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Zorba the Greek

234 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

On the Greek isle of Crete, Basil (Alan Bates), a shy inhibited writer from England is befriended by Zorba (Anthony Quinn) a boisterous peasant with an astonishing love for life. When Zorba agrees to work at Basil's abandoned mine, it is the beginning of a lesson for the young man as he gradually moves from an observer of the world to a participant. This acclaimed classic co-stars Irene Paps and Lila Kedrova in an Oscar winning performance. "An utterly absorbing and sharply memorable film" (The Hollywood Reporter)

Special Features

  • A&E Biography: "Anthony Quinn: A Lust for Life"
  • Alternate intro
  • Fox Movietone News: On location and premiere
  • Behind-the-scenes still gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Anthony Quinn, Alan Bates, Irene Papas, Lila Kedrova, Sotiris Moustakas
  • Directors: Mihalis Kakogiannis
  • Writers: Mihalis Kakogiannis, Nikos Kazantzakis
  • Producers: Anthony Quinn, Mihalis Kakogiannis
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Black & White, Dubbed
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 1.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: International Classics
  • DVD Release Date: August 3, 2004
  • Run Time: 142 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (234 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001XALGY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,773 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Zorba the Greek" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 14, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Since I am leaving today for a trip to Greece I figured I should watch "Zorba the Greek" since this 1964 film is considered the quintessential "Greek" film. I have to admit my first reaction was to be glad I was not going to Crete, because the way the locals treated the beautiful widow (Irene Papas) and Madame Hortense (Lila Kedrova), the old prostitute, were outright horrific. But this is why people like us and young Basil (Alan Bates) need to meet up with somebody with a zest for life like Alexis Zorba (Anthony Quinn).
Basil is an Englishman of Greek extraction who goes to Crete to check out a mine he has inherited. Zorba attaches himself to Basil, ostensibly as a cook but clearly as a guide to the joys and tragedies of life. In terms of Quinn's performance the only thing you can really say is that before there was Robert Begnigni there was Zorba the Greek when it comes to Mediterranean men who provided inspirational madness. As Zorba tells Basil: "Dammit, boss, I like you too much not to say it. You've got everything except one thing. Madness! A man needs a little madness, or else...he never dares cut the rope and be free." +
When they arrive on Crete it becomes clear the mine is not going to pan out for anybody. They move in with Madame Hortense, who is wooed by Zorba, who insists Basil go after the beautiful local widow. After these tragedies all that is left is Zorba's plan for bringing trees down from the top of the mountain, an endeavor obviously equally doomed to failure. This is why in the end there is only one thing a man can do, and it is in this cathartic conclusion that any and all sins of this film are absolved.
"Zorba the Greek" is written and directed by Michael Cacoyannis, based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Gypsychick on August 17, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
"A man needs a little madness." - Alexis Zorba. And so is the tale of a seemingly crude and boorish man, or that may be the manner in which he is viewed by those very people Zorba would never want to be. Living with every emotion on his sleeve, Zorba watches a young struggling writer working restoring a mine with him open like a an emotional flower under his careful "tutelage" which revolves around dancing in joy and sorrow, living life every single minute and never fearing the inevitable ending of life. (How's that for a run on sentence? Ah, but it is the Greek way!). This film is simply wonderful and I am surprised it isn't shown more often in its entire form. I feel Zorba, like so many of our old favorites, should have a re-release on the big screen. We have forgotten how to live like this.
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78 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall VINE VOICE on February 23, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Something is definitely wrong with this picture!! Where is Criterion, or some other company that is neglecting one of the greatest movies of the 20th C?
Cacoyannis assembled one of the most sublime international casts ever in this classic. Few movies can approach great literature as far as providing a microcosm of "the human condtition," to use an overworked, but apt phrase. This is one of the few that can. The plot, which is secondary to the theme, revolves around the wizened, but still vibrant Greek peasant Zorba (Quinn) teaching the young, uptight, sexually confused (OK, maybe that's not PC of me, but it's certainly the subtext) Brit mine-owner "boss" Basil (Alan Bates), about the facts of life.
Zorba is one of the great lovable rogues of cinema history, maybe even the most memorable. Wine, women, song and dance are his credo, and we come to learn that they are his defense against some personal tragedy in his background. This film is unmatched in terms of playing the comic against the tragic, the many facets of life that color actual existence, as opposed to the usual Hollywood, one dimensional perspectives. There are layers within layers to the message here, just as in great fiction or theater. What it boils down to, however, is about friendship. Zorba and Basil go through so much together, running the full gamut of human emotions, that by the perfectly realized ending (the best I can recall in recent or distant memory, outside of Fellini's La Strada maybe [another Quinn movie, incidentally]), this viewer was breaking down in sheer joy/release/catharsis. The Greeks have long had a knack for this, have you noticed?
As a footnote, the soundtrack is also legendary, thanks to Greece's most noted score composer, Mikis Theadorakis.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Craig Lee Stevenson on August 31, 2004
Format: DVD
I first saw this film in my early 20's and am now approaching 60. Over the years I have returned to it just to see if it still held the same truth. It does. In anticipation of this DVD release I reread the book and it was an interesting lesson in book to film adaptation. The spirit is the same and credit for that must go to the director the actors who approach this - the greatest of Kazantzakis' novels with reverance and passion. Certain elements of the episode with the church are "leavened" for 1960's tastes and limits but the rest rings true. After all the awards and praise for acting and cinematography, it remains a film to share with friends and cherish for its humanity and truth. Zorba was a real person, by the way, and maintained an active correspondence with Kazantzakis until his death in the early 1940's.
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