Woody Allen, one of the most important figures in American cinema history, celebrates his 81st birthday today. Here is a list of 10 of his landmark films (up to this point) in chronological order.
- TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN (1969)
As noted, before Woody Allen the filmmaker, it was Woody Allen the comic. He became a household name through his television appearances and with successful runs on Broadway, with such plays as Don’t Drink the Water and Play it Again Sam.
Cinema came calling, first as a writer and actor, in What’s New Pussycat, which is bubbly but a minor work compared to what’s to come. The next attempt was the unusual What’s Up Tiger Lily?, which is officially his first credit as a director, but was merely a re-dubbed version of a cheesy Japanese movie, which he re-worked in his own comedic zest.
It would be more righteous to consider Take the Money and Run the very first film directed by Allen in which he shows signs of his genius. In fact, this 1969 ranks among his downright funniest. The film was a mockumentary, which provided a great vehicle for his neurotic comedic persona. It also echoed slapstick and screwball comedy alike, from the farcical to the downright nonsensical. Its unpolished look makes it seem all the more endearing and edgy. (Such energy is echoed in works like Steve Martin’s own cinematic debut, The Jerk.)