Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Annie Hall (1977)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Annie Hall (1977)

In director/actor Woody Allen's prized semi-autobiographical, Best Picture-winning comedy - a bittersweet, cerebral, stream-of-consciousness, 70s, urban romantic comedy:

  • in the plot, kvetchy, Jewish, neurotic, pessimistic, Brooklyn stand-up comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen), involved in therapy due in part to his death obsession, wistfully recalled and remembered his bygone relationship (now broken-up) with flighty, adorable, ditzy, clumsy and irrepressibly Midwesterner Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) from Wisconsin - an aspiring singer and photographer
  • he delivered the film's opening monologue (composed of jokes about his relationships with women and his mid-life crisis) told directly into the camera; he mused about his breakup with Annie Hall (after a year's relationship), before launching into a narrated autobiography about his early childhood
  • in a scene of fantasy, while in the line at the movie theatre, real-life media guru Marshall McLuhan (Himself) was pulled out from behind a lobby standee by Alvy to 'tell off' a pseudo-intellectual blowhard-critic (Russell Horton) who was pontificating about director Fellini and Samuel Beckett - followed by Alvy's rebuttal to the camera: ("Boy, if life were only like this")
  • at a movie theatre for a showing of Marcel Ophul's grim documentary The Sorrow and the Pity, Annie called it "a four-hour documentary on Nazis"; Alvy explained his obsessive "anal" personality trait - that he couldn't miss even a minute of the film
  • there were many realistic scenes of the developing relationship between Annie and Alvy; the first meeting of the two insecure individuals was at a tennis club; then, in a "mental subtitles" scene that was held on Annie's apartment balcony, both of them (during two simultaneous dialogues) revealed their real feelings/thoughts behind their nervous and fumbling chit-chatty words of flirtation; in another zany sequence, Alvy and Annie spontaneously laughed at crawling crustaceans on the kitchen floor as they clumsily prepared a lobster dinner at a beach house in the Hamptons
With Annie Hall (Diane Keaton)

Tennis Club

Balcony of Apartment

Preparing Lobster
  • during a weekend date, he ended up accompanying Annie to a Saturday nightclub audition for their first date - an awful debut experience as she timidly sang: "It Had To Be You"; walking along on the sidewalk afterwards, suddenly, he stopped and asked her for a kiss so they wouldn't have to be tense all evening: "Hey, listen, listen. Give me a kiss....Yeah, why not? Because we're just gonna go home later, right, and uhm, there's gonna be all that tension, you know. We've never kissed before. And I'll never know when to make the right move or anything. So we'll kiss now and get it over with, and then we'll go eat. Okay? We'll digest our food better." They kissed, and then Alvy perfunctorily stated: "Okay, so now we can digest our food. OK?"
  • in the middle of the night, Alvy was called over to Annie's place to struggle against a spider in her bathroom - "the size of a Buick"
  • the film used a number of cinematic techniques, including fantasy elements (Annie and Alvy as animated characters, Alvy talking directly to the audience or to his younger self and Jewish relatives, and the split-screen family dinner scene, or split-screen therapeutic sessions about their rates of intercourse)
  • there was a funny sight gag of Alvy snorting coke - and sneezing, and blowing about $2,000/ounce worth of cocaine into the room!
  • Alvy met Annie's family including her psychotic, suicidal brother Duane (Christopher Walken) and Grammy Hall (Helen Ludlam)
  • there were many jokes emphasizing the difference between New York and LA, and Alvy's distaste for California; during Alvy's visit to California, a So. California party guest (Jeff Goldblum) told his guru on the phone: "I forgot my mantra!"
  • Alvy delivered a famous quote as he was walking along with Annie: "Hey, don't knock masturbation - it's sex with someone I love"
Questioning Strangers on Street About Sex Life
  • Alvy also questioned strangers on the street to find the secrets to their happiness for sexual and romantic compatibility
  • by film's end about a year after their relationship ended, Annie and Alvy met up in New York for lunch as friends (they were each dating other people) and reminisced about old times; Alvy concluded the film with a flashbacked philosophical ending and chicken joke - he summed up an understanding of how relationships were utterly absurd and that love inevitably faded, although people still craved relationships: "After that, it got pretty late and we both had to go. But it was great seeing Annie again. And I realize what a terrific person she was and how much fun it was just knowing her...And I thought of that old joke. You know, the, this, this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, 'Doc, uh, my brother's crazy, he thinks he's a chicken,' and uh, the doctor says, 'Well why don't you turn him in?' And the guy says, 'I would, but I need the eggs.' Well, I guess that's pretty much now how I feel about relationships. You know, they're totally irrational and crazy and absurd and - but uh, I guess we keep going through it because most of us need the eggs"

Opening Monologue

Alvy Singer (Woody Allen)

Movie Theatre Discussion with Marshall McLuhan

A Spontaneous Kiss

Cinematic Techniques

Snorting Cocaine

Ending and Parting


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z