Zorba the Greek is a comedy-drama film directed by Cypriot Michael Cacoyannis and starring Anthony Quinn as the title character. The film stars Alan Bates, Lila Kedrova, Irene Papas, and Sotiris Moustakas and is based on Nikos Kazantzakis’ novel of the same name from 1946. Zorba the Greek, the lusty protagonist, is a paean to life in all of its dimensions, from the humorous to the sad. Zorba, played by Anthony Quinn, is an elderly peasant with a free spirit who is totally committed to life, no matter what it brings.
The movie was a huge success. It was made on a shoestring budget of $783,000 and grossed $9 million at the box office in the United States, earning $4.4 million in theatre rentals. The picture garnered $9.4 million in international rentals, putting the worldwide total between $18.8 million and $23.5 million. It was 1964’s 17th highest-grossing film. The movie needed $3,000,000 in rentals to break even, according to Fox statistics, yet it grossed $9,400,000. It generated a profit of $2,565,000 for the studio by September 1970.
Zorba the Greek: Production and Filming
The film Zorba the Greek is based in the Greek city of Crete, The plot of the movie centers around an up-and-coming English writer who travels to Crete on business will find his life permanently transformed when he meets Alexis Zorba.
This film was filmed on the Greek island of Crete in black and white. The city of Chania, the Apokoronas region’s town of Kokkino Chorio, and the Akrotiri peninsula’s Stavros beach are among the sites shown. This scene was shot on the beach in the hamlet of Stavros, in which the Quinn character dances the Sirtaki. Madame Hortense was originally played by Simone Signoret, but Lila Kedrova took over the part early in the production.
Zorba the Greek Story and Plot
The plot is based on Nikos Kazantzakis’ Greek novel Life and Adventures of Alexis Zorba (1946), which was renamed Zorba the Greek in 1952. The script by writer-director-editor Michael Cacoyannis differs from the novel in a few ways.
When English author Basil (Alan Bates) is on his way to investigate an abandoned mine his father owns in Crete, he encounters the energetic peasant Zorba (Anthony Quinn) and invites him along when the elder man claims to have mining knowledge. Basil falls in love with a young widow (Irene Papas) in his father’s home village, while Zorba marries the woman who manages their hotel (Lila Kedrova). When things go wrong, Zorba teaches Basil how to appreciate life even in the worst of situations.
As they work at the lignite mine, Zorba and Basil come to know each other better. Basil learns about Zorba’s urge to express himself via dancing, as well as his intense involvement with the present moment.
It’s a film that has a lot more of a flow to it than just a beginning, middle, and conclusion. The storyline is present, but it is well hidden behind a succession of occurrences, many of which are unrelated to one another. The Widow and Madame Hortense, for example, have no relationship other than the fact that the villagers treat them differently. It’s not your typical narrative when it comes to MacGuffins and development.
Zorba the Greek composer, dies at 96
Mikis Theodorakis, a renowned Greek composer and Marxist firebrand who fought a legendary military dictatorship that imprisoned, deported, and outlawed his work half a century ago with words and song, died on Thursday at his home in downtown Athens. When he died, he was 96 years old.
A cardiopulmonary arrest was the cause, according to a statement on his website. In a statement carried on Greek state television, his family stated that his remains will be put to rest. Authorities announced three days of mourning as word of his death at home in Athens at the age of 96 spread across the 11-million-strong country, and condolences poured in from all sides of the political spectrum.
Mr. Theodorakis was best known for his films ‘Zorba the Greek (1964),’ featuring a Greek ethnological tumultuousness by Anthony Quinn; Z (1969), the dark satire of Costa-Gavras on the Greek dictatorship; and Serpico (1973), a thriller with the NY detective Al Pacino undercover to expose the corruption of the police.
With “Zorba,” the earthy soundtrack to a film starring Anthony Quinn as the charming, eponymous rogue who dances barefoot on a Cretan beach, Theodorakis presented a carefree picture of Greece to the world in the 1960s.