1963, Janus Films, 128 min, Dir: Tony Richardson

At the height of the British New Wave in the early 1960s, director Tony Richardson and playwright John Osborne set out for more fanciful territory than the gritty realism of the movement they’d helped establish. TOM JONES brings a theatrical flair to Henry Fielding’s canonical 18th-century novel, boisterously chronicling the misadventures of the foundling of the title (Albert Finney, in a career-defining performance), whose easy charm seems to lead him astray at every turn from his beloved, the well-born Sophie Western (Susannah York). This spirited picaresque, evocatively shot in England’s rambling countryside and featuring an extraordinary ensemble cast, went on to become a worldwide sensation, winning the Oscar for best picture on the way to securing its status as a classic of irreverent wit and playful cinematic expression.

1964, 20th Century Fox, 142 min, USA/Greece, Dir: Mihalis Kakogiannis

When young British writer Basil (Alan Bates) arrives in Greece to work on a mine inherited from his father, he gets an education in life and love from the exuberant Zorba (Anthony Quinn), a peasant who sets in motion a chain of events that change Basil’s life forever. Quinn gives the performance of his career as the man who teaches both Basil and the audience how to embrace life to the fullest.

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