Best Woody Allen Movies - Featured - StudioBinder

Woody Allen is a writer and director who bares his emotions and neuroses on screen. It’s for this very reason that so many of his films feel so personal.

Yet, as an audience, it feels harder than ever to make sense of the complicated nature that is Allen’s catalog of work, especially in light of allegations of sexual assault that have been made against him.

But still, it’s undeniable that Allen is not only one of the most prolific filmmakers in the history of cinema, but also one of the best.

In this article, we’re going to judge Allen’s work by four movie criteria: legacy, acting, filmmaking, and story.

Best Woody Allen Movies Ranked

30. Whatever Works (2009)

Whatever Works - Trailer

For all the problems with Whatever Works, it’s just too difficult to ignore on this list, simply for the pairing of Larry David and Woody Allen. The latter directs the former in this film about an elitist intellectual who falls for a young passionate woman.

75%
Acting
70%
Filmmaking
70%
Story
72%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Larry David
  • NYC Charm
  • Moral
  • Inconsistent Acting
  • Lack of Direction
  • Forgettable

Woody Allen Films

Conclusion

Whatever Works had all the makings of a bona fide hit, but struggled to live up to lofty expectations.

Best Woody Allen Movies Ranked

29. Cafe Society (2016)

Cafe Society - Trailer

Jesse Eisenberg steps into the shoes of Woody Allen as the neurotic Bobby Dorfman in Cafe Society, a by-the-books movie, that has just enough period detail and charm to rank here.

70%
Acting
80%
Filmmaking
70%
Story
73%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Set Design
  • Steve Carrell
  • Script
  • Ensemble Cast
  • Inconsistent Story
  • Lack of Heart

Best Woody Allen Movies Ranked

Conclusion

Allen’s late-career has been marred by controversy and misfires, but Cafe Society is sure to satisfy fans of his signature witty dialogue.

Woody Allen Movies List

28. Everyone Says I Love You (1996)

Everyone Says I Love You - I’m Through With Love

I’ll admit that I’m not particularly one for musicals, but it’s hard to resist the stirring romanticism of Everyone Says I Love You. This film is one of Allen’s few musical offerings and an iconic film that takes place between three beautiful backdrops: New York, Paris, and Venice.

70%
Acting
75%
Filmmaking
70%
Story
72%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Orchestral Music
  • Choreography
  • Costuming
  • Narratively Thin
  • Strange Casting
  • Low-Stakes Plot

Woody Allen Movies and TV Shows

Conclusion

Everyone Says I Love You is a musical jaunt through Allen’s musings on love past, present, and future.

Woody Allen Movies List

27. Small Time Crooks (2000)

Woody Allen on - Small Time Crooks

Woody Allen’s offbeat comedy Small Time Crooks is a heist movie told through a satirical lens. But the most interesting aspect of the film is how it portrays the differences in American financial classes, and how they influence a person’s character.

65%
Acting
65%
Filmmaking
75%
Story
68%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Class Struggle
  • Cookie Business Comedy
  • Story
  • Weaker Cast
  • Direction
  • "Safe"

Woody Allen Films

Conclusion

Small Time Crooks is a strange story told through conventional means.

All Woody Allen Movies

26. New York Stories (1989)

New York Stories - Trailer

New York Stories is a collaborative project between Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Coppola, inspired by other vignette films such as Bocaccio ‘70 and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

75%
Acting
85%
Filmmaking
70%
Story
77%
OVERALL SCORE
  • NYC Vision
  • Style Variety
  • Strong Cast
  • Inconsistent
  • Lacks Binding Message
  • Misuse of Talent

Woody Allen Films Ranked

Conclusion

Just as Fellini, De Sica, Visconti and Monicelli floundered with Bocaccio, so do too Allen, Scorsese and Ford Coppola with New York Stories.

Best Woody Allen Movies Ranked

25. Match Point (2005)

Match Point - Police Scene

Although many consider Match Point a mid-stage return to form for Woody Allen, few acknowledge how different the film is from the vast majority of his catalog. 

Match Point is a serious drama that’s tonally far away from what we’ve come to expect from a Woody Allen picture, yet still a brilliant film in its own right.
75%
Acting
70%
Filmmaking
85%
Story
77%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Dramatic Elements
  • Allusions to Dostoyevsky
  • Metaphors
  • Visually Bland
  • Tonally Inconsistent
  • N/A

Woody Allen Movies and TV Shows

Conclusion

Many of Woody Allen’s films reference the Russian classic Crimes and Punishment, but with Match Point, he finally finds the elusive commentary on the novel he had been pursuing throughout his career.

Woody Allen Movies List

24. Sweet and Lowdown (1999)

Sweet and Lowdown - Video Essay

Woody Allen blends genres in Sweet and Lowdown by recreating the life of mythical jazz titan Emmet Ray in a documentary format. Many critics cite the film as a loose interpretation of La Strada, but those connections are few and far between.

75%
Acting
75%
Filmmaking
75%
Story
75%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Bold
  • Story Arc
  • Cast
  • Message of the Film
  • Marred Legacy
  • N/A

Woody Allen Films

Conclusion

Sweet and Lowdown is a unique retelling of the jazz industry through Woody Allen’s eyes.

All Woody Allen Movies

23. Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

Bullets Over Broadway - “Don’t Speak” Scene

Bullets Over Broadway is a period piece from Woody Allen that explores the complicated setting of New York City at the end of the Roaring '20s. The films stars John Cusack, Dianne Wiest, Jennifer Tilly, and Chazz Palminteri.

75%
Acting
75%
Filmmaking
75%
Story
75%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Strong Cast
  • Period Detail
  • Gangsters and Playwrights
  • Some Static Shots
  • Stage Play Blocking
  • N/A

Woody Allen Films

Conclusion

In 2014, Woody Allen adapted Bullets Over Broadway onto the stage as a musical. But the definitive version for cinema fans remains the 1994 film.

​Woody Allen - Scene

Through seven vignettes, Allen orchestrates a satirical farce on sexuality, based on David Reuben’s novel of the same name. Adventurous as it may be, this infamous 1970’s classic is a cinematic ride that surely has its detractors.

80%
Acting
80%
Filmmaking
65%
Story
75%
OVERALL SCORE
  • "Sperm" Scene
  • Excellent Cast
  • Wildly Inventive
  • Inconsistent Vignettes
  • Not Very Charming
  • Sometimes "Too Much"

Best Woody Allen Films

Conclusion

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex is as inconsistent as films come, but the highs make it a worthwhile watch.

Woody Allen Films

21. Love and Death (1975)

Love and Death - Trailer

Woody Allen’s early work Love and Death is a satire of the uber-dramatic Russian literature writers of centuries past. The film also has heavy elements of screwball comedy, told through a farcical and historical lens.

80%
Acting
80%
Filmmaking
60%
Story
73%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Allen and Keaton
  • Set Dressing
  • Duel Scene
  • Specific Audience
  • Sometimes Plodding
  • Inconsistent Story

Alfred Hitchcock Films

Conclusion

Love and Death is a great watch for fans of Woody Allen who also love history.

Best Woody Allen Movies Ranked

20. Sleeper (1973)

Sleeper - “The Nose” Scene 

Sleeper is Woody Allen’s singular vision of a futuristic dystopia. In the film, he plays the role of Miles Monroe, an ordinary man who’s cryogenically frozen after a near-fatal gall bladder operation.

75%
Acting
75%
Filmmaking
65%
Story
75%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Props & Costumes
  • Unique Sci-Fi
  • Script
  • Chase Scenes
  • Strangely "Chaplin"
  • Woody Allen's Hair

Woody Allen Films

Conclusion

Heavily inspired by the silent-era of film, Sleeper is the perfect film for those looking for a comedic take on Brave New World.

Woody Allen Movies List

19. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona - Trailer

Many of Woody Allen’s films deal with the complicated nature of relationships, but perhaps none are as explicit as Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which stars an all-star cast of Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johannson, Penelope Cruz, and Rebecca Hall.

85%
Acting
70%
Tragedy
75%
Violence
77%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Great Cast
  • Beautiful Locale
  • Complex Script
  • Less Visually Expressive
  • Unclear Motivation
  • N/A

Woody Allen Movies and TV Shows

Conclusion

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is certainly more style than substance but there’s still plenty going on behind the scenes to make this an emotional trip for wayward romanticists.

Woody Allen Movies Ranked

18. Take the Money and Run (1969)

Take the Money and Run - Scene

Woody Allen’s first mockumentary is a gonzo recreation of criminal stories. The comedy of the film is elevated by the fact that Allen’s character Virgil Starkwell is the least lucky man on Earth.

80%
Acting
75%
Filmmaking
80%
Story
78%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Irony
  • Exaggerated Comedy
  • Tone
  • Simple Filmmaking
  • Sometimes Plodding
  • N/A

Alfred Hitchcock Films

Conclusion

Take the Money and Run is a minor, early entry in Allen’s filmography but remains a top-tier mockumentary.

Best Woody Allen Movies Ranked

17. Bananas (1971)

Bananas - Montage Scene

Despite being one of Allen’s earliest films, Bananas is one of his most enduring. The film is a satire of war told through the neurotic lens of Allen’s character Mellish.

75%
Acting
75%
Filmmaking
70%
Story
76%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Cultural Relevance
  • Sharp Script
  • Inventive Plot
  • Vaudeville-esque
  • Sometimes Meandering
  • N/A

Woody Allen Films

Conclusion

Bananas is one of Allen’s early comedy classics, and also an important satirization of revolutions.

Woody Allen Movies List

16. Radio Days (1987)

Radio Days - Video Essay

Woody Allen’s Radio Days is the definition of a big picture in a little frame. At just 96 minutes, Radio Days is short and sweet, yet ambitiously larger than life. Perhaps the most enduring aspect of Radio Days is its references to world cinema, beautifully commemorated by Allen.

70%
Acting
75%
Filmmaking
80%
Story
78%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Period Detail
  • Fun Plot
  • Tangible Nostalgia
  • Unoriginal
  • N/A
  • N/A

Alfred Hitchcock Films

Conclusion

Radio Days is a nostalgiac dream of an ever-so-elusive time, that came and went with video.

Woody Allen Movies Ranked

15. Stardust Memories (1980)

Stardust Memories - UFO Scene

Woody Allen’s overture to Italian cinema is a reimagining of Federico Fellini’s iconic work 8 ½. Although filled with brilliant moments, Stardust Memories fails to capture the inherent humanity of 8 ½ and instead, perhaps better than any other Allen film, symbolizes his own complicated view of himself.

80%
Acting
80%
Filmmaking
75%
Story
78%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Set Production
  • Immersive
  • Thought-Provoking
  • Uninspired
  • Self-Congratulatory
  • N/A

Alfred Hitchcock Films

Conclusion

It’s hard to recommend Stardust Memories over the surrealist 8 ½, but the former serves as a good companion piece to Fellini’s classic.

Woody Allen Movies Ranked

14. Play It Again Sam (1972)

​Play it Again Sam - Scene

This early work from Woody Allen is both a love letter and an admission of obsession to the world of cinema. For fans of Casablanca, Play It Again Sam is essential.

80%
Acting
80%
Filmmaking
80%
Story
80%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Intimate Perspective
  • Funny
  • Cinema Allusions
  • Rough Around Edges
  • Sometimes Undeveloped
  • N/A

Woody Allen Movies and TV Shows

Conclusion

Play It Again Sam is a foundational piece of Woody Allen work that would go on to inspire the likes of Stardust Memories and Hollywood Endings.

Woody Allen Movies Ranked

13. Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)

Manhattan Murder Mystery - Elevator Scene

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle popularized murder mysteries in the 19th century with Sherlock Holmes, but it wasn’t until Woody Allen took the action from London to Manhattan that the genre was deconstructed in this neurotic new light.

85%
Acting
75%
Filmmaking
80%
Story
80%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Comedic Dialogue
  • Well-Told Mystery
  • Mirror Scene
  • Visuals
  • Low Stakes
  • N/A

Alfred Hitchcock Films

Conclusion

Manhattan Murder Mystery is a spoof of one of literature’s most popular tropes, told through a couple’s screwball search for a killer in New York City.

Woody Allen Filmography

12. Broadway Danny Rose (1984)

Broadway Danny Rose - NYT Critics Pick

So many of Woody Allen’s movies are about sensational happenings in high society, but with Broadway Danny Rose, he explores the other side of the entertainment industry, through the eyes of hard-working nobody Danny Rose.

80%
Acting
80%
Filmmaking
75%
Story
80%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Cinematography
  • Immersive NYC Depiction
  • Unique Story Vantage
  • Contained Story
  • Short
  • N/A

Woody Allen Films Ranked

Conclusion

Broadway Danny Rose is no doubt one of Allen’s more succinct cinema offerings, but ultimately, one of his most endearing.

Best Woody Allen Movies Ranked

11. Husbands and Wives (1992)

Husbands and Wives - Video Essay 

With Husbands and Wives, Woody Allen gave one of the best directorial efforts of his career. Through claustrophobic interiors to shaky-cam long shots, Allen directs a film quite unlike any other he had done before.

80%
Acting
85%
Filmmaking
80%
Story
82%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Inventive Camera-Work
  • Insightful Relationships
  • Somber Perspective
  • Not Very Immersive
  • Controversial
  • N/A

Woody Allen Films

Conclusion

Husbands and Wives is, in many ways, the antithesis to Allen’s jovial romantic comedies of yore, yet full of worthwhile commentary on the nature of love.

Woody Allen Filmography

10. Zelig (1983)

Zelig - Scene

Woody Allen’s Zelig is a mockumentary about how far a person will go to fit in. Allen plays Leonard Zelig, who is a man that is so obsessed with his own insecurity that he conforms to any situation that he’s in.

85%
Acting
80%
Filmmaking
80%
Story
82%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Excellent Acting
  • Technical Ingenuity
  • Distinct Moral Lesson
  • "Damaged" Film
  • Narratively Dense
  • N/A

Woody Allen Films

Conclusion

Zelig is a pioneer of the mockumentary genre and a technical innovator in the field of cinematic special effects.

Did You Know

Zelig was one of the first films to blend original and archival footage together in a believable manner. To do this, Woody Allen and cinematographer Gordon Willis shot scenes on a rudimentary green screen with antique cameras and intentionally “damaged film.”

Woody Allen Movies Ranked

9. Interiors (1978)

Woody Allen on - Interiors

Interiors is one of Allen’s more straight-dramas and is full of existential dread and familial turmoil. The script is very much in the style of a Tennessee Williams play while the visuals contain clear references to the work of Ingmar Bergman.

90%
Acting
80%
Filmmaking
85%
Story
85%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Existentialism
  • Dialogue
  • Diane Keaton
  • Wide-Shots
  • N/A
  • N/A

Woody Allen Films

Conclusion

It’s no doubt that Interiors stands apart from the majority of Allen’s work, yet it remains an essential film.

Woody Allen Filmography

8. Deconstructing Harry (1997)

Deconstructing Harry - Trailer

Deconstructing Harry is one of Woody Allen’s most personal films. In the picture, he plays the role of Harry Block, a writer who uses the personal experiences of his friends and loved ones to create dramas, which causes them to abandon him.

85%
Acting
80%
Filmmaking
90%
Story
85%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Vulnerability
  • Comedic Moments
  • Fantastic Elements
  • Unlikeable Protagonist
  • N/A
  • N/A

Woody Allen Films

Conclusion

The mountain for any great writer is built with the skeletons of lost loved ones, as shown in Deconstructing Harry.

Best Woody Allen Movies Ranked

7. The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

Jeff Daniels on - The Purple Rose of Cairo

Woody Allen’s commentary on Hollywood, The Purple Rose of Cairo, is a great moral lesson in separating fact from fiction. It’s for this reason that the film is such a tragedy, as reality, or simply whatever matters most, is sometimes trickier to decipher than it seems.

80%
Acting
85%
Filmmaking
90%
Story
85%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Unique Vision
  • The Film World
  • Moral Lesson
  • Sometimes "Campy"
  • N/A
  • N/A

Woody Allen Films

Conclusion

The Purple Rose of Cairo is an especially emotional picture from Woody Allen and among his all-time best.

Woody Allen Movies Ranked

6. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

Hannah and Her Sisters - Scene

Hannah and Her Sisters is one of Allen’s most successful films both critically and financially. In the picture, Allen expands upon themes from his earlier work Interiors and inspiration from Luchino Visconti’s Rocco and His Brothers.

95%
Acting
85%
Filmmaking
90%
Story
90%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Enduring Legacy
  • Excellent Cast
  • Nuanced Story
  • Filmmaking
  • N/A
  • N/A

Best Woody Allen Films

Conclusion

Hannah and Her Sisters is Woody Allen’s strongest film on the intricacies of inter-familial relations.

Woody Allen Filmography

5. Blue Jasmine (2013)

Cate Blanchett on - Blue Jasmine

Cate Blanchett gives a tour de force performance in the lead role of Blue Jasmine, an undeniably somber Woody Allen film that shares more than a few similarities to Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire.

95%
Acting
85%
Filmmaking
90%
Story
90%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Cast
  • Story Structure
  • Cultural Relevance
  • Framing
  • N/A
  • N/A

Woody Allen Movies and TV Shows

Conclusion

Blue Jasmine is one of Allen’s most well-regarded late-career works and host to critical commentary on the 2008 financial crisis.

Woody Allen Movies Ranked

4. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

Crimes and Misdemeanors - Trailer

Crimes and Misdemeanors is one of Allen’s more direct references to Dostoyevsky’s novel Crimes and Punishment, yet offers an entirely alternative perspective. 

The film is about the fate of those who deem themselves to be damned and the suffocating belief in curses and punishments.

95%
Acting
90%
Filmmaking
95%
Story
93%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Acting
  • Enduring Legacy
  • Gravitas
  • Visually Plain
  • N/A
  • N/A

Woody Allen Film

Conclusion

Ultimately, Crimes and Misdemeanors remains one of Woody Allen’s greatest works.

Woody Allen Filmography Best

3. Midnight in Paris (2011)

Midnight in Paris - Trailer

Midnight in Paris is a fantastical vision of the city that was once home to some of the greatest minds in history. Owen Wilson plays the role of a wayward writer who goes back in time to meet the likes of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Salvador Dali.

90%
Acting
95%
Filmmaking
95%
Story
93%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Beautiful Scenery
  • Period Detail
  • Charming
  • Low Drama
  • N/A
  • N/A

Woody Allen Films

Conclusion

As the saying goes: the grass is always greener on the other side, proven by the events of Midnight in Paris.

Top Woody Allen Movies

2. Manhattan (1979)

Manhattan - Opening

There’s no doubt that Manhattan is a classic of American cinema. The film is the best directorial effort of Woody Allen’s career, one that mixes beautiful black and white shots to truly immersive effect.   

Manhattan is Allen’s most honest look at love and relationships, yet one  that has always been problematic for its subject matter. That being said, art is meant to push us to reflect, which Manhattan does to a tee.
95%
Acting
100%
Filmmaking
100%
Story
98%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Sharp Script
  • Cinematography
  • Reflective Story
  • Legacy
  • N/A
  • N/A

Woody Allen Films

Conclusion

In the end, Manhattan remains one of the crown jewels of American Cinema.

Top Woody Allen Movies

1. Annie Hall (1977)

Woody Allen on - Annie Hall

Annie Hall is, and forever will be Woody Allen’s magnum opus. From start to finish, the film is a masterclass effort. 

The script is excellently nuanced, the acting is engrossing, and most importantly, the moral is insightful.

100%
Acting
100%
Filmmaking
100%
Story
100%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Incredible Story
  • Lead Performances
  • Singular Vision
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • N/A

WOODY ALLEN FILMS

Conclusion

Not only is Annie Hall the greatest film of Woody Allen’s career, but it’s also one of the best movies ever made.

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Up Next: Tim Burton Movies Ranked →
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