Woody Allen is not the cinematic force that he used to be. Match Point, for example, is basically a copy of the far superior Crimes and Misdemeanors, released in 1989.
But Woody Allen had a run from 1977-1992 that I would put up against any filmmaker except maybe Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The King Of Comedy, After Hours, Color of Money, Goodfellas, Casino were released from 1976- 1995).
Here are the films:
Annie Hall 1977 (BEST PICTURE)
Broadway Danny Rose 1984
The Purple Rose of Cairo 1985
Hannah and Her Sisters 1986
Radio Days 1987
Crimes and Misdemeanors 1989
Husbands and Wives 1992
I think the reason he was so successful is because he is such a gifted screenwriter. He knew how to compose an original story and write witty dialogue. The best actors all wanted to be “in a Woody” because he could flesh out such interesting characters.
He knew how to write women’s roles, how to write the angst of relationships and how to capture New York. He could do those three things better than anyone.
So far, five actors have won six Academy Awards in Allen films – Diane Keaton, Michael Caine, Diane Weist (twice), Mira Sorvino and last night, Penelope Cruz.
Woody Allen is a strong director, but it’s his words that make him special. I have great respect for Woody Allen the filmmaker. He transitioned from broad comedy in Take The Money and Run and Bananas to a deft mix of comedy and drama in movies Hannah and Her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanors.
As long as he keeps making movies, I’ll keep seeing them. Something in my gut tells me his best work is behind him.