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woody-allen

Woody Allen

Male
78 years old
Bronx, New York
United States
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December 1, 1935

Allen Stewart Konigsberg

Harlene Rosen (m. 1954–1959)

Louise Lasser (m. 1966–1969)

Soon-Yi Previn (m. 1997–present)

PartnerMia Farrow (1980-92)

Had a relationship with Diane Keaton

1965 What's New Pussycat?(writer,actor)

1966 What's Up, Tiger Lily?(director,writer,actor)

1967 Casino Royale(writer,actor)

1969 Don't Drink the Water(writer)

1969 Take the Money and Run(director,writer,actor)

1971 Men of Crisis: The Harvey Wallinger Story(director,writer,actor)

1971 Bananas(director,writer,actor)

1972 Play It Again, Sam(writer,actor)

1972 Everything You Always Wanted
to Know About Sex*
(*But Were Afraid to Ask)(director,writer,actor)

1973 Sleeper(director,writer,actor)

1975 Love and Death(director,writer,actor)

1976 The Front(actor)

1977 Annie Hall(director,writer,actor)

1978 Interiors(director,writer)

1979 Manhattan(director,writer,actor)

1980 Stardust Memories(director,writer,actor)

1980 To Woody Allen, From Europe with Love(actor)

1982 A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy(director,writer,actor)

1983 Zelig(director,writer,actor)

1984 Broadway Danny Rose(director,writer,actor)

1985 The Purple Rose of Cairo(director,writer)

1986 50 Years of Action!(actor)

1986 Hannah and Her Sisters(director,writer,actor)

1987 Radio Days(director,writer,actor)

1987 September(director,writer)

1987 King Lear(actor)

1988 Another Woman(director,writer)

1988 Hotel Terminus:
Klaus Barbie, His Life and Times

1989 New York Stories(director,writer,actor)

1989 Crimes and Misdemeanors(director,writer,actor)

1990 Alice(director,writer)

1991 Scenes from a Mall(actor)

1992 Shadows and Fog(director,writer,actor)

1992 Husbands and Wives(director,writer,actor)

1993 Manhattan Murder Mystery(director,writer,actor)

1994 Bullets Over Broadway(director,writer)

1994 Don't Drink the Water(director,writer,actor)

1995 The Sunshine Boys(actor)

1995 Mighty Aphrodite(director,writer,actor)

1996 Everyone Says I Love You(director,writer,actor)

1997 Deconstructing Harry(director,writer,actor)

1997 The Sunshine Boys(actor)

1997 Wild Man Blues(actor)

1998 AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies(actor)

1998 Celebrity(director,writer)

1998 The Impostors(actor)

1998 Antz(voice)

1999 Sweet and Lowdown(director,writer,actor)

2000 Company Man(actor)

2000 Small Time Crooks(director,writer,actor)

2000 Light Keeps Me Company(actor)

2000 Picking Up the Pieces(actor)

2001 The Curse of the Jade Scorpion(director,writer,actor)

2001 Sounds from a Town I Love(director,writer)

2001 Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures(actor)

2001 The Concert for New York City(actor)

2002 Woody Allen: A Life in Film(actor)

2002 The Magic of Fellini(actor)

2002 Hollywood Ending(director,writer,actor)

2003 100 Years of Hope & Humor(actor)

2003 Anything Else(director,writer,actor)

2003 Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin(actor)

2004 Francois Truffaut, une Autobiographie(actor)

2004 Melinda and Melinda(director,writer)

2005 The Ballad of Greenwich Village(actor)

2005 The Outsider(actor)

2005 Match Point(director,writer)

2006 Scoop(director,writer,actor)

2006 Home(actor)

2007 Cassandra's Dream(director,writer)

2008 Vicky Cristina Barcelona(director,writer)


TELEVISION

1953 The Colgate Comedy Hour Writer

1955 Your Show of Shows Writer

1964 The Tonight Show Guest Host

Published plays

Don't Drink the Water: A comedy in two acts (1967)

Play It Again, Sam (1969)

God: A comedy in one act (1975)

The Floating Light Bulb (1981)

Three One-Act Plays: Riverside Drive / Old Saybrook / Central Park West (2003)

Writer's Block: Two One-Act Plays (2005) (includes Riverside Drive and Old Saybrook)

A Second Hand Memory: A drama in two acts (2005)
The one-act plays God and Death are both included in Allen's 1975 collection Without Feathers.

Short stories

Getting Even (1971)

Without Feathers (1975)

"The Whore of Mensa" (1974)

Side Effects (1980)

Mere Anarchy (2007)

ADIRCAE Awards

2006 Won ADIRCAE Award Best Foreign Film for: Match Point (2005).

Academy Awards

2006 Nominated Oscar Best Writing, Original Screenplay for: Match Point (2005).

1998 Nominated Oscar Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Deconstructing Harry (1997).

1996 Nominated Oscar Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Mighty Aphrodite (1995).

1995 Nominated Oscar Best Director for: Bullets Over Broadway (1994).

1995 Nominated Oscar Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Bullets Over Broadway (1994). Shared with:Douglas McGrath

1993 Nominated Oscar Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Husbands and Wives (1992).

1991 Nominated Oscar Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Alice (1990).

1990 Nominated Oscar Best Director for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

1990 Nominated Oscar Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

1988 Nominated Oscar Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Radio Days (1987).

1987 Won Oscar Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1987 Nominated Oscar Best Director for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1986 Nominated Oscar Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).

1985 Nominated Oscar Best Director for: Broadway Danny Rose (1984).

1985 Nominated Oscar Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Broadway Danny Rose (1984).

1980 Nominated Oscar Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Manhattan (1979).
Shared with: Marshall Brickman

1979 Nominated Oscar Best Director for: Interiors (1978).

1979 Nominated Oscar Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Interiors (1978).

1978 Won Oscar Best Director for: Annie Hall (1977).

1978 Won Oscar Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Annie Hall (1977).
Shared with: Marshall Brickman

1978 Nominated Oscar Best Actor in a Leading Role
for: Annie Hall (1977).

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Argentina

2006 Won Award of the Argentinean Academy Best Foreign Film for: Match Point (2005).

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films

1986 Won President's Award for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).

1986 Nominated Saturn Award Best Director for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).

1986 Nominated Saturn Award Best Writing for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).

1984 Nominated Saturn Award Best Director for: Zelig (1983).

American Comedy Awards, USA

1990 Nominated American Comedy Award Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

1987 Won American Comedy Award Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1987 Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy

BAFTA Awards

1997 Won Academy Fellowship

1996 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Screenplay - Original for: Bullets Over Broadway (1994). Shared with: Douglas McGrath

1993 Won BAFTA Film Award Best Screenplay - Original
for: Husbands and Wives (1992).

1991 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Direction
for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

1991 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Film for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). Shared with:
Robert Greenhut

1991 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Screenplay - Original for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

1988 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Film
for: Radio Days (1987). Shared with: Robert Greenhut

1988 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Screenplay - Original for: Radio Days (1987).

1987 Won BAFTA Film Award Best Direction for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1987 Won BAFTA Film Award Best Screenplay - Original
for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1987 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Actor for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1987 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Film for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986). Shared with: Robert Greenhut

1986 Won BAFTA Film Award Best Film for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985). Shared with: Robert Greenhut

1986 Won BAFTA Film Award Best Screenplay - Original
for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).

1985 Won BAFTA Film Award Best Screenplay - Original
for: Broadway Danny Rose (1984).

1984 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Screenplay - Original for: Zelig (1983).

1980 Won BAFTA Film Award Best Screenplay for: Manhattan (1979). Shared with: Marshall Brickman

1980 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Actor for: Manhattan (1979).

1980 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Direction
for: Manhattan (1979).

1978 Won BAFTA Film Award Best Direction for: Annie Hall (1977).

1978 Won BAFTA Film Award Best Screenplay for: Annie Hall (1977). Shared with: Marshall Brickman

1978 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Actor
for: Annie Hall (1977).

Berlin International Film Festival

1975 Won Silver Berlin Bear For his whole works.

1975 Won UNICRIT Award for: Love and Death (1975).

1975 Nominated Golden Berlin Bear for: Love and Death (1975).

Bodil Awards

2009 Nominated Bodil Best American Film (Bedste amerikanske film) for: Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008).

1987 Won Bodil Best Non-European Film (Bedste ikke-europæiske film) for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1986 Won Bodil Best Non-European Film (Bedste ikke-europæiske film) for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).

1984 Won Bodil Best Non-European Film (Bedste ikke-europæiske film) for: Zelig (1983).

1980 Won Bodil Best Non-European Film (Bedste ikke-europæiske film) for: Manhattan (1979).

1978 Won Bodil Best Non-European Film (Bedste ikke-europæiske film) for: Annie Hall (1977).

Boston Society of Film Critics Awards

1990 Won BSFC Award Best Director for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

1990 Won BSFC Award Best Screenplay for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

1987 Won BSFC Award Best Screenplay for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1986 Won BSFC Award Best Screenplay for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).

Butaca Awards

1998 Nominated Butaca Best Art House Film (Millor película d'autor) for: Deconstructing Harry (1997).

1997 Won Butaca Best Art House Film (Millor película d'autor) for: Everyone Says I Love You (1996).

1996 Won Butaca Best Art House Film (Millor película d'autor) for: Mighty Aphrodite (1995).

Cannes Film Festival

1985 Won FIPRESCI Prize for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).

Chlotrudis Awards

2001 Nominated Chlotrudis Award Best Screenplay - Original for: Sweet and Lowdown (1999).

Cinema Brazil Grand Prize

2000 Nominated Cinema Brazil Grand Prize Best Foreign Film (Melhor Filme Estrangeiro) for: Deconstructing Harry (1997).

César Awards, France

2006 Nominated César Best Foreign Film (Meilleur film étranger) for: Match Point (2005).

1998 Nominated César Best Foreign Film (Meilleur film étranger) for: Everyone Says I Love You (1996).

1994 Nominated César Best Foreign Film (Meilleur film étranger) for: Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993).

1993 Nominated César Best Foreign Film (Meilleur film étranger) for: Husbands and Wives (1992).

1992 Nominated César Best Foreign Film (Meilleur film étranger) for: Alice (1990).

1987 Nominated César Best Foreign Film (Meilleur film étranger) for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1986 Won César Best Foreign Film (Meilleur film étranger) for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).

1980 Won César Best Foreign Film (Meilleur film étranger) for: Manhattan (1979).

1978 Nominated César Best Foreign Film (Meilleur film étranger) for: Annie Hall (1977).

David di Donatello Awards

2006 Won David Best European Film (Miglior Film dell'Unione Europea) for: Match Point (2005).

1996 Nominated David Best Foreign Actor (Migliore Attore Straniero) for: Mighty Aphrodite (1995).

1996 Nominated David Best Foreign Film (Miglior Film Straniero) for: Mighty Aphrodite (1995).

1992 Nominated David Best Foreign Film (Miglior Film Straniero) for: Shadows and Fog (1991).

1990 Won David Best Foreign Screenplay (Migliore Sceneggiatura Straniera) for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

1990 Nominated David Best Foreign Actor (Migliore Attore Straniero) for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

1990 Nominated David Best Foreign Director (Migliore Regista Straniero) for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

1990 Nominated David Best Foreign Film (Miglior Film Straniero) for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

1989 Nominated David Best Director - Foreign Film (Migliore Regista Straniero) for: Another Woman (1988).

1987 Won David Best Foreign Screenplay (Migliore Sceneggiatura Straniera) for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1985 Won David Best Screenplay - Foreign Film (Autore della Migliore Sceneggiatura Straniera) for: Broadway Danny Rose (1984).

1984 Won David Best Foreign Actor (Migliore Attore Straniero) for: Zelig (1983).

Directors Guild of America

1996 Won Lifetime Achievement Award

1990 Nominated DGA Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

1987 Nominated DGA Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1980 Nominated DGA Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for: Manhattan (1979).

1978 Won DGA Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for: Annie Hall (1977).

Edgar Allan Poe Awards

2006 Nominated Edgar Best Motion Picture Screenplay
for: Match Point (2005).

1990 Nominated Edgar Best Motion Picture for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

European Film Awards

1998 Nominated Screen International Award for: Deconstructing Harry (1997).

1997 Nominated Screen International Award for: Everyone Says I Love You (1996).

Fotogramas de Plata

1986 Won Fotogramas de Plata Best Foreign Film (Mejor Película Extranjera) for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).

1974 Won Fotogramas de Plata Best Foreign Movie Performer (Mejor intérprete de cine extranjero) for: Play It Again, Sam (1972).

French Syndicate of Cinema Critics

1987 Won Critics Award Best Foreign Film for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1986 Won Critics Award Best Foreign Film for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).

Golden Globes

2006 Nominated Golden Globe Best Director - Motion Picture for: Match Point (2005).

2006 Nominated Golden Globe Best Screenplay - Motion Picture for: Match Point (2005).

1987 Nominated Golden Globe Best Director - Motion Picture for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1987 Nominated Golden Globe Best Screenplay - Motion Picture for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1986 Won Golden Globe Best Screenplay - Motion Picture for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).

1984 Nominated Golden Globe Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical for: Zelig (1983).

1979 Nominated Golden Globe Best Director - Motion Picture for: Interiors (1978).

1979 Nominated Golden Globe Best Screenplay - Motion Picture for: Interiors (1978).

1978 Nominated Golden Globe Best Director - Motion Picture for: Annie Hall (1977).

1978 Nominated Golden Globe Best Motion Picture Actor - Musical/Comedy for: Annie Hall (1977).

1978 Nominated Golden Globe Best Screenplay - Motion Picture for: Annie Hall (1977).
Shared with: Marshall Brickman

Goya Awards

2007 Nominated Goya Best European Film (Mejor Película Europea) for: Scoop (2006).

2006 Won Goya Best European Film (Mejor Película Europea) for: Match Point (2005).

Guild of German Art House Cinemas

1981 Won Guild Film Award - Silver Foreign Film (Ausländischer Film for: Manhattan (1979).

1979 Won Guild Film Award - Gold Foreign Film (Ausländischer Film) for: Annie Hall (1977).

Hochi Film Awards

1986 Won Hochi Film Award Best Foreign Language Film for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).

Independent Spirit Awards

2009 Won Independent Spirit Award Best Screenplay
for: Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008).

1995 Nominated Independent Spirit Award Best Screenplay for: Bullets Over Broadway (1994). Shared with: Douglas McGrath

Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists

2009 Nominated Silver Ribbon Best Director - European Film (Regista del Miglior Film Europeo) for: Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008).

2007 Nominated Silver Ribbon Best Director - Non-European Film (Regista del Miglior Film Non-Europeo)
for: Match Point (2005).

1980 Won Silver Ribbon Best Director - Foreign Film (Regista del Miglior Film Straniero) for: Manhattan (1979).

Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards

1979 Won KCFCC Award Best Director for: Interiors (1978).

1978 Won KCFCC Award Best Director for: Annie Hall (1977).

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards

1998 Won Lifetime Achievement Award

Laurel Awards

1970 Nominated Golden Laurel Male Comedy Performance for: Take the Money and Run (1969). 4th place
1970 Male New Face for: Take the Money and Run (1969). 10th place.

1966 Nominated Golden Laurel New Faces, Male
13th place.

London Critics Circle Film Awards

1998 Won Special Achievement Award

1991 Won ALFS Award Director of the Year for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

1991 Won ALFS Award Screenwriter of the Year for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

1987 Won ALFS Award Screenwriter of the Year
for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards

1986 Won LAFCA Award Best Screenplay for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1977 Won LAFCA Award Best Screenplay for: Annie Hall (1977). Shared with: Marshall Brickman

Mainichi Film Concours

1987 Won Mainichi Film Concours Best Foreign Language Film for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).

National Board of Review, USA

1986 Won NBR Award Best Director for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA

1980 Won NSFC Award Best Director for: Manhattan (1979).Tied with Robert Benton for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).

1977 Won NSFC Award Best Screenplay for: Annie Hall (1977). Shared with: Marshall Brickman

New York Film Critics Circle Awards

1986 Won NYFCC Award Best Director for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1985 Won NYFCC Award Best Screenplay for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).

1979 Won NYFCC Award Best Director for: Manhattan (1979).

1977 Won NYFCC Award Best Director for: Annie Hall (1977).

1977 Won NYFCC Award Best Screenplay for: Annie Hall (1977). Shared with: Marshall Brickman

Online Film Critics Society Awards

2006 Nominated OFCS Award Best Screenplay, Original
for: Match Point (2005).

PEN Center USA West Literary Awards

1990 Won Literary Award Screenplay Original for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

Prince of Asturias Awards

2002 Won Prince of Asturias Award Arts

Robert Festival

2009 Nominated Robert Best American Film (Årets amerikanske film) for: Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008).

2007 Nominated Robert Best American Film (Årets amerikanske film) for: Match Point (2005).

1984 Won Honorary Robert

San Sebastián International Film Festival

2004 Won Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award

Sant Jordi Awards

2009 Won Audience Award Best Film (Mejor Película Española) for: Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008).

2006 Won Audience Award Best Foreign Film (Mejor Película Extranjera) for: Match Point (2005).

1979 Won Sant Jordi Best Foreign Film (Mejor Película Extranjera) for: Interiors (1978).

Satellite Awards

1997 Nominated Golden Satellite Award Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical for: Everyone Says I Love You (1996).

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

1975 Won Nebula Award Best Dramatic Presentation
for: Sleeper (1973).

Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival

2001 Won Gran Angular Award Best Film for: The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001).

Turia Awards

2010 Won Turia Award Best Foreign Film for: Whatever Works (2009).

2006 Won Audience Award Best Foreign Film for: Match Point (2005).

1999 Won Audience Award Best Foreign Film for: Deconstructing Harry (1997).

1998 Won Audience Award Best Foreign Film for: Everyone Says I Love You (1996).

1998 Turia Award Best Foreign Film for: Everyone Says I Love You (1996).

Venice Film Festival

1995 Won Career Golden Lion In celebration of cinema's 100th anniversary

1983 Won Pasinetti Award Best Film for: Zelig (1983).

Writers Guild of America

2009 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Original Screenplay for: Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008).

1996 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Mighty Aphrodite (1995).

1995 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Bullets Over Broadway (1994). Shared with: Douglas McGrath

1993 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Husbands and Wives (1992).

1991 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Alice (1990).

1990 Won WGA Award (Screen) Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

1988 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Radio Days (1987).

1987 Won Laurel Award for Screen Writing Achievement
WGA Award (Screen) Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

1986 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).

1985 Won WGA Award (Screen) Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for: Broadway Danny Rose (1984).

1984 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen for: Zelig (1983).

1981 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen for: Stardust Memories (1980).

1980 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen for: Manhattan (1979).
Shared with: Marshall Brickman

1979 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen for: Interiors (1978).

1978 Won WGA Award (Screen) Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen for: Annie Hall (1977).
Shared with: Marshall Brickman

1974 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen for: Sleeper (1973).
Shared with: Marshall Brickman

1972 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen for: Bananas (1971).
Shared with: Mickey Rose

1970 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen for: Take the Money and Run (1969). Shared with: Mickey Rose

1966 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Written American Comedy for: What's New Pussycat (1965).



Actor And Director Woody Allen Woody Allen Woody Allen Poses For The Camera Woody Allen Close Up


Woody Allen’s directorial persona is so well defined that just his name provokes a rapid series of word associations – New York, religion, intellectual, psychoanalysis, relationships, angst – but perhaps what immediately comes to mind is comedy. In a prolific career that has produced nearly a film every year for 40 years he has skewered the pangs and anxieties of modern urban living with a wit and insight that is without peer in American cinema. Allen’s work is rooted in a deep understanding that life – and especially love – is unpredictable, uncontrollable and painful, which is what makes his comedy so important. It keeps the whole sorry mess perfectly in perspective.

As a filmmaker Allen has grown in confidence over the years. His early films are, gag for gag, among the funniest ever made, yet as his themes grew more sophisticated so did his directorial style. By staying outside the Hollywood system he has maintained a remarkable control over his work, resulting in a cinema that is highly personal but rarely autobiographical. Or so he claims.

STAND-UP PRODIGY

Woody Allen – born Stewart Allen Konigsberg on December 1st, 1935 in New York – started his prolific comedy career early, selling gags to newspapers while still at high school. This talent flourished into a career as a gag writer for Broadway and television, a writer of short stories and literary parodies for magazines and as a hip stand-up comedian. It was as a stand-up that he developed the neurotic, sexually insecure persona, who employed memorable one-liners with cutting understatement. This assumed role would become the basis of his big-screen character.

After unhappy experiences as actor-writer on What’s New Pussycat (1965) and James Bond spoof Casino Royale (1967), Allen’s first directorial effort, What’s Up Tiger Lily (1966), re-voiced Japanese spy thriller International Secret Police: Key of Keys in English, with Allen and his cohorts spinning a new comic plot line about the hunt for the world’s greatest egg-salad recipe.

His first real directorial outing was Take the Money and Run (1969), a fresh and inventive mock crime documentary starring the director as America’s most wanted criminal, Virgil Starkwell. The film also starred Allen’s wife at the time, actress Louise Lasser, establishing a pattern of Allen co-starring with the women in his private life.

THE EARLY FUNNY ONES

More important in Allen’s burgeoning film career than this was his success on Broadway. Don’t Drink the Water and Play it Again, Sam were big Broadway hits and drew Allen substantial offers from Hollywood. But, choosing to work independently, he produced a string of comedies that are marked out by great gags, astonishing verbal dexterity, pointed cultural parodies and a freewheeling, disjointed continuity.

Bananas (1971) uproots the archetypal Allen character from New York and makes him the unlikely hero of a South American revolution. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask (1972) took the title of a pop psychology book and used it as a springboard for a series of sketches. Sleeper (1973), a brilliant melding of science-fiction staples and slapstick comedy, stars Allen again as a New York health store owner who goes into hospital for an ulcer operation and wakes up in the year 2173. The film is notable because it marks the first time that Allen directed Diane Keaton, who would become the best of Allen’s female co-stars, her ditzy naϊvety the perfect foil to his urban anguish. Love and Death (1975), the fullest expression to that point of his love of heavy literature and Bergmanesque mood, located his trademark shtick into the Napoleonic era.

After Take the Money and Run each successive film was technically more assured than the last and Love and Death, with its location shooting and large-scale battle scenes, sees a filmmaker bursting with self-belief. It was a confidence that would come to the fore in his next picture.

THE LATER SERIOUS ONES

Allen’s next film was originally a modern-day murder mystery entitled, Anhedonia, a term for the inability to feel pleasure. When he felt the mystery aspect wasn’t working he jettisoned it, shot additional footage and fashioned Annie Hall (1977), the movie that marks his maturation as a filmmaker. This story of a failed romance between comedian Alvy Singer (Allen) and Annie Hall (Keaton) became Allen’s most popular success, winning four Oscars, starting fashion trends, such as women wearing waistcoats, ties and billowing trousers and firmly establishing the autobiographical nature of his work, with audiences often mistaking his onscreen character and antics with his real life.

Annie Hall was a step forward for Allen in a number of ways. First, he avoided the broad, cartoonish elements of his work, making a film about recognizable human beings that captured scenes for more than just their comic effect, using long takes, sophisticated compositions and subtle lighting. It also sees Allen playing with conventional film realism, having characters talk directly to camera, turn into cartoon characters, revisit their younger selves and comment on one another in split screens.

Perhaps inevitably, Allen’s follow-up, the somber, serious drama Interiors (1978), was a disappointment, but he regained top form with Manhattan (1979). He followed this with Stardust Memories (1980), in which Allen plays a successful comic filmmaker who doesn’t want to be funny any more. The film was misconstrued as a bitter attack on his critics and fans, but it has stood the test of time; it is a thoughtful and funny treatise on creativity, fame and relationships.

Starting a new relationship, both personal and professional, with actress Mia Farrow, Allen’s next films were distinctly lighter in tone. These include: the fanciful Bergman parody A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982); the brilliant faux documentary Zelig (1983), in which Allen plays a human chameleon and which is notable for the brilliant way Allen is dropped into old newsreel footage; Broadway Danny Rose (1984), a charming romp through the dying world of variety acts; and The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), which proffers a lovely meditation on the power of cinema as a fictional film character walks off the screen and into the life of a depressed housewife.

Returning to the lives and loves of New Yorkers Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) became Allen’s most popular film for years, finding a rare, wistful optimism for his bruised romantics. Following Radio Days (1987), a nostalgic love letter to the entertainments of his youth and September (1987), a dour Chekhovian drama that he re-shot completely from scratch, Allen hit something approaching his best with Crimes and Misdemeanors (!989). On the one hand it is a dark drama with Martin Landau as an eye surgeon trying to cover up his infidelity and on the other a bittersweet comedy featuring Allen as a documentary filmmaker dealing with his art and unhappy marriage. Ambitious and sophisticated, it is a sublime contemplation on guilt and culpability that still manages to be uproariously funny.

KEEPING IT SIMPLE

As Allen moved into the 1990s the events of his private life overtook his fiction and saw him reteat to simpler forms, producing likable comedies - Manhattan Murder Myster, mighty Aphrodite and Everyone Says I Love You (1993, 1995 and 1996 respectively) – and less successful dramas such as Alice (1990) and Shadows and Fog (1992). His best-received works of the decade are Bullets over Broadway (1994) and the jazz-themed Sweet and Lowdown (1999).

In the new millennium Allen has failed to find his footing, his reputation dimming somewhat. Films such as Small Time Crooks (2000) and Melinda and Melinda (2005) have entertained, whereas The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001), Hollywood Endings (2002) and Anything Else (2003) practically disappeared without trace. Uprooting to London, Allen fared better with the impressive Match Point (2005), a Crimes and Misdemeanors-style drama set among the English upper classes, but his next two films - Scoop (2006) and Casandra’s Dream (2007) – failed to capitalize on this success.

LIFE MIRRORS ART

In 1992 Allen’s romantic relationship with Soon Yi Previn – his then partner Mia Farrow’s 21-year-old adopted daughter – was discovered by Farrow and made public. Charges and counter-charges followed, all conducted in a cauldron of press scrutiny, resulting in Allen losing custody of his three children. Interestingly, the film prior to these tribulations, Husbands and Wives, is a powerful portrait of two disintegrating marriages, including one where Allen is in a relationship with a woman (Juliette Lewis) young enough to be his daughter. With scenes of emotional ferocity enhanced by a ragged handheld camera the film remains one of Allen’s most textured, raw and moving works, whatever the context surrounding its release.

MANHATTAN

Manhattan is Woody Allen’s masterpiece. Unraveling the tangled love lives of four New Yorkers Allen presents a serious, moving meditation on complex relationships and modern manners but with snappy dialogue – “I think people should mate for life, like pigeons or Catholics” – and beautiful black-and-white photography that celebrates his hometown, all played out to gorgeous orchestral versions of George Gershwin tunes. What is even more surprising is that once he had completed it Allen hated it, wanted it shelved and offered to make a film for the studio for free. Thankfully, they didn’t agree.

Must-see Movies

Sleeper (1973)

Love and Death (1975)

Annie Hall (1977)

Manhattan (1979)

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

”I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work…I want to achieve it through not dying.”


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