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  • Writer's pictureeclectic Stefan

Zorba the Greek:"Teach me to dance"

Alexis Zorba (Anthony Quinn)

Film music is an essential part of the movie experience. It can stir emotions, enhance legendary tales and inspire a sense of awe. John Williams' Star Wars Main Theme provides a grand entrance to the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi; the Jaws Theme threatens the audience with an unknown terror in the deep; Thus Spake Zarathustra inspires the epic exploration beyond the realms of Jupiter in 2001:A Space Odyssey; the Harry Lime Theme from The Third Man uniquely identifies a character and the strident musical strokes accompanying Psycho's shower scene screams at the audience. All these musical compositions are memorable, inspiring and enhance the dramatic quality of the movies.

"Writing a tune is like sculpting. You get four or five notes, you take one out and move one around, and you do a bit more and eventually, as the sculptor says, 'In that rock there is a statue, we have to go find it'." John Williams

Stanley Kubrick's admirable soundtrack to 2001: A Space Odyssey contravened the standard approach to science fiction film music by subverting the audience's expectations with a soundtrack comprised solely of classical music, from Richard Strauss' Thus Spake Zarathustra, Ligetti's Requiem for Soprano, Mezzo Soprano, Two Mixed Choirs and Orchestra & Atmospheres to Khachaturian's Gayane Ballet Suite (Adagio) and Johannn Strauss' The Blue Danube. Kubrick’s attention to detail in the visual qualities of the film are matched superbly by the accompanying soundtrack. Inspired filmmaking!

"A film is--or should be--more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later." Stanley Kubrick

(Note: Begins quietly)

And how many people have imitated the staccato rhythm of the Jaws theme. It's been imitated often but the unmatched dread of anticipation of the shark's attack makes the music terrifying and memorable.

The sound of screeching violins, violas, and cellos during the shower scene in Hitchcok's original Psycho was an original all-strings piece called The Murder by composer Bernard Herrmann. Never has recorded string music been so devastating in its impact as it is during the brutal shower murder scene.

In 1977, John Williams composed the music for Star Wars, which became the best-selling score-only soundtrack of all time and won Williams an Oscar.

"I have not looked at the Star Wars films, and that's absolutely true. When I'm finished with a film, I've been living with it, we've been dubbing it, recording to it, and so on. You walk out of the studio and, 'Ah, it's finished. '

Composer John Williams

Anton Karas wrote and performed the score, which featured only the zither. The title music "The Third Man Theme" topped the international music charts in 1950, bringing the previously unknown performer international fame.

You may not have seen all these films, but you'll probably recognise the memorable film music. You haven't seen any of these films? Seriously, not even Star Wars? You need to get to the cinema immediately.


Mikis Theodorakis

Composer & Politician


One of the most recognisable and unforgettable musical compositions and film themes is Zorba's Dance, composed by Mikis Theodorakis, who died recently on 2 September, 2021.

The quality of the music and its infectious nature extends beyond the boundaries of the cinema.

Zorba's Dance has inspired people at weddings, parties and any number of special occasions to dance the sitraki. In some cases, the inspiration to dance Zorba's dance may have been fuelled by generous shots of Ouzo.

Zorba's Dance from the movie Zorba the Greek (20th Century Fox)

featuring the iconic Zorba's Dance theme from Zorba the Greek

About Zorba the Greek

"Having failed in their attempt to work a Cretan lignite mine and respectively lost the Greek widow and French hotelier who loved them, uptight English writer Basil and larger-than-life peasant Alexis Zorba unite in a dance symbolising the distressing beauty of life.

Whether set in the ancient world of Electra or the modern environments of Stella, A Girl in Black and A Matter of Dignity, Michael Cacoyannis's best films had concentrated on the struggles of Greek women to survive the vissicitudes of a patriarchal society. But such concerns were largely relegated to the margins in this adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis's bestselling novel, as Cacoyannis concentrated on the life-affirming friendship between Anthony Quinn's vulgar Greek peasant and Alan Bates's stiff English exile.

Yet, the real drama in this clumsy and occasionally leaden parable is to be found in the more melancholic experiences of Irene Papas's vilified widow and Lila Kedrova's pitiable French hooker, Madame Hortense".

from Zorba The Greek review,, David Parkinson, 2006


Zorba the Greek (1964)

WINNER: 3 Academy Awards

  • Lila Kedrova: Best Performance by an Actress a Supporting Role

  • Vassilis Photopoulos: Best Art Direction Black and White

  • Walter Lassally :Best Cinematographer Black and White

WATCH: Rent/Buy Zorba the Greek

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Official Original Trailer Zorba the Greek (20th Century Fox)

Director: Michael Cacoyannis


Zorba the Greek Film Graphics, Quotes & Movie Memorabilia

Created by Eclectic Stefan and included on Eclectic Stefan's Instagram account, eclecticstefan

If you haven't visited eclecticstefan's Instagram posts, you might like to take Arnold Schwarzenegger's advice, "Do it. Do it now!"



στο προσκήνιο του ελληνικού κινηματογράφου

(sto proskínio tou ellinikoú kinimatográfou)

Never on Sunday (1960)

The film tells the story of Ilya, a Greek prostitute (Melina Mercouri), and Homer (Dassin), an American classicist. Homer attempts to steer her towards morality, while Ilya attempts to make Homer more relaxed. It's a variation of the Pygmalion theme.

Director: Jules Dassin

Featuring the hit song,

Never on Sunday

Academy Award 1961

Best Original Song

(Composer: Manos Hadjidakis)


from the movie Never on Sunday.

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Z (1969)

The film presents a thinly fictionalized account of the events surrounding the assassination of the democratic Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis in 1963. With its dark view of Greek politics and its downbeat ending, the film captures the director's outrage about the junta that then ruled Greece.

Director: Costa-Gavras

Actors: Yves Montand, Irene Papas, Jean-Louis Trintignant

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Dogtooth (2009)

A controlling, manipulative father (Christos Stergioglou) locks his three adult offspring in a state of perpetual childhood by keeping them prisoner within the sprawling family compound. The children are bored to tears in spite of regular visits from one of their fathers employee's, Christina (Anna Kalaitzidou), who provides a word for sexual for his son (Hristos Passalis). Increasingly curious about the outside world, the older daughter (Aggeliki Papoulia) hatches a plan to escape.

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos, director of the wonderfully eccentric and unorthodox movie, The Lobster)

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