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The 10 Greek Films That You Must See! (Part 2)

Updated on May 15, 2017
A scene of the film
A scene of the film

The Drunkard (1950)

The Drunkard (original tittle: O Methystkas) released in 1950. It was produced by Finos Film Company which was one of the best film companies in Greece in 20th century. This film was its first big hit and the first that Greek cinema faced.

It was directed and written by Yiorgos Tzavellas who is among the best Greek filmmakers ever (if you ask me...) The film is set in beautiful Plaka of Athens and it's totally dramatic. Of course there are scenes that worked as comedy relief. Nevertheless it's a pure drama film.

Two legendary directors of photography (in Greece) worked for this film: Joseph Hepp and Aristeidis Karydis-Fuchs. The latter was assistant of the Hepp in this film. The picture that they made through their lenses was completely suited with the theme of the film. There were scenes in the film that you actually "live the feeling" you get when you are drunk.

As the tittle says, the film is about a drunkard man who destroys everything he loves and everything it loves him... It's now regarded as one of the best film ever made!

  • Genre: Drama
  • Directed by Yiorgos Tzavellas
  • Written by Yiorgos Tzavellas
  • Produced by Finos Film
  • Music by Kostas Giannidis
  • Starring: Orestis Markis, Dimitris Horn and Mpili Konstantopoulou

Stella (1955)

Stella was released in 1955. It was directed by Michael Cacoyannis. Stella was the film debut of Melina Mercouri (who was later nominated for Best Actress in Academy Award) and her breakthrough. She was accompanied by Yiorgos Fountas.

The film also screened at the Cannes Film Festival. The film is a retelling of Carmen. It's now considered as one of the best Greek films. The British Film Institute listed in its top 10 Greek Films.

The wonderful music of the film was composed by Manos Hadjidakis.

  • Genre: Drama/Romantic
  • Directed by Michael Cacoyannis
  • Written by Michael Cacoyannis
  • Produced by Millas Film
  • Music by Manos Hadjidakis
  • Starring: Melica Mercouri, Yiorgos Fountas and Alekos Alexandrakis

We Have Only One Life (1958)

We Have Only One Life was released in 1958. It was directed by Yiorgos Tzavellas. His directing skills were getting better and better. This film is simply perfect. I am going to write a few things about it because of the list. Otherwise I could have written more!

The plot is simple and real: a poor worker of a bank gets mistakenly a huge amount of money. But as poor and honest guy he wants to give the money back but the Chairman didn't pay attention (as always). Thus, he kept the money and decided to spend them all with a woman (who he was in love with).

The film is funny and fresh... The years cannot affect it... The performance of Dimitris Horn was perfect. You won't forget it easily... I have to warn you: after the film you will be singing or whistling a song over and over again.

  • Genre: Comedy/Romantic
  • Directed by Yiorgos Tzavellas
  • Written by Yiorgos Tzavellas
  • Produced by Finos Film
  • Music by Manos Hadjidakis
  • Starring: Yvonne Sanson, Dimitris Horn, Vasilis Avlonitis and Christos Taganeas

Maiden's Cheek 1959)

Maiden's Cheek was one of the first big hit of Greek actress Aliki Vougiouklaki which made her a star.. She was the ultimate star in Greece. Maybe some of her films were just for profit but this is a Greek classic. It was directed and written by Alekos Sakellarios.

The film is about a school which is a school for the rich. The girls of the school are very spoiled and they unrespectfully tease their professors. One day a young handsome and poor professor comes to this school. And from then on the professors follow his lead at slapping the girls' cheek. (Slapping was allowed in Greek schools back then)

But as you are watching the film you will see that is the only way to comply the spoiled and rich students. The film is in the comedy-romantic genre. I think you are going to enjoy it! I don't think it's good to name a performance as "sweet" but when you watch the film you will realize that is possible to name Viougiouklaki's performance as the "sweetest" you have ever seen!

The music was composed by Manos Hadjidakis. Two songs of the film's soundtrack are known till this day. And they were big hit at the time of their release, as well! Hadjidakis had a unique way to compose music when you listen to him you will always recognize him!

  • Genre: Comedy/Romantic
  • Directed by Alekos Sakellarios
  • Written by Alekos Sakellarios
  • Produced by Finos Film
  • Music by Manos Hadjidakis
  • Starring: Aliki Vougiouklaki, Dimitris Papamichael and some of the most famous greek actors at the time.

Alice in the Navy (1961)

Alice in Navy was released in 1961. I think it's the right thing to do! This is the second Vougiouklaki's film in this list. But it's necessary if you would like to get to know the Greek Cinema. It is also a Greek classic. It was directed by Alekos Sakellarios.

Manos Hadjidakis composed the music theme. And films like this are famous about their music, too. Hadjidakis was a master at composing music themes for films...

The film is about a young lady who gets in a Navy's ship which is forbidden for women. She's got in because of her boyfriend. The events are about to follow are funny and romantic. It is an easy-watching film that is in color (for those who can’t stand black and white).

  • Genre: Comedy/Romantic
  • Directed by Alekos Sakellarios
  • Written by Alekos Sakellarios
  • Produced by Finos Film
  • Music by Manos Hadjidakis
  • Starring: Aliki Vougiougklaki, Dimitris Papamicahel and Lambros Konstantaras

Electra (1962)

Electra was released in 1962. It's now regarded as one of the best Greek films. The film was directed by Michael Cacoyannis. Its screenplay (which was written by him) was based on eponymous Euripides' tragedy. This film was praised in worldwide scale.

It was nominated by Academy Awards in category for Best Foreign Films. It also won two awards in Cannes Festival. Beside the film Cacoyannis work was praised, too. Irene Papa as Electra was wonderful.

The music was composed by the Greek legendary musician Mikis Theodorakis. The cinematography was done by Walter Lassaly who had won the Oscar of Cinematography two years before.

  • Genre: Drama
  • Directed by Michael Cacoyannis - Finos Films
  • Written by Michael Cacoyannis
  • Produced by Michael Cacoyannis
  • Music by Mikis Theodorakis
  • Starring Irene Papa, Yiorgos Fertis, Aleka Katseli and Manos Katrakis

The Red Lanterns (1963)

The Red Lanterns was released in 1963. This film could be named as historical. It' doesn't refer to historical events but tells the story about the whorehouses where they were in Troumba (Pireaus) which was known because of them.

The film is about a whore who wants to quit her job. In the meanwhile he met a student who doesn't know about her profession. This story has remarkable characters and it is deeply touching. This is on of the landmarks of the Greek Cinema.

  • Genre: Drama
  • Directed by Vasilis Georgiadis
  • Written by Alekos Galanos
  • Produced by Damaskinos - Michaelidis
  • Music by Stavros Xarchakos
  • Starring: Tzeni Karezi, Yiorgos Fountas, Dimitris Papamichaei and Mary Chronopoulou.

The Matchmaking of Anna (1972)

The Matchmaking of Anna was released in 1972. I don't know if it's conisdered as one of the best Greek films but it's quite interesting. This period Greece had the Junta goverment so the artist couldn't create political works. The director of the film Pantelis Voulgaris created a film which was refered to the Greek society.

Maybe you are going to win nothing by watching it. But it's a good opportunity to learn a few things about Greek 70s society. It was the debut featured film of Pantelis Voulgaris.

  • Genre: Drama
  • Directed by Pantelis Voulgaris
  • Written by Pantelis Voulgaris and Menis Koumandareas
  • Produced by Dinos Katsouridis
  • Starring: Anna Vagena and Kostas Rigopoulos.

Rembetiko (1983)

Rembetiko was released in 1983. It's now regarded as one of the best Greek films in 80s. It was directed by Kostas Feris and narrates the biography of the Greek famous singer of rempetiko, Marika Ninou.. Except her biography the film is a story about the history of rempetiko and its parameters.

It's a really touching film and worth watching. I have to mention that its music is totally suited! Xarchakos did an excellent work. The leading actress was wonderful, as well. It's one of the best Greek films! For sure (not only in 80s if you aske me...)! Fans of music or cinema will be totally satisfied!

  • Gerne: Historical/Drama/Biography
  • Directed by Kostas Ferris
  • Written by Kostas Ferris and Sotiria Leonardou
  • Produced by EKK
  • Music by Stavros Xarchakos
  • Starring: Sotiria Leonardou, Nikos Kalogeropoulos and Themis Mpazaka

Strella (2009)

Strella was released in 2009. It was directed by Panos H. Koutras. The plot centres around the relationship between a 45-year-old ex-convinct and a 25-year-old transgender woman. It's among the few Greek films that referred to LGTB topics as the main topic of its story. Someone could have called as daring. But it is a quite interesting movie!

Koutras is a LGTB activist. So it was easy for him to direct this film with Mina Orfanou who is actually transgender. So they did an excellent job together! The film was nicely directed and the plot is quite interesting.

  • Genre: Drama
  • Directed by Panos H. Koutras
  • Written by Pano H. Koutras
  • Music by Mikael Delta
  • Starring: Mina Orfanou

What's Next?

I didn't mention the best films of Greek Cinema, I just mentioned the films which are interesting or represent a specific period of Greece. Maybe they are the best, too. I do not know.

I would like to examine another list about Greek films. That would be the 10 Greek Comedy Films which are the most popular among the Greeks.

(See also: here)


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