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Z (The Criterion Collection) (1969)

Maurice Baquet , Jean Bouise , Costa-Gavras  |  PG |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Maurice Baquet, Jean Bouise, Marcel Bozzuffi, Gérard Darrieu, Jean Dasté
  • Directors: Costa-Gavras
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: October 27, 2009
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002IVDLH8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,133 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Z (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

A pulse-pounding political thriller, Greek expatriate director Costa-Gavras’s Z was one of the cinematic sensations of the late sixties, and remains among the most vital dispatches from that hallowed era of filmmaking. This Academy Award winner—loosely based on the 1963 assassination of Greek left-wing activist Gregoris Lambrakis—stars Yves Montand as a prominent politician and doctor whose public murder amid a violent demonstration is covered up by military and government officials; Jean-Louis Trintignant is the tenacious magistrate who’s determined not to let them get away with it. Featuring kinetic, rhythmic editing, Raoul Coutard’s expressive vérité photography, and Mikis Theodorakis’s unforgettable, propulsive score, Z is a technically audacious and emotionally gripping masterpiece.


• New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by cinematographer Raoul Coutard

• Audio commentary featuring film historian Peter Cowie

• New interviews with Costa-Gavras and Coutard

• Archival interviews with Costa-Gavras; producer-actor Jacques Perrin; actors Yves Montand, Irène Papas, and Jean-Louis Trintignant; and Vassilis Vassilikos, author of the book Z

• Theatrical trailer

• New and improved English subtitle translation

• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Armond White

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
106 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memorable Film In An Excellent DVD Restoration November 27, 2003
Although it is seldom seen today, in 1970 Constantin Costa-Gavras' "Z" picked up both the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Picture and an Academy Award as Best Foreign Film. In the wake of the John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations of the 1960s and fueled by the later Watergate scandal, the film had tremendous resonance with American audiences, becoming one of the highest grossing foreign language films ever released in that market.
Based on the novel by Vassilis Vassilikos, which was itself based on the 1966 "Lambrakis Affair" in Greece, "Z" is at once a political thriller and satire. Set in an unnamed nation, it presents a politician who is strongly critical of American and Russian nuclear build up and his nation's participation in it. Denounced by the status quo as a communist, he is met with civic obstruction when he arrives to give a speech and afterward is struck down and killed by a speeding truck in the streets. A drunk driving accident, according to local officials. An assassination, according to his entourage.
Although the film has a somewhat slow and uncertain build, once fully underway it becomes a rapid-fire series of sharply edited scenes in which the sloppy assassination plot is unraveled by a dispassionate magistrate sent to conduct an investigation--an investigation plagued by assaults on witnesses and civic cover-up. But in such a corrupt society, can the full truth ever be known?
Director Costa-Gavras walks a very fine line here, presenting the characters as archetypes but endowing them yet endowing with enough human emotion to engage our interests and sympathies. And the cast is remarkable, with Yves Montond, Irene Papas, and Jean-Louis Trintignant particularly notable.
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Costa-Gavras' Masterpiece February 6, 2001
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Z is a political thriller with few action scenes,none of the "thrills" associated with conevntional thrillers. The Murder takes place fairly early on,and it is obvious who is respnosible. The thrill is in the dogged investigation by an incorruptible magistrate{interesting comparison to Stones's JFK},which leads to the highest seats of government. Based on a terrific novel by Vassilis Vassilikos{and an excellent screenplay by Jorge Semprun},this tells the story of the murder of the Greek parliamentarian and doctor Gregory Lambrakis.That it was a political assasination is obvious,though the complicity is so multilayered that it appears that the truth will never come out. Yves Montand is ,as usual, excellent as Lambrakis [referred to as Z throughout the film.Z comes from the Greek verb zei, HE LIVES} Irene Pappas is his suffering wife{and widow}. Costa-Gavras travelled this territory often, {the Confession, Missing} though not with this brilliance. The editing is crsip,leading to the sense of breathlessness among the defendents. I will leave the ending to the viewer.This is probably the best political thriller that I have ever seen, and 31 years later,is till excellent,if not brilliant
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars still a thrill, 30 years later October 3, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
It starts out by saying: "Any similarity to actual persons or events is deliberate" and goes on to tell an intricate, absorbing story.
From 1969, this political thriller stands up as a brilliantly crafted film, helped by an extraordinary cast, great editing, and a marvelous Mikis Theodorakis soundtrack.
What an amazing ensemble of actors ! Yves Montand is fabulous, also the beautiful Irene Papas, Charles Denner, Jacques Perrin, and so many more...but the real hero of this film is Jean-Lois Trintignant. He is magnificent, and the subtleties of his performance riveting.
I don't think you have to subscribe to the politics espoused in this film to appreciate its greatness. It stands as a work of art, and I think Costa-Gavras' finest film.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an Important Film February 22, 2006
By Bill W
"Z" was perhaps the first Foriegn film I remember really making an impression on me. Remember Martin L.King and Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated just a year or so before, so this film felt like it was real life! Yves Montand is outstanding as the opposition candidate who is assassinated by Thuggs who inturn are protected by government conspiracy. It is on a par with any Hollywood film of it time. The sound track music is unforgetable and is a perfect match to the drama.

This release is in french with english subtitles!

There is also a earlier, "above average English dub" that aired on TV and in a Laser Disc release that I would also recommend if you can find it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lithe and fierce... like a tiger August 4, 2006
This is Costa-Gavras' masterpiece. It deservedly won two academy awards (Best Foreign Language Film, Best Film Editing) and was nominated for Best Director, Best Picture, and Writing. In my opinion, this is one of the best ever foreign language films.

The cast is outstanding. Jean-Louis Trintignant is great as the deceptively quiet and unassuming investigator who doggedly persues the truth behind the political assassination of the left-wing minister (Yves Montand). The supporting cast does equally well, with Irene Pappas as the minister's devoted wife and Jacques Perrin as the photojournalist as stand-outs.

This is a political drama which moves along quickly and, as the conspiracy begins to unravel, takes on significant edge-of-the-seat atmosphere. The music track is second to none and promotes the film's intrigue. Altogether this is a great film which deserves its reputation. See it. Worth owning.

In short, the movie is "lithe and fierce... like a tiger".

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The best political movie of all time.
Published 2 hours ago by gma
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Outstanding. Very upsetting movie. Extreme;y well done.
Published 23 days ago by RPCV6466
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by pirati
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie! That it is about something that actually ...
Great movie! That it is about something that actually occurred and is historical is amazing and outrageous! All did a great job!
Published 3 months ago by Max
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film
Excellent and riveting story about a Greek political crisis in the 1960s leading up to the military coup in the country.
Published 4 months ago by Richard
5.0 out of 5 stars "Z" - Political thriller of a movie
A riveting, fast-paced story of political corruption at the highest levels of government, and of a bureaucrat who dared to stand against high government and military officials to... Read more
Published 5 months ago by John Coppola
1.0 out of 5 stars Underlying conflict appears to be invented
I could not find a credible basis for the underlying conflict - so the development of the story seemed to be completely contrived.
Published 6 months ago by Opinion 76
5.0 out of 5 stars Not seen since original viewing... WOW! Still a great experience.
Powerful movie & absolutely unforgettable. Up there with other classics like 'Casablanca.' Do not fail to watch this gem. Every bit as relevant today as when it was first made.
Published 7 months ago by B. L. Friedberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Explosive
This is based on an actual killing of a Greek politician in 1963. Exposes fascist, pseudo-religious group coerced into action by the Police to kill a left-wing political leader in... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Pinku
5.0 out of 5 stars best analysis
This film shows how repressive governments work, and in this case how one was beaten back. Along with "The Battle of Algiers" the best political movies of the 60's.
Published 10 months ago by Christopher Chandler
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