Zorba the Greek

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Scene from the movie

Zorba the Greek is a 1964 movie by Michael Cacoyannis, originally titled Alexis Zorbas, based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis. Anthony Quinn played the title character in what may very well be his most memorable role as an earthy personality that always knows what he has to do to cope with hard times. He is ably supported by Alan Bates as the visiting Englishman. The music, particularly the theme by Mikis Theodorakis (called "Zorba's Dance" or "Syrtaki"), remains a haunting presence long after the film has ended and is world-known.

The movie was shot on location on the Greek island of Crete, including in the Apokoronas and on the Akrotiri. The famous scene in which Anthony Quinn dances the Sirtaki was shot on the beach of the town of Ierapetra.

The movie won three Oscars:

  • Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress - Lila Kedrova
  • Academy Award for Best Art Direction- Set Decoration, Black-and-White - Vassilis Fotopoulos
  • Academy Award for Best Cinematography - Black-and-White - Walter Lassally

Quinn received the nomination for best actor in a leading role and Michael Cacoyannis received three nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

Related works

  • A short film about a man who believes he is Zorba the Greek was made in Scotland in 1999, named Billy and Zorba.

See also