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Overall Rating

Awesome: 33.33%
Worth A Look53.33%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 13.33%

1 review, 9 user ratings

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Zorba the Greek
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by Slyder

"Dance your life away"
4 stars

It has been said before and itís worth saying again: if there was ever a role that Anthony Quinn was born for, it is this one. Alexis Zorbas, which is based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis (The Last Temptation of Christ), is quite a little gem, very enjoyable and moving despite some rough edges. Despite that, Greek director Michael Cacoyannis fashions a movie which delivers more goods than bads, with Quinn being the major highlight.

British writer Basil (Alan Bates) is on his way towards Crete to the beach house which his parents owned until their deaths so that he can re-launch an abandoned mine and gather his thoughts once more. On the way though, he meets Alexis Zorba (Quinn) an eccentric if not crazy multi-laborer and womanizer who practically sells himself to Basil and pleads to go with him. Basil reluctantly agrees, and they go off to Crete, where Zorba introduces him the highs and lows, the lust and the greed as well as the extremes of the Greek culture as well as meeting a courtesan in Madame Hortense (Lila Kedrova) whom Zorba flirts around with, and a widow (Irene Papas) whom Basil would later have an ill-fated fling. The experience would change Basil forever at first for the worse, but ultimately for the better.

The film is simply a balls-out power surge of energy which is totally about living life to the fullest and accepting life regardless of its flaws and failures. Zorba seems to be that spokesman for that anthem, and itís Zorba whom constitutes the main pillar in which this film stands. There are certain parts of the film that suffer because of that, one of them being that the film is probably too long and certain parts are pretty slow and there are several scenes, notably the relationship between Basil and the widow and the aftermath of their fling which may polarize some viewers. The message of the film is somewhat bloated and jumbled but thereís enough going so it can make its point. But thankfully the goods outweigh the bads here and there are many of them starting with the beautiful santuri-driven music by Mikis Theodorakis, which has immediately become one of my favorite scores of all time. The cinematography by Walter Lassally is great, with several beautiful aerial shots as well as some noteworthy hand-held camerawork, notably in the hilarious ship scene where the ship in which Basil and Zorba are traveling in is being rocked by a storm. Cacoyannisís direction is also spot-on and is effective on most parts in the movie, though his screenplay needed some polishing.

The main backbone in this film is Anthony Quinn, whom gives an equally lusty, larger-than-life performance that shouldíve won him an Oscar but lost to Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady. His dance sequences are simply amazing (Ok, he isnít exactly Fred Astaire but just watch when he starts his dance by hitting the table three times and the intensity in his eyes will give you a chill on your back for sure.) and heís the one that carries the filmís weight on his shoulders and does a remarkable job with it. Alan Bates does well in the film too though heís no match for Quinn although he gets quite a competition from Lila Kedrova whom matches Quinnís steps almost every step of the way. And man, Irene Papas, wow, the dame from Greece, she was hot in her heydays for sure.

In the end, itís a very solid piece of work despite the fact its gathering a little bit of dust. Regardless though, itís a well made fable which gives out an interesting overview of life according to the Greek perspective. Who knows? Maybe in the end of the day, when our troubles have beaten us into deep shit, sometimes itís better to simply dance your troubles away and move on with your life. 4-5

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originally posted: 03/27/04 06:37:44
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User Comments

6/26/11 Linda M. Lloyd It's wonderful, buoyant, moving and sexy. 5 stars
8/23/06 zorbas One of the very best movies ever ... pure life! 5 stars
1/29/06 Michael Junk Movie 1 stars
8/08/04 Phil Levering One of the top-ten films ever made 5 stars
5/02/04 Mario Valenti AM MASTERPIECE! 5 stars
4/27/04 James This Movie was bad , not worth watching 1 stars
3/27/04 buddy garrett Quinn,s performance is awesome 5 stars
3/19/04 Pinkline Jones Not as good as Flashdance 4 stars
2/16/03 R.W. Welch Quinn's most memorable role, which is saying quite bit. 4 stars
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  17-Dec-1964 (NR)
  DVD: 03-Aug-2004

  17-Feb-1964 (PG)

  17-Feb-1964 (M)

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