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Comedy Movies/Woody Allen


QUESTION: Hi, Barbara,

I just got through watching a movie with Woody Allen in it called "Bananas" and found it unspeakably hilarious so I was just wondering if you know of other funny films with him as the starring role, thanks.


ANSWER: Oh yes, many, although some may not be funny to everyone. While at film school, I was able to take a course in Woody Allen films, which included many he wrote, directed, and starred in, plus some he just was in as an actor. Since that time, I have watched many other Allen films. The earlier ones before 1977 are probably the most similar to "Bananas" (it is from that time period), although there have been others afterwards that I've found funny as well.

The first film I saw him in, though, was on TV. It was "What's Up, Pussycat," which was before he started directing movies (made in 1965). It is very much a 1960s film. The first film he directed and starred in was "Take the Money and Run" (1969) which is a spoof of crime dramas that focused on the life of a criminal (popular during that time), in this case a particular inept one. After "Bananas," he was in "Play it Again, Sam" (1972), written by him (from his own play) about a very neurotic film critic who wants to be like Humphrey Bogart. It pays homage to several Bogart films, including an ending that is a spot on homage/parody of "Casablanca." That same year, he was in his own film "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid To Ask" based on a best-selling self-help book (he directed it but didn't write the screenplay). Next came a film that many see as one of his best, and that was "Sleeper" (1973), a science-fiction satire. In 1975, he starred in his own parody of Russian novels and films, "Love and Death" (my favorite Allen film, but to really enjoy it one should know something about Russian novels and/or Soviet Montage filmmaking). Then came "Annie Hall" in 1977, which won him an Oscar for Best Picture. The movies that follow are more serious comedies, often mixed with drama, although many are quite funny. Allen also continued to act in films he did not direct such as "Scenes from a Mall" (1991) and the animated film "Antz" (1999).

In addition there are films he wrote and/or directed where he did not play a role (or a very tangential role) that you might find funny as well, starting with "What's Up, Tiger Lily," his debut film in 1966 to his most recent project, "Magic in the Moonlight" (2014). Because his work was so prolific, I'm providing a link to the Internet Movie Data Base information on Allen which includes the roles where he was an actor, as well as those he wrote and directed. You can click on the titles to read more about each, and decide for yourself if it seems like a film you might enjoy. Most of his films are available in one way or another:

I hope this answers your question and that you enjoy watching other Allen films!


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks Barbara, I'll definitely check this list out.  I really hope some of these other films are just as funny as "Bananas" as I couldn't stop violently giggling during that part in court when he was acting as his own attorney and cross-examining himself...if you have time, do you mind telling me your opinion of which of the movies you listed were just as hilarious in your memory?  Take care.


Diamond, I'd definitely put "Sleeper" in that same category, and for me, "Love and Death." My husband and I often go around quoting it. The others I specifically listed were also quite funny to me, but I can't really speak for anyone else. I've found some of his later films amusing, but not quite as funny as the earlier ones (one of my earliest academic research projects was on "Manhattan," which I found more thought provoking then laugh-out loud funny, although it certainly has it share of jokes). I hope that answers this follow up question.

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Barbara L. Baker


I am a professor of communication at a midwest university, who has expertise on subjects related to film. I can answer general questions on U.S. film comedy (especially satires of the 1960s and 1970s) and comic theory. I also could answer questions related to specific comic genres, such as comedian comedies, screwball comedies, "stupid" comedies, and so forth. The more specific you can make your question, the better (e.g. main plot details, main characters, possible character names, possible actors, how you viewed the show, etc.). I also need to have a release date (or range of dates, or at least the year you viewed the film). Please do not just provide a set of links to someplace else (e.g. imdb discussion threads). I am less able to answer questions about comedies from other countries, made-for-TV movies, and recent comic films and actors (although I would do my best to find out). I cannot answer questions about specific TV shows or series, "Our Gang" episodes, anime/magna or about film collectables. I generally cannot provide movie recommendations, since what I find funny others may not. Nor will I answer obvious homework (although I will point you to resources to help answer the question, if asked). I also can't help you find movie stars, or where to buy movie memorabilia, or tell you how to break into the business.


Course work in comedy films along with teaching about comedy films for several years; I've also conducted research into comedy films.

Ph.D. in Communication, emphasis in film and rhetoric

Awards and Honors
A dissertation award from a national organization plus various paper awards

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My students

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