America America (British title The Anatolian Smile—a reference to an ongoing acknowledgment of the character Stavros' captivating smile) is a 1963 American dramatic film directed, produced and written by Elia Kazan, adapted from his own book, published in 1962.
In the late 1890s, Cappadocian Greek Stavros Topouzoglou (Giallelis) lives in an impoverished village below Mount Argaeus in Ottoman Turkey. Stavros witnesses the Hamidian massacres against Greek and Armenian Christians. The life of the Cappadocian Greeks and Armenians of Kayseri is depicted, including the traditional cliff cave dwellings in which Stavros' grandmother lives. Stavros is entrusted by his father with the family's financial resources in a mission of hope to the Turkish capital Constantinople (renamed Istanbul in 1930), where he is to work in the carpet business of his father's cousin (Harry Davis), although his own dream is to reach the faraway land of opportunity, America. His odyssey begins with a long voyage on a donkey and on foot through the impoverished towns and villages on the way to Constantinople. Out of his kind nature and naivete, he dissipates all the money and arrives at the cousin's home penniless. The older man is deeply disappointed at this turn of events since he was counting on the infusion of funds to rescue his failing carpet store. Nevertheless, he attempts to salvage the situation by proposing that Stavros marry a wealthy merchant's (Paul Mann) young daughter (Linda Marsh). Stavros realizes that such a marriage would mean the end of his American dream and adamantly refuses, abruptly leaving the angry cousin.