Zorba the Greek Movie Overview

Zorba the Greek Movie (Released 1964)

Zorba the Greek is one of those cultural movies that most Greek people know about and have seen at least once in their lives. Some have even read the original novel, either in Greek or in the English translation. Written by Nikos Kazantzakis, a novelist who was from the Greek island of Crete, both the movie and the novel are cherished and beloved favorites for Greeks and non-Greeks alike. After the film was released, the novel was also adapted into a musical called Zorba. Despite the fact that the story can be found in these different forms, the movie is by far the most memorable.

Zorba the Greek is one of those stories that capture the magic of Greek life. In it, Basil (played by Alan Bates), a young English man who has Greek roots heads to Crete so that he could inspect an abandoned mine that his father owns. While on the island, he meets an intriguing Greek man named Zorba (played by Anthony Quinn) and they strike up a friendship, initially because Zorba claimed that he had mining experience. Basil quickly learned that life wasn’t always easy and filled with happy times. However, with Zorba’s help, he learned how to enjoy life even when things were less than perfect.

Watch the Zorba The Greek Film Movie Trailer Below:

Significance of Zorba the Greek Movie to Greeks and Non-Greeks

The film adaption of Zorba the Greek was a hit, and not only for Greeks. People from all over the world loved the story, and were intrigued by the relationship between Basil and Zorba. Not only that, but the movie makes a great point – that no matter what life throws at you, it’s possible to still find ways to feel joy. It was a touching story and people all over the world responded to it. For Greeks, however, the movie was much more than that. The movie showed the world exactly what Greeks have known all along – that life is a special gift that needs to be experienced.

Zorba The Greek Movie Awards and Honors

Zorba the Greek movie took only $783,000 to make and produce when it was released in 1964, it was an instant hit. Overall, it earned around $9 million worldwide, $4.4 million of that was in the United States alone. In fact, it was the 19th highest grossing movie in 1964, which is amazing considering how little it took to actually make the movie.

Zorba the Greek was also nominated for seven Academy Awards and eventually won three of these. Here’s a list of the categories the movie was nominated for:

• Best Director. Mihalis Kakogiannis was nominated for best director. However, Jack L. Warner, who directed My Fair Lady, eventually won.
• Best Picture. Zorba the Greek was one of the movies nominated for Best Picture that year. However, My Fair Lady ended up winning.
• Best Actor. Anthony Quinn was nominated for Best Actor, but he lost to Rex Harrison of My Fair Lady.
• Best Supporting Actress. Lila Kedrova, who played Madame Hortense, won Best Supporting Actress.
• Best Art Direction. Vassilis Photopoulos won Best Art Direction for his work on Zorba the Greek.
• Best Cinematography. Walter Lassally won the award for Best Cinematograpy for his work on Zorba the Greek.

Zorba the Greek is a truly memorable story that celebrates the Greek culture. People who love the story can enjoy the novel, film, musical, or even the music. Mikis Theodorakis composed a memorable soundtrack for the movie, which is still popular to this day.

Zorba the Greek theme song has been honored by generations, including fun adaptations such as this: