What are the best Woody Allen movies? Before I list out the best films of Woody Allen, let’s briefly look at his career.
A prolific director and actor, Woody Allen has had a distinguished career for many decades now. A man who is revered for his ability to combine humor and drama effectively, his style has influenced many modern filmmakers. As much as he is known for his film making, it is his writing that has been the most appreciated. A man known for always being able to get the best out of his actors. He began his career as a writer for television and slowly moved on to doing stand-up. It is during his stand-up days that he developed the persona, that would go on to become a staple of his films. Even though he has made quite a few excellent dramatic films, it is his comedies that are etched in people’s memories.
With such a vast filmography, it is very difficult to choose ten that represent the genius of the man. He has explored a variety of themes through his films. These includes some serious topics as well as some lighter ones. Only a few directors in the world can boast of the longevity that Allen has had. His ability to attract the audience even today is evidence of his talent.
With that said, let’s look at the list of top 10 Woody Allen movies.
10. Match Point (2005)
The 21st century has been hit and miss for Allen, with some feeling he had lost his touch. This 2005 flick is proof that he hadn’t lost it. The film is filled with an energy that was missing from his earlier attempts. It has cracking performances from both Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Scarlett Johansson. Featuring ideas that were also explored in his masterpiece, ‘Crimes And Misdemanors’, it is the film that was well and truly a comeback for Allen. It is also quite different from the films he had made before this. This shows that when he switches to a more serious mode of film making, the results can be spectacular. If you want to introduce his films to someone, this should be among your top picks.
9. Zelig (1983)
A fascinating experiment of a film. The story is one of the quirkiest that Allen has written. A challenging film to make in a stylistic sense, it is nonetheless one of his funnier films. The film has one of the director’s finest acting performance to boot. His skill as an actor can be witnessed by the way he transforms in to the different personas. The highlight of the script, is the way in which analyzes the concept of fitting in. It makes us wonder what we would do if he had the same abilities as the titular character. And it almost makes one feel like your watching a documentary about a real person. These attributes combined with Allen’s trademark humor and wit, make the film a memorable experience.
8. Blue Jasmine (2013)
It is possibly the finest film Allen has made this millennium, it is also one of his most acclaimed works. One of the strengths of the films is its cast. Led by a near-perfect Cate Blanchett and ably supported by many, it has great performances across the board. The way the film chronicles the gradual breakdown of its protagonist is a joy to watch. Further proof of the director’s skill can be found in the way he managed to get even Andrew Dice Clay to act well. That is one of the filmmaker’s gifts, he can make anyone dance to his tune and produce the goods. What adds to the film’s appeal are the strong women characters. There is a reason for the existence for every character and each of them leaves an impact on the film.
7. Husbands And Wives (1992)
The final collaboration between Allen and Mia Farrow produced one of his finer dramatic films. The film’s story seems to mirror Allen’s life. The way he deconstructs a marriage is both profound and poignant. A lot of the scenes are something that a lot of people can relate to. The film succeeds because of the strong characterization. This increases the effect of watching these actors. As with any great film of Allen, the cast is top-notch. The film’s stand-out performance is undoubtedly from Judy Davis. The way she processes her friend’s failing marriage, is a great commentary on relationships. Though the film didn’t do too well at the box-office, it has grown in stature over the years. What makes the film enduring is that, it is a relatable story even in the modern world.
6. Sleeper (1973)
One of the goofiest and funniest films Allen ever made, it is both a parody as well as a homage. Stylistically, the film was a departure from his earlier films. But that decision paid off richly with ‘Sleeper’. It also represents the peak of Allen’s slapstick era. Here, every joke makes us laugh and nothing seems out of place. The sci-fi genre is not one that Allen has frequently ventured into. But here, he seems perfectly at home making an eminently funny and critically adored film. If the future is anything like the one shown in the film, we are in for an interesting ride. He has steered away from these kind of films for a long time so until we get to see more of it, let’s enjoy the greatness that already exists.
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