WINNER: TOP 25 LIBERTARIAN FILMS
ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE: BEST PICTURE
A young, oppressed Greek gives up everything to earn passage to America. Based on a true story. [Dir: Elia Kazan/ Stathis Giallelis, Frank Wolff, Harry Davis/ 169 min/ Action-Adventure, Biography/ Pro-Immigration, Democide]
Elia Kazan not only directed but also wrote the script for this moving account of his immigrant uncle’s turn-of-the-century journey to the land of the free. The story is of epic proportions.
It follows the experiences of Kazan’s uncle, then a young ethnic Greek, from his early conflicts with the oppressive ruling Turks in his hometown, through a series of disasters and setbacks that he must overcome to complete his nearly impossible journey to America.
The story takes place in Asia Minor around the turn of the twentieth century. The Turks dominate this area, ruling the subject Armenians and Greeks with an iron fist. Oppression is just an everyday part of life. But one young Greek refuses to accept life on those terms, and what ensues is the classic story of immigration to America.
Stathis Giallelis, an immigrant himself, and an unknown in his first role, gives a very credible and moving performance as the young Greek immigrant. Many lesser characters are also memorably portrayed. Director Elia Kazan clearly put his heart into this production, weaving together the tale against a backdrop of on-location scenery and old-world music that makes the most of both. There’s enough atmosphere here for three films. At two-and-a-half hours, it’s on the long side, but the time is not wasted.
This is an outstanding, inspiring, landmark docudrama that serves as an important reminder of the beacon of freedom and hope America once represented, and to some degree still does.