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Z. [DVD] [1969] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Yves Montand , Irene Papas , Costa-Gavras    DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

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Product details

  • Actors: Yves Montand, Irene Papas, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jacques Perrin, Charles Denner
  • Directors: Costa-Gavras
  • Writers: Costa-Gavras, Ben Barzman, Jorge Semprún, Vasilis Vasilikos
  • Producers: Jacques Perrin, Ahmed Rachedi, Eric Schlumberger
  • Format: Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Fox Lorber
  • DVD Release Date: 2 July 2002
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JKIF
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,236 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Costa-Gavras's Z, winner of the 1970 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, is a classic political thriller, combining intrigue with raw emotional power. The story turns on the investigation of the assassination of a left-wing Greek politician (Yves Montand), and his government's attempts to cover up the murky circumstances. Montand receives death threats as he prepares to give a speech condemning the government, and is then run down in front of numerous witnesses. Jean-Louis Trintignant (The Conformist) plays the judge assigned to the investigation, who gradually discovers how far the state will go to rid itself of political opposition. As he is warned off the case by his superiors, the judge becomes even more determined to discover the truth, no matter where it might lead. Costa-Gavras (Missing, Mad City) is in familiar territory here, but no one handles this type of material better. Z is a classic of political intrigue and social consciousness. --Robert Lane

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic from 1969 9 Jun 2011
Verified Purchase
I still remember the first time I saw this film, magnificent.

Z is a 1969 French language political thriller directed by Costa Gavras, with a screenplay by Gavras and Jorge Sempr¨²n, based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Vassilis Vassilikos. The film presents a thinly fictionalized account of the events surrounding the assassination of democratic Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis in 1963. With its satirical view of Greek politics, its dark sense of humor, and its downbeat ending, the film captures the outrage about the military dictatorship that ruled Greece at the time of its making.

Z stars Jean-Louis Trintignant as the investigating magistrate (an analogue of Christos Sartzetakis, who 22 years later was appointed President of Greece by democratically-elected parliamentarians). International stars Yves Montand and Irene Papas also appear, but despite their star billing have very little screen time compared to the other principals. Jacques Perrin, who co-produced, plays a key role. The film's title refers to the popular Greek protest slogan "¦¦¦Å¦É", meaning "he (Lambrakis) lives".

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "He is alive" 21 Dec 2009
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
The problem with revolutionary pieces of political cinema is that in retrospect they can appear dated and simplistic when compared to the more sophisticated films that follow them. Costa-Gavras' influential political thriller does suffer from that problem a little at times, but if diminished it is still powerful and effective stuff.

Dealing with the assassination of Montand's charismatic political opponent of a regime that is run by the military in all but name (unidentified in the film, it is clearly Greece under the colonels - among the list of things banned by the movie's regime is 'la musique populaire (M. Theodorakis)'. The film's composer was actually under house arrest at the time). The first half of the film covers his arrival and the events leading up to his death at a sabotaged political rally, the second following two parallel investigations into the hows and whys, that of Jean-Louis Trintignant's honest Attorney and co-producer Jacques Perrin's photo-journalist.

The film is dialogue heavy (with the honourable exception of Irene Papas, who, as in Zorba the Greek, remains almost mute throughout) and lacks the more effective investigative construction of Missing. It works against the film that we know what has happened - and more importantly, how - so early, since the result of Trintignant's investigation seems a foregone conclusion. It would perhaps have been much more effective if we had seen the various participants very different accounts of events first to draw our own conclusions alongside his.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memorable Film in Excellent DVD Restoration 28 Nov 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 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still relevant - sadly 17 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase
This powerful political thriller has lost none of its impact - or relevance, even after nearly 45 years.

Based on a true story of political assassination in Greece, its events anticipates the political coup by Greek generals that followed. It even uses satire to ridicule the police, themselves responsible for the murder of a popular, left-wing Greek Deputy.

Military coups are often closer than one thinks, even in well established democracies. This great film by Costa-Gavras should still give us all pause for thought.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the most important films ever made about Greece
Published 16 days ago by PETER
5.0 out of 5 stars Sympathy for the Bird Man
Compelling, very well-constructed, very clearly-plotted and written to ensure its broadly libertarian, democratic (appropriate for 'unnamed' Greece) ethos is persuasively drawn. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mario
4.0 out of 5 stars looking back
I remember this film from it's original release so it was very interesting to look at it again. It's very much of it's time but still a gripping thriller
Published 5 months ago by Judith A Witts
5.0 out of 5 stars Z
A tense and exciting political thriller about the murder of a left wing politician by right wing thugs in the years of political turmoil in the 1960s leading up to the coup in 1967... Read more
Published 7 months ago by David Fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant political film...we need more today
"Z" was the first ever political movie I ever saw...and it made me realise how important political films were. Great acting and fantastic music. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Nabil Shaban
5.0 out of 5 stars Z - DVD
Not seen it so cannot comment on it. It was given as a gift to my sister who loves it.
Published 16 months ago by John Formston
5.0 out of 5 stars Z
Thought I would never see it on DVD, but it was worth waiting for. One of my all-time favourite films.
Published on 6 Aug 2011 by Mr. David A. Arthur
5.0 out of 5 stars Politics + Beatdowns? Z IS HERE
The current party in power don't like the look of that great new hope popping up on the left. They try sabotaging Mr. Hype's speech, but his party persevere. Read more
Published on 3 Oct 2010 by P. J. Potter
5.0 out of 5 stars Real life political class war in Greece
I have watched the film first in a film festival. If the festival showed this film only it would be enough. Later I have read the book also. Read more
Published on 23 May 2007 by Ogun Eratalay
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