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Zorba the Greek Reviews

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Aaron N

Super Reviewer

November 8, 2006
Zorba: Damn it boss, I like you too much not to say it. You've got everthing except one thing: madness! A man needs a little madness, or else...
Basil: Or else?
Zorba: ...he never dares cut the rope and be free.

A solid film centering on two men. One playing it straight, the other a larger than life character who gives this film the right kind of energy every time he is on screen. Well made, with a great soundtrack.

An aimless Englishman, Basil, played by Alan Bates, finds he has a small inheritance on the Greek island of Crete. His joyless existence is disturbed when he meets Zorba, played by Anthony Quinn, 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. Other adventures occur, including the pursuit of love for both men and the construction of crazy contraptions.

Basically, Anthony Quinn owns this film. Every time he is around, I love everything that is going on. His character provides laughs, a sense of adventure, and other endearing qualities that kept me entertained. Plus he's a damn good dancer. The other actors do a solid job in the film as well.

Taking place in Crete, and actually having been filmed there, this is a very good looking film as well. It certainly captures the surroundings quite well, while giving a specific portrayal of this Greek society.

The other great element of this film was its score. I've heard its key tune many times before, but here it is perfectly mixed into the story. As this film mixes some more light-hearted moments with much darker dramatic material, it was great to have a Greek-themed musical vibe running throughout, which helped keep me engaged.

While the film does run a bit long, it still had plenty of well accomplished elements to make it worthwhile.

Basil: I don't want any trouble.
Zorba: Life is trouble. Only death is not. To be alive is to undo your belt and *look* for trouble.
flixsterman
flixsterman

Super Reviewer

January 16, 2009
A much darker film than I expected it to be. Anthony Quinn's energetic and charismatic Zorba seems almost out of place amidst a cast of cowardly, vengeful, parasitic villagers who always seem to linger ominously in the background. Ultimately, Zorba the Greek is an uplifting film, but it will route you through a few valleys before it reaches the mountaintop.
Lanning :

Super Reviewer

April 23, 2006
When Zorba's son dies, everyone else cries. Zorba? He dances. If Quinn had only done one film, this film, his contribution to the history of movies would have been enormous and his place in that history assured. Life, death, comedy, tragedy, love, hate, nastiness, compassion . . . this movie encompasses every aspect of existence. I'm not sure if Bates and Quinn ever did another movie together, but what great chemistry. To live life no matter what may come, the "philosophy" behind this movie, makes more and more sense the older you get. And when all else fails, eat, drink, laugh, and dance . . .
John B

Super Reviewer

June 3, 2014
The be all and end all of Anthony Quinn's career. It is the role that defined him even though I am pretty sure that he isn't Greek. It nonetheless led to a bunch of roles as swarthy individuals. Nonetheless he is wonderful at the centre of a delightful production.
Lord Naseby
Lord Naseby

Super Reviewer

December 15, 2010
This movie looked so incredibly boring, that it took me an entire year to work up the nerve to watch it. Maybe more maybe less. I almost didn't. Especially because it is almost 2 1/2 hours long. I have to watch this because of my Oscar list. If I didn't have that I would never ever bother.

Acting/Characters: Anthony Quinn as Zorba is the only reason to even watch this movie. He did an absolutely fantastic job. Were it not for Peter sellers in Dr. Strangelove, I would be perfectly alright with giving Best Actor to him (I to this day am still trying to find out why on earth they gave it to Rex Harrison that year). But he is the only remotely interesting character in the film. I just didn't care about anyone else. I was never really given any reason to to be honest. There was one other character who was interesting to watch and that was the town idiot. There was actually a character whom annoyed me to the point where I didn't care about her fate (Incidentally it was an Oscar winning performance). Maybe that was the point if so, bravo. I only really cared about Zorba. He was a lot of fun to watch. 5/10

Plot: Like the rest of the movie, I just didn't care. I felt like I should care but I didn't. I know that this is an Oscar winning film and that it is culturally important but yeah. Meh. The plot did get really interesting at the end though which I liked a lot. It was kinda too little too late though. But the film didn't need to be nearly as long as it was. And it was almost much longer too. It was kinda too little too late though. 5/10

Screenplay: This was the best part I will say. Zorba had a lot of excellent lines. He was always really interesting to watch and what he would say was always very interesting too. But I don't think that this fully redeemed the film but I dunno. I still liked it. 8/10

Likableness: When Zorba was onscreen it was great. he was a lot of fun to watch. When he wasn't I just didn't care. Maybe I'm being way too hard on this film. I probably am. But I just didn't care. I dunno. Sorry if this is incoherent, a 2:00 AM review isn't the best. 6/10

Final Score: 24/40 60% (M)


TRIVIA TIME: 1. Anthony Quinn had a broken foot during filming, and thus couldn't perform the dance on the beach as scripted, which called for much leaping around. Instead, he did a slow shuffle. Director Mihalis Kakogiannisasked Anthony Quinn what the dance was, and Anthony Quinn made up a name and claimed it was traditional.

2. Simone Signoret was the original choice for Madame Hortense. After filming began, director 'Michael Cacoyannis' realized that she wasn't what he wanted for the part and asked permission from Darryl F. Zanuck to replace her. He agreed and he proposed Bette Davis. 'Michael Cacoyannis' though had Lila Kedrova in mind. Darryl F. Zanuck had no idea who Lila Kedrova was, or how she even looked, but he trusted 'Michael Cacoyannis' very much, so he agreed.

3. The project was turned down by every major studio in town.

4. In the earlier stages of filming, Mihalis Kakogiannis and Anthony Quinn had frequent disagreements as the director felt that his leading actor was being too over-the-top.

5. The original cut was over 3 hours long.

6. Lila Kedrova learned English specially for the film.

7. Such was the interest in an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis's hugely popular novel, the film was already in the black before it opened.
kflannelly
July 13, 2010
Would have been so good in colour! I liked parts of it, but it was also kind of upsetting, to say the least... especially the scene with the old ladies. That gave me nightmares.
November 27, 2009
''If a woman sleeps alone, It puts shame on all man.'' Great book, great story. A grate vision for religion and politics. And that quote before the dance scene '' What could I do, boss? My joy was choking me. I had to find some outlet. And what sort of outlet? Words? Pff!'' Efharisto poli Kazantzakis kai Quinn !!
June 17, 2009
Great Music. Beginning and ending were great; the middle was unnecessary. If you are going to visit greek villages, do not watch this movie.
lucasaq
June 21, 2008
Although I found the film itself to be boring and depressing despite Anthony Quinn?s energetic performance, I also found the score to be one of the film?s greatest asset along with Quinn?s performance.
flixsterbum
May 10, 2008
Spoiler contained in this review: I'm amazed at the number of reviews celebrating this one, and equally amazed at how well it did. While Anthony Quinn's performance is indeed wonderful, Alan Bates' character is appalling in his impotence, as is the tolerance and acceptance of the horrific behavior of the Crete islanders. The cold-blooded murder of the widow was atrocious. But more atrocious was the reaction of both Quinn and Bates, i.e. barely an eyeblink. How can you celebrate the characters' "joy of life" dance in the finale knowing they witnessed the execution of an innocent woman and then go on to employ the same people who executed her? To me, this is not a movie about the joy of life, but rather about selfishness and sociopathic behavior, remaining completely unaffected by the suffering of others while you go on your merry way. Disgusting.
Morris N

Super Reviewer

June 12, 2007
Excellent film. If you don't get it the first time watch it again. Easily the best work Quinn ever did.
November 29, 2006
Uh. Meh. The movie started off promisingly, but then it soon became one of those "let's show a few random significant moments" movies. My main problem with this movie is that it just feel too rambling to me, too unconnected. And even the character of Zorba himself never really solidified, for me. As soon as I had a general idea of who he was, he would do something in contradiction of what he had said or done earlier. Perhaps he was intended to be this baffling, but I just sat there scratching my head. A movie I far from enjoyed, although it could possibly be good.
zorbasouzo
July 7, 2006
Thee has never been a better commentary on Greek life. Antohy Quinn IS Zorbas. The quinessential playful, philosophical man who plays the game of life with unparalleled skill and dexterity. Every frame of the film that Quinn is in burns with the embodiment of the Greek spirit. A movie I have personally seen in excess of thrity times, and it actually gets better with each viewing. Absolute gem.
September 21, 2013
Very dramatic, at times surreal, a film about the joy of living on friendship and how to deal with the difficulties of life with philosophy.
LB
August 22, 2013
Very dramatic, at times surreal, a film about the joy of living on friendship and how to deal with the difficulties of life with philosophy.
April 29, 2013
"Life is trouble, only death is not. To be alive is to undo your belt and look for trouble"
April 26, 2013
Classic film that suffers from being too long and having a directionless plot but soars thanks to Anthony Quinn's epic performance as Zorba, who's love for life is so infectious you like him even when he does despicable things. He receives excellent support from Alan Bates & Irene Papas (in an Oscar winning performance), along with director Kakogiannis superb use of the Crete setting & music. Not a perfect film but fans of the late, great Anthony Quinn, a must have in any collection.
April 14, 2013
the movie info section hits the nail on the head and is worth seeing just to be reminded of that: failure is an inescapable part of life, and that only by constantly tasting defeat can one truly enjoy life's victories.

i love the score to this film. the wild greek theme song that gets faster and faster. its absolutely spellbinding. im seriously considering playing it at my next dj gig in between some utterly non connected phase and see if anyone adopts zorba's wild dancing!

all in all, its a classic that deserves watching on a long, lazy sunday afternoon.
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