Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Zorba the Greek (1964)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Zorba the Greek (1964, Greece/UK) (aka Alexis Zorba)

In triple-nominated (for writing, directing and producing) Michael Cacoyannis' Best Picture-nominated inspirational drama:

  • the hammy trademark role of boisterous, lusty, lively, flamboyant itinerant Greek laborer and bon vivant Alexis Zorba (Oscar-nominated Anthony Quinn)
  • his relationship with writer's-blocked British-raised Basil (Alan Bates) who traveled to the island of Crete to reopen his father's closed mine
  • Zorba's romance with the hotel's manager - lonely ex-prostitute and porn actress Madame Hortense (Oscar-winning Lila Kedrova)
  • Zorba's admonition to Basil about the "greatest sin": "If a woman calls a man to her bed and he will NOT go!"
  • Basil's yearning for a beautiful Widow (Irene Pappas)
  • the tragic, disturbing scene in which the Widow was stoned by a mob after the village idiot committed suicide
  • Hortense's moving death in Zorba's arms from an unnamed illness (possibly pneumonia)
  • the memorable, joyous scene in which Zorba taught Basil to dance the sirtiki on a beach


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z