1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
Love this movie. Saw it for the first time in the sixties (it is black and white). Anthony Quinn does a great job of playing the exuberant Zorba who teaches us to not sweat the small stuff and to make the most out of life.
Published 4 months ago by B. Dewhirst
3.0 out of 5 stars Zorba the Greek
Actors are excellent. Music is joyful. One gets to like the characters despite their "warts" maybe even because of their "warts", therefore when one dies one feels great pity and sorrow. However, this is where I find a "fault"--death is treated too lightly for my taste. I felt it wrong just to walk away and dance and sing. That is how Zorba handles death and teaches...
Published on Jan 8 2010 by Olivia
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic,
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This review is from: Zorba the Greek (DVD)Love this movie. Saw it for the first time in the sixties (it is black and white). Anthony Quinn does a great job of playing the exuberant Zorba who teaches us to not sweat the small stuff and to make the most out of life.
4.0 out of 5 stars Polar opposites, and a great film...,
This review is from: Zorba the Greek (DVD)Basil (Alan Bates), a somewhat boring Englishman that also happens to be a writer, goes to Crete in order to take charge of small inheritance. In his journey to that island he meets Zorba (Anthony Quinn), a Greek that is his polar opposite. Zorba is temperamental, and acts before thinking, enjoying life at it fullest with no regard for the consequences.
Circumstances, and Zorba's wish to earn some money, join this two men. Their interaction is something to be enjoyed as we watch "Zorba the Greek" (1964) once and again. Of course, the scenery is beautiful, and the music outstanding, but the real magic of this film is that it shows you what really good actors can do with a great script, and a director that knows what he is doing.
This film has hilarious scenes, but also others so dramatic that you will literally feel the pain of the characters. And of course, the ending is nothing less than perfect.
On the whole, I believe that this film is an excellent example of a true classic. Enjoy it.
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't want any trouble. . .,
Whereupon Zorba cuts him off with the classic: " What do you mean you don't want trouble? What is life but to take of your belt and go looking for trouble! "
Besides, as Zorba further enlightens him, God, who is very merciful, will forgive many sins. But there is one sin He will not forgive: When a woman calls a man to her bed and he will not come . . .
Anthony Quinn plays Zorba, a man who lives through tragedy by women, dance, music and madness. He has surrendered to all the beauty and horror of life and embraces whatever comes his way.
Alan Bates plays Basil, the bookish and reserved Brit who becomes both Zorba's boss and unwitting pupil after an accidental meeting brings them together during a storm on the way to Crete.
This is the simple premise which sets up one of the greatest novels and greatest films of the century, Nikos Kazantsakis's most popular work; "Zorba the Greek"
Quinn and Bates are phenomenal. Never better. The supporting cast is also superb. Perfect casting, subtle directing and a wonderful musical score.
The plot revolves around Bates trying to get an abandoned coal mine in the backwoods of Greece to produce. He's inherited it and if he can't make a go at it, then it's back to dreary old England and writing essays for a living.
Zorba, whose nickname is 'catastrophe' becomes his foreman. They interact with a young widow, an aging French hotel keeper--who was once a great beauty, and villagers that are straight out of the Dark Ages.
"Interact " is a weak word. Both heaven and hell breaks loose in this gripping tale.
It's a paean to lunacy. To the necessity to be 'a little mad' in order to find the courage to break the chains that bind us.
A forgotten gem. Told with savage humor and great compassion. Another sacrament of the cinema.
4.0 out of 5 stars Quinn brings the ultimate joy of living to this role!,
Lila Kedrova is also great in a supporting role that won her an Academy Award. She plays an aging French woman who runs the hotel in Crete where Quinn and the Englishman, played by Alan Bates, go to work a mine that Bates has inherited. She is sad, funny and flirtatious all at the same time, and my heart went out to her plight. Quinn romances her and I could understand the relationship between these two people who both live their lives to the fullest.
The film has a message. And that is to find joy in life. It's a good message and that's why this film is a classic.
However, I can't understand why it was filmed in black and white. If ever a film needed color, this one did. And even though Irene Pappas is given star billing, her time on the screen, as the widow who appeals to the Englishman, is very little. I found her performance rather wooden as I did the performance of Bates. But, after all, that was the role Bates was cast in. Pappas should have been stronger.
I was disturbed by the basic story, which depicted some terrible cruelty by the townspeople. And the Englishman's role of just standing by and doing nothing, even though he was the cause of much of it, was disappointing. Bates' expression mostly stayed the same throughout it all, that of being overwhelmed. And his face showed no acknowledgment of the horror.
I still recommend this film however - if only to see Quinn at this best. And to try to grasp the essence of life that Zorba the Greek tries to impart.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutally honest. Spiritually triumphant. Unforgettable women,
Yes, life in Zorba's universe is incredibly brutal, and the fate of the young widow whose only crime was to reach out bravely to a sympathetic fellow human being, well, it's one of THE essential tragedies of this film. (Besides the tragedy of a man like Zorba who has survived fighting the Turks, only to be scarred by his own memories and regrets.) The film is brutal because life for these people (men AND women) truly was brutal. To present it as otherwise would be inexcusable. That there are moments of exultant joy in the midst of so much tragedy is the genius of Kazantzakis - and of Cacoyannis and his cast.
Who could fail to appreciate the courage and dignity of the young widow, played hauntingly by the austerely beautiful Irene Pappas? (She's also heartbreaking in the political thriller "Z.") Anthony Quinn is wonderful as Zorba, and Alan Bates his perfect counterpart, but Irene Pappas is the woman you can't forget. The tragedy of the old French courtesan is yet another important way in which this film refuses to sugar-coat the cruelty of Greek village life in the first half of the 20th century.
Amid this difficult environment, Zorba's essential lesson is that one must live and somehow find meaning and pleasure. The offended reviewer below states that the moral is "To attempt to find freedom results in death, and living a traditional life is a living death." True, Zorba defies tradition, and battles conformity, and this is a good lesson. And he is honest in showing us that the attempt to find freedom involves great risks (certainly the young widow risks everything in her quest for freedom, and Zorba, in trying to protect her, takes his own risks), but that we must try.
This movie is unforgettable, but it's not for anyone who doesn't understand the essential role of tragedy, or who insists that films follow some kind of utopian script. At the end of the film, amid their colossal failures, Alan Bates begs Zorba, "Teach me to dance!" After fighting and losing, what else can one do but dance? Or at least try...
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A man needs a little madness, or else... he never dares cut the rope and be free,
This review is from: Zorba the Greek (DVD)"Zorba the Greek" is one of those magical, bittersweet movies that reminds you what living should really be about. Not existing, but LIVING.
Anthony Quinn created a vibrant, lovable personality that leaps off the screen in every scene, and he rules the movie as its trickster god. Though "Zorba" reminds viewers that life can be unfair and bitter, it can also be full of joy, love, fun and simple pleasures. It's hard not to have some happy tears when this film finally ends.
Stuffy, prissy, uptight Basil (Alan Bates) is journeying to Crete to take care of his inheritance, some land and mines. On the way, he meets the scruffy, earthy Alexis Zorba (Anthony Quinn), who volunteers to be Basil's all-round sidekick ("I like you... take me with you!"). Basil can't exactly say no, especially since he is as different as can be from the native Cretans. In fact, he sticks out like a sore thumb all the time.
But Zorba has more than music and soup to offer. His gusto for life is all about women, wine and general joie de vivre, but he also hides secret pains in his past. And he introduces Basil to a beautiful, tragic young widow, an aging prostitute with a sad past, and the beauties of Crete itself. With Zorba to guide him, Basil finds out how to really live.
The setting is the stark, primal beauty of Crete -- lots of dusty, stony roads, mountains full of gnarly trees and cruelly beautiful landscapes. It's reflected in the heartless behavior that small communities sometimes have (such as the poor widow), but it's also a backdrop against which the simple pleasures of life (through Zorba) can shine the brightest.
Director/writer Michael Cacoyannis got two Oscar nominations for this movie, and it's not hard to see why. He made the dialogue quirky in a realistic way ("What kind of man are you? Don't you even like DOLPHINS?"), and let the story unfold in a natural, sometimes bittersweet way. The only problem is the way in which all the main women in the story end up.
Zorba is one of those really magical movie characters -- he laughs, drinks, weeps, dances, and worries about his crazy brain. He's an impish figure like a trickster god with no real harm in him. Even a collapsing mine shaft can't keep him down -- he just walks out and curses the mountain ("I'll eat your guts!"). Alan Bates is the ideal counterpart, as a repressed, bookish little Englishmen who starts to realize that propriety is overrated.
"Life is trouble. Only death is not," sums up "Zorba the Greek," an enchanting look at how to enjoy your life. It's a memorable, lovable little movie, and a deserving classic.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A celebration of the human spirit, even if you are not Greek,
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. The film won three Academy Awards: Lila Kedrova for Best Supporting Actress, Best Art/Set Direction, and Best Cinematography. Quinn did not win the Oscar for what is clearly his most memorable role in a long and distinguished film career, but that is usually the case with actors and their greatest roles. Marlon Brando did not win for Stanley Kowalski and Quinn did not win for Alexis Zorba. What is a man to do in the face of such a fate but dance?
3.0 out of 5 stars Zorba the Greek,
This review is from: Zorba the Greek (DVD)Actors are excellent. Music is joyful. One gets to like the characters despite their "warts" maybe even because of their "warts", therefore when one dies one feels great pity and sorrow. However, this is where I find a "fault"--death is treated too lightly for my taste. I felt it wrong just to walk away and dance and sing. That is how Zorba handles death and teaches others to do the same. I find it rather morbid.
4.0 out of 5 stars From A Greek About A Greek,
This review is from: Zorba the Greek (DVD)Definatly a great movie to watch, but it really portrays the backward Greece of several decades ago. The movie portrays Greeks in a somewhat harsh and distorted way, sometimes painting a very bad picture.
After reading many of the reviews it seems as if people still think the Greeks are wearing togas, worshipping the Gods and spending all day studying philosophy. This isn't the case, it hasn't been for over fifteen hundred years and if that is what you are expecting, then find out more about modern Greeks before watching this movie or you will be very surprised.
5.0 out of 5 stars Where is the soul Mr. Zorba!!,
How long one can avoid the question of his own existence, his identity. In this regards I like Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse which I think is an extension of Zorba.
Be like Zorba, but be aware the life demands more than.
Just add enlightenment to Zorba and you will get what Osho once called "Zorba the Buddha". That could be the best possible synthesis of a human being. Remember Mr. Zorba we need to have a heart towards other as well. Highly recommended!!
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Zorba the Greek by Mihalis Kakogiannis (DVD - 2004)
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