Documentaries and Films on the Greek War of Independence

In the spring of 1821, the Greek populations who lived under Ottoman rule, revolted against their opressors. The Greek War of Independence lasted for eight years and it resulted in the creation of an independent Greek state. There are several books, articles, documentaries, and films that narrate the events of the Greek revolution. Here are some recommendations of films and documentaries you can watch this week, during the 200-year anniversary of the Greek War of Independence. Some of the videos are suitable for English-speakers but the majority are in Greek.

Keep in mind that the portayal of certail events and figures might differ from film to film and from documentary to documetary. These include the legend of rising the flag in the Agia Lavra monastery and the overall stance of the Greek Orthodox Church towards the rebels, along with the importance of the intervention of the three “Great Powers” (France, Britain, Russia) in the final outcome.

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Documetaries and Films on the Greek Fight for Freedom

“Greek history – Figures and Events of the Greek Revolution” | Video on 1821 [ENG]

This brief video by Benaki Museum focuses on the figures and events of the Greek Revolution of 1821.

“The Great Powers and the Greek Revolution” | Episode on the Greek War of Independence

This episode of the Greek-speaking historical tv-series “Μηχανή του Χρόνου” (Time Machine) focuses on the intervention of the “Great Powers” during the Greek War of Independence. The episode was aired in the Greek public tv-channel “NET”.

“1821” | Documentary Series on the Events of the Greek War of Independence

The documentary was filmed in Greek and broadcasted by the tv-channel “Σκάι”. “1821” received backlash by a percentage of the Greek population, because it presented some incidents as myths rather than as historical events (e.g. the Agia Lavra incident). It also talked about the frictions between the leaders of the Revolution that weakened the Greek forces and finally required the intervention of the “Great Powers”.

“’21: The Rebirth of The Greeks” | Documentary Series on the Events of 1821

Another, more recent historical Greek-speaking documentary, is the one presented by “MEGA” channel. One of the main differences between this and the previous documentary is that, in this case, the Greek Orthodox Church is presented as a supporter of the revolution.

“Greek history – The Lives of the Greeks during the Turkish occupation” | Video on Ottoman Greece [ENG]

This English-speaking video by Benaki Museum focuses on the everyday lives of Greeks during the Turkish occupation. The video received some negative comments for presenting the Ottoman rule in a positive light.

“Bouboulina” (1959) | Film on Greek National Heroine Laskarina Bouboulina

This 1959 film follows the life of the Greek national heroine and naval commander Laskarina Bouboulina from the island of Hydra.

“The Betrayed People: Manto Mavrogenous” (1983) | Biographical Film on Mantou Mavrogenous

This ’80s film is dedicated on the life of the Greek national heroine and Honorary Lieutenant General Manto Mavrogenous who spent her fortune on the Greek War of Independence.

“Souliotes” (1972) | Film on the Attack on Souli

One of the most well-known events related to the life of Greeks under Ottoman rule is the Zalongo incident that is depicted in this 1972 film.

greek war of independence

The Rebirth of Greece (in 10 Minutes) | 200 Years since the Revolution of 1821 (Greek War of Independence)

The history of Greece and the Greeks spans thousands of years. These include years of prosperity and decline, times of conquests, and revolutions. But there was a moment in time that is of great importance for modern Greeks. That was the spring of 1821, exactly 200 years ago: the Greek War of Independence.

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