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Sun, Oct 02, 2022

Brits in Crete Spotlights Zorba The Greek

Crete filmed, Zorba-The-Greek :: A Great Movie and Music Classic from Greece


"Zorba the Greek" - the 1964 classic Greek movie has found a place in the hearts of the British, Irish and many others. For Grecophiles, especially it simply puts anyone in a great mood, anytime.... It is an old Greek entertainment chestnut both as a movie and through its sound tracks. Therefore no Crete website should be without it. Brits in Crete is no exception. So here we are. This page offers a short rendition of the haunting and captivating Greek sounds of Zorba from the most famous scene in the Zorba Movie.


The Cretan Setting -- on the beach in Stavros, Chania, Crete.

Let's dance, Greek style ...


About "Zorba the Greek " - the movie. Wikipedia stuff:

Zorba the Greek (originally titled Alexis Zorbas) is a 1964 film based on the novel Zorba the Greek by **Nikos Kazantzakis. The 20th Century Fox Film was directed by Michael Cacoyannis and the title character was played by Anthony Quinn – who was not Greek but in fact Irish Mexican. The supporting cast included Alan Bates as a visiting Englishman. The theme, “Sirtaki” by Mikis Theodorakis, has become an iconic, famous and popular song especially to dance to at parties.

Zorba was Filmed in the Chania Region of Crete

If you go to the village of Stavros, you will find the Cinematography Oscar won by Walter Lassally in the "Taverna Christiana"

The movie was shot on location on the Island of Crete specifically in the town of Chania, the Apokoronas region and the Akrotiri peninsula. The famous scene (above video), in which Quinn’s character dances the Sirtaki, was shot on the beach of the village of Stavros. Today the village has expanded and is part of of the Municipality of Chania (Xania). The beach is one of the Akrotiri Peninsula's better places for a swim. Stavros Beach is also rated as a Blue Flag beach.
Location: geo:lat=35.591741, geo:lon=24.090491

The film itself was somewhat revolutionary in its language and irreverent sense of humor, although these elements, controversial in 1964, have since become commonplace.

Zorba Wins Three Oscars 

The American-financed movie won three Academy Awards. Lila Kedrova won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, Vassilis Fotopoulos won the Oscar for Best Art Direction in black-and-white set decoration, and Walter Lassally won the Oscar for Best Cinematography in black-and-white.

Antony Quinn's Nomination

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

Although Anthony Quinn had often played earthy, force-of-nature characters, his performance as the lusty Greek peasant of the title was so loved by both critics and audiences, Quinn spent much of his later career recreating it in virtually every role he played. An 'oh-by-the-way', Quinn was an artist in other senses of the word. He is also remembered for spawning an industry after his famous "Lady of Crete" Sculpture, in particular a "Lady of Crete" silver necklace hallmarked “18K” “925” “Lady of Crete”. In case you awere wondering, Quinn is no longer around. He died on June 3, 2001 from throat cancer. He was 86 years.

Sotiris Moustakas Missed An Oscar

Best Supporting Actor nomination nearly went to actor Sotiris Moustakas, but was rejected due to his limited number of movie roles. In Greece, however the actor is praised for his performance as Mimithos, the town fool.

Zorba's Cast

  • Anthony Quinn: Alexis Zorba
  • Alan Bates: Basil
  • Irene Papas: The Widow
  • Lila Kedrova: Mme. Hortense
  • George Foundas: Mavrandoni
  • Eleni Anousaki: Lola
  • Sotiris Moustakas: Mimithos
  • Takis Emmanuel: Manolakas
  • Yorgo Voyagis: Pavlo
  • Anna Kyriakou: Soul

Zorba's Credits

  • Michael Cacoyannis*: Director
  • Michael Cacoyannis: Writer - based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis
  • Nikos Kazantzakis**: Source
  • Michael Cacoyannis: Producer
  • Anthony Quinn: Assoc. Producer
  • Walter Lassally: Cinematographer
  • Michael Cacoyannis: Editor
  • Mikis Theodorakis: Musical Composer
  • Vassele Fotopoulos: Art Director
  • Anna Stavropoulou: Costumes
  • Mikis Theodorakis: Music Director
  • Monique Archambault: Make Up

*Michael Cacoyannis and **Nikos Kazantzakis

*Michael Cacoyannis (Ίδρυμα Μιχάλης Κακογιάννης) died on July 25, 2011 at the age of 89 years. Cacoyannis has left behind a wonderful legacy in his Michael Cacoyannis Foundation that supports the Greeks arts so widely.

**Nikos Kazantzakis It should be noted that the Cretan writer and novelist, Nikos Kazantzakis (1883 - 1957)
(Νίκος Καζαντζάκης) is regarded as one of Greece's leading literary figures in the 20th Century.

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