely, and the Greek locations and music wrap it up into a beautiful package. The "cloudiness", both visual and intellectual, is just right. The transfer is better than you'd expect. Hmmm, and just a mere 50years after its release, it finally is available on DVD "upon request". Do it! They don't make them this way anymore. Alas!!!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Phaedra! August 17, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Absolutely excellent. It was an essential item missing in Melina Mercouri's list of available movies. I do hope this initiative will go on and we shall soon be able to purchase Dreams of Passion for example. The acting is remarkable, both Melina and Perkins are totally convincing. The sound track is excellent, and this adaptation of a classic one of the best in its genre.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MASTERPIECE October 24, 2012
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Eagle of the Cold North, Falcon of Solitude" December 27, 2011
Like evrybody else it seems, I've been trying to find even a VHS copy of PHAEDRA, even Netflix doesn't have it. This is a modern version of the classic Greek play by Euripides. It tells of a woman who has offended Aphrodite so grievously that the goddess curses Phaedra (played by a ravishingly beautiful) Melina Mercouri, making her fall in love with her stepson (Tony Perkins). Raf Vallone plays the Greek shipping tycoon husband & father.

The son from a previous marriage lives with his British mom in the UK & wants to be an artist. This desire, combined with his mother's endless complaints, has turned him sour on his Greek dad. There are inner-family tensions in Greece as well`as family members try to mark out their territory. Raf Vallone also wants his son to move to Greece & join the firm. Bad idea.

Phaedra goes to London to meet her stepson for the first time. They meet in the London Museum Greek Collection room (where else) near a statue of a headless Aphrodite. One thing leads to another as the tragedy unfolds.

The choice of Perkins as Phaedra's lover seems strange at first & he is passive in the film; but it makes sense when you realize that Phaedra is the aggressor--on all levels.

Director Jules Dassin keeps in key elements of the original PHAEDRA, like "the Nurse," Phaedra's sole confident--and the Greek chrous of women, local towns women, who are particularly effective near the end when the husband's flag ship, The Phaedra (naturally), goes down, killing most of the towns men on board. They beat on the office door, begging for news. Instead the door is opened and a steeley-cold & sun-glassed Phaedra walks out & pushes through the crowd without saying a word.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Racine would be rolling in his grave
Perkins and Mercouri turn in a good job. Well casted, Melina the step mom is 42 at the time and Anthony is 30. Read more
Published 28 days ago by William P. Gilbreath
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece!
Jules Dassin knew to express with the tragic essence, this complex dramatis personae in the times of 1962. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Hiram Gomez Pardo
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie
I bought this for a friend. She was thrilled. She saw this movie years ago and always talked about it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Carol Ballow
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine Copy of a Powerful Drama
I just viewed this DVD. It is not one of those completely restored, flawless editions, but it looks great nonetheless. Read more
Published 2 months ago by David A. Greene
2.0 out of 5 stars Overwrought to the point of ridiculousness
At times it felt like a parody of a "DRAMATIC MOVIE!" Which was surprising coming from the director of the sublime French jewel thief film Rififi. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dave Harvey
5.0 out of 5 stars Phaedra: Classic movie, based on classic story
I saw this movie, back in the early1960's, remembered it, and wanted to see it again, because of my recent bible reading of I Corinthians Ch 5, Verse 1, "I actually hear... Read more
Published 6 months ago by jack kubat
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful film!
This is a film I have been trying to locate for years! It is based on the tragic Greek myth of a woman who falls in love with her stepson. Read more
Published 6 months ago by CLB
5.0 out of 5 stars Must See Classic 1962 Modern Retelling of Greek Tragedy
This is a classic movie, a must see for any fan of true, great cinema.

In stunning black and white, with beautifully realized visuals supporting the story, and one of... Read more
Published 6 months ago by HeartlandLiberal
4.0 out of 5 stars Movie: Phaedra
I have wanted to see this movie for years, and finally found it on Amazon. It wasn't as good as I had hoped- no subtitles for the hearing impaired either. Read more
Published 7 months ago by K West
4.0 out of 5 stars Phaedra
Gave it a 4 because it's really not a 5-STAR movie. I'd seen it at an off-campus theater while in college; developed a fascination with Melina Mercouri. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Ellen Morgan
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