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Best Woody Allen Films

Updated on October 12, 2014

He is a polarizing figure...people either love him or hate him. If you fall in the latter camp but haven't seen his latest films, it might be time for a second look. Over the past several years, Woody Allen has completely reinvented himself...he now stays behind the camera and is creating dramas and thrillers that are really fun to watch.

He is one the most influential American filmmakers of all time and has directed, written, produced and/or acted in nearly 70 movies. Allen is probably best known for his celebrated romantic comedies, including Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanors.

However, Woody Allen films span a wide range of genres including dramas, thrillers and traditional comedies. While his early films all starred himself as a neurotic middle-aged New Yorker, more recently, Allen has been producing and directing more wide-scale films in the drama, thriller and comedy genres. He has remained off screen and relied on a group of talented contemporary actors.

In 2011, Allen's latest offering Midnight in Paris was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, which is an indication that his strategy is working. Before that you would have to go all the way back to 1986, Hannah and Her Sisters, for the last Woody Allen film nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. If you were not a fan of Woody's because you did not like the character he personified in most films, then you really need to check out some of his recent films in which he does not appear, including the aforementioned Paris, Match Point and Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

This top ten list of Woody movies is a blended average ranking of all member rankings at Rankography best movies. If you liked these movie rankings, you might also check out some of our other top ten movies lenses such as, Jim Carrey Movies and Best Comedy Movies.

Guest Article by Brooklyn77

All rights reserved. Copyright 2011 Rankography

10. Anything Else (2003)

A Hidden Gem in the Woody Allen Filmography

In most recent Woody Allen movies, he has given the lead actor role to younger actors. This has brought a new wider audience of viewers that did not like Woody as an actor. Anything Else is a good example of this change in film philosophy.

In the film, Comedy writer Jerry Falk (Jason Biggs) is madly in love with Amanda (Christine Ricci), even though she has moved on and they have not been together for six months. Falk meets an older writer named Dobel (Allen) who becomes his mentor, encouraging him to break free of Amanda and his clinging agent (Danny DeVito).

Anything Else is a wonderful lesser known Allen film. We can only speculate that it was badly marketed because not many people know of this very good Allen movie.

Melinda and Melinda image
Melinda and Melinda image

9. Melinda and Melinda (2004)

An Exploration of Comic vs. Tragic with a Unique Twist

Some of the normal Allen plot lines appear in Melinda and Melinda, most notably the exploration of whether life is more comic or more tragic. However, this is a very different WoodyAllen film. In essence, the question of comic vs. tragic and then relates two stories about two different women that are actually the same character, Melinda (Radha Mitchell).

Basically this movie is two concurrent short stories contrasting comic and tragic plotlines. As a result, this is not a comedy and it is not a drama, it is half of each. Will Ferrell is very good in the comic story as Hobie, an Allenesque neurotic that is in love with Melinda. However, I would have like to have had more Ferrell in this film. It is a very unique Woody Allen movie and definitely worth a viewing.

If you enjoyed Melinda and Melinda... - You might also like Celebrity

8. Manhattan (1979)

Woody Allen Manhattan, the Perfect Combo

Manhattan is Allen's follow-up to his Oscar-winning Annie Hall. It is a film of many aesthetic distinctions, including its glorious all-Gershwin score and its breathtakingly elegant black-and-white, widescreen cinematography by Gordon Willis (best-known for shooting The Godfather movies)

As with most Woody Allen films, it is a story about love, sex, infidelity, young girls (Mariel Hemingway) and older men (Allen). The film has deeply shaded performances by both Hemingway and Allen which are excellent. Its witty screenplay marked a new level in Allen's artistic maturity and I particularly enjoyed the movie's catalog of "Things that Make Life Worth Living". Overall, it is a compelling Woody Allen movie that I greatly enjoyed.

If you liked Manhattan... - You might also enjoy New York Stories

New York Stories
New York Stories

Three views of life in the city of all cities comprise this film, withsegments directed by Woody Allen, Francis Coppola, and Martin Scorsese. Get ready for a wildly diverse, star-studded trilogy about life in the big city.

 
woody allen crimes and misdemeanors image
woody allen crimes and misdemeanors image

7. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

One of Allen's Most Critically Acclaimed Films

Crimes and Misdemeanors was nominated for three Academy Awards and many feel this is Woody Allen's best movie. The movie is beautifully acted with a fantastic cast. Like many of Allen's filmsit is actually two different stories a comedy and a tragedy.

In the comedy, Cliff Stern (Allen) is a cerebral independent filmmaker until he's offered a high-paying job to produce a flattering profile of his egotistical brother-in-law, Lester (Alan Alda). While in the tragedy, Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau) is a well regarded Doctor and family man until he learns that his ex-mistress (Anjelica Huston) plans to expose his indiscretions. Judah must contemplate a fateful decision to either take the advice of his brother (murder) or the advice of his rabbi (honesty). Meanwhile, Cliff is faced with is own decision between selling out or maintaining his integrity. If you are going to see only a few Woody Allen movies, I would suggest this be near the top of your list.

If you liked Crimes and Misdemeanors... - You might also enjoy The Purple Rose of Cairo

The Purple Rose of Cairo
The Purple Rose of Cairo

Woody Allen's story of a starstruck waitress (Mia Farrow) who, watching her favorite film for the fifth time, is shocked when the hero comes off the screen to live in the "real world." Jeff Daniels co-stars as both the fictional character and the actor who must get him back where he belongs.

 
husband and wives movie image
husband and wives movie image

6. Husbands and Wives (1992)

Reality Mirrors Fiction in this Allen Film

In 1992, Allen and Mia Farrow went public over Allen's affair with Farrow's adopted daughter, Soon Yi. And because truth is often crazier than fiction, only a few months later, Allen released Husband and Wives, starring Allen and Farrow acting out a similar plot line.

In i>, Allen and Farrow have a fragile marriage which begins to crumble when the husband strays with a much younger woman (Juliette Lewis). It turned out to be one of Allen's most cutting comedies, a story about the vulnerability of relationships and the foolishness of older men seeking to recapture their youth with younger women. With the ironic backdrop of real life, this Woody Allen movie is quite an interesting tragedy.

If you liked Husbands and Wives... - You might also enjoy Broadway Danny Rose

Broadway Danny Rose
Broadway Danny Rose

Hilarious chases and wild sight gags ensue when small-time talent agent Woody Allen tries to make peace between his client (an over-the-hill crooner) and his mistress.

 
mighty aphrodite images
mighty aphrodite images

5. Mighty Aphrodite (1995)

Mira Sorvina Excels as the Mighty Aphrodite

Allen stars as Lenny, a New York sportswriter bored by his wife (Helena Bonham Carter) and attracted to a witless - but sweet - hooker (Mira Sorvino) who happens to be the real mother of his adopted son. Mira Sorvino won an Oscar for best supporting actress in this critically acclaimed Woody Allen comedy.

Mighty Aphrodite was released in the mid-1990s and represented a return to the straightforward comedy format that was more prevalent in the earlier part of his career. Many feel that this WoodyAllen film is the best comedy of his career.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona movie images
Vicky Cristina Barcelona movie images

4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

One of Woody Allen's Sexiest Films

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is not a comedy in strictest sense, but an intelligent wit does pervade this Allen movie. Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) are best friends from America spending a summer in Barcelona. Vicky is going for a Master's in "Catalan Identity" and Cristina is going along for her continued studies of self exploration.

During an evening out, Vicky and Cristina meet Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), a sexually forward abstract artist. Cristina quickly falls for and ends up moving in with Juan. However, the plot thickens when Juan is reunited with his tempestuous ex-wife Maria Elena (Penélope Cruz).

Cruz won a best supporting actress Oscar for her fiery performance in this WoodyAllen film. I find Vicky Cristina Barcelona to be one of Allen's most aesthetically charming movies of the last decade.

3. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

A Classic Allen Film set in Manhattan

Hannah and Her Sisters begins at a Thanksgiving dinner and follows the lives, loves, and infidelities of a dysfunctional New York City family across the course of a year. Hannah (Mia Farrow) is married to Elliot (Michael Caine), who begins an affair with Lee (Barbara Hershey), who in turn lives with pretentious artist Frederick (Max Von Sydow).

Meanwhile, Holly (Dianne Wiest), a neurotic actress and recovering drug addict, dates TV producer Mickey (Allen), who used to be married to Hannah and spends most of the film convinced that he's about to die from a brain tumor. Hannah and Her Sisters is one of my favorite Woody Allen films as I feel it perfectly captures the idea of the affluent and artistic New Yorkers of the 1980s.

If you loved Hannah and her Sisters... - You might also enjoy

Zelig
Zelig

This mock documentary focuses on a unique man who is able to change his appearance and behavior to fit into many situations and major historical events.

 

2. Match Point (2005)

Woody Allen Takes on the Drama Thriller

There is no comedy here folks, but Woody Allen proves he is up to the challenge of taking on a new genre, the drama thriller. In this Woody Allen movie set in London, Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is a former tennis pro from a working-class Irish family who wants more out of life.

Chris meets Chloe (Emily Mortimer) - a woman from a family of means - and falls in love. Well, he actually falls in love with the lifestyle which includes working for Chloe's mogul father and he is relatively happy with Chloe. As the son-in-law, Chris quickly begins moving up the organization gaining money and power.

However, Chris jeopardizes everything when he becomes involved with her brother's fiancée, Nola (Scarlett Johansson), a sexy American. After Nola separates with Chloe's brother, Chris and Nola's relationship intensifies and he tries to manage both women but soon realizes that he must choose between them.

Match Point is a film about morality, fidelity, intrigue and murder. It is considered Woody's best film of the past decade and a great movie.

If you enjoyed Woody Allen's Match Point... - You might also like the Suspense film, Cassandra's Dream

Cassandra's Dream (2009)
Cassandra's Dream (2009)

In recent years, Woody Allen has tried Suspense dramas. Like Match Point, this film is an intriguing crime drama featuring Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor.

 

1. Annie Hall (1977)

The Classic Woody Allen Movie

Annie Hall (1977) follows the relationship of anxious New York comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) and his equally emotionally unstable girlfriend Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). This Allen film won four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Roger Ebert describes it as "just about everyone's favorite Woody Allen movie."

This film contains some of the best Woody Allen quotes and of course this classic joke quote from Alvy "There's an old joke - um... two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions." Well, that's essentially how I feel about life - full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it's all over much too quickly." Classic neurotic Woody.

Everyone needs to see Annie Hall at least once to gain an appreciation for Woody Allen and the romantic comedy.

If you loved Annie Hall... - You might also enjoy Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris
Midnight in Paris

Possibly the best film since Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris is a charming film that was well received by critics and nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.

 

Which is the Best WoodyAllen Movie?

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What did you think about this Woody Allen filmography?

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    • Cassidy Kakin profile image

      Cassidy Michael Kakin 3 years ago from San Jose, California

      I appreciate that this list incorporated a wide range of Allen's work. As another commenter noted though, a piece of his earlier slapstick work would have been a good inclusion

    • kotobukijake profile image

      kotobukijake 3 years ago

      This is an interesting list, with some surprising inclusions (though none bad). However, overlooking Sleeper, bananas, Everyone Says I Love You and Bullets Over Broadway was unfortunate; also overlooked was one of Allen's true classics, Sweet and Lowdown. It's also worth noting that an updated list should include Blue Jasmine. Interesting and Iinfotmative hub.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very good lens. Although it is really hard to pick woody allen's best work. You also didn't mention "deconstructing harry" or "love and death" , etc. He is a genius and that's why it's hard to mention all his best works.

    • Rankography profile image
      Author

      Rankography 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks so much Tipi for the share!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Just stopped by to post this on FaceBook my dear. :)

    • profile image

      romanabg 5 years ago

      Nice lens, I love Woody Allen movies so much. The best fun for a lazy day.

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 5 years ago

      Excellent run down of Woody Allen's films! You did a fabulous job here. Blessed! :)

    • kevkev227 lm profile image

      kevkev227 lm 5 years ago

      Love Woody Allen...I think "Zelig" would be in my top 10 :)

    • JoolsObsidian LM profile image

      JoolsObsidian LM 5 years ago

      I loved Annie Hall (saw it when it came out back in the 70's!!) and have enjoyed most of Allen's movies. One of my favourites is 'Play it again Sam'.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      An all time favorite! A couple of my friends are gonna lap up this list!

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image

      The Gutter Monkey 6 years ago

      Allen is one of my favorites. I love all of his films.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      In my social circle, there is always a Woody Allen fan. Good to know about these. Thanks for sharing. Sincerely, Rose