While waiting for a ship to Crete, uptight Englishman, Basil, meets a strange man, Zorba, and before they know more than each other’s names, Zorba wants to go with Basil to work for him. Like most people, Basil is hesitant to make a stranger his new business partner. He tells Zorba that he’s rebuilding a mine and it so happens that Zorba once worked in the mines. Since Zorba is so persistent, and it seems that Basil is the kind to avoid confrontations, they set off to Crete together. Thanks to Zorba’s social manner, they make friends with an aging French woman who keeps the Inn and meet many people in the village. Soon, the two are worrying about more than their mine.
Anthony Quinn was rightfully nominated for his role as Zorba. He’s a lovable aging man who’s so full of life and passion it sometimes bursts out of him and all he can do is dance. It’s so infectious, that he can bring half the village out do dance and make music with him. He’s got a scrappy look, with a scraggly beard and his graying hair usually messy, but when he smiles and gets that youthful glint in his eye, you can’t help but want to shake his hand and call him friend. He’s also quite the charmer, wooing both young and old. Most of all, he’s a good man and has a few things to teach Basil about life, rather than mining.
At times, the camera work is as strange and energetic as Zorba himself. It’ll move chaotically, seem like it’s running or jumping around and seems too crowded. It’s very unconventional, but beautiful. It only happens a few times throughout the movie, but it really brings out the feelings of either chaos, jubilation, or sorrow. Believe me, you’ll know what I’m talking about as you see it.
The core of this story is simply how to live life to it’s fullest. It combines great joyful inspirational moments, with those of great tragedy. From tragedy all we can do is move on. And in moments of utter failure, what else can you do but dance?
I will say that Zorba the Greek has been my favorite film thus far in my journey. It’s the perfect mix of happy and sad with a good message and a great heart. This is a good movie for anyone who enjoys living, so unless you’re food for worms, what are you waiting for?
“Why did God give us hands? To grab. Well, grab!”