Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Crimes and Misdemeanors Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Woody Allen spent most of the 1980s and '90s veering between comedy and drama, and he rarely combined the two with greater success than in Crimes and Misdemeanors, in which he weaved together two stories, one deadly serious, one often funny, both ending in sadness. Martin Landau plays Dr. Judah Rosenthal, a prominent ophthalmologist with a successful practice, a loving family, and a reputation for generous charity work. But Rosenthal also has a secret: his mistress, Dolores (Anjelica Huston). What began as a casual fling has become uncomfortably intimate, and as he tries to break off the relationship, Dolores threatens to expose his infidelity to his wife and some unorthodox financial arrangements to his colleagues. Fearful that Dolores will make good on her threats, Judah confesses his secret to his brother Jack (Jerry Orbach), who has ties to organized crime and offers to "make the problem go away." Meanwhile, Cliff Stern (Woody Allen) is a filmmaker working on his pet project, a documentary about philosopher Prof. Louis Levy (Martin Bergmann). However, films about philosophers don't pay the rent, so Cliff's wife Wendy (Joanna Gleason) arranges for him to make a documentary for public television about her brother Lester (Alan Alda), a famous TV comedian whose vapidity is exceeded only by his arrogance. While Cliff tries to bite the bullet and finish the film, he finds himself falling in love with PBS producer Halley Reed (Mia Farrow).more
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Woody Allen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 5, 2001
Orion Pictures Corporation

Watch it now


Woody Allen
as Clifford Stern
Martin Landau
as Judah Rosenthal
Mia Farrow
as Halley Reed
Alan Alda
as Lester
Anjelica Huston
as Dolores Paley
Joanna Gleason
as Wendy Stern
Jerry Orbach
as Jack Rosenthal
Claire Bloom
as Miriam Rosenthal
Stephanie Roth
as Sharon Rosenthal
Victor Argo
as Detective
Bill Bernstein
as Testimonial Speaker
Thomas P. Crow
as TV Producer
George J. Manos
as Photographer
Delores Sutton
as Judah's Secretary
Martin Bergmann
as Prof. Louis Levy
Jerry Zaks
as Man on Campus
George Mason
as Photographer
Dolores Sutton
as Judah's Secretary
Joel Fogel
as TV Producer
Stanley Reichman
as Chris' Father
Donna Castellano
as TV Producer
Rebecca Schull
as Chris' Mother
David S. Howard
as Sol Rosenthal
Barry Finkel
as TV Writer
Garrett Simowitz
as Young Judah
Frances Conroy
as House Owner
Steve Maidment
as TV Writer
Anna Berger
as Aunt May
Sol Frieder
as Seder Guest
Justin Zaremby
as Seder Guest
Marvin Terban
as Seder Guest
Hy Anzell
as Seder Guest
Sylvia Kauders
as Seder Guest
Nora Ephron
as Wedding Guest
Merv Bloch
as Wedding Guest
Thomas Bolster
as Wedding Guest
Robin Bartlett
as Wedding Guest
Warren Vache
as Jazz Band
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Crimes and Misdemeanors

Critic Reviews for Crimes and Misdemeanors

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (6)

The overall 'philosophical' thrust -- that good guys finish last and that crime does pay -- is designed to make the audience feel very wise, but none of the characters or ideas is allowed to develop beyond its cardboard profile.

Full Review… | February 12, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The structural and stylistic conceit is that when Landau is onscreen, the film is dead serious, even solemn, while Allen's own appearance onscreen signals hilarious satire and priceless one-liners.

Full Review… | February 12, 2008
Top Critic

Dramatically, the film seldom fulfils its promise, and its pessimistic 'moral' -- that good and evil do not always meet with their just deserts -- looks contrived and hollow. Intriguing and patchily effective, nevertheless.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The movie's secret strength -- its structure, really -- comes from the truth of the dozens and dozens of particular details through which it arrives at its own very hesitant, not especially comforting, very moving generality.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Nervy and unnerving...arguably the purest expression of Allen's cinematic vision. [Blu-ray]

Full Review… | February 19, 2014
Groucho Reviews

A truly brilliant study of murder and its psychological effects on the people that dare commit it.

Full Review… | September 23, 2013
Cinema Crazed

Audience Reviews for Crimes and Misdemeanors

I coincidentally happened to watch this on Woody's birthday, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate the man than by watching one of his finest films. In one of his finest films to blend comedy and drama, we get a superb meditation on choice, morality, fidelity, and the consequences of such things told both humorously and tragically.

With the dramatic story, we get wealthy society man Judah Rosenthal whose ex-mistress is planning to expose his marital and financial indiscretions. He finds himself torn between taking the advice of his rabbi or following the propositions made by his mob-connected brother. Comedically, there's the story of filmmaker Cliff Stern who is torn between making an important work full of integrity or selling out to make a commercial piece that flatters a man who doesn't really deserve it. Yeah, the two stories have a big contrast in terms of the immediate impact of things, but the repercussions of things are matched in the weightiness of ow it'll all end.

This really is a joy to watch, even when it gets dark and heavy. It's impeccably written, wonderfully acted, very compelling, and succeeds with both the drama and the comedy (some of the best laughs being the interactions between Cliff and his niece). And on top of that, the climax and final monologue are simply perfect. I very highly recommend this masterpiece.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Perhaps this is a good movie - after all 90% of reviewers like it. I'm in the 10%. Is the world that full of MD's who get away with murder, comedians who are not funny, filmmakers who cannot make films, marriages that are farces? I guess I would prefer my movies to offer me hope instead of realism.

Red Lats

Super Reviewer


"Sleeper" was and has been my favorite Allen film, always light, breezy and fun, but I haven't seen them all and now this dark rumination forces me to alter my original opinion. The acceptance here of dark forces roaming the void is unavoidable and comedy becomes ... disposable, or at best only momentary in a sea of sadness. Must see for Allen fans.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Crimes and Misdemeanors Quotes

– Submitted by Edward A (8 months ago)
– Submitted by monsieur r (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Chad E (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Crimes and Misdemeanors on our Movie forum!