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Annie Hall a 1977 American romantic comedy film directed by Woody Allen from a script co-written with Marshall Brickman. One of Allen's most popular films, it won numerous awards at the time of its release, including four Academy Awards, and in 2002 Roger Ebert referred to it as "just about everyone's favorite Woody Allen movie".

Allen had previously been known as a maker of zany comedies; the director has described Annie Hall as "a major turning point", as it brought a new level of seriousness to his work.


The film is set in New York Citymarker and Los Angelesmarker.

Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) is a neurotic comedian, attempting to maintain a relationship with the seemingly ditzy but exuberant Annie (Diane Keaton). The film chronicles their relationship over several years, intercut with various imaginary trips into each other's history (Annie is able to "see" Alvy's family when he was only a child, and likewise Alvy observes Annie's past relationships). In the first flashback showing Alvy as a child, we learn he was raised in Brooklynmarker; his father's occupation was operating a bumper cars concession and the family home was located below the Thunderbolt roller coaster on Coney Islandmarker.

After many arguments and reconciliations, the two realize they are fundamentally different and split up. Annie moves in with Lacey. Annie likes California, but Alvy hates it. Alvy soon realizes he still loves her and tries to convince her to return with him to New York. He fails and, resignedly, returns home to write a play about their relationship, recycling the conversation they had exchanged in California, but ending with him winning Annie back.

Later, with Annie back in New York, the two are able to meet on good terms as friends, now with different lovers. Alvy ends the film by musing about how love and relationships are something we all require despite their often painful and complex nature.



Allen's working title for the film was Anhedonia (a psychoanalytic term for the inability to experience pleasure from normally pleasurable life events), but this was considered unmarketable, as were Brickman's suggested alternatives, It Had to Be Jew, Rollercoaster Named Desire and Me and My Goy. Ultimately Annie Hall was decided on as the release title. Because of biographical similarities between the character Alvy and Woody Allen (including Allen's previous relationship with co-star Diane Keaton, whose real name is Diane Hall, and who portrays the character Annie Hall), Annie Hall has been widely assumed to be semi-autobiographical. Allen has denied this.

The film was originally intended to be a drama centered on a murder mystery with a comic and romantic subplot, and was filmed that way. According to Allen, the murder occurred after a scene that remains in the film, the sequence in which Annie and Alvy miss the Ingmar Bergman film Face to Face. After shooting had completed, the film's editor persuaded Woody Allen to cut the mystery plot and make the film a romantic comedy. (Allen would make a murder mystery film many years later, with 1993's Manhattan Murder Mystery, also starring Diane Keaton.)

Similarly, the production of the film was semi-improvisational. For example, in the original script, Alvy didn't grow up under a roller coaster, but while Allen was driving around Brooklyn with his crew, looking for locations, "I saw this roller-coaster, and I saw the house under it. And I thought, we have to use this." The 'house' in question is in fact the Kensington Hotel, which really was located underneath the Thunderbolt roller coaster. Another example is the scene in which Alvy sneezes into cocaine, which was purely accidental, but Allen decided to keep it in the movie; when they tested it with audiences they laughed so much that Allen had to add more footage after the scene so they wouldn't laugh through important conversations afterwards.

Style and technique

A scene from Annie Hall
Allen has said that Annie Hall was "a major turning point" both thematically and technically. "I had the courage to abandon... just clowning around and the safety of complete broad comedy. I said to myself, 'I think I will try and make some deeper film and not be as funny in the same way. And maybe there will be other values that will emerge, that will be interesting or nourishing for the audience.' And it worked out very very well."

Allen has also stated that working with cinematographer Gordon Willis for the first time on Annie Hall helped improve his technical skills, calling Willis "a very important teacher" and a "technical wizard." Annie Hall was the first of Allen's films to utilize long takes, where sometimes one shot will continue, unabridged, for an entire scene. Allen has commented, "It just seems more fun and quicker and less boring for me to do long scenes." Film critic Roger Ebert cites a study that calculated the average shot length of Annie Hall to be 14.5 seconds, while other films made in 1977 had an average shot length of 4–7 seconds. Ebert adds that the long takes add to the dramatic power of the film, saying, "Few viewers probably notice how much of Annie Hall consists of people talking, simply talking. They walk and talk, sit and talk, go to shrinks, go to lunch, make love and talk, talk to the camera, or launch into inspired monologues like Annie's free-association as she describes her family to Alvy. This speech by Diane Keaton is as close to perfect as such a speech can likely be... all done in one take of brilliant brinkmanship." As detailed in the book When the Shooting Stops... The Cutting Begins, written by the film's editor, Ralph Rosenblum, with Robert Karen, the trick to editing Annie Hall was paring the film down to its essential. The first rough cut was two hours and twenty minutes long; various subplots, background scenes and flashbacks-within-flashbacks were deleted to focus on the love story.

In one scene, Allen's character, standing in a cinema queue with Annie and listening to someone behind him expound on Marshall McLuhan's work, leaves the line to speak to the camera directly. The man then speaks to the camera in his defense, and Allen resolves the dispute by pulling McLuhan himself from behind a free-standing movie posterboard to tell the man that his interpretation is wrong. Another scene is animated, featuring a cartoon Allen and the Wicked Queen from Snow White. In another scene Allen's character again addresses the audience, and then stops several passers-by to ask questions about love. Woody Allen chose to have Alvy break the fourth wall, he explained, "because I felt many of the people in the audience had the same feelings and the same problems. I wanted to talk to them directly and confront them."

Another notable scene is a visit by the main characters to Alvy’s childhood, a narrative technique that Ingmar Bergman uses in Wild Strawberries, one of Bergman’s most acclaimed films, and a technique Allen would use again in Crimes and Misdemeanors, where the main character, Judah (Martin Landau) would visit his childhood and ask his father, a rabbi, ethical questions about a crime he’d just committed. Similarly the school scenes in the beginning of the film were influenced by another idol of Allen’s, Federico Fellini, to whose Amarcord Annie Hall owes a great debt.

The film has no soundtrack and very little background music is heard, a homage to Allen’s idol, Ingmar Bergman. The few instances of music in the film include a boy's choir Christmas melody played while the characters drive through Los Angeles, the Molto allegro from the Jupiter Symphony by Mozart heard as Annie and Alvy drive through the countryside, Annie's two performances at the jazz club; Annie's song is also reprised in the film's final scene; and there is a muzak version of the Savoy Brown song "A Hard Way to Go" playing in the Paul Simon character's mansion during a party.

Awards and honors

Academy Awards record
1. Best Actress, Diane Keaton
2. Best Director, Woody Allen
3. Best Picture, Charles H. Joffe
4. Best Original Screenplay, Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman
Golden Globe Awards record
1. Best Actress - Musical/Comedy, Diane Keaton
BAFTA Awards record
1. Best Actress, Diane Keaton
2. Best Direction, Woody Allen
3. Best Editing, Ralph Rosenblum, Wendy Greene Bricmont
4. Best Film
5. Best Screenplay, Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman

1977 Academy Awards (Oscars)

1978 Golden Globes
  • Annie Hall won one Golden Globe Award, for Best Actress in Musical or Comedy (Diane Keaton). It was nominated for three more: Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), Best Director (Woody Allen), and Best Actor in Musical or Comedy (Woody Allen).

1978 BAFTA Awards

American Film Institute recognition

Other Awards

  • In 1992, this film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congressmarker as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
  • Zagat Survey Movie Guide (2002) ranks Annie Hall one of the top ten comedies of all time, one of the top ten movies of the 1970s and as Allen's best film as a director.
  • In 2000, readers of Total Film magazine voted it the forty-second greatest comedy film of all time.
  • The film is number 28 on Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies.
  • In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed AFI's 10 Top 10—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Annie Hall was acknowledged as the second best film in the romantic comedy genre.

Considered sequel

Allen says he gets approached "all the time" about making a sequel to Annie Hall, but has repeatedly declined. However, he admitted in a 1995 interview that for a time he considered it, saying,


  • In an episode of the Fox series Family Guy entitled "Chick Cancer" Stewie and Olivia sit in the park and make fun of passers in a parody of a scene from Annie Hall. The Episode also parodies the films Manhattan and Crimes and Misdemeanors, also written and directed by Woody Allen.
  • Post-Hardcore band, Fugazi, references Christopher Walken's character, "Duane", in their song "Walken's Syndrome" on their album In on the Kill Taker.

  • Influential alternative rock band Jawbreaker used a sample of Duane telling Alvy about his disturbing visions of crashing his car in their song, "Jet Black" on their final album, Dear You.

  • Rock/ska/swing band the Cherry Poppin' Daddies reference the film in their song "Diamond Light Boogie" on their 2000 album Soul Caddy. Done in a 1970s glam rock style, the narrator, reflecting on the innocence of the 20th century, references several pop culture items from the era, including the line "God knows I miss cross-dressin' Annie".

  • The Blur track "Look Inside America" contains the couplet 'Annie Hall leaves New York in the end/ Press rewind and Woody gets her back again'

  • In the That '70s Show episode "Kitty and Eric's Night Out", they go and see the movie and discuss the amounts of adult material within the film. Later, Eric and Donna have a moment where they act like Alvy and Annie.

  • London based anti-folk singer Emmy the Great mentions Annie Hall in her song "Canopies and Grapes" in the lines 'Wish I could tell you all the things that Woody Allen helps me see / How Annie Hall is starting to seem quite a lot like you and me'.

  • The writers/creators of British sitcom Peep Show Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain have quoted Woody Allen as inspiration for the shows technique of being able to hear inner thoughts of characters.

  • In the 1985 film St. Elmo's Fire, Kirby briefly mentions seeing it with a girl he has a crush on.

Influence on fashion

The film also had an influence on the fashion world during the late-70s, with countless women adopting Keaton's distinctive look in the film, layering oversized, mannish blazers over vests, billowy trousers or long skirts, and boots. Keaton's wardrobe also included a tie by Ralph Lauren. The look was often referred to as the "Annie Hall look".

Allen recalled that Keaton's natural fashion sense almost did not end up in the film. "She came in," he recalled in 1995, "and the costume lady on Annie Hall said, 'Tell her not to wear that. She can't wear that. It's so crazy.' And I said, 'Leave her. She's a genius. Let's just leave her alone, let her wear what she wants.'


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