Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Z (1969)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Z (1969, Fr./Algeria)

In Costa-Gavras' political thriller masterpiece (based on the real-life 1963 murder of popular Greek liberal Gregorios Lambrakis, a professor medicine at the Univ. of Athens) - the Oscar-winner for Best Foreign Language Film (and Best Film Editing):

  • the skillfully-planned conspiratorial assassination-murder scene of the pacifistic husband of Helene (Irene Papas) - a liberal-minded Deputy (Yves Montand) of the opposition party in Greece
  • after he delivered a political speech and was in a stand-off surrounded by demonstrators and the police, he fell to his knees grabbing his lethally-wounded skull after a blue truck passed and struck him
  • the scene in a hospital conference room where concerned and worried Helene was led while her husband was undergoing a third operation - a white-coated doctor reported and viewed a lighted wall of skull X-rays diagnosing a concussion that occurred during the "stupid accident" ("the fall broke the dome of the skull and no doubt the brain has been affected") - the diagnosis was later radically re-evaluated - the skull fracture was NOT due to his fall or to the impact of the truck but to "a blow struck on the head" by a club wielded by a man in the back of the truck
  • the poignant final scene in which widowed wife Helene learned from one of her husband's followers that the right-wing assassins (military men including the general and the police chief who sanctioned the murder) had been exposed and arrested ("It's a real revolution, the government'll fall and extremists'll be wiped out") - she turned and looked out to sea, without triumph, but only with sadness and despondency


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