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Zorba The Greek [DVD] [1964]

Anthony Quinn , Alan Bates , Michael Cacoyannis    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
Price: £6.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Zorba The Greek [DVD] [1964] + Never On Sunday [DVD] + Driving Aphrodite [DVD] [2010]
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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 (51 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007D5G5E
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,986 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Despite its somewhat undeserved modern reputation as a bit of lightweight tourist bait, Zorba the Greek turns out to be a surprisingly dark and anarchic film - not so surprising when you consider that it's based on a novel by Nikos Katzanzakis, who also wrote The Last Temptation of Christ. Indeed, the film originally began with Anthony Quinn playing Zeus (or at least Zeus as Zorba sees him) in a deliberately theatrically artificial heaven in a prologue that can be found in the extras on the US DVD and Blu-ray editions (but not the less fortunate Region 2 PAL editions).

It certainly paints a less than flattering portrait of Cretan village life. One Sunday the villagers leave the church to harry and then kill a woman they blame for a suicide, and when ex-prostitute Lila Kedrova lies dying they cannot even wait for her to stop breathing to loot her hotel. Functioning like some leaderless medieval fiefdom in thrall to machismo and misogyny, it is as far from a good commercial for the Cretan tourist Board as you can imagine.

Similarly, Anthony Quinn's performance in the title role is more layered than its many parodies over the years would lead you to expect. A loser with a gift for life who inveigles his sway into working for Alan Bates' excellently underplayed half-English observer of life who has come to make a go of his father's mine, there's a genuine sense of laughter in the face of death and despair in his performance. More low-key than you would expect, it is all perfectly underlined by Mikos Theodorakis' surprisingly varied and versatile score and Walter Lassally's Oscar-winning cinematography.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
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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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films ever 7 April 2006
By J.Haze
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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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars “Will you teach me to dance?” .... 7 Jun 2002
By A Customer
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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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Deserving of a Quality DVD Release 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant.
For the collection.
Published 8 days ago by G. J. Matthews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Original versions are always the best, Good actors, Professional camera work etc.
Published 17 days ago by Des
1.0 out of 5 stars ...where is it Amazon!!!
Great film I'm sure but...

A star because I must!!!
Published 18 days ago by H
4.0 out of 5 stars Zorba a timeless movie
good to wtch a movie and see some of the places that have been visited
Published 1 month ago by Charles MR
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great for a video fest
Published 1 month ago by Mrs Carolyn Haynes
5.0 out of 5 stars great service and great movie and
thankyou, great service and great movie and book
Published 3 months ago by heather
5.0 out of 5 stars feel good film
feel good film,
Published 3 months ago by Martin Webster
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic!
A must for Grecophiles everywhere. The character of Zorba is excellently portrayed and contrasts well with his 'sidekick' played by Alan Bates. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mcalla
5.0 out of 5 stars A Movie which is a "must", so special
A movie so special that it stays with you forever with all the nostalgic feelings and a movie which brings you so much joy when you see Anthony Quinn dancing on the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Trudy van Leeuwen
5.0 out of 5 stars golden oldie
Epic film. So many different ways of seeing life. The triumphs and tribulations, romance and lost all shown with so much passion.
Published 7 months ago by pixie
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