Zorba the Greek

Zorba the Greek (, Alexis Zorbas) is a 1964 comedy-drama film written, produced, edited, and directed by Greek Cypriot filmmaker Michael Cacoyannis. It stars Anthony Quinn as Zorba, an earthy and boisterous Cretan peasant, and Alan Bates as Basil, the buttoned-up young intellectual he befriends. The cast also includes Lila Kedrova, Irene Papas, and Sotiris Moustakas. The musical score was composed by Mikis Theodorakis. The film is based on the 1946 novel The Life And Times Of Alexis Zorba by Nikos Kazantzakis.


Basil is a staid, middle-class Greek-British writer raised in the United Kingdom. While at the Athens port of Piraeus waiting to catch a ferry to Crete, he meets a middle-aged peasant and musician named Zorba who carries only a santouri in a case. Basil explains that he is travelling to a Cretan village where he owns land with the intention of re-opening a lignite mine and curing his writer's block. Zorba inveigles a position as Basil's foreman and factotum.