How Many of Woody Allen's Favorite Films Have You Seen?

I stumbled upon a list of 41 of Woody Allen's favorite films over at This Recording, which were actually pulled from Allen's 2007 biography written by Eric Lax titled "Conversations with Woody Allen: His Films, the Movies, and Moviemaking" which you can buy from Amazon for $16.47.

Allen comments on the lists, of which he breaks up into different categories, saying, "My tastes seem to me unremarkable except in the area of talking plot comedies where I seem to have little tolerance for anything and certainly not my own films."

Unfortunately, he's pretty much right as I would bet most avid movie watchers will have seen the majority of the films he lists and then when he does get to talking plot comedies he waves a white flag in fear of looking foolish saying, "[My] taste is eccentric and there are any number of comedies I love that would make me seem foolish or should I say, foolish in the eyes of the world." I guess when you consider the kind of films Allen makes his fear of looking foolish sounds about right.

I've seen 29 of the 41 he lists below, most of which are from the first two lists. Of the first 30 films, those I have not yet seen are Shane, The Informer, The Hill, Cries and Whispers and Shoeshine. It's when you get into the comedies that I come up a bit short. If anything, I would say the first 30 films are pretty much essential viewing. Of the five I have not seen, all of them have been in my Netflix queue for some time now and 23 of the other 25 I actually own.

Have a look and see what you think and how much your tastes align.

Fifteen of Woody Allen's Favorite American Films In No Particular Order

  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  • Double Indemnity
  • Shane
  • Paths of Glory
  • The Godfather: Part II
  • Goodfellas
  • Citizen Kane
  • White Heat
  • The Informer
  • The Hill
  • The Third Man
  • Notorious
  • Shadow of a Doubt
  • A Streetcar Named Desire
  • The Maltese Falcon

Twelve of My Favorite European Films And Three Favorite Japanese Films

One note Allen adds with regard to this list is he says, "If we take Citizen Kane from the top list and put it in the second list, this would be my list of the best films ever made."

  • The Seventh Seal
  • Rashomon
  • The Bicycle Thief
  • The 400 Blows
  • Grand Illusion
  • Rules of the Game
  • Wild Strawberries
  • 8 1/2
  • Amarcord
  • Throne of Blood
  • Cries and Whispers
  • La Strada
  • Breathless
  • The Seven Samurai
  • Shoeshine

Comedian's films or broader sillier films that I always laugh at are:

  • Duck Soup
  • Monkey Business
  • Horse Feathers
  • A Night at the Opera
  • A Day at the Races
  • Monsieur Beaucaire
  • You Can't Cheat an Honest Man
  • Never Give a Sucker an Even Break
  • Casanova's Big Night
  • Airplane!

Talking plot comedies

  • The White Sheik
  • Born Yesterday
  • Trouble in Paradise
  • The Shop Around the Corner
  • cuteview

    Never seen any of this I missing out?!?

    • Cody

      I with you. But I've heard most of them are really good.

  • The Dead Burger

    Wow, his European Films choices are really bland. It's like he googled "Twelve Best European Films" and copy/pasted the results. All great movies, of course, but I'm sure most of use had seen all those by age 16.

  • Alex C.

    I'm pleased and/or ashamed to say that I've seen more of his European and Japanese films than I have the film on the first list. I share Woody's love of The Marx Brothers and have seen all of those as well. The impact these had on his career are definitely evident.

  • C138

    I've only seen 11 of the movies that he listed.

  • maja

    I've only seen 23 of these. I only last week discovered The Shop Around the Corner which realy is a delightful movie with a great performance from James Stewart.

    Thanks for posting the last though, straight away i am really intrigued by the sounds of Shane, White Heat and the Grand Illusion.

    • Brad Brevet

      Grand Illusion is excellent and I actually talked a little about White Heat in the past right here.

      • criterion10

        Grand Illusion is very good and is definitely worth picking up the OOP criterion edition.

  • Travis

    I've seen 20, but looking at lists like these really makes me realize I really have to start picking up some Bergman films. Rules of the Game, Breathless, Grand Illusion and Amarcord are also high on my list of must watch films. As far as Shane, it's a real solid western. If I remember correctly that is the film where Alan Ladd, being a short leading man at times would be walking in a trench next to him to make him seem taller, and things like that, so that's something to look out for in that one if I remember correctly.

  • Badge

    Seen everything but "Casanova's Big Night". I better put that one on my list.

  • Marcell

    I've seen 26 of them. Still need to see White Heat, The Hill, The Informer from the first list and Cries and Whispers and Shoeshine from the second.

  • JM

    I've seen quite a few of these. And these all seem good movies, but let me tell you, it's quite a dry list. Not much fun in there, and nothing even remotely recent. No wonder Woody Allen has such affectations as a filmmaker.

  • John W

    Let's see, I've seen 17 of the films listed. None from the last group. 18 once I get the blu ray of Citizen Kane.

  • Enrique Sanchez

    I've seen all but these:

    Trouble in Paradise
    The Hill
    Throne of Blood
    Monsieur Beaucaire

    But Woody has sure left out a lot of grand movies...chacun a son gout.