50 Years Of Woody Allen 1980-1989

woody-allenContinuing my look at 50 years of Woody Allen making films puts us in the decade of the 1980’s. The decade of money and power and a desperate need to distance itself from the 70’s. Woody looked to build off the success he achieved in the decade previously. The 80’s did not start off so kind to him though with his release of Stardust Memories which many fans and critics took as a slight towards them. It turned out to be the first time one his films would receive heavy scrutiny on that scale. It would take several years to pass before Stardust Memories would get appreciated for what it was. Despite starting the decade rather harshly, he would soon find his stride once again.

5.  Radio Days (1987)img_0769

Radio Days is as close to an autobiographical film as Woody Allen has ever made. Set in the early 1940’s a tight-knit family in Brooklyn all live in one small home where each of their lives revolves around their favorite radio stars. Using all his old stories of the stars of the time, he at the same time tells the story of each member of his family. Radio Days features some of the classic Woody humor and portrays this family in a way that most everyone can see pieces of their family in them. Check out my retrospective here

4.  The Purple Rose Of Cairo (1985)img_0770

In the 1930′ a young woman named Cecilia who is very dissatisfied with her life and stuck in an abusive relationship, finds solace and escape in the movies. She sees one particular film over and over until the movie’s star, perfectly played by Jeff Daniels, steps off the screen into the theater right into her life. The fourth collaboration between Allen and Mia Farrow in what would prove to be one of the best teams in movie history, until it all went wrong. A beautiful, heartfelt romantic fantasy film that is so enjoyable it leaves you with a smile.

3.  Broadway Danny Rose (1984)img_0771

A comedic series of events lands a low-level talent agent to be mistaken by a gangster as the lover of a woman he is trying to help. One of the most eccentric characters Farrow played in her series of films with Allen, she pulls it off beautifully. Semi narrated by a group of nightclub entertainers who sit around reminiscing about Danny Rose and his hilarious antics that made him so memorable.

2.  Crimes And Misdemeanors (1989)img_0773

Two stories simultaneously told even though they never overlap. One is comical in nature, and the other is dramatic and even rather sinister. Martin Landau plays a doctor whose mistress is threatening to expose their affair to his wife if he doesn’t leave with her. He begins to think there is only one way to make the situation go away and that is to kill her. In the other story, a documentary filmmaker reluctantly agrees to make a film about his wife’s brother whom he doesn’t particularly like or respect. While making the film, he meets a producer whom he begins developing deep feelings for while he and his wife navigate through their loveless marriage.

  1.  Hannah And Her Sisters (1986)img_0774

Critically his most successful film of the decade, Hannah And Her Sisters won 3 Academy Awards for the screenplay, supporting actress for Diane Weist (her first of two she won with Woody) and best supporting actor for Michael Caine. Hannah And Her Sisters is the story of three very different sisters and how they navigate their lives and how they are each affected differently by the same people. Expertly acted and wonderfully written, Hannah is one of Woody’s finest films in his whole catalog. It is the perfect blend of comedy and drama yet still full of heart and depth; it was truly his highlight of the decade

7 thoughts on “50 Years Of Woody Allen 1980-1989”

  1. These are five of his best films, and two masterpieces. It is also the beginning of a dark turn in his storytelling, which you touched upon in your 90’s post. In my opinion, even his lesser 80’s films were worthy – I cannot say that of his output in the last 20 years….great post!

    1. Thanks! The tone of even his comedies definitely took a turn during this span. Thats what still makes him great that he is always evolving while at the same time still managing to have that Woody style

  2. Ah, Crimes and Misdemeanors, the film that makes the shocking revelation that bad things happen to good people and bad people can get away with murder. I know it’s supposed to be a masterpiece, but I rank it near the bottom for sheer triteness and pretentiousness.

    1. I’m not sure I would consider it a masterpiece by any means. I do love the acting and the way the story unfolds. There is nothing spectacular about the plot but I like the way he unfolds it

  3. Hannah and her Sisters is wonderful, though the Mia Farrow/Michael Caine relationship seemed (when I rewatched it a couple of years back) to uncomfortably foreshadow the later mess that Farrow/Allen became.
    Purple Rose of Cairo is also marvelous.

    1. It is definitely an odd pairing for those two to be a couple although I’m sure Mia knew how to play after her marriage to frank Sinatra many years before

      1. I wonder if that’s one reason Allen’s character gets such an unabashedly happy ending–Caine is serving as an Allen surrogate.
        I have a good, entirely personal memory of the movie from having gone on a date to see it back when it first came out and getting to explain a couple of Jewish references to my companion (not that I’m Jewish, but I still got them).

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