The Greek-Americans (A Film)
March 18, 1999

This film, shown on PBS, discusses the achievements of well-known Greek Americans in the fields of business, sports, media and entertainment.  It presents the concerns, hope and accomplishments of Americans of Greek descent.  This film was produced and directed by George Veras.

The film featured interviews with well-known Greek-Americans such as Olympia Dukakis, George Tenet (head of the CIA), Ike Pappas (CBS news), Pete Sampras, Thalia Assuras, Sen. Paul Sarbanes and George Stephanopoulos.  Successful business leaders were also featured.

One theme in the film was food.  That served as a springboard for talking about the immigrant experience and all those Greek restaurants that immigrants opened and provided work for other immigrants.  Food was also a way to talk about family, and the role of extended family in Greek life.

Another theme was the heritage that Greek immigrants felt, the heritage of all those thousands of years of culture and the impetus this provided for hard work and for a desire for education and success.

The Church figures prominently also as something that binds Greeks together, and as a place where the culture is taught to the next generation.

Not everything is wonderful, it was acknowledged that sometimes the Greek ego and rigidity can get in the way of teamwork.  And Greeks also suffered discrimination in this country -- Ike Pappas told of how his real name is Ikaras, but he got so much grief in school over being different that he doesn't use it.

The film repeatedly referred to and celebrated the Greek passion for life, the energy, and the role of family.