Zorba the Greek Reviews

  • Jul 25, 2020

    Being half Greek, I'm not sure if I was supposed to relate to this or be ashamed of it. Needs a rewatch to fully grasp what the hell happened.

    Being half Greek, I'm not sure if I was supposed to relate to this or be ashamed of it. Needs a rewatch to fully grasp what the hell happened.

  • Jul 18, 2020

    The story is nothing special and didn't give the actors much to do.

    The story is nothing special and didn't give the actors much to do.

  • May 16, 2020

    Prob liked this movie more than I should have. Its sad when Zorba is the most beloved character of the whole movie. I liked the main guy up til the part where he didn't really do anything to save the woman he loved/at least liked. He reminded me of myself-very cerebral and reserved/cautious at times esp younger me. The townspeople were often kinda stupid and cruel like stoning people, pillaging dead people's houses, harassing pretty women.... Somehow the town and Zorba still had some charm about them and their simple ways. Zorba was a man who loved to live and even tho he could be a downrite scoundrel and had good ideas/words with lil knowledge or work to back them=disaster, his zest for life was contagious. The town looked beautiful and the people a way of life with more community than I've ever known, even if it leads to the disgusting mob mentality sometimes. The French woman was a tragic character, that I saw many an older desp. woman in. A dark second half than what I was expecting of a "comedy." It's the unexpected friendship and acting of Zorba that really hold this together. The movie certainly lives a bit of a mark-good or bad kinda mixed.

    Prob liked this movie more than I should have. Its sad when Zorba is the most beloved character of the whole movie. I liked the main guy up til the part where he didn't really do anything to save the woman he loved/at least liked. He reminded me of myself-very cerebral and reserved/cautious at times esp younger me. The townspeople were often kinda stupid and cruel like stoning people, pillaging dead people's houses, harassing pretty women.... Somehow the town and Zorba still had some charm about them and their simple ways. Zorba was a man who loved to live and even tho he could be a downrite scoundrel and had good ideas/words with lil knowledge or work to back them=disaster, his zest for life was contagious. The town looked beautiful and the people a way of life with more community than I've ever known, even if it leads to the disgusting mob mentality sometimes. The French woman was a tragic character, that I saw many an older desp. woman in. A dark second half than what I was expecting of a "comedy." It's the unexpected friendship and acting of Zorba that really hold this together. The movie certainly lives a bit of a mark-good or bad kinda mixed.

  • Feb 06, 2020

    A film that is possibly most famous for it's final scene in which a lively Anthony Quinn teaches a typically surly Alan Bates how to dance I found this film much darker than I had thought it would be. My expectations of the film were much lower than they probably should have been as many of the acclaimed 1960s comedies I have seen were disappointing. Tom Jones (1963) felt overlong and gimmicky and Dr. Strangelove (1964) is one of those films that everybody hails as a masterpiece but I found myself disliking. This is not a great film by any means and it is far too long for what it wants to say but it is a more entertaining presentation of ostentatious Greeks who border on stereotypes than those that appeared in the prostitute centered comedy Never on Sunday (1960) which was just too much for my tastes. Stuffy English writer Basil, Alan Bates, meets the flamboyant Zorba, Anthony Quinn, while traveling to Crete by boat and agrees to bring him along to the house that his family owned because he can help him reopen a mine. Zorba initially finds it hard to open the mine but through some ingenious thinking he finds success and the two men meet the Widow, Irene Papas, who falls in love with Basil. This is an issue because she is betrothed to another man and when the affair between Basil and the Widow is discovered the man commits suicide. Meanwhile Zorba leads on the older Madame Hortense, Lila Kedrova, while romancing other women and spending Basil's money without care. The Widow is later murdered by the townspeople despite Zorba's efforts to stop this from occurring and due to Basil telling Hortense that Zorba wants to marry her he is trapped in a bind. He eventually marries her but is disappointed by the selfish actions of the townspeople after her untimely death. Kedrova was the only person to earn an Academy Award for her performance in the film and I assume this was largely based on the fact that she plays the most sympathetic character in the film. When her room is raided in the wake of her tragic death it is hard not to feel an outpouring of emotion but Kedrova's performance before this highly emotional scene leaves something to be desired. She is funny as the clingy girlfriend who hangs on to the womanizing Zorba but she is largely one note and does not bring the level of complexity to the role that an actress like Simone Signoret could have brought. The film, like Zorba, seems to be humoring her and we are never actually asked to understand her perspective or treat her as more than comic relief before her death. She did not have the strongest competition this year but her performance is competent if not spectacular. There is also the fact that the film just sort of drifts through scenes with no real sense of direction and very low stakes for the two main characters. Basil is a sweet, timid young man who will lose nothing by leaving Greece and gains little by being there. His relationship with the widow has tragic consequences but this has little effect on him and life goes on as it always has been. Zorba is even more nonplussed by everything he encounters as he is so louche and relaxed that we feel no tension when his wife dies or the timber transporter he designs fails. This is a problem when you make a two and a half hour film and one wonders why Cacoyannis could not have made the film much shorter. Never on Sunday was a film with many flaws but Jules Dassin was working with a slight story and knew it so he was smart to keep his film close to a tight ninety minutes. The undeniably pleasurable final scene in which the two men dance together redeems the film just a little as it becomes the fun romp it always should have been. It is unsurprising that this is the most memorable scene in the film and when people imagine the movie they think back to the dancing and not the grief and misery.

    A film that is possibly most famous for it's final scene in which a lively Anthony Quinn teaches a typically surly Alan Bates how to dance I found this film much darker than I had thought it would be. My expectations of the film were much lower than they probably should have been as many of the acclaimed 1960s comedies I have seen were disappointing. Tom Jones (1963) felt overlong and gimmicky and Dr. Strangelove (1964) is one of those films that everybody hails as a masterpiece but I found myself disliking. This is not a great film by any means and it is far too long for what it wants to say but it is a more entertaining presentation of ostentatious Greeks who border on stereotypes than those that appeared in the prostitute centered comedy Never on Sunday (1960) which was just too much for my tastes. Stuffy English writer Basil, Alan Bates, meets the flamboyant Zorba, Anthony Quinn, while traveling to Crete by boat and agrees to bring him along to the house that his family owned because he can help him reopen a mine. Zorba initially finds it hard to open the mine but through some ingenious thinking he finds success and the two men meet the Widow, Irene Papas, who falls in love with Basil. This is an issue because she is betrothed to another man and when the affair between Basil and the Widow is discovered the man commits suicide. Meanwhile Zorba leads on the older Madame Hortense, Lila Kedrova, while romancing other women and spending Basil's money without care. The Widow is later murdered by the townspeople despite Zorba's efforts to stop this from occurring and due to Basil telling Hortense that Zorba wants to marry her he is trapped in a bind. He eventually marries her but is disappointed by the selfish actions of the townspeople after her untimely death. Kedrova was the only person to earn an Academy Award for her performance in the film and I assume this was largely based on the fact that she plays the most sympathetic character in the film. When her room is raided in the wake of her tragic death it is hard not to feel an outpouring of emotion but Kedrova's performance before this highly emotional scene leaves something to be desired. She is funny as the clingy girlfriend who hangs on to the womanizing Zorba but she is largely one note and does not bring the level of complexity to the role that an actress like Simone Signoret could have brought. The film, like Zorba, seems to be humoring her and we are never actually asked to understand her perspective or treat her as more than comic relief before her death. She did not have the strongest competition this year but her performance is competent if not spectacular. There is also the fact that the film just sort of drifts through scenes with no real sense of direction and very low stakes for the two main characters. Basil is a sweet, timid young man who will lose nothing by leaving Greece and gains little by being there. His relationship with the widow has tragic consequences but this has little effect on him and life goes on as it always has been. Zorba is even more nonplussed by everything he encounters as he is so louche and relaxed that we feel no tension when his wife dies or the timber transporter he designs fails. This is a problem when you make a two and a half hour film and one wonders why Cacoyannis could not have made the film much shorter. Never on Sunday was a film with many flaws but Jules Dassin was working with a slight story and knew it so he was smart to keep his film close to a tight ninety minutes. The undeniably pleasurable final scene in which the two men dance together redeems the film just a little as it becomes the fun romp it always should have been. It is unsurprising that this is the most memorable scene in the film and when people imagine the movie they think back to the dancing and not the grief and misery.

  • Dec 21, 2019

    Well done and still entertaining, even if dated. I will commit the crime of admitting Quinn is good, but it would have been better with another actor. Quinn plays most things pretty much the same, and he never convinces me he’s anything but Hispanic, in anything.

    Well done and still entertaining, even if dated. I will commit the crime of admitting Quinn is good, but it would have been better with another actor. Quinn plays most things pretty much the same, and he never convinces me he’s anything but Hispanic, in anything.

  • Dec 02, 2019

    I will be in the minority on this, but it's not a very good movie at all. I can say the title theme to this is probably the only good thing about it besides Anthony Quinn's performance. It's a very long and very boring movie. The town's villagers are evil, from old grandma's scavenging a recently deceased woman's things to the one thing that was most messed up, killing a woman for not sleeping with the town's virgin(which was the fault of the villagers in the first place for basically pushing him into his suicide). This cannot be good for Crete's tourism board, but since it's Crete most will not care. What a bad movie.

    I will be in the minority on this, but it's not a very good movie at all. I can say the title theme to this is probably the only good thing about it besides Anthony Quinn's performance. It's a very long and very boring movie. The town's villagers are evil, from old grandma's scavenging a recently deceased woman's things to the one thing that was most messed up, killing a woman for not sleeping with the town's virgin(which was the fault of the villagers in the first place for basically pushing him into his suicide). This cannot be good for Crete's tourism board, but since it's Crete most will not care. What a bad movie.

  • Aug 13, 2019

    The best inspiring movie ever made!

    The best inspiring movie ever made!

  • Mar 12, 2019

    Character interactions don't make any sense, some of such characters don't even have a reason to exist in the narrative, the titular character is an irresponsible and unlikeable douche, paints a very unlikeable image of the people of Crete and I'm still trying to understand what is supposed to be the message of the story. Garbage that is hailed as a classic.

    Character interactions don't make any sense, some of such characters don't even have a reason to exist in the narrative, the titular character is an irresponsible and unlikeable douche, paints a very unlikeable image of the people of Crete and I'm still trying to understand what is supposed to be the message of the story. Garbage that is hailed as a classic.

  • Antonius B Super Reviewer
    Jul 10, 2018

    Anthony Quinn really makes Nikos Kazantzakis' character of Zorba come to life, turning in a fantastic performance, and conveying Zorba's philosophy of living life to the full, of dancing and laughing in not just moments of joy or success, but also those of tragedy or failure. The book is a masterpiece, and while the movie doesn't (or perhaps can't) get quite as deep, Michael Cacoyannis (producer/director/screenwriter) certainly does it justice, shooting on location in Crete, capturing beautiful images and an authenticity in his film, and letting Quinn shine. We're given a wonderful philosophy in this gruff character who eschews pretense, book learning, rational analysis, religion, and nationalism. He is at once both hedonistic and simple, and also profound and deep, having gone beyond all theories and frameworks while living his life with a kind of purity. Zorba grabs us from the beginning, asking an Englishman (Alan Bates) "Will no man ever do something without a 'why?' Just like that, for the hell of it?" as they await their ferry, and then quickly sizing him up by saying "You think too much, that is your trouble. Clever people and grocers, they weigh everything." There is a challenge to rationality and convention here, and while the Englishman hires Zorba, it's clear that Zorba will be the one doing the mentoring, on how to live. A part of this is in nudging him into pursuing women, which Zorba does with relish. Aside from his ribald moments, there are others which are pretty risqué, including an old widow (Lila Kedrova) recalling an evening she spent with four admirals, and making it clear they all had sex together after a champagne bath. There are two very disturbing scenes in the film, one of which is when a young woman (Irene Papas) a man has killed himself over is surrounded by the townsfolk, stoned, and then killed. It's truly horrifying, and even if we can 'accept' it as an honest portrayal of old-world culture (though she's not guilty of anything!), the fact that her death means nothing to the two principal characters, the Englishman especially, doesn't seem genuine. Regardless, it's very difficult to watch. Later, the instant an old woman dies, her home is ransacked and looted, in another ugly mob scene. It's as if Cacoyannis is emphasizing how primitive Crete is, and juxtaposing this with Zorba's primitive (though enlightened) philosophy. This is consistent with Kazantzakis' writing in the novel, as well as in 'Freedom or Death'. There is a ruggedness in the people, as rugged as Crete itself, and if you're sensitive to that or behavior which is far from politically correct, you may not like the film as much. A couple more quotes: On aging: "They say that age kills the fire inside of a man, that he hears death coming. He opens the door and says, 'Come in. Give me rest.' That is a pack of old damn lies! I've got enough fight in me to devour the world. So I fight." On being irrational: "A man needs a little madness, or else he never dares cut the rope and be free." On war: I have done things for my country that would make your hair stand. I have killed, burned villages, raped women. And why? Because they were Turks or Bulgarians. That's the rotten damn fool I was. Now I look at a man, any man, and I say, 'He is good. He is bad.' What do I care if he's Greek or Turk? As I get older, I swear by the bread I eat. I even stop asking that. Good or bad, what is the difference? They all end up the same way...food for worms."

    Anthony Quinn really makes Nikos Kazantzakis' character of Zorba come to life, turning in a fantastic performance, and conveying Zorba's philosophy of living life to the full, of dancing and laughing in not just moments of joy or success, but also those of tragedy or failure. The book is a masterpiece, and while the movie doesn't (or perhaps can't) get quite as deep, Michael Cacoyannis (producer/director/screenwriter) certainly does it justice, shooting on location in Crete, capturing beautiful images and an authenticity in his film, and letting Quinn shine. We're given a wonderful philosophy in this gruff character who eschews pretense, book learning, rational analysis, religion, and nationalism. He is at once both hedonistic and simple, and also profound and deep, having gone beyond all theories and frameworks while living his life with a kind of purity. Zorba grabs us from the beginning, asking an Englishman (Alan Bates) "Will no man ever do something without a 'why?' Just like that, for the hell of it?" as they await their ferry, and then quickly sizing him up by saying "You think too much, that is your trouble. Clever people and grocers, they weigh everything." There is a challenge to rationality and convention here, and while the Englishman hires Zorba, it's clear that Zorba will be the one doing the mentoring, on how to live. A part of this is in nudging him into pursuing women, which Zorba does with relish. Aside from his ribald moments, there are others which are pretty risqué, including an old widow (Lila Kedrova) recalling an evening she spent with four admirals, and making it clear they all had sex together after a champagne bath. There are two very disturbing scenes in the film, one of which is when a young woman (Irene Papas) a man has killed himself over is surrounded by the townsfolk, stoned, and then killed. It's truly horrifying, and even if we can 'accept' it as an honest portrayal of old-world culture (though she's not guilty of anything!), the fact that her death means nothing to the two principal characters, the Englishman especially, doesn't seem genuine. Regardless, it's very difficult to watch. Later, the instant an old woman dies, her home is ransacked and looted, in another ugly mob scene. It's as if Cacoyannis is emphasizing how primitive Crete is, and juxtaposing this with Zorba's primitive (though enlightened) philosophy. This is consistent with Kazantzakis' writing in the novel, as well as in 'Freedom or Death'. There is a ruggedness in the people, as rugged as Crete itself, and if you're sensitive to that or behavior which is far from politically correct, you may not like the film as much. A couple more quotes: On aging: "They say that age kills the fire inside of a man, that he hears death coming. He opens the door and says, 'Come in. Give me rest.' That is a pack of old damn lies! I've got enough fight in me to devour the world. So I fight." On being irrational: "A man needs a little madness, or else he never dares cut the rope and be free." On war: I have done things for my country that would make your hair stand. I have killed, burned villages, raped women. And why? Because they were Turks or Bulgarians. That's the rotten damn fool I was. Now I look at a man, any man, and I say, 'He is good. He is bad.' What do I care if he's Greek or Turk? As I get older, I swear by the bread I eat. I even stop asking that. Good or bad, what is the difference? They all end up the same way...food for worms."

  • Jan 16, 2018

    Great characters! Lila Kedrova is magnificent!!!!

    Great characters! Lila Kedrova is magnificent!!!!