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Zorba The Greek [DVD] [1964]

69 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Anthony Quinn, Alan Bates, Irene Papas, Lila Kedrova, Sofiris Moustakas
  • Directors: Michael Cacoyannis
  • Producers: Michael Cacoyannis
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: French, Hungarian, Polish, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, Greek, Dutch, Hebrew, Bulgarian
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 9 May 2005
  • Run Time: 136 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007D5G5E
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,560 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

An Englishman goes to Crete in order to open a family mine, and while there he comes across Zorba, a man with a sad past but a marvellous enthusiasm for life, which he tries to instill in the rather stuffy Englishman.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 8 July 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Before I left on 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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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By J.Haze on 7 April 2006
Format: DVD
Quite simply one of the best films ever made, Antony Quinn is superb as Zorba and the rest of the cast too are excellent. DVD also has a biogrphy on Quinn and a two hour audio by the director on the making of the film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sizzler on 19 May 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Zorba the Greek is a classic movie which
I have seen many times over the years and just had to have it on DVD. Anthony Quinn plays the part of Zorba
magnificently and portrays the Cretan male mentality to perfection. The movie is funny and tragic,the
scenery beautiful to me as I have a love of
Crete anyway. A heartwarming movie which still has the
capacity to make me smile.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Jun. 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Basil, a young English writer of Greek ancestry, meets an older, free-spirited Greek peasant named Zorba on the island of Crete. While Zorba pursues a relationship with Madame Hortense, an aging French courtesan, the inhibited Basil summons up the courage to court a young widow. When Hortense comes down with pneumonia, the impoverished locals descend upon her like vultures, as she lies dying in Zorba's arms. Later, Basil inherits a mine, and he and Zorba plan to reopen it and use their earnings to help alleviate some of the area's poverty.
Winning seven Academy Awards, this classic black and white film also starred Irene Pappas and Lila Kedrova and was based upon the Nikos Kazantzakis novel.
Must see movie....
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall on 15 Jun. 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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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Aug. 2006
Format: DVD
"Zorba the Greek" is one of those magical, bittersweet movies that reminds you what living should really be about. Not existing, but LIVING.

Anthony Quinn created a vibrant, lovable personality that leaps off the screen in every scene, and he rules the movie as its trickster god. Though "Zorba" reminds viewers that life can be unfair and bitter, it can also be full of joy, love, fun and simple pleasures. It's hard not to have some happy tears when this film finally ends.

Stuffy, prissy, uptight Basil (Alan Bates) is journeying to Crete to take care of his inheritance, some land and mines. On the way, he meets the scruffy, earthy Alexis Zorba (Anthony Quinn), who volunteers to be Basil's all-round sidekick ("I like you... take me with you!"). Basil can't exactly say no, especially since he is as different as can be from the native Cretans. In fact, he sticks out like a sore thumb all the time.

But Zorba has more than music and soup to offer. His gusto for life is all about women, wine and general joie de vivre, but he also hides secret pains in his past. And he introduces Basil to a beautiful, tragic young widow, an aging prostitute with a sad past, and the beauties of Crete itself. With Zorba to guide him, Basil finds out how to really live.

The setting is the stark, primal beauty of Crete -- lots of dusty, stony roads, mountains full of gnarly trees and cruelly beautiful landscapes. It's reflected in the heartless behavior that small communities sometimes have (such as the poor widow), but it's also a backdrop against which the simple pleasures of life (through Zorba) can shine the brightest.

Director/writer Michael Cacoyannis got two Oscar nominations for this movie, and it's not hard to see why.
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