6 Woody Allen Movies To Watch

Today is Woody Allen’s 80th birthday. I felt it was important to first note that this is not an opinion on the dialogue around Soon-yi or Dylan Farrow, but rather simply a love letter about his films. They have made up most of my sense of humor, and basically justified many of my neuroses, along with notables like Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld. Let’s be real, these are the guys that glorify our hypochondriac tendencies, our dryer than dry sarcasm and our penchant for our own special form of NYC road rage – otherwise known as the profanities that run through our heads when the guy getting on the subway doesn’t wait for us to get off. Only a New Yorker knows these are things that actually make us proud to be Manhattanites, and they should; Woody Allen thought so too.

That being said, one of the greatest things about Woody Allen movies is that they celebrate a slew of cities – not just one. Allen has always been an expert at translating how each city has its own personal identity. While New York City has always been top of his list, he’s also always celebrated other cities in ways that are just as moving, that invoke just as much discussion around the dinner table, and that make you want to plan your next trip. While he’s never made a film in Los Angeles, and always makes references to his dislike of it in classics like Annie Hall, he does it in the self-deprecating way that pokes fun at his own ridiculousness. So whether you’re a Woody Allen beginner, one who’s dipped a toe in with one or two movies, or a big fan like I am, here are six of my favorites that you should watch and why…

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1. Annie Hall For the jokester on all things relationships, this movie is simply too good, too accurate and no doubt Allen’s masterpiece. It starts with Allen quoting Harpo Marx to sum up his dating life: “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club, that would have someone like me as a member.” That might very well explain your own actions on Tinder, Hinge and Bumble or the confusing events of your last three, three-month relationships.

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2. Manhattan For the person who loves Manhattan, this is totally Woody Allen’s love letter to New York and it opens at the restaurant Elaine’s – a legendary food spot I regret never being able to go to before it closed. Amy Schumer recently created a montage in Trainwreck inspired by the movie; no doubt proving it’s overall awesomeness. If you live in Manhattan, and you’re in love, you know you’re having two simultaneous affairs: One with your significant other and one with New York City.

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3. Hannah and Her Sisters For the New York intellectual, or any person with siblings, this is an underrated one. It’s filled with family comedy, Manhattan skylines and a cast that includes Mia Farrow, Dianne Weist, Barbara Hershey and Michael Caine.

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4. Vicky, Cristina Barcelona For the person with a European soul, this is the movie for you. Filled with red wine, travel, and steamy international romance (that of course pokes fun at itself) that all takes place in Barcelona, it will make you want to book your next international getaway immediately if not sooner. Penelope Cruz will also have you laughing your ass off in this one…

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5. Midnight in Paris For the person who’s nostalgic, like me, and who of course loves Paris (who doesn’t?), this movie will be on your rinse and repeat list. If you listen to Cole Porter and Billie Holiday while your friends attempt to switch it to “anything else,” and if you have a weakness for old movies or would rather be in an F. Scott Fitzgerald book than the book called your life, Midnight in Paris will give you everything you’re looking for.

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6. Matchpoint For the person who wants a little less Woody. It’s hard to explain what I mean by that but this more modern Woody Allen movie is a little less dialogue-heavy, and a little more Hollywood. My favorite part is the aesthetic – a world set in the UK that includes great outfits and a London and English countryside backdrop. There’s also a thrilling affair between Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Scarlett Johansson…

– Laura Kosann

Read what Laura has to say about Julia Child or her thoughts on Fall eating and drinking.