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The Woody Allen Success Story

Updated on November 1, 2015

The Thinking Man's Comedian

Short, But Long on Popularity

The man we know as Woody Allen had that last name as his first name until show business changed it. Mr. A. Konigsberg, as many know, is a New Yorker from Brooklyn. Woody never quite grew to be five and one-half feet tall, but came close, within an inch. As he passed his 77th birthday in December 2012, he was planning a new film, sure to be a hit.

When he was only a teenager, Woody started writing and selling jokes. By the time he was 30, he achieved recognition for the script of the very popular movie entitled "What's New Pussycat."

David McCollum notes, in his IMDb mini-biography of Woody Allen, that the comedian also is a good clarinet player.

We came to know Woody mostly as a fine stand-up comedian who often appeared on TV, although initially he was only a writer and did not want to be the star himself.

Woody Allen has had a prolific career not only as a star comedian but also as an author of scripts, plays, and books. He is best known around the world as a great filmmaker. His wit has an appeal to those who, like him, also enjoy pondering or writing about human interest topics.

Woody graduated from City College after dropping out of New York University. He remembers that college bored him, but later regretted not having a better education. "I took a speed reading course and read 'War and Peace' in twenty minutes. It involves Russia," said Woody. He has characterized himself as "low culture," saying he likes "watching baseball with a beer and some meatballs."

Although obsessed with death more than most of us, Woody has allowed that there are worse things in life such as spending "an evening with an insurance salesman."

The seemingly nonsensical one liner, "Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons," is typical Allen humor, with a twist pleasing to all, but so courageous in taking on a serious topic.

While professing to be an atheist, Woody Allen has made statements so philosophical and uplifting that they would make any saint happy. "Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once," observed Allen. He also believes, "Everyone knows the same truth." But unfortunately, for him, religion is just "wishful thinking."

His self-deprecating humor, combined with the sad look of defeat on his face, is the perfect embodiment of his famous line, "My one regret in life is that I am not someone else."

However, as for the rest of us, we like you Woody and we're happy you are who you are.

It is not our job to analyze humor. Maybe writers like Woody Allen can do so when they work. As an audience, we either appreciate it instantly or wish it had been done better. Humor has an immediate impact on people.

Also, there are as many unique kinds of humor as there are individual people in the world. Woody Allen, by appealing to a large percentage of the individuals in an audience, has succeeded in being famous.

But humor can be philosophical as well. It actually can induce the mind to see things differently. Without over-glorifying this, it may be said that humor can change the world in some small way, or even a magnificent way.

"Humor is mankind's greatest blessing." (Mark Twain)

Woody Allen Movies

Aside from his comedy routines, Woody Allen has been responsible for giving the public many popular movies. The number of movies he wrote, directed, or acted in boggle the mind. Loosely arranged according to seeming popularity, the movies, as of 2015, include the following:

Annie Hall in 1977 might be his best known movie, costarring Diane Keaton, his wife.

The newest movie in 2015 is called Irrational Man.

In 1979, he made a movie, Manhattan, about the city he knows and likes so well.

A strange but wonderful movie in 2011 was Midnight in Paris.

In 2013, he made Blue Jasmine.

A very popular movie in 1986 was called Hannah and Her Sisters.

Another recent movie in 2014 is Magic in the Moonlight.

Alphabet of Murder in 1989 was a take-off on the Godfather.

Match Point in 2005 was fairly popular.

A long-remembered movie, Sleeper in 1973, is a classic comedy.

Vicky Christina Barcelona in 2005 was another film of Mr. Allen's.

Love and Death in 1975 was a little satirical of the famous novel War and Peace.

Zelig in 1983 was a unique comedy.

To Rome With Love in 2012 also combined comedy and romance as did many of his films.

The Purple Rose of Cairo in 1985 was another romantic comedy.

Stardust Memories in 1980 was a film with Woody as a leading man, which in itself was meant to be something of a joke.

In 1992, Husbands and Wives was a little serious and also a little funny.

Scoop in 2006 continued the long analysis of romance that obsesses Woody.

He always will be remembered for Bananas in 1971, in the setting of Latin American revolution.

Broadway Danny Rose in 1984 captured the glamour of back-stage show business in an interesting and comical way.

Whatever Works was a 2009 film taking a humorous look at an ordinary guy.

Radio Days in 1987 was a nostalgic, original movie that showed Woody Allen's true genius.

In 1969, Take the Money and Run was not only a handy expression but a fitting title for a Woody Allen comedy.

In 1995 Mighty Aphrodite was a movie all about feminine allure. Similar to that was Woody's 1972 spoof called Everything You Always Wanted to Know About S..x.

Deconstructing Harry in 1997 was Woody's story about a writer with writer's block.

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger in 2010 was directed by Woody and is about many different angles of human life and relations.

Anything Else in 2003 shows Woody advising the young people about love.

Sweet and Lowdown in 1999 is about a musician in the 1930's.

Manhattan Murder Mystery in 1993 again co-starred Diane Keaton.

Interiors in 1978 was a story about 3 sisters.

Small Time Crooks in 2000 is a comedy about a criminal and his wife.

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion in 2001 was hailed as a comic "gem."

Melinda and Melinda in 2005 was definitely about a woman named Melinda, a comedy.

Everyone Says I Love You in 1996 was another classic love story mixed with humor.

Bullets Over Broadway in 1994 was about New York in the Roaring Twenties.

Another Woman in 1988 is about a woman in her mid-age crisis.

Fading Gigolo in 2013 is about someone trying to make money as a Don Juan.

Cassandra's Dream in 2007 is about 2 brothers in London.

The early film What's Up Tiger Lily in 1966 was Woody Allen's first film, a take-off on a Japanese action film of another name.

Play It Again Sam in 1972 of course was a parody of the famous film Casablanca.

Hollywood Ending in 2002 was written and directed by Woody Allen.

In 1992, Shadows and Fog was a mystery-comedy about vigilantes.

Antz in 1998 was a cartoon movie about ants.

In 1989, New York Stories was about interesting people and situations in New York.

In 1982, A MidSummer Night's S..x Comedy was a movie full of fun.

Celebrity in 1998 was a comedy-drama about a divorced couple.

The old classic What's New Pussycat in 1965 was Woody Allen's film debut in a short part of the film starring Peter O'Toole and Peter Sellers.

In 1990, the film Alice was described as a romantic-fantasy with humor.

The Front in 1976 was about a cashier pretending to be a writer.

Casino Royale in 1967 was a spy comedy starring David Niven and co-starring Woody Allen.

That's a total of over 50 movies, more than enough for a lifetime, but Woody Allen is still working.


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    • lisaace2 profile image

      lisaace2 5 years ago

      While I dont like Woody Allen movies he is a fascinating person.