What you're looking at below is a screenshot from the new Film Experience site (opening in a couple of weeks) in the "top tens" section... which is more like a "top 1" for each year from 1920-1979 (until I see or revisit more films from those years).

Woody Allen made my favorite films of 1977 (Annie Hall), 1979 (Manhattan) and 1985 (The Purple Rose of Cairo) and came very close to doing so in 1986 (Hannah and Her Sisters) and 1992 (Husbands and Wives). I haven't done the math but he's way up their under "most represented filmmaker" in my personal bliss lists. Other repeat #1 champs are Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks and William Wyler. But you'll see those lists soon enough.

Though I've expressed concern about Woody Allen's qualitative if not quantitative decline in various posts (I've nearly hated the last two films, Whatever Works and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger), he has given us so much great cinema over the past four decades that today on his 75th birthday I only want to sing him "Happy Birthday". Or maybe play it for him on the clarinet. If only I could play.

10 Favorite Woody Flicks
  1. Manhattan (1979)
  2. The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
  3. Annie Hall (1977)
  4. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
  5. Husbands and Wives (1992)
  6. Bullets Over Broadway (1994)
  7. Interiors (1978)
  8. Match Point (2005)
  9. Stardust Memories (1980)
  10. Sleeper (1973)
Disclaimer: This list is constantly in flux after the top 5 which are inarguably my favorites. I should probably rewatch some of the older ones. I've been meaning to take a good long look at Crimes and Misdemeanors and Another Woman again especially. The only ones I haven't seen: Bananas (1971), Love and Death (1975), Zelig (1983... I've been meaning to watch this one forever. It's like a strange mental block for me), and Cassandra's Dream (2007)

Weird Oscar Trivia: This is little commented on but I think it's worth noting. Though it's well known that Woody Allen is Oscar's #1 screenwriter (14 nominations, 2 wins) and among their 10 favorite directors of all time (6 nominations, 1 win) isn't it bizarre that, given the intensity of that AMPAS love, he's only ever had 2 Best Picture nominees (Annie Hall & Hannah and Her Sisters)? Strange.

Next? Woody's 42nd feature film Midnight in Paris which is about an engaged couple travelling to Paris on business and cheating on each other. I'm guessing on that last part of that sentence but it doesn't take a psychic. Will the film be another goodie like Vicky Cristina Barcelona or a mess like Whatever Works? The new film stars Rachel McAdams and Michael Sheen (now a real life couple). Marion Cotillard plays a character referred to as the 'Muse' -- an Allen staple. When it comes to the new cast, we're most excited to see Mimi Kennedy join the Woodyverse. She seems ideally suited for it, yes? She was so gutbustingly funny in In the Loop (2009).

Woody directing Kennedy and McAdams in Midnight in Paris (2011)

 All of them are newbies to the Woodyverse but he doesn't repeat his cast members that much anymore (sigh). Still no Dianne Wiest in sight. Since Paris is done filming he's undoubtedly writing Untitled Woody Allen Project i.e. the 43rd due in 2012. That how he do.

Wish Mr. Allen a happy 75th in the comments, and tell us your favorite of his films!

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