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Eleni (1985) Poster

(1985)

Trivia

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Based on a true story, over 28,000 Greek children were forcibly taken from their parents and sent to various Communist countries, before the end of the Greek Civil War in 1949. The Greek Civil War was the first battle of the war against Communism and it was an important victory for the Allied Forces.
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Additional flashback scenes were filmed featuring Alfred Molina as Nick's father Christos (played by Steve Plytas in the 1980s scenes). Although Molina was credited as "Young Christos" in press materials, and his scenes were shown in publicity photos, his role was almost completely cut from the final version, and his name does not appear in the credits. Molina's only remaining footage in the released film is a single shot of Christos taking a photograph of Eleni, Nikola and family, with his face partially obscured by his camera.
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The Greek mountain town of Lia seen in the movie was actually a set construction built on a shooting location in Spain. Show-business trade-paper 'Variety' reported in its review that "the impoverished Greek village" was "suitably recreated in Spain".
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The nick-name of Nicholas Gage (John Malkovich) was "Nick" whilst his full birth name was Nicola Gatzoyiannis.
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The film's closing epilogue states: "More than 28,000 Greek children were taken from their parents and sent to communist countries before the Civil War ended in 1949. All of Eleni's children reached America, including Glykeria, who escaped during the final battle of the war. Eleni's five children and her 13 grandchildren all live near each other in Massachusetts".
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The film was made and released about two years after its source autobiographical book of the same name by Nicholas Gage had been first published in 1983.
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The name of the newspaper that Nicholas Gage (John Malkovich) worked for was 'The New York Times'.
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Some movie posters for the film featured a long preamble that read: "Her only crime was helping her son escape to America. Her punishment was death. Years later a New York Times reporter is determined to uncover the story of this heroic woman, and find the man who murdered her. Nicholas Gage is the Reporter. He is her son."
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The movie is told utilizing a flashback format technique with its shifting narrative moving between the 1948 Greek Civil War and contemporary times around thirty years later circa 1980. Writer Nicholas Gage, portrayed by John Malkovich in the film, was about nine years of age in 1948.
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The full name of the film's Eleni (1985) title character portrayed by Kate Nelligan was Eleni Gatzoyiannis. Similarly, the birth name of source novelist Nicholas Gage, portrayed by John Malkovich in the film, was Nicola Gatzoyiannis.
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The movie's source book "Eleni" (1983) by Nicholas Gage was a No. 1# best-selling auto-biographical novel.
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The movie's closing credits declare that the picture was "filmed entirely on location in Greece, Spain, Canada and the USA". As such, the picture was shot across two continents and in four countries.
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Third and final collaboration between writer Steve Tesich and director Peter Yates. The second had been Eyewitness (1981) and the first Breaking Away (1979) where Tesich had won a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award for its writing.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

In the book, Nicholas Gage wanted to kill the man who had his mother sentenced to death. He actually visited the now-elderly man, as seen in the movie, and was about to kill him, but as the real Nick wrote, '...the logical part of my mind told me there was only one road leading [in and] out of town.' So, instead of killing him, Nick spat on his face. He adds, "In Greece, to spit on someone is the worst possible insult". He left the house. Later, after a few months or so, Nick again tracked down the man who was vacationing in a city and entered the place and crept into the bedroom to kill him. However, after thinking about it, he changed his mind and left - this time for good.
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