Episode 17 – Manhattan (1979)

The Woody Allen Pages Podcast
The Woody Allen Pages Podcast
Episode 17 - Manhattan (1979)

Manhattan is the 8th film written and directed by Woody Allen, first released in 1979.

Woody Allen stars as Isaac Davis, and we follow him as he romanticises the hell out of New York City, falling in love, and dealing with the poetry of every day life. His story is divided by several women and one friend. And he’s made a decision to live a better life, if there is such a thing.

What do you say about Manhattan? It’s a masterpiece, and where Allen’s skill as a director finally matches his skill as a writer. It’s a triumph of production with a story that lays out everything Allen had been trying to say. Oh and it’s my favourite film of all time.

This week, episode 17, we talk about 1979’s Manhattan. I will try not to go too overboard about how great it is. But we will look at how it was conceived, how it was made, and how the bastards are wrong about it. Spoilers are everywhere – watch the film, then come back.

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  1. Yep, Manhattan is most certainly The Maestro’s magnum opus!! I watch it at least once every two or three months just to help keep my spirits up. From my first viewing on DVD twenty plus years ago it had an immediate impact on me; most importantly it convinced me that regardless of the multitude of scrumptious toppings, a pizza is not a pizza without coconut sprinkled on top!!! Folks try it, you won’t regret it. Every element of this film is pure bliss. Right now on YouTube you can take in a viewing of Melville’s Two Men In Manhattan. Interestingly the opening of the picture also has a collection of wonderful black and white exterior shots of Manhattan. I wonder if Woody might’ve been inspired by Melville’s film. Just a thought. But yep, undoubtedly Woody’s Manhattan is like an old friend!!! Just pop it in your bluray player and let’er roll. Woody’s timeless wisdom is always there when you need it!!!

    GO WOODY!!!!!

  2. I particularly liked your comparison of Woody’s NYC with that of other 1970s filmmakers who emphasized the city’s degradation during this era. I visited NYC as a kid a few times in the 70s & it was grungy.

    While I personally rate several of Woody’s films higher than Manhattan, there’s no denying its status as a masterpiece. It saddens me that there’s no place for this type of film at today’s box office. The adult drama has been sidelined by superheroes & other franchises.

  3. Brilliant. Thank you for further enhancing my appreciation for Manhattan. I love it as much as you do. The melding of cinematography, score, script and performances has never been matched. Like you, it has informed my thinking ever since I saw it upon its initial release over 40 years ago.

  4. Great stuff and a terrific film

    If you want to know something about Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue that enhances that wonderful opening sequence in this brilliant film – then watch this amusing piece of comic education; a short film that explains the piece. It’s a masterpiece too in its own understated way. Enjoy:


    Oh and if you like it – go the channel Classics Explained. Amazing explanations described in a funny, parodic and satirical style

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