100 best comedy movies: the list
The 100 best comedy movies, picked by experts from across film, TV and comedy
By Tom Huddleston, David Jenkins, Adam Lee Davies, Derek Adams, Edward Lawrenson, Wally Hammond, Ben Walters, Gabriel Tate and Phil Harrison. Explore the individual top tens of every contributor.
Dir Woody Allen (Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts)
‘I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.’
Guilt, self-loathing, nostalgia, Jewish identity, misanthropy, hyper-intellectualism and the breakdown of a relationship: the ideal ingredients for a comedy masterpiece, then. However ardently its creator may deny it, ‘Annie Hall’ is the most Woody-ish of all Woody Allen’s movies, gathering together all the director’s most dearly beloved themes (and Diane Keaton) into one tight little 93-minute package. This is where Woody came into his own, moving from fun-but-slight pastiches like ‘Sleeper’ and ‘Love and Death’ into more personal, emotional, resonant territory, diving deep into the recesses of his own troubled, bitter, desperately inhibited soul and splashing the results on the screen for all to see.
All of which would mean nothing if Woody hadn’t also remembered to bring the funny: take out the jokes, and what are you left with? ‘Interiors’. So, while this is a film bursting with achingly human truths, it's also a laugh riot of towering proportions, incorporating Woody’s to-camera monologues about everything from childhood to old age, lovably curmudgeonly sideswipes against his pet hates – drugs and rock ’n’ roll – and a welter of memorable cameos from a bizarre rogue’s gallery of up-and-coming actors (Christopher Walken, Shelley Duvall, Jeff ‘I forgot my mantra!’ Goldblum) and established icons (Marshall McLuhan, Truman Capote, Paul Simon).
The result is one of the most important and influential modern comedies: the template for an entire genre of sex- and relationship-obsessed anti-romances. But no one does it better than Woody. TH
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