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Zorba the Greek

Mihalis Kakogiannis
Alexis Zorbas
USA, UK, Greece 1964 / 136’

Zorba the Greek brings you joy. The joy seems to be inherent in the every particle of this unique painting, but it becomes especially apparent when we look at the naive, uninhibited, mature worker with the name which has become film’s title. Zorba is today the synonym of the beauty of life, singing, existential fulfilment. At the same time, Zorba is a victim of people’s envy, and he is becoming that victim with the every minute of the film when a viewer becomes aware, together with the Zorba's film antagonist, of their own existential fetters. Mihalis Kakogiannis’ Zorba the Greek is at the same time the challenging of rationalism (which can be noticed every time a young British highbrow’s nose is flicked by his unstoppable worker for his restrained and common-sense attitude to life).

The director, faithfully to the Nikos Kazantzakis book, does not spare the heroes disappointments and suffering, as, according to Zorba, the life means trouble. In spite of all of that, he also provides advice via the words spoken be the main hero, One must be crazy, as otherwise one will never dare to break the fetters and be free.

Patryk Tomiczek


The Academy Award, Oscar 1965 – Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography

Mihalis Kakogiannis

Born in 1922 in the Greek Part of Cyprus. He studied Law and Acting. Until 1953 he had acted and been a director at various British theatres. He came back to Greece to start working in the cinema field. Mihalis Kakogiannis (Michael Cacoyannis) has become the first Greek film-maker who is famous all over the world. His films have repeatedly qualified for the International Cannes Film Festival Contest. Still Zorba the Greek has remained the most popular film of his artistic work.

Selected filmography

1955 Stella

1957 To teleftaio psema / A Matter of Dignity

1960 Eroica

1962 Elektra/ Ilektra / Electra

1964 Grek Zorba / Alexis Zorbas/ Zorba the Greek

1977 Ifigenia / Iphigenia

Prepared by: Patryk Tomiczek

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Cast & Crew

director Mihalis Kakogiannis
screenplay Michael Kakogiannis, based on a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis
cinematography Walter Lasally
editing Mihalis Kakogiannis
music Mikis Theodorakis
cast Anthony Quinn, Alan Bates, Irene Papas, Llia Kedrova, Sotiris Moustakas, Anna Kyriakou, Eleni Anousaki, George Voyadjis, Takis Emmanuel, George Foundas
producer Mihalis Kakogiannis
production 20th Century Fox
Polish distributor Vivarto
language English, Greek
colouration b&w