My 10 Favorite Woody Allen Films (in no specific order)

Play It Again, Sam (1972) (written but not directed by Allen)

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Synopsis: Overanxious film critic Allan (Woody Allen) sinks into a depression after his wife leaves him. Concerned, his married friends Dick (Tony Roberts) and Linda (Diane Keaton) encourage him to meet new women. Inspired by Humphrey Bogart’s dark persona, Allan attempts to emulate him in flirting with women. However, his frail personality ensures that his every attempt blows up in his face. His hapless romantic life reaches catastrophic levels when he develops feelings for Linda.

Love and Death (1975)

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Synopsis: In Woody Allen’s comic take on 19th-century Russian philosophical novels and the Soviet-era epic films made from them, Boris (Woody Allen) is a simple Russian villager who pines from afar for his beautiful cousin Sonja (Diane Keaton). Forced against his will into joining the Russian army during the Napoleonic Wars, the cowardly Boris accidentally becomes a military hero. But when his beloved Sonja comes to him with a dangerous patriotic scheme, Boris debates his desires and beliefs.

The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) (click for my full review)

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Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

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Synopsis: Three successive family Thanksgiving dinners mark time for Hannah (Mia Farrow), her younger sisters Lee (Barbara Hershey) and Holly (Dianne Wiest) and the men in their lives. Lee is having an affair with Hannah’s husband, Elliot (Michael Caine), and trying to end her Svengali-like romance with artist Frederick (Max von Sydow). Holly is frustrated by her lack of career fulfillment and her increasing dependence on Hannah’s largesse, while being courted by the hypochondriac Mickey (Woody Allen).

Husbands and Wives (1992)

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Synopsis: Gabe (Woody Allen) and his wife, Judy (Mia Farrow), are shocked to discover that their best friends, Sally (Judy Davis) and Jack (Sydney Pollack), are splitting up. Not only did they not see the breakup coming, but it makes them start to question their own relationship. While Gabe flirts with the idea of dating one of his college students (Juliette Lewis), Sally and Jack discover that being single again isn’t all its cracked up to be and contemplate getting back together.

Radio Days (1987)

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Synopsis: A middle-aged man looks back on his childhood in Rockaway, N.Y., in a series of vignettes focused on the golden days of radio. Joe (Woody Allen), who narrates, is portrayed as a teenager in the film by Seth Green. Eccentric relatives and radio personalities inhabit various stories, including an unlucky aunt (Dianne Wiest), a cigarette girl (Mia Farrow) with career ambitions, and two burglars with excellent timing. Young Joe involves his friends in a scam to earn a decoder ring.

Midnight in Paris (2011) (click for my full review)

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Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

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Synopsis: Struggling 1920s playwright David Shayne (John Cusack), having failed to secure financing for his latest work, reluctantly makes a deal with mob boss Nick Valenti (Joe Viterelli) : a Broadway debut, with the chance to direct, as long as Nick’s flibbertigibbet girlfriend, Olive (Jennifer Tilly), plays one of the lead roles. As Olive and star Helen Sinclair (Dianne Wiest) attempt to upstage each other, Olive’s gangland bodyguard Cheech (Chazz Palminteri) starts suggesting changes to David’s script.

Zelig (1983)

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Synopsis: In this fictional documentary, a man achieves notoriety for his ability to look and act like anyone he meets. With his unique talent for mimicry, Zelig (Woody Allen) ingratiates himself with people from every sector of society. His chameleon-like skill catches the eye of Eudora Fletcher (Mia Farrow), a doctor who thinks Zelig is in need of serious cognitive analysis. Their relationship moves in a direction that’s not often covered in medical textbooks.

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

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Synopsis: Judah (Martin Landau) is a philandering eye doctor who wants to preserve his marriage, and his dangerous brother Jack (Jerry Orbach) comes up with what appears to be the only viable solution. Certain that his mistress (Anjelica Huston) is about to tell his wife (Claire Bloom) about his affair, Judah agrees to Jack’s murderous plan. Twinned with Judah’s tale is that of Cliff Stern (Woody Allen), a documentary filmmaker whose problems, which involve love and art, are tame but funny.

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