Melina Mercouri is Illia, the stereotypical "tart with a heart", loved by the men of Piraeus. Into her life come Homer, the American amateur philospher who thinks he wants to save her, but really only wants her for himself, and Toni, who really is in love with her. Homer's attempts to reframe Illia's life in his moral universe succeed for a while, but her spirit refuses to be crushed.
Given this premise, one might think that this is a naive film. It is not - it is quite knowing in places - but it rejects cynicism in all its forms, and therein lies the film's puzzle and its charm. The film, and Illia, emerge as a triumphant hymn to exuberance.
The main theme from the wonderful soundtrack by the neglected Manos Hadjidakis is so familiar, you'll think it is a traditional Greek tune.