He could not study in Greece after the country went through a civil war due to his father being communist, so he moved to France, studying literature first then cinema there, notably under the teaching of filmmaker Yves Allégret.
He is well known for blending commentary on controversial political and social issues with the entertainment value of the film medium. Themes such as law and justice, dictatorships, oppression, legal/illegal violence and torture are common in his works, most of which are in French language.
Works on TV Tropes:
Tropes and Trivia in his works:
- Author Tract: Denouncing dictatorships, violations of human liberties and showcasing the social cost of economic inequity, in a nutshell.
- The Cameo: He's had cameos in four films — Madame Rosa, The Life Before Us, Spies Like Us and The Stupids.
- Humans Are Bastards: Whether it's torture, dictatorships, The Holocaust or a jobless man turned Serial Killer to regain a job, Costa-Gavras has explored quite a palette with this trope.
- Production Posse: German actor Ulrich Tukur is a regular of his films since Amen.
- What Could Have Been: He was offered to direct The Godfather at one point when he became well known in Hollywood. He liked the novel, but didn't feel knowledgeable enough about American culture to direct the film.