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Manhattan (1979)

tomatometer

98

Average Rating: 8.6/10
Reviews Counted: 53
Fresh: 52 | Rotten: 1

One of Woody Allen's early classics, Manhattan combines modern, bittersweet humor and timeless romanticism with unerring grace.

100

Average Rating: 8.4/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 0

One of Woody Allen's early classics, Manhattan combines modern, bittersweet humor and timeless romanticism with unerring grace.

audience

92

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 49,891

My Rating

Movie Info

On the heels of Annie Hall, the Oscar-winning romantic comedy that rocketed Woody Allen to the front ranks of American filmmakers, Manhattan continued Allen's romantic obsessions in a slightly darker, more pessimistic vein. Allen stars as Isaac Davis, a TV comedy writer sick of the pap he is forced to churn out and harboring dreams of being the great American novelist. His love life is in barbed-wire territory: he is tormented by his second ex-wife Jill (Meryl Streep), a lesbian who has written

R,

Drama, Romance, Comedy

Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman

Jul 4, 2000

United Artists

Watch It Now

Cast

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All Critics (53) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (52) | Rotten (1) | DVD (14)

The film should not come as a complete surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to Allen's doings lately. This is the movie that Annie Hall hinted at and to which last year's Interiors, flawed as it was, seems to have served as a necessary prelude.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Allen serves up a nostalgia that was utterly of its time; he incarnates an idea of the city that, even now, remains as strong as its reality and refracts his disappointed ideals into high existential crises.

September 3, 2012 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Manhattan is not just Woody Allen's dream movie. Wistful as it is witty, it's his dream of the movies.

February 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Allen has, in black and white, captured the inner beauty that lurks behind the outer layer of dirt and grime in Manhattan.

February 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Woody Allen's great leap forward into character development and dramatic integrity.

February 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a deeply self-critical film about immaturity and the gift of real love. Many films can be said to put an epitaph on the decade, but few remain as relevant.

January 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Defining, dry Woody Allen paean to New York City.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

This is a wonderful film, with a George Gershwin score that adds just the right amount of poignancy.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

As a slightly ironic comedy-romance (it's shot, beautifully, in black and white by cinematographer Gordon Willis and the background music is all Gershwin), the film is a success of classic proportions.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

Has self-flagellation ever been this elegant?

May 24, 2013 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm
LarsenOnFilm

Manhattan is one of the greatest films ever made, with a final passage that's truly devastating.

March 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

In "Manhattan," Allen has more to say about people, relationships, and human nature than he does in "Annie Hall" . . . but what he says, apart from a handful of hilarious lines, isn't as consistently funny.

February 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Manhattan is Allen's most fully realized film, especially in the way perspectives are developed. It's the rare movie that can be watched from a number of different points-of-view, without feeling cheated.

February 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Examiner.com
Examiner.com

Allen's cynicism rears its head in this movie quite a bit, and in many ways he pokes fun at his own audience, though I doubt his die-hard fans catch it.

February 6, 2012 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

A film with a sharp look and some glinting lines. Still, it's the city that Isaac/Allen has a nostalgic faith in, not people, or love, or even the film itself.

November 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

Arguably this is Woody Allen's masterpiece, in which he revisits the themes of his bittersweet features and refines his distinctive serio-comic tone, not to mention Gordon's Willis brilliant b/w imagery and George Gershwin's evocative score.

August 25, 2010 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Allen's greatest film? Spend time in its company and you'll find it hard to argue otherwise.

February 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Manhattan is a great film about love in and love for New York.

February 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

One of Woody's more perceptive films.

July 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

One of Woody's most aesthetically gorgeous films as well as his classic love-hate letter to the city of his soul.

November 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Manhattan

This is a classic Woody Allen film, complete with all the classic Woody Allen hallmarks, and, you know what? I actually had to watch it twice because upon completion of one viewing, I was actually stunned and unable to really decide how I felt about the film. That sort of thing almost never happens, either. It was weird. I watched it, and truly was unable to decide how I felt. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it. So, I gave it another watch, and any sort of issues I had with this film (it mostly has to do with the unlikeability and unsympatheticness of the characters) kinda worked themselves out on the second viewing.

I actually like that the characters, especially Woody's are rather slimy, creepy jerks. It adds to the fun and nuttiness of it all. That, and it takes real talent to successfully pull off a dramedy where a twice divorced 42 year-old is dating a 17 year-old girl whom he doesn't love, despite the strong feelings she has for him. Plus, there's lots of typical pretentious conversations about art, music, and philosophy that just really sing. Also, this was the first time Allen made not only a black and white film, but one that was also visually stunning, something that doesn't apply to the vast majority of his works.

This is a true love letter to Manhattan, and the gorgeous cinematography, excellent Gershwin score, and Allen's crisp writing make it truly the masterpiece that everyone hails it to be, and I think this film really truly does stand the test of time since I was forced to give it multiple watches and lots of thought before deciding how I really felt about it. Now THAT's a sign of genius.
March 17, 2014
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

It struggles to engage throughout, but it has a strong start, great acting, and is definitely worth seeing as so to experience the genius of Woody Allen's witty humor.
December 9, 2013
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

This classic's use of location is close to perfect, but unfortunately the story taking place in this romanticized metropolis is at its best standard and at its worst a bit creepy. If you've seen Annie Hall, the rambling wit and wisdom here is pretty much identical. If not for the beauty of the cinematography, I'd be hard pressed to find anything particularly special about this as opposed to more focused and more unique Allen movies.
March 11, 2013
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

Great self analytical, poignant, romantic, bittersweet Woody Allen, beautifully shot in black and white.
February 3, 2013
Louis Rogers

Super Reviewer

    1. Isaac Davis: Well, we'll always have Paris.
    – Submitted by Peter G (21 months ago)
    1. Isaac Davis: New York as his town, and it always would be.
    – Submitted by Mike N (22 months ago)
    1. Isaac Davis: The brain is probably the most overrated organ!
    – Submitted by Alonso A (2 years ago)
    1. Tracy: Not everyone gets corrupted...you gotta have a little faith in people.
    – Submitted by Nathalie R (2 years ago)
    1. Isaac Davis: Well, a satirical piece in the Times is one thing, but bricks get right to the point.
    2. Mary Wilke: But biting satire is better that physical force.
    3. Isaac Davis: No, physical force is better with Nazis. It's hard to satirise a guy with shiny boots.
    – Submitted by Matthew D (3 years ago)
    1. Party Guest: I finally had an orgasm, and my doctor said it was the wrong kind.
    2. Isaac Davis: You had the wrong kind? I have never had the wrong kind, ever. My worst one was right on the money.
    – Submitted by Diogo C (3 years ago)
View all quotes (7)

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