Electra (1962): Michael Cacoyannis Version of Euripides, Starring Irene Papas

Michael Cacoyannis’ adaptation of the famous tragedy by Euripides garnered him his first international success and an award at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival, two years before he directed what became his most popular picture, the Oscar-nominated Zorba the Greek.”

The great actress Irene Papas (also in “Zorba the Greek”) plays Electra, the daughter of King Agememnon and sister of Orestes, involved in a revenge plot. After the king returns from the battlefield, Clytemestra (his wife) joins with her lover in murdering the hapless ruler. Orestes is sent away immediately, and Electra is left with uncontrollable anger growing hatred of her mother until she and Orestes get together and  scheme a plot to avenge Agememnon’s death.

Cacoyannis later adapted the tragedies “The Trojan Women” (1971) and “Iphigenia” (1977) to the big screen. He considered the films to be forming sort of a trilogy.

Cacoyanns would achieve international fame in 1964, with the release of , which earned Best Picture and him Best Director Oscar nominations.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Best Foreign Language Film

Oscar Awards: None

 Oscar Context:

The winner of the Best Foreign Language Oscar was the French entry, Sundays and Cybele.


Running Time: 110 Minutes.

Released December 1, 1962.

DVD: March 5, 2002