There are some Greek films that are classics and should be viewed by everyone. They are the stories of a country that over the decades has seen political turmoil, a coup resulting in a military junta, survived wars and still held on to virtue and the culture that is seeped so deeply within the Greek people. Let’s take a look at some of the top classic films produced by Greeks that you should definitely not miss out on, from the 50s to present.
Director: Michael Cacoyannis
Starring: Melina Mercouri
Greece’s sweetheart, the beloved late Melina Mercouri, stars in this film and directed by one of the most well-known Greek film makers in the English-speaking world, Michael Cacoyannis, who directed Zorba the Greek.
The film explores Mercouri’s character, Stella, and her free spirit as she confronts life’s ups and downs.
O Drakos (1956)
Director: Nikos Koundouros
A film that replicates Greek noir, the English title of this film is The Fiend of Athens, and tackles the nightmare story of a man who is a look-a-like to a gangster.
This film is well-known among film junkies and is consistently voted the number one Greek film of all time by the Hellenic Film Critics’ Association.
Never on Sunday (1960)
Director: Jules Dassin
Starring: Melina Mercouri
Jules Dassin, an exiled American and husband to famous Greek actress Mercouri, created this famous film, starring along side his wife.
Never on Sunday tells the tale of a passionate and stubborn prostitute and is a very popular film internationally.
The Travelling Players (1975)
Director Theo Angelopoulos
A tale spun around a traveling group of Greek actors shows different aspects of Greek society from dealing with the German Occupancy to civil war.
Bfi.org.uk describes the film as “a masterpiece of form…Comprised of only 80 graceful, long still shots. He captures riotous Athenian streets and the rocky Mediterranean landscape as integral pieces of the political and human drama that unfold against it.”
Director Costa Ferris
Starring: Sotiria Leonardou
This film is named after a type of traditional Greek folk music and dance. It tells the life story and rise to fame of Greek singer Marika Ninou, in a loosely fictionalized manner.
Director Ferris said of the rembetiko music used throughout his film: “No other modern creation wakes, so directly and so automatically, the Greek soul; the rebel that every Greek has inside.”
Plato’s Academy (2009)
Director Filippos Tsitos
This film isn’t as popular as many of the other ones on the list, but all the same it is one that you should definitely not miss.
Basically, the story revolves around a bunch of opinionated locals that hang out at a taverna all day in a small Greek town. The characters reflect on many current day topics and ideals that Greeks have about the world around them.