Take the Money and Run


Take the Money and Run

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 21


Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,899
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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.


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 (21) | Top Critics (5)

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

    May 10, 2013 | Full Review…
  • A few good laughs in an 85-minute film do not a comedy make.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    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.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    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.

    May 9, 2005 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • 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.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • I have long thought Woody Allen to be one of the funniest men in the world, and now that his first film, Take the Money and Run, which he has written, directed and in which he stars, is out, the world is going to know it as well.

    Jul 8, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Take the Money and Run

  • Dec 10, 2010
    Witty, funny, and filled with laughs and one-liners but lacking a solid narrative to hang all the gags on. Interesting early Woody, perhaps for his fans only.
    Jonny B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 04, 2010
    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 M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 18, 2009
    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 B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 20, 2008
    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 X Super Reviewer

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