Woody Allen


Haywood “Woody” Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; December 1, 1935) is an American director, writer, actor, and comedian whose career spans more than six decades and multiple Academy Award winning movies. He began his career as a comedy writer on Sid Caesar’s comedy variety program, Your Show of Shows, working alongside Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart and Neil Simon. He also began writing material for television, published several books featuring short stories, and writing humor pieces for The New Yorker. In the early 1960s, he performed as a stand-up comedian in Greenwich Village alongside Lenny Bruce, Elaine May, Mike Nichols, and Joan Rivers. There he developed a monologue style (rather than traditional jokes), and the persona of an insecure, intellectual, fretful nebbish, which he maintains is quite different from his real-life personality. He released multiple comedy albums during the mid to late 1960s, even earning a Grammy Award nomination for his 1964 comedy album entitled simply, Woody Allen. In 2004 Comedy Central ranked Allen fourth on a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians, while a UK survey ranked Allen the third-greatest comedian.

By the mid-1960s, Allen was writing and directing films, first specializing in slapstick comedies such as Take the Money and Run (1969), Bananas (1971), Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972), featuring Gene Wilder and Burt Reynolds; Sleeper (1973) and Love and Death (1975), before moving into dramatic material influenced by European art cinema during the late 1970s with Interiors (1978), with Kristin Griffith, Mary Beth Hurt, Richard Jordan, Diane Keaton, E.G. Marshall, Geraldine Page, Maureen Stapleton, and Sam Waterston; Manhattan (1979), with Keaton, Michael Murphy, Mariel Hemingway, Meryl Streep, and Anne Byrne; and Stardust Memories (1980), with Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper and Marie-Christine Barrault; and alternating between comedies and dramas to the present.

His film Annie Hall (1977), a romantic comedy featuring Allen and his frequent collaborator Keaton, won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actress for Keaton. Allen is often identified as part of the New Hollywood wave of filmmakers of the mid-1960s to late 1970s such as Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, and Sidney Lumet. He often stars in his films, typically in the persona he developed as a standup. One of the few films he starred where he didn’t write or direct include Martin Ritt‘s Hollywood Blacklist drama The Front (1976), with Zero Mostel; Paul Mazursky’s Scenes from a Mall (1991), with Bette Midler; the animated film Antz (1998), with the voices of Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken, and Anne Bancroft; and Fading Gigolo (2013), with John Turturro (who also directed), Stone, Sofia Vergara, Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schreiber and Eugenia Kuzmina.

He frequently collaborated with actress Mia Farrow, with whom they shared a romantic relationship with for over a decade. They’re first collaboration was in A MidSummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982), with Julie Hagerty, Mary Steenburgen, Tony Roberts, and Jose Ferrer. Their other films together include Zelig (1983), Broadway Danny Rose (1984), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), with Jeff Daniels and Danny Aiello; Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), with Barbara Hershey, Diane Wiest, Michael Caine, Carrie Fisher, Maureen O’Sullivan, Lloyd Nolan, and Max von Sydow; Radio Days (1987), with Seth Green, Julie Kavner, and Michael Tucker; September (1987), with Waterston, Wiest, Elaine Stritch, Jack Warden, and Denholm Elliott; Another Woman (1988), with Gena Rowlands, Ian Holm, Blythe Danner, Martha Plimpton, and Hackman; Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), with Martin Landau, Anjelica Huston, Jerry Orbach, Alan Alda, Waterston, and Joanna Gleason; Alice (1990), with Joe Mantegna, William Hurt, Alec Baldwin, Blythe Danner, Judy Davis, Keye Luke, and Bernadette Peters; and Shadows and Fog (1991), with Kathy Bates, John Cusack, Jodie Foster, Fred Gwynne, Madonna, John Malkovich, Kenneth Mars, Donald Pleasence, and Lily Tomlin.

After their last movie together Husbands and Wives (1992), with Sydney Pollack, Judy Davis, Lysette Anthony, Juliette Lewis, Liam Neeson and Danner; it was revealed Allen was having an affair with Farrows adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn (from her second marriage to André Previn) and they ended their relationship together. Allen and Soon-Yi remained together, eventually got married in 1997, and have have adopted 2 children together.

Other films in the early 1990s include Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993), with Keaton, Alda, and Huston; Bullets Over Broadway (1994), with Cusack, Wiest, Chazz Palminteri, Jennifer Tilly, Jim Broadbent, Harvey Fierstein, and Mary-Louise Parker; the TV movie Don’t Drink the Water (1994), with Mayim Bialik, Michael J. Fox, Dom DeLuise, Kavner, and Edward Herrmann; Mighty Aphrodite (1995), with Mira Sorvino, Helena Bonham Carter, F. Murray Abraham, Michael Rapaport, and Peter Weller.

Films in the mid to late 90s incisor Everyone Says I Love You (1996), with Alda, Julia Roberts, Edward Norton, Drew Barrymore, Gaby Hoffmann, Tim Roth, Goldie Hawn, Natasha Lyonne and Natalie Portman; Deconstructing Harry (1997), with Davis, Richard Benjamin, Billy Crystal, Bob Balaban, Kirstie Alley, Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Shue, Paul Giamatti, Stanley Tucci, and Robin Williams; Celebrity (1998), with Kenneth Branagh, Davis, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Winona Ryder; and Sweet and Lowdown (1999), with Sean Penn, Samantha Morton, Uma Thurman, and Anthony LaPaglia.

Films in the early 2000s include Small Time Crooks (2000), with Tracy Ullman, Jon Lovitz, Hugh Grant, and Elaine May; The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001), with Helen Hunt, Dan Aykroyd, Elizabeth Berkley, John Schuck, Wallace Shawn, David Ogden Stiers, and Charlize Theron; Hollywood Ending (2002), with Téa Leoni, George Hamilton, Treat Williams, Debra Messing, Tiffani Thiessen, and Fred Melamed; Anything Else (2003), with Jason Biggs, Christina Ricci, Stockard Channing, Danny DeVito, Jimmy Fallon, Erica Leerhsen, and KaDee Strickland; Melinda and Melinda (2004), with Radha Mitchell, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Will Ferrell, Jonny Lee Miller, Amanda Peet, Chloë Sevigny, and Shawn; Match Point (2006), with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox, and Penelope Wilton.

Films in the mid to late 2000s include Scoop (2006), with Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Ian McShane, and Charles Dance; Cassandra’s Dream (2007), with Hayley Atwell, Colin Farrell, Sally Hawkins, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Wilkinson; Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008), with Javier Bardem, Patricia Clarkson, Penélope Cruz, Kevin Dunn, Rebecca Hall, Johansson, and Chris Messina; and Whatever Works (2009), with Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood, Clarkson, Ed Begley Jr., Michael McKean, and Henry Cavill.

Films in the 2010 include You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010), with Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Gemma Jones, Freida Pinto, Lucy Punch, Naomi Watts, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, and Pauline Collins; Midnight in Paris (2011), with Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni, Tom Hiddleston, Marion Cotillard, and Michael Sheen; To Rome with Love (2012), with Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Cruz, Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, and Elliot Page; Blue Jasmine (2013), with Cate Blanchett, Baldwin, Louis C.K., Bobby Cannavale, Andrew Dice Clay, Hawkins, Peter Sarsgaard, and Michael Stuhlbarg; and Magic in the Moonlight (2014), with Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Hamish Linklater, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Erica Leerhsen, Eileen Atkins, and Simon McBurney.

Later films include Irrational Man (2015), with Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, Parker Posey, and Jamie Blackley; Café Society (2016), with Jeannie Berlin, Steve Carell, Eisenberg, Blake Lively, Posey, Kristen Stewart, Corey Stoll, and Ken Stott; Wonder Wheel (2017), with Jim Belushi, Kate Winslet, Juno Temple, and Justin Timberlake; A Rainy Day in New York (2019), with Timothée Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Selena Gomez, Jude Law, Diego Luna, and Schreiber; and Rifkin’s Festival (2020), with Elena Anaya, Louis Garrel, Gina Gershon, Sergi López, Shawn, and Christoph Waltz.

Allen has received many accolades and honors. He has received the most nominations for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, with 16. He has won four Academy Awards, one for Best Director, and three for Best Original Screenplay. He also garnered nine British Academy Film Awards. In 2007 he said Stardust Memories (1980), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), and Match Point (2005) were his best films. Critic Roger Ebert described Allen as “a treasure of the cinema”. In 2014 Allen received a Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical for Bullets over Broadway. The Writers Guild of America named his screenplay for Annie Hall first on its list of the “101 Funniest Screenplays”. In 2011 PBS televised the film biography Woody Allen: A Documentary on its series American Masters.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • What’s New Pussycat? (1965) – directed by Clive Donner – writer, actor
  • What’s Up Tiger Lily? (1966) – co-director, co-writer, actor
  • Casino Royale (1967) – directed by Val Guest, Ken Hughes, John Huston, Joseph McGrath, & Robert Parish – uncredited co-writer, actor
  • Take the Money and Run (1969) – director, co-writer, actor
  • Bananas (1971) – director, co-writer, actor
  • Men of Crisis: The Harvey Wallinger Story (1971) – director, writer, actor – TV short
  • Play It Again, Sam (1972) – directed by Herbert Ross – writer, actor
  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972) – director, writer, actor
  • Sleeper (1973) director, co-writer, actor
  • Love and Death (1975) – director, writer, actor
  • The Front (1976) – directed by Martin Ritt – actor
  • Annie Hall (1977) – director, co-writer, actor
  • Interiors (1978) – director, writer
  • Manhattan (1979) – director, co-writer, actor
  • Stardust Memories (1980) – director, writer, actor
  • A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982) – director, writer, actor
  • Zelig (1983) – director, writer, actor
  • Broadway Danny Rose (1984) – director, writer, actor
  • The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) – director, writer
  • Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) – director, writer, actor
  • Radio Days (1987) – director, writer, uncredited narrator
  • September (1987) – director, writer
  • King Lear (1987) – directed by Jean-Luc Godard – uncredited actor
  • Another Woman (1988) – director, writer
  • New York Stories (1989) – directed with Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola – anthology
  • Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) – director, writer, actor
  • Alice (1990) – director, writer, actor
  • Scenes from a Mall (1991) – directed by Paul Mazursky – actor
  • Shadows and Fog (1991) – director, writer, actor
  • Husband and Wives (1992) – director, writer, actor
  • Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) director, co-writer, actor
  • Bullets Over Broadway (1994) – director, co-writer
  • Don’t Drink the Water (1994) – director, writer, actor – TV movie
  • Mighty Aphrodite (1995) – director, writer, actor
  • The Sunshine Boys (1996) – directed by John Erman – actor – TV movie
  • Everyone Says I Love You (1996) – director, writer, actor
  • Deconstructing Harry (1997) – director, writer, actor
  • Wild Man Blues (1997) – documentary
  • Celebrity (1998) – director, writer
  • The Imposters (1998) – directed by Stanley Tucci – uncredited actor
  • Antz (1998)* – directed by Eric Darnell & Tim Johnson – voice
  • Sweet and Lowdown (1999) – director, writer, narrator
  • Company Man (2000) – directed by Peter Askin & Douglas McGrath – uncredited actor
  • Small Time Crooks (2000) – director, writer, actor
  • Light Keeps Me Company (2000) – documentary
  • Picking Up the Pieces (2000) – directed By Alfonso Arau – actor
  • The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001) – director, writer, actor
  • Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001) – documentary
  • Hollywood Ending (2002) – director, writer, actor
  • Anything Else (2003) – director, writer, actor
  • Melinda and Melinda (2004) – director, writer
  • Match Point (2005) – director, writer
  • Scoop (2006) – director, writer, actor
  • Cassandra’s Dream (2007) – director, writer
  • Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008) – director, writer
  • Whatever Works (2009) – director, writer
  • You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010) – director, writer
  • Midnight in Paris (2011) – director, writer
  • Paris-Manhattan (2012) – directed by Sophie Lellouche – uncredited actor
  • To Rome with Love (2012) – director, writer, actor
  • Blue Jasmine (2013) – director, writer
  • Fading Gigolo (2013) – directed by John Turturro – actor
  • Magic in the Moonlight (2014)* – director, writer
  • Irrational Man (2015) – director, writer
  • Café Society (2016) – director, writer, uncredited narrator
  • Crisis in Six Scenes (2016) – creator, director, writer, actor – TV series
  • Wonder Wheel (2017) – director, writer
  • A Rainy Day in New York (2019) – director, writer
  • Rifkin’s Festival (2020) – director, writer, actor

Other notable New Hollywood filmmakers