Greek Films Flashback

Greek cinema has expanded and changed significantly over the years, as new genres take hold and as a response to the political climate over the country’s history. At first Greek films were mainly romantic comedies and melodrama, which was slowly taken over by short films with socio-political commentary in the 1960s-70s due to the dictatorship at the time. These films reflect both Greek culture and the events and attitudes of their time, with the new Greek cinema having emerged from the 1990s being characterised by evolving contemporary attitudes and social satyr, making it both relevant and engaging to watch.

Check out CulturalPulse’s shortlist of the best Greek films over the past 70 years below.

50's

Stella (1955)

Genre: Drama, Romance
IMDB Rating: 8.0
Director: Michael Cacoyannis
Stars: Melina Mercouri, Giorgos Foundas, Alekos Alexandrakis, Hristina Kalogerikou
Synopsis: Proud and independent, Stella, an unconventional Rebetico singer who cherishes her freedom, finds herself in an intense whirlwind romance. Everything points to a tragic ending, and in the aftermath of passion, there can be no winners…  See full summary »

The Counterfeit Coin (1955)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
IMDB Rating: 8.6
Director: Yorgos Tzavellas
Stars:  Vasilis Logothetidis, Ilia Livykou, Mimis Fotopoulos, Sperantza Vrana
Synopsis: Pivoting around a shiny counterfeit gold sovereign freshly milled from the clandestine workshop of an otherwise honest goldsmith, four brief vignettes of human imperfection; seduction; fate; desire, and devotion inextricably interweave…  See full summary »

O drakos (1956)

Genre: Crime, Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.0
Director: Nikos Koundouros
Stars:  Dinos Iliopoulos, Margarita Papageorgiou, Giannis Argyris, Thanasis Vengos
Synopsis: A peaceful, frightened little man is mistakenly identified as “the dragon”, a notorious criminal at large. He briefly and reluctantly rules the underworld until they realise their mistake…  See full summary »

We Only Live Once (1958)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
IMDB Rating: 8.3
Director: Yorgos Tzavellas
Stars: Yvonne Sanson, Dimitris Horn, Vasilis Avlonitis, Hristos Tsaganeas
Synopsis: A bank teller discovers an accounting error and becomes rich..  See full summary »

A Matter of Dignity (1958)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.8
Director: Michael Cacoyannis
Stars:  Ellie Lambeti, Athena Michaelidou, Eleni Zafeiriou, Giorgos Pappas
Synopsis: A daughter discovers her wealthy family is actually on the verge of bankruptcy and decides to charm a millionaire for his money in marriage. Soon she is torn between living a lie and keeping up appearances…  See full summary »

60's

Synoikia to Oneiro (1961)

Genre: Action, Comedy
IMDB Rating: 8.0
Director: Alekos Alexandrakis
Stars: Alekos Alexandrakis, Manos Katrakis, Aliki Georgouli, Spyros Mousouris
Synopsis: The stories of poor people living in a neighborhood in Athens and their difficulties…  See full summary »

Tis kakomoiras (1963)

Genre: Comedy
IMDB Rating: 8.8
Director: Dinos Katsouridis
Stars:  Kostas Hatzihristos, Nikos Rizos, Kostas Doukas, Marika Nezer
Synopsis: A well-off grocery store owner and his outspoken right hand, who are head over heels in love with their neighbours, are about to have their ambitious plans crushed when the girls’ true sweethearts put in an appearance at a joyous event… See full summary »

The Red Lanterns (1963)

Genre: Drama, Romance
IMDB Rating: 8.1
Director: Vasilis Georgiadis
Stars: Jenny Karezi, Giorgos Foundas, Dimitris Papamichael, Manos Katrakis
Synopsis: The inextricably intertwined stories of five women who work as prostitutes just before the ban on brothels in Troumba…  See full summary »

Voitheia o Vengos, faneros praktor ‘000’ (1967)

Genre: Comedy
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Thanasis Vengos
Stars: Thanasis Vengos, Zannino, Dimitris Nikolaidis, Periklis Hristoforidis
Synopsis: Vengos studies in a secret agents’ academy, dreaming of becoming a great spy like 007. Unfortunately, he can’t do anything right, so he wreaks havoc during his final exams...  See full summary »

‘Thou-Vou’ Falakros praktor – Epiheirisis: Gis madiam (1969)

Genre: Comedy
IMDB Rating: 7.9
Director: Thanasis Vengos
Stars: Thanasis Vengos, Antonis Papadopoulos, Vasilis Andreopoulos, Sassa Kazeli
Synopsis: Thou-Vou and his new partner, MAP31, accept three imaginary tasks from a cunning director who is only interested in filming the unsuspecting duo for his upcoming movie feature. Will the agents manage to squeeze success out of failure?…  See full summary »

70's

Ti ekanes ston polemo Thanasi (1971)

Genre: Comedy, Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.6
Director: Dinos Katsouridis
Stars: Thanasis Vengos, Efi Roditi, Antonis Papadopoulos, Kaiti Lambropoulou
Synopsis: During the dark years of the German Occupation in Greece, the mysterious disappearance of a cherished tomcat throws a destitute factory worker straight into the bowels of Kommandantur, to taste firsthand the oppressor’s lavish hospitality… See more here

John the Violent (1973)

Genre: Crime, Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.6
Director: Tonia Marketaki
Stars: Manolis Logiadis, Mika Flora, Vangelis Kazan, Malaina Anousaki
Synopsis: This film tells the story of Ioannis Zachos, a young psychopath who commits a murder in the town of Athens... See full summary »

I fonissa (1974)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.8
Director: Costas Ferris
Stars: Maria Alkeou, Natalia Alkaiou, Costas Darlasis, Elpidoforos Gotsis
Synopsis: Adaptation of Papadiamantis’ novel Fonissa about a woman who murders little girls… See full summary »

The Travelling Players (1975)

Genre: Drama, History, Music
IMDB Rating: 8.0
Director: Theodoros Angelopoulos
Stars: Eva Kotamanidou, Vangelis Kazan, Aliki Georgouli, Kiriakos Katrivanos
Synopsis: Greece, 1939-1952: Fascist, Nazi, and Communist conflict, as seen through the eyes of a family of travelling provincial players… See full summary »

Ifigeneia (1977)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.7
Director: Michael Cacoyannis
Stars: Irene Papas, Kostas Kazakos, Kostas Karras, Tatiana Papamoschou
Synopsis: To appease offended gods before going to war, a commander must sacrifice his favourite daughter to them but does so under the pretext of marrying her off… See full summary »

80's

Learn How to Read and Write, Son (1981)

Genre: Comedy, Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.1
Director: Thodoros Maragos
Stars: Vasilis Diamantopoulos, Anna Matzourani, Nikos Kalogeropoulos, Christos Kalavrouzos
Synopsis: In a small Greek village, short time after the collapse of the Junta regime, a memorial of those who died in the German occupation of Greece brings in the surface the political differences of a conservative teacher and his two sons… See full summary »

Rembetiko (1983)

Genre: Biography, Drama, History
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Costas Ferris
Stars: Sotiria Leonardou, Nikos Kalogeropoulos, Michalis Maniatis, Themis Bazaka
Synopsis: The story of a group of Rembetes, singers and musicians of the Greek equivalent to the blues, in the early decades of the 20th century, seen through the eyes of a young female singer… See full summary »

Loaf and Camouflage (1984)

Genre: Comedy
IMDB Rating: 7.7
Director: Nicos Perakis
Stars: Nikos Kalogeropoulos, Giorgos Kimoulis, Takis Spiridakis, Stavros Xenidis
Synopsis: The “adventures” of some friends during their military service… See full summary »

Voyage to Cythera (1984)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.7
Director: Theodoros Angelopoulos
Stars: Manos Katrakis, Mairi Hronopoulou, Dionysis Papagiannopoulos, Dora Volanaki
Synopsis: An old communist returns to Greece after 32 years in the Soviet Union. However, things aren’t the way he had hoped for See full summary »

Landscape in the Mist (1988)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.0
Director: Theodoros Angelopoulos
Stars: Michalis Zeke, Tania Palaiologou, Stratos Tzortzoglou, Eva Kotamanidou
Synopsis: Two children journey the long road to Germany to find the man they believe to be their father… See full summary »

90's

Ulysses’ Gaze (1995)

Genre: Drama, War
IMDB Rating: 7.6
Director: Theodoros Angelopoulos
Stars: Harvey Keitel, Maia Morgenstern, Erland Josephson, Thanasis Vengos
Synopsis: An exiled filmmaker finally returns to his home country where former mysteries and afflictions of his early life come back to haunt him once more…See full summary »

Truants (1996)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.8
Director: Nikos Grammatikos
Stars: Nikos Georgakis, Giorgos Evgenikos, Vangelis Mourikis, Tasos Nousias
Synopsis: The story follows the sporadic reunions of six friends during the seven year period of their integration into society. The reunions take place on their ancestral island, the setting of … See full summary »

Ola einai dromos (1998)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.9
Director: Pantelis Voulgaris
Stars: Thanasis Vengos, Giorgos Armenis, Dimitris Katalifos, Kostas Kazanas
Synopsis: Three people head towards a turning point in their lives: at a dig in Philippi, an archaeologist discovers an unlooted tomb; at a bird sanctuary in Thrace, a game warden pays back a poacher… See full summary »

Eternity and a Day (1998)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.9
Director: Theodoros Angelopoulos
Stars: Bruno Ganz, Isabelle Renauld, Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Achileas Skevis
Synopsis: Famous writer Alexander is very ill and has little time left to live. He meets a little boy on the street, who is an illegal immigrant from Albania, and goes on a journey with him to take the boy home…See full summary »

Let the Women Wait (1998)

Genre: Comedy
IMDB Rating: 7.8
Director: Stavros Tsiolis
Stars: Yannis Zouganelis, Argyris Bakirtzis, Sakis Boulas, Angeliki Iliadi
Synopsis: End of July, and it’s holiday time. Panos and Michalis are brothers-in-law from Thessaloniki and run a small business together. Brimming over with high spirits, they leave for Thasos to…See full summary »

00's

Mourning Rock  (2000)

Genre: Documentary
IMDB Rating: 8.6
Director: Filippos Koutsaftis
Stars: Panagiotis Farmakis
Synopsis: A documentary about Eleusina. The past and the present, in complete antithesis, coexist in a place spoiled by modern industry but which long ago hosted the Eleusinian Mysteries, the secret… See full summary »

The Only Journey of His Life (2001)

Genre: Biography, Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.0
Director: Lakis Papastathis
Stars: Ilias Logothetis, Fragiski Moustaki, Lazaros Andreou, Ali Emre Ates
Synopsis: As Georgios Vizneyos, one of Greece’s greatest authors, degenerates in an Athens mental asylum, the tale of another story-teller, his grandfather, begins to emerge through his mad ramblings… See full summary »

The King (2002)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.1
Director: Nikos Grammatikos
Stars: Vangelis Mourikis, Marilita Lambropoulou, Minas Hatzisavvas, Babis Giotopoulos
Synopsis: A former drug addict gets a new lease of life in his grandfather’s dilapidated rural estate, only to face the closed community’s unwritten laws. Now, all that’s needed is a flaming catalyst. Who can stop the advent of hell on New Paradise?… See full summary »

Hard Goodbyes: My Father (2002)

Genre: Drama, Family
IMDB Rating: 7.1
Director: Penny Panagiotopoulou
Stars: Yorgos Karayannis, Stelios Mainas, Ioanna Tsirigouli, Christos Stergioglou
Synopsis: n 1969 Athens, a 10 year old boy struggles to come to terms with the sudden death of his father… See full summary »

A Touch of Spice (2003)

Genre: Comedy, Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.5
Director: Tassos Boulmetis
Stars: Georges Corraface, Ieroklis Michaelidis, Renia Louizidou, Tamer Karadagli
Synopsis: “A Touch of Spice” is a story about a young Greek boy (Fanis) growing up in Istanbul, whose grandfather, a culinary philosopher and mentor,teaches him that both food and life require a… See full summary »

Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow (2004)

Genre: Drama, History, Romance
IMDB Rating: 7.9
Director: Theodoros Angelopoulos
Stars: Alexandra Aidini, Nikos Poursanidis, Giorgos Armenis, Vasilis Kolovos
Synopsis: This is the first film of Theo Angelopoulos’ trilogy. The story starts in 1919 with some greek refugees from Odessa arriving somewhere near Thessaloniki. Among these people are two small… See full summary »

Brides (2004)

Genre: Drama, Romance
IMDB Rating: 7.6
Director: Pantelis Voulgaris
Stars: Damian Lewis, Victoria Haralabidou, Andréa Ferréol, Evi Saoulidou
Synopsis: Set in 1922, is the story of a mail order bride, one of 700, aboard the SS KING ALEXANDER, who falls in love with an American photographer. She is bound for her new husband, in New York; he is on his way home to a failed marriage… See full summary »

A Woman’s Way (2009)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.3
Director: Panos H. Koutras
Stars: Mina Orfanou, Yannis Kokiasmenos, Minos Theoharis, Tasos Antoniou
Synopsis: Yorgos is released from prison after 14 years of incarceration for a murder he committed in his small Greek village. He spends his first night out in a cheap downtown hotel in Athens. There… See full summary »

Dogtooth (2009)

Genre: Drama, Thriller
IMDB Rating: 7.3
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Stars: Christos Stergioglou, Michele Valley, Angeliki Papoulia, Hristos Passalis
Synopsis: Three teenagers live isolated, without leaving their house, because their over-protective parents say they can only leave when their dogtooth falls out… See full summary »

Psyhi vathia (2009)

Genre: Drama, War
IMDB Rating: 7.1
Director: Pantelis Voulgaris
Stars: Vangelis Mourikis, Giorgos Symeonidis, Victoria Haralabidou, Kostas Kleftogiannis
Synopsis: Near the end of the Greek Civil War two brothers find themselves in opposite sides… See full summary »

10's

Super Demetrios (2011)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
IMDB Rating: 6.5
Director: Georgios Papaioannou
Stars: Dimitrios Vainas, Paris Papadopoulos, Olga Sfetsa, Tasos Masias
Synopsis: In a surreal, parallel universe, Thessaloniki has its very own superhero: Super Demetrios. Posing as Dimitris Christoforidis, journalist for the Golden Jerusalem magazine, he fights for … See full summary »

Tied Red Thread (2011)

Genre: Drama, War
IMDB Rating: 6.5
Director: Kostas Haralambous
Stars: Thanos Samaras, Tasos Nousias, Efi Gousi, Stefania Goulioti
Synopsis: During 1945 and some months before the outbreak of the Greek Civil War paramilitary groups terrorize and kill leftists in a Greek village… See full summary »

Alps (2011)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 6.4
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Stars: Stavros Psyllakis, Aris Servetalis, Johnny Vekris, Ariane Labed
Synopsis: A group of people start a business where they impersonate the recently deceased in order to help their clients through the grieving process… See full summary »

Little England (2013)

Genre: Drama, Romance
IMDB Rating: 7.9
Director: Pantelis Voulgaris
Stars: Penelope Tsilika, Sofia Kokkali, Aneza Papadopoulou, Andreas Konstantinou
Synopsis: One home, one secret, one man, two sisters. The 20 year old Orsa is madly in love with the lieutenant Spyros Maltabes. As a closed character she won’t reveal her secret to anyone. Her… See full summary »

Miss Violence (2013)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.1
Director: Alexandros Avranas
Stars:Themis Panou, Reni Pittaki, Eleni Roussinou, Sissy Toumasi
Synopsis: An unnerving story about a horrid family drama kept behind closed doors, and an elaborate facade where appearances can be deceiving, and nothing is as it seems…. See full summary »

Stratos (2014)

Genre: Crime, Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.0
Director: Yannis Economides
Stars: Vangelis Mourikis, Petros Zervos, Vicky Papadopoulou, Yannis Tsortekis
Synopsis: By night, Stratos works in a bread factory but by day, he’s a professional hit man. He needs the cash to free Leonidas from prison because the latter once saved his life when he was behind … See full summary »

Worlds Apart (2015)

Genre: Drama, Romance
IMDB Rating: 7.4
Director: Christopher Papakaliatis
Stars: J.K. Simmons, Maria Kavoyianni, Andrea Osvárt, Christopher Papakaliatis
Synopsis: In modern-day Greece, while socioeconomic turmoil ravages Southern Europe, three distinct stories unfold, each representing a different generation of Greeks in love with a foreigner, each story coming together in the end to form a whole… See full summary »

The Lobster (2015)

Genre: Comedy, Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.1
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Stars: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden, Olivia Colman
Synopsis: In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods… See full summary »

Wednesday 04:45 (2015)

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
IMDB Rating: 6.8
Director: Alexis Alexiou
Stars: Stelios Mainas, Dimitris Tzoumakis, Adam Bousdoukos, Giorgos Symeonidis
Synopsis: One man, one city, 32 hours… See full summary »

Interruption (2015)

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
IMDB Rating: 6.5
Director: Yorgos Zois
Stars: Alexandros Vardaxoglou, Maria Kallimani, Alexia Kaltsiki, Christos Stergioglou
Synopsis: A post modern theater adaptation of a classic Greek tragedy takes place in a central theater of Athens. Like every night, the audience take their seats and the play begins. Suddenly, the… See full summary »