8.2/10
19,652
88 user 68 critic

(1969)

Following the murder of a prominent leftist, an investigator tries to uncover the truth while government officials attempt to cover up their roles.

Director:

Writers:

(novel) (as Vassili Vassilikos), (dialogue) (as Jorge Semprun)
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Z
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Hélène (as Irène Papas)
...
...
...
...
...
Georges Géret ...
Bernard Fresson ...
...
Vago (as Marcel Bozzufi)
...
...
...
Habib Reda
Clotilde Joano ...
Shoula (as Clotilde Joanno)
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Storyline

In a mid-sized metropolis (population 500,000) in a right-wing military led country, a pacifist organization, which supports the opposition party in the government, is planning on holding an anti-military, nuclear disarmament rally. The organization's charismatic leader - the deputy - is scheduled to arrive in the town from the capital the day of the rally. Beyond the problems arranging the rally due to the probable incitement of violence at such a rally, the organization learns of an unconfirmed report that there will be an attempt on the deputy's life. The rally does happen, after which a three-wheeled kamikaze runs over the deputy, who eventually passes away from his injuries. The official report is that the incident was a drunken accident. In reality, the deputy's death was murder orchestrated by the secret police, the general for who likens the pacifist organization to mildew killing off agricultural crops. A magistrate is assigned to the case. Although he does have political ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

8 December 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Дзета  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,144, 15 March 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$83,305, 13 September 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

After hitting Z, Vigo and Yago escape on a three-wheeler. Shortly thereafter, the driver Yago is captured by a policeman. The policeman searches him and finds a truncheon. When the guard uses the truncheon on Yago's chest to keep him away, the stick clearly flexes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Deputy Minister of Agriculture: Mildew is prevented by spraying the vines with a solution of copper sulfate. There are two standard remedies: Bordeaux mixture and Burgundy mixture - named after the French provinces famous for its wines. The vines are sprayed three times a year: first when the shoots are about five inches long; second, just before or after the blossoms appear; and the third time, a month later. Spraying is preventative and thus essential
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Crazy Credits

Any resemblance to actual events, to persons living or dead, is not the result of chance. It is DELIBERATE. (Signed by) Jorge Semprún, Costa-Gavras See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Contender: The Making of a Political Thriller (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Messe Pour le Temps Présent--Psyché Rock
(uncredited)
Composed and Performed by Pierre Henry
Courtesy of Philips/PolyGram Records
by arrangement with PolyGram Special Markets
© 1967 Philips Classics Productions
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User Reviews

 
Essential viewing
4 January 1999 | by See all my reviews

Every so often a film comes along whose cinematic quality is less important than the statement it makes about civilisation. 'Z' is such a film.

Chilling in its execution and its denouement, the film is a powerful anti-totalitarian tract, showing the powerlessness of the forces of truth against an establishment which holds all the cards (but which nonetheless displays appalling incompetence in playing them). That the government in question is right-wing is not important - like Orwell's 1984, this film opposes totalitarianism of all kinds.

The script, direction and performances are good enough, but this is not a film you see for entertainment. It should be shown to every government official in every country in the world, to remind them of the corrupting influence of absolute power (and, incidentally, it ought to be shown to every journalist to remind them what investigative journalism is supposed to be about).

11 out of 10, were it possible.


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