Counting down our favorite Woody Allen movies

'Love and Death' and everything in between

In his film career of nearly 50 years, Woody Allen has positioned himself as an invaluable figure in world cinema. He started out as a stand-up comedian before establishing himself as a comedic filmmaker with classics like “Take the Money and Run” (1969), “Bananas” (1971) and “Sleeper” (1973). His movies bore the visual influence of previous filmmaker-comedians, like the Marx Brothers and Charlie Chaplin. As his career progressed, he created his own increasingly distinct style, particularly after working with cinematographer Gordon Willis in a nine-film streak from “Love and Death” (1975) to “The Purple Rose of Cairo” (1985). Now with the directing of 44 full-length features under his belt, Allen’s personal stamp is evident regardless of genre. He’s just as adept with thoughtful and searingly emotional dramas, such as this year’s “Blue Jasmine,” as he is with his comedies. In honor of Allen’s career, we’ve polled ourselves on his best movies and come up with these 10 as standouts in his career.

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Provided by MGM "Hannah and Her Sisters"

1. “Annie Hall” (1977)

All the peaks and valleys of modern-day relationships are precisely sculpted by Allen in his masterpiece. The quintessential romantic comedy, “Annie Hall” is so cleverly written, so sharp with its humor and so poignant that even as Allen’s character breaks the fourth wall and speaks into the camera, you forget you’re watching staged interactions. The chemistry between Allen and Diane Keaton transcends the screen, and their characters become people that we can not only genuinely relate to and empathize with, but also people that we all know in our own lives. — Erik

2. “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (1989)

Allen’s finest drama, “Crimes and Misdemeanors” thoughtfully explores man’s relationship with God and man’s ideas of success. Sometimes, Allen finds doing the right thing is more important than happiness. — Jacob

3. “Hannah and Her Sisters” (1986)

While it may not top our list, “Hannah and Her Sisters” is one of my all-time favorites. Allen shares his take on the meaning of existence, the fine line between lust and love and the implications of life and death in this tapestry of brilliantly interwoven stories. While certainly a drama, Allen’s delightful charm and wit are still on full display here, and his blending of characters in the film is beautiful. — Erik

4. “Manhattan” (1979)

This, in my eyes, is objectively Allen’s finest film, at least from a film school point of view. It’s his most complete, his most beautiful and his most straightforward movie. If you love the New York City or old-fashioned romance, you will fall in love with this film from the second the iconic opening sequence begins. “Manhattan” is a true classic. — Darian

5. “Midnight in Paris” (2011)

This movie appeared out of nowhere and got an Oscar nomination in 2011, the year that everyone was talking about Paris. (There was also “The Artist” and “Hugo.”) “Midnight in Paris” is not as thematically mature as Allen’s other films, but it’s a lot of fun and one of his essential movies. — Darian

6. “Zelig” (1983)

“Zelig” is one of Allen’s greatest creations. Allen stars as Zelig and is a human chameleon, changing his appearance to adapt to his surroundings. Among doctors, he mysteriously conjures a lab coat. Among black people, his skin darkens and his nose widens. But what makes “Zelig” a masterpiece is its heart and its construction. The movie is a mockumentary that follows Zelig for decades and inserts him into archival footage, “Forrest Gump”-style. And then there’s Mia Farrow’s character, a doctor scorned by the medical establishment but who doggedly studies Zelig to understand his condition and who slowly falls in love with him. — Jacob

7. “The Purple Rose of Cairo” (1985)

“The Purple Rose of Cairo” is arguably Allen’s most inventive film. The film blurs the line between fantasy and reality as the protagonist steps out off the screen and into the real world. As Allen’s love letter to cinema, this is a must-see for anyone who loves everything about the movies. Also, the ending will have you weak at the knees. — Erik

8. “Love and Death” (1975)

“Love and Death” is the best of Allen’s “early, funny” films — as Allen himself agrees. He’s once again paired with Diane Keaton (his cousin and love interest) in an elaborate, smart and hilarious satire of Russian literature and European history. The movie’s title isn’t just a poke at grand Russian novel titles like “Crime and Punishment” and “War and Peace.” In 85 minutes, it seriously engages with the “to be or not to be” conundrum that Allen seems to always be grappling with. He is, as ever, a secret optimist: “I’d hate to blow my brains out and then read in the papers that they found something.” — Jacob

9 & 10 (tie). “Match Point” (2005) = “Sleeper” (1973)

Two very different movies, yet both completely deserve to be in the top 10. “Matchpoint” is a total departure for Allen: It’s straight thriller. The film follows a pretty hot British love triangle and, while it’s slow burning, the finale packs a punch. “Sleeper” is one of Allen’s earliest films, in which he finds himself in a futuristic world fighting an oppressive government. If you have a free afternoon, hey, watch them both. — Darian