The Very Best of Woody Allen

Happy birthday, Woody Allen. Can you believe you’re 78?


Woody Allen turns 78 on Sunday. This makes him a Sagittarius which makes me (Leandra), born on December 20, (what’s that Biggie once sang? If you don’t know, now you know…that I wear a size six shoe) feel conflicted.

On the one hand, I’m elated to share my sign with such prolific, comedic talent. But on the other: fuck. I suppose my incurable hypochondria and fascination with not just death but perpetually dodging it is a direct result of that which our cosmos have in common.

Rather than dwell on the inevitable end, though, let’s acknowledge this archetypal centenary the way it’s supposed to be treated: like a celebration, which, on the Friday morning post-Thanksgiving, obviously includes using the tools you’d need to get through your Saturday mornings, too: a slideshow (chock full of Woody and his ladies!) and you. In bed. Thinking about Thursday’s stuffing, trying to convince yourself that today might be the day you actually go to the gym.

But don’t do that! Life is for living and right now your bed needs you. So do your fingers — which are dying to continue clicking through the images above while you smile and maybe sporadically cringe as you wonder how the hell Penélope Cruz does that thing she does where she is inexorably beautiful all the time.

Should we play the “best Woody Allen quotes of all time” game, while we’re at it? Okay! Fine! We’ll start.

“I believe there is something out there watching us. Unfortunately, it’s the government.”

“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment.”

“Don’t knock masturbation. It’s sex with someone you love.”

“Life doesn’t imitate art, it imitates bad television.”

“You will notice that what we are aiming at when we fall in love is a very strange paradox. The paradox consists of the fact that, when we fall in love, we are seeking to re-find all or some of the people to whom we were attached as children. On the other hand, we ask our beloved to correct all of the wrongs that these early parents or siblings inflicted upon us. So that love contains in it the contradiction: The attempt to return to the past and the attempt to undo the past.”

“He was as tough and romantic as the city he loved. Behind his black-rimmed glasses was the coiled sexual power of a jungle cat […] New York was his town, and it always would be.”

Finally, because it’s apropos and curiously comforting: “You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.”

And, of course, because it ain’t a weekend slideshow without the right music, here is Sidney Bechet’s Si Tu Vois Ma Mère.

Okay, your turn. Miss you, love you, see you Monday.

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  • Bodil

    His movies are amazing!

    Love Bodil,

  • yunah

    Come on, the best/damning/self justifying quote of all time-
    I say it every time I grab something I know is totally wrong.

  • susan

    One of my faves “it’s not that I’m afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens”

  • I love, love, Woody Allen (and his ladies). Such a good slideshow and song for this rainy day. So cozy. Miss you, love you, see you Monday, Leandra & Team!

  • Elisabeth Heinrichs

    Love Woody Allen’s movies!

    E from Helsinki

  • The Provoker

    Very well said Leandra. I’m getting all nostalgic with those old Woody films, I love Annie Hall, what a masterpiece of breaking the fourth wall and speaking to us. It’s fabulous! And now that I just moved to Manhattan, it’s all so surrrrreal! <3

    xx The Provoker

  • jenna

    this songggggg

  • Karen

    From “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)”
    Sperm #1: ‘I’m not getting shot out of that thing. What if he’s masturbating? I’m liable to end up on the ceiling.”

  • Kim

    “The last time I was inside a woman, it was the Statue of Liberty”

  • He is amazing!!

  • Oliver Lips

    His movies are always so special. I saw Blue Jasmine yesterday & apart from the story being thrilling Cate played her role outstanding. Wouldn’t be surprised if she receives an Oscar nomination..

  • Quinn Halman

    I hate how much I love this quote from “Annie Hall”:
    Alvy Singer: You, you, you’re like New York, Jewish, left-wing, liberal, intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, the socialist summer camps and the, the father with the Ben Shahn drawings, right, and the really, y’know, strike-oriented kind of, red diaper, stop me before I make a complete imbecile of myself.
    Allison: No, that was wonderful. I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype.

    Even today I can and know people who identify with said cultural stereotype.

  • s

    ha, i was watching one of his films last night! what a legend

  • Evernote Android User

    “…let’s acknowledge this archetypal centenary …”

    You said Woody Allen will turn 78. Do you know what “centenary” means?

    • Leandra Medine

      Nah. I just like how it sounds (but yes! I do! I guess the bad pun about transcending wisdom got lost on you, the village idiot joke found in me.)

  • lauren

    well now i know that you and i share a birthday!


    His movies are just stellar and all without fail become classics instantly. I am happy to be fellow Saggitariuses with him!

  • I am a big Woody fan. Happy birthday Woody and thank you for this post.

  • -A

    Obsessed with Woody Allen, I did a blog post on him too!

    My favourite quote is ‘Sylvia Plath, interesting poetess whose tragic suicide was misinterpreted as Romantic by the college- girl mentality’


    • Eileen

      Loved this… Interesting that my late father was always telling me I needed to also watch the older Woody Allen films and his birthday would have been this Tuesday.

      I am never disappointed! What makes sense is his movies are perfectly fine to go see solo and you don’t regret it! I think I have actually seen most of them by myself. No regrets! His writing represents how we all feel. A yearning for that passionate romance which makes us feel a bit crazy!

  • Leandra , you know the way to my heart! This is me dressed up as Woody for Halloween this year. My husband (not the baby) is half Asian, so naturally he was dressed up as Soon-Yi.

  • Woody Allen is such a star in France, I always say that a bad Woody Allen is still a good movie!

    Mafalda ❤

  • newbrunette

    How does everyone who kisses his ass keep forgetting this?

    • iremember

      So true.

  • Josephine Baker

    Nice post! And Happy Birthday Month!

  • The 109 Block

    He is a genius, love all his work.

    The 109 Block.

  • Cecilia De la Garza
  • Kristina

    “I’d never join a club that would allow a person like me to become a member.” My all-time favorite

  • the coattail effect

    haha I love Woody Allen’s self-deprecating humor


  • Georgina

    I’m a Virgo and always thought he was one as well because we virgos are the kings and queens of hypochondria!!! It’s a relief to know that Sags keep us company in that department! 🙂

  • From New York With Love

    Huge fan! My favorite movie is vicky Cristina Barcelona.


  • Suzy_Q

    Not to be the sad-sack in this joyous Woody Allen-nostalgia, but after reading that recent Vanity Fair profile of Mia Farrow and her brood, I’m a little conflicted about Mr. Allen. I mean, I’m a huge fan…there’s something about the guy that appeals to me. But despite his formidable insights on human life and his celluloid translations of said insights, those weird allegations/speculations surrounding him and his ex-partner’s adoptive and biological children have prompted me to this: I have decided to no longer watch his films. Any of them. Which is a great loss for me (believe me….”Midnight in Paris” is one of my favorite movies that I can now only reminisce about), but there’s something ethically wrong about seeing his movies now. Maybe I’m sort of making much ado over nothing?

    • yunah

      not the first time that great art is made by a f-ed up person.
      and marrying your girlfriend’s daughter is f’ed up.

  • Noelia Justicia Jimenez


  • Cat

    I must embarrassingly admit that I’ve never read up on this chap. I am now very intrigued! Thanks for the polite introduction!

  • Elizabeth Wentling

    UUUUUUHMMMMMM the guy’s a f$%*#&g PERVERT. Come on…