In a box office era ruled by sequels, prequels, monsters, robots, superheroes, reboots and remakes, the low-budget films of one great man are still attracting an audience. Woody Allen is arguably , and with thewhat better time to celebrate his work?
So sit back, relax and set your therapist to speed dial, here are our picks for Woody Allen's 10 best films to date:
10. "Sleeper" (1973)
We kick off our celebration with "Sleeper," Allen's science-fiction comedy about a health food store owner who wakes up 200 years in the future. The film was released in 1973 and it already had critics talking about this budding Hollywood talent. Little did they know that 40 years in the future Allen would still be behind some great films.
Classic Scene: Watching reruns in the future.
9. "Match Point" (2005)
Allen had written murder mysteries before, but his 2005 film "Match Point" is straight thriller. The movie tells the story of Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), a tennis player and social climber who falls for wealthy London socialite Chloe (Emily Mortimer). Everything is going great for Chris until someone gets pregnant, and spoiler alert: It's not Chloe. This film picks up right where "Crimes and Misdemeanors" left off, and it really delivers.
Classic Scene: How not to answer interrogation questions
8. "Bullets Over Broadway" (1994)
John Cusack stars as a young playwright who agrees to hire the girlfriend of a gangster to get his play funded. Dianne Wiest won best supporting role in this film, which is also premiering as a broadway musical next year, starring Zach Braff.
Classic Scene: How to order drinks in a Woody Allen movie
7. "Zelig" (1983)
In "Zelig," Woody Allen portrays a highly insecure man who will go to great lengths to fit in, by becoming other people. The film tells the story of a man blessed and cursed with the ability to blend seamlessly to whatever group he's with at the time. For people who are tired of seeing Woody Allen play himself, now you can see him play literally everyone else. This is one of his most clever and comedic films.
Classic Scene: Woody Allen on the meaning of life
6. "The Purple Rose of Cairo" (1985)
Cecilia (Mia Farrow) is a waitress in 1930s New Jersey who escapes from her dreary life by going to the movies. But things get complicated when she falls for a movie character who literally walks out of the screen and into the real world. "He's fictional but you can't have everything," she exclaims. "The Purple Rose of Cairo" is one of Allen's most underrated films and confirms that in New Jersey, anything can happen!
5. "Midnight in Paris" (2011)
Owen Wilson steps into Woody Allen's shoes in the romantic comedy about a nostalgic screenwriter on vacation in Paris, who happens to finds himself in the 1920s every night. The film received a best picture nomination in 2011, the year that everyone was suddenly talking about Paris. There was also "The Artist," "Hugo" and the Kanye West/ Jay Z song, "N***as in Paris." Regardless, you'll fall in louvre with this film! (I'm so sorry.)
Classic Scene: Going to museums is always better with Owen Wilson
4. "Hannah and Her Sisters" (1986)
The third chapter in Allen's New York trilogy, "Hannah and Her Sisters" tells the story of three sisters and their love interests, which include Michael Caine as the cheating husband and Allen as the hypochondriac TV producer (classic Woody.) This Oscar-winning film is one of Allen's finest screenplays to date.
Classic Scene: Woody Allen has a brush with death
3."Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989)
When "Crimes and Misdemeanors" opens, Judah Rosenthal, played by Martin Landau, is being honored at a banquet. He's an esteemed doctor and a community benefactor, and he's also about to become a murderer. "Crimes and Misdemeanors" is a powerful morality tale about justice or the lack thereof and one of the director's most thought-provoking films. It's also one of his funniest. So yeah, "Crimes and Misdemeanors" is one of those Woody Allen movies that really has it all.
Classic Scene: No Caption Necessary
2. "Manhattan" (1979)
Woody Allen's ultimate love letter to New York, "Manhattan" is his most visually-impressive film and also features one of the best film openers in Hollywood history. The movie tells the story of Isaac, (Woody Allen) a 42-year-old in a relationship with a 17-year-old high school student (Mariel Hemingway). The romance is especially ironic considering Allen's own romantic history, but that's neither here nor there. Things change when Isaac falls for Mary, (Diane Keaton) but their relationship is only given a small portion of screen time in this sprawling masterpiece. Watching this film, it's hard not to fall in love with its director and the city where it all happens.
Classic Scene: New York was his town. And it always would be
1. "Annie Hall" (1977)
It's the fateful tale of New York comedian Alvy Singer and his romance with the eponymous female lead in what Roger Ebert called "just about everyone's favorite Woody Allen movie." Though "Manhattan" may be a stronger stand-alone film, this movie is more significant culturally and in terms of the director's career. "Annie Hall" was that point for Allen when he stopped making slapstick comedies and strove for something more serious. Not to say the movie isn't hilarious, but it's also much more. Through a series of monologues and unforgettably inventive vignettes, Allen muses over his lost love and asks, 'What happened?' Can he win Annie back, or is he bound to make the same mistakes again? It's often known as Allen's most popular work, or as the movie that beat "Star Wars" for best picture, or even as the film in which Diane Keaton inspired a fashion craze. Regardless, if you haven't seen any Woody Allen movies, start here, and then drop any plans and watch the rest.
Classic Scene: Here's a great way to use subtitles
"Vicky Cristina Barcelona," "Take the Money and Run," "Bananas," "Love and Death, "Stardust Memories" and "Broadway Danny Rose."
Any Woody Allen classics that we missed? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below! And check out the gallery above for more on Allen's films.