Never on Sunday (Greek: Ποτέ Την Κυριακή, translit. Pote Tin Kyriaki) is a 1960 Greek black-and-white film which tells the story of Ilya, a prostitute who lives in the port of Piraeus in Greece, and Homer, an American tourist from Middletown, Connecticut — a classical scholar enamored with all things Greek. Ilya is a character close to the “hooker with a heart of gold” cliché. Homer feels Ilya’s life style typifies the degradation of Greek classical culture and attempts to steer her onto the path of morality. It constitutes a variation of the Pygmalion story.
The film stars Melina Mercouri and Jules Dassin, and it gently submerges the viewer into Greek culture, including dance, music, and language (through the use of subtitles). The signature song and the bouzouki theme of the movie became hits of the 1960s and brought the composer, Manos Hadjidakis, an Academy Award.
It won the Academy Award for Best Song (Manos Hadjidakis for “Never on Sunday“). It was nominated for the Academy Awards for, respectively, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Melina Mercouri), Best Costume Design, Black-and-White, Best Director (Jules Dassin) and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay as Written Directly for the Screen (Dassin). Mercouri won the award for Best Actress at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival.