Woody Allen has already enjoyed a career that has spanned over five decades and this week he is back with Irrational Man, which will be his fiftieth film.

Irrational Man

Irrational Man

Irrational Man sees Allen pen the screenplay as well as being in the director's chair. The film also sees him team up with Joaquin Phoenix for the first time, while he reunites with Emma Stone.

We take a look back over Allen's long and very successful directing career and four of his best movies. Do you have a favourite?

- Annie Hall (1977)

While Allen was no stranger to the director's chair by the time Annie Hall was released back in 1977, this is the movie that proved to be a major turning point in his career. Annie Hall is a movie that is almost forty years old and yet, it remains Allen's greatest film and a true American classic.

As well as being in the director's chair, Allen starred in the film with Diane Keaton and teamed up with Marshall Brickman to pen the screenplay. The movie followed the up and down relationship between TV writer Alvy Singer and his aspiring actress girlfriend Annie Hall - played wonderfully by Keaton.

Annie Hall is widely regarded the film where Allen truly found his own voice as a filmmaker as he finds the right balance between romantic drama and terrific comedy. The movie is as funny as it is touching, while Keaton and Allen brought to life some truly wonderful dialogue.

One of the major reasons that Annie Hall works so well, is the fact that Allen and Keaton made a terrific big screen team. The chemistry between the two brings this story to life and it is great to see them sparring together.

Annie Hall is a movie that is also beautifully shot as Allen really does bring New York to life - the city becomes a character in its own right and this film just wouldn't have worked if it had been shot anywhere else.

Annie Hall went on to be nominated for five Oscars; winning Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. Allen missed out on the chance to scoop the Best Actor gong - losing to Richard Dreyfuss for The Goodbye Girl.

When anyone thinks of the directing work of Woody Allen, the movie Annie Hall is the one that always springs to mind. It is a film that really has stood the test of time and is as relevant a watch today as it was back in the late seventies.

Annie Hal

- Manhattan (1979)

Two years after the success of Annie Hall, Allen was back in the director's chair with his new film Manhattan. The movie saw Allen reunite with writer Marshall Brickman and actress Diane Keaton, while Mariel Hemingway, Meryl Streep, and Anne Byrne were also on the cast list.

The movie follows Isaac (Allen), a divorced television writer who is dating a teenage girl (Hemingway), whose life is further complicated when he falls in love with his best friend's mistress (Keaton). Manhattan was another early classic from Allen and remains one of his best works - it really was great to see him back starring alongside Keaton and, once again, the duo shines.

First and foremost, Manhattan is a stunning looking film as Allen shot in beautiful black and white. Like Annie Hall, Allen brings the city to life and I love how the movie opens with some wonderful images of Manhattan.

For me, Manhattan is one of Allen's best romantic comedies as it is a movie that has laughs and is a lot of fun, but also explores some interesting themes of romance and sex.

Manhattan was a movie that opened to critical acclaim and went on to be nominated for two Oscars: Best Supporting Actress for Hemingway and Best Original Screenplay for Allen and Brickman. However, it was to leave empty-handed.

Manhattan is a poignant, funny, moving, and bittersweet movie that, like Annie Hall, has truly stood the test of time and shows off Allen at his wonderful filmmaking best.


- Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

In 1986 Allen returned to directing and writing duties as be brought comedy drama Hannah and Her Sisters to the big screen. Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, and Dianne Wiest took on the central roles of Hannah, Lee and Holly, while Michael Caine, Carrie Fisher, and Allen were also on the cast list.

Hannah and Her Sisters was another of Allen movies that explored relationships. Set between two Thanksgivings, the movie follows Hannah, whose husband falls in love with her sister Lee, while her ex-husband rekindles his relationship with her other sister Holly.

Hannah and Her Sisters is quite a complicated story narrative wise and yet, Allen weaves all of the strands and characters together brilliantly - largely thanks to having such a well written script. The result is a funny and smart movie about relationships and family bonds.

An imperfect family takes centre stage in the film and yet, the central characters of Hannah, Lee and Holly are ones that we can all relate to. Farrow, Hershey and Wiest are just terrific as the movie explores the human emotion with a touching sincerity.

At the time of release, Hannah and Her Sisters was Allen's biggest box office hit - it remained his most successful film at the box office until the release of Midnight in Paris in 2011.

The movie went on to be nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. It went on to scoop three gongs; Best Supporting Actor for Caine, Best Supporting Actress, for Wiest, and Best Original Screenplay for Allen.

For me, Hannah and Her Sisters remains one of Allen's greatest character dramas that is rich with human emotions and relationships. Hannah and Her Sisters celebrates its thirtieth anniversary next year and it remains a real gem in Allen's back catalogue.

Hannah and Her Sisters

- Midnight in Paris (2011)

Of all of Woody Allen's films, it is the more recent Midnight In Paris that remains my favourite. Released back in 2011, the movie saw Allen on directing and writing duties as he brought together a wonderful cast of Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Kathy Bates, Tom Hiddleston, and Marion Cotillard.

While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée's family, Gil (Wilson), a nostalgic screenwriter, finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s every day at midnight.

From the opening scenes to the closing credits, I was caught up and truly captivated by Midnight In Paris and loved the 1920s aspect of the film. It is a movie that really does honour the artistic and writing talent that existed in that city at that time as the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Pablo Picasso all make an appearance.

While Midnight In Paris perhaps lacks the humour of some of Allen's other movies, there is still a wit and a charm to it that is just wonderful. It's not only that, there's also a true magic to this movie and I don't know how Allen managed to capture that from start to finish.

Some of Allen's movies of the late nineties and noughties have not lived up to his earlier work but Midnight In Paris saw him back on top directing and writing form.

Midnight In Paris was met with critical acclaim upon release in October 2011 and was immediately tipped as an Oscar contender. And it was an Oscar contender as it picked up four nominations; including Best Picture and Best Director. It went on to scoop Best Original Screenplay for Allen.

Midnight in Paris

Other Woody Allen movies that are not to be missed include, Blue Jasmine, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Crimes and Misdemeanours, and Husbands and Wives.

Irrational Man is released 11th September.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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