‘Never on Sunday’ is Quite Possibly the Most Successful (and Controversial) Greek Movie of All Time?
The Greek film industry — and the entire nation took center stage in 1960 with the release of the off-beat romantic comedy movie “Never on Sunday”.The film led to massive increases in tourism and location shooting there by numerous American and European studios.
It even captivated and enthralled the then American First Lady, Jaqueline Kennedy into planning a trip to Greece a few years later. The film was released on U.S. screens on October 1, 1960.The film’s story was the product of an American writer-director’s imagination and a personal love story to the woman he was in love with and her country, Greece. The result was a huge hit. The film went on to gross almost $4 million in the U.S. alone, despite — or maybe because of — the fact that it was condemned by the Catholic Church’s Legion of Decency.
When Atlanta’s local censor tried to ban the film, the distributor, United Artists, had the decision reversed in the courts, marking one of the first successful challenges of the city’s censorship law.
Mercouri re-created her film role, with music once again by Hadjidakis and script and direction by Dassin. She was a huge star in the United States in the 1960s as a result, even making it to the front cover of Life Magazine.