Take the Money and Run (1969) - Rotten Tomatoes

Take the Money and Run (1969)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

When Woody Allen's fans refer to his "earlier, funnier" pictures, they often cite his directorial debut as a shining example. Co-written by Allen and Mickey Rose, this side-splitting takeoff of crime documentaries stars Allen as Virgil Starkwell, a sweetly inept career criminal. The film's most celebrated sequence involves Virgil's inability to write coherent holdup notes ("I have a gub"), but others include Virgil's losing battle with a recalcitrant coke machine and his misguided effort to emulate John Dillinger by carving a gun out of a bar of soap (his weapon disintegrates in a heavy rain). As was often the case in Allen's early films, not all the gags work, but for the most part, Take the Money and Run is a delight, enhanced by the on-target supporting performances of Janet Margolin, Marcel Hillaire, and (uncredited) Louise Lasser, as well as the energetic musical score of Marvin Hamlisch.

Cast

Woody Allen
as Virgil Starkwell
Jacquelyn Hyde
as Miss Blaire
James Anderson
as Chain Gang Warden
Dan Frazer
as Psychiatrist
Minnow Moskowitz
as Joe Agneta
Grace Bauer
as Farmhouse Lady
Ethel Sokolow
as Mother Starkwell
Henry Leff
as Father Starkwell
Don Frazier
as Psychiatrist
Mike O'Dowd
as Michael Sullivan
Louise Lasser
as Kay Lewis
Jackson Beck
as The Narrator
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Critic Reviews for Take the Money and Run

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (5)

Whatever its genesis, Allen's scraggly rhetoric evolved into the dominant comic style of the 70s.

Full Review… | May 10, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A few good laughs in an 85-minute film do not a comedy make.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

It has plenty of hilarious jokes and concepts, like the ventriloquists' dummies at prison visiting time, and the return home from a chaingang break with five shackled cons in tow.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Allen has made a movie that is, in effect, a feature-length, two-reel comedy -- something very special and eccentric and funny.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Woody Allen's Take the Money and Run has some very funny moments, and you'll laugh a lot, but in the last analysis it isn't a very funny movie.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Rosenblum even suggested the use of New Orleans jazz on the soundtrack, which became a staple of future Allen projects.

Full Review… | May 10, 2013
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Take the Money and Run

½

It doesn't matter how I look at it, the humor of this early Wood Allen semi-mockumentary doesn't work for me at all with those gags that may look great on paper but are a failure on screen, and it is just irritating to see one funny joke for every three or four terrible ones.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Take the Money and Run is a surrealist crime comedy that's little more than a loosely bound series of gags, and yet somehow the whole thing works. Woody Allen plays Virgil Starkwell, perhaps the world's worst criminal. He gets caught trying to rob a bank because the tellers can't read his hold-up note. He tries to pull another bank job with a gang, and a separate gang holds up the same bank at the very same time. Life is a series of hard knocks for Virgil, until one day when he's about to rob a beautiful girl, and decides to talk to her instead. The two soon become a couple and marry, and it's here the movie makes it's strongest point. The dialogue is at it's strongest and most realistic in the couple's exchanges, especially in the way she refuses to allow him to get away with lying. She knows him all too well, you see. The rest of the world are idiots, though. Unable to recognize even the lamest of schemes, everyone from cops and judges on down to the everyday people are all at the mercy of slightly-above-average-intelligence Virgil, and yet he always manages to do himself in due to his extreme ineptitude. In a movie that's just a series of gags, with the barest and loosest of plots, its fortunate that most of time it works.

Devon Bott
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

I remember I was reading some Woody Allen Q&A session with Eric Lax and he was talking about how inexperienced he was while making this movie and how difficult it was to direct, so I was surprised to find that this was actually a very tightly structured narrative. All the physical comedy scenes are priceless but it's never like tiresome joke, joke, joke one after the other. The story works passably as well. It's actually one of the better comedies, believe it or not - miles ahead of Bananas and Love and Death. And the women Woody goes for are all so pretty and awesome too - sweet and willing to take a joke, but not in a wallflower sense at all.

Jennifer Xu
Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

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