Bananas (1971) Poster

(1971)

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8/10
pretty crazy, not altogether successful, but it's also very funny
MisterWhiplash30 June 2006
Bananas is like a cookie-batter of all of those early Woody Allen jokes all plopped into a bowl and shaken around. It's a film loaded with political jokes, but without a direct focus aside from Cuba and dictators and the like. There are numerous sexual jokes, including one of Woody's funniest scenes involving a magazine (the buying and holding on a subway, very silent comedy-like). And even Howard Cosell becomes an iconic figure in Woody's comedy in the brilliant opening scenes. The plot is very loose, so if you're looking for that look elsewhere. Also, to put it mildly, some of the jokes may not work at all for some viewers of today. But it's the go-for-broke irreverence of the picture that has it still worth viewing today. Much of Woody's own verbal bits are very good, but it's also worth to note how the physical comedy- while crude and a little off-key- also has a good ring to it. Unlike the director's later films, you can still sense that he's trying to 'get' how to make a film, and so in trying to do anything he can think of to get a laugh, of course, some of it doesn't work. For example, in Cuba the gag where the gargantuan pile of dung is carried down the stairs with the Lain music in the background gives a grin, but not as big a laugh as might be intended. Indeed, this might be Woody's most 'immature' film, while still containing some of his more biting, satirical jabs at dictators and oddball politics. Woody would still have this wild, go-for-broke style of humor more akin to some of his quirkier short stories in other films of the early 70s. While this isn't as successful in that regard as Sleeper or Love and Death, I'd still watch it again if it was on TV; even the romantic subplot, undercooked in comparison with the rest of the more satirical stuff, is interesting.
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A Memorable Ahead-Of-Its-Time Classic
Arthur Fiore26 March 2003
I went to see "Bananas," in the early 1970s with three of my high school buddies, in our local theater. And, it remains -- three decades later -- one of the most memorable and one of my most talked about movie-going experiences ever. So much of it was comprised of absolutely hysterical scenes which I've told countless people about through the years, and still tell people about.

Watching this movie today, it seems as if it had been somewhat haphazardly written. I get the feeling that Woody Allen had kept a journal in which he noted the funniest sights he'd witnessed and the cleverest one-liners he'd heard, over a period of years, and then set about mixing all of these totally unrelated funny things into one script. It's like he was saying to himself, "I think I'll throw in the bit about the guy trying to discreetly buy a sex magazine in a quiet neighborhood store and getting embarrassed, and then the snake bite bit later on. But first before the next plot turn, I think I'll put in the bit in which a guy gets out of his car and falls into an open manhole.", etc. You feel at times like you're watching a Benny Hill-type comedy show, or a TV variety show with a series of comedy skits that have nothing at all to do with each other. Somehow, Woody blended it all together into a fairly coherent story. There are also a few scenes which feature "Airplane"/"Naked Gun"-style tongue-in-cheek humor. But, this movie had been made *long* before those were even thought of. There's a message in that: This movie was ahead of its time. There's a segment of "Bananas," early on, which is just one outrageously funny bit after another after another.

I guess the movie doesn't really have a point . . . except maybe that maniacal dictators are crazy, dangerous and should be driven from power . .. or maybe that freedom is worth fighting for . . . or maybe that some causes are worth laying down your life for. Obviously, there's relevance in all of that for us, today. Or maybe the whole point of this movie could simply be that Woody Allen knows how to make people laugh.

Later, Art
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7/10
The title says it all
blanche-228 July 2006
"Bananas" is just that on the surface - a crazy, off the wall movie written by, directed by, and starring a very young Woody Allen as a clumsy New Yorker who winds up as the leader of a small country. In the beginning, Allen plays a product tester whose parents are surgeons (in fact, he walks in on them at one point while they're performing surgery, and they have him take over the reins). He basically just wants to get laid, and when a young activist (Louise Lasser) appears at his door with a petition, he sees an opportunity. The two eventually break up, and in despair, he quits his job and goes to San Marcos, one of her causes. There he becomes a pawn in the revolution, later becoming their leader dressed like Castro but with a red beard.

Only Allen could have imagined this, and it's quite brilliant. Underneath the one-liners and crazy situations is a statement about the war in Vietnam and the way it was reduced to sports reporting on television. To make his point, Howard Cossell is on hand for a play by play of the character's wedding night before an audience.

Total Woody, with some hilarious moments. Highly recommended.
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8/10
Often hilarious comedy with a few dead spots.
gridoon3 December 1999
"Bananas" is one of Woody Allen's earliest films: a pure comedy, with some satirical and political overtones (which are about 100% on-target - like when the leader of the rebels becomes a dictator himself when he rises to power). It's a strictly hit-or-miss effort, but, fortunately, the hits are definitely more than the misses. It contains many laugh-out-loud scenes; the whole courtroom sequence, his military training, the scene where he tries to pass unnoticed while he's buying a pornographic magazine, and his reaction to the line "You're not tense, are you?" are among the many highlights. It does have its dead spots, though, and some rather too obvious jokes that can't match the level of the rest (the closing sequence does not work at all, IMO). Marvin Hamlisch's score is unbelievably catchy.
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7/10
"You cannot bash in the head of an American citizen without written permission from the State Department."
ackstasis29 December 2007
When asked why he titled his third feature-length picture 'Bananas,' Woody Allen replied, "because there's no bananas in it." This, in a nutshell, pretty much summarises the general tone of the film. During the first ten years of his directing career, it's interesting to see Allen slowly developing his craft; as the years go by, from 'Take the Money and Run (1969)' to 'Sleeper (1973),' {and culminating in 'Annie Hall (1977)'} we notice how he learned to assimilate an unrelated collection of gags into a mature, cohesive narrative. 'Bananas (1971)' sits somewhere in the middle of all this, with a more developed story than its predecessors, but maintaining its roots as an anarchic comedy, much in the same vein as films like 'Duck Soup (1933)' and 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975).' Though I had not anticipated enjoying 'Bananas' very much, I must say that the film provided countless moments of immeasurable hilarity. Though slightly uneven in parts {as is often the case, some jokes hit while others miss}, the film delivers the promised laughs.

The storyline is characteristically simple and absurd. After a revolution breaks out in the small South American nation of San Marcos, a mediocre, unintellectual New Yorker, Fielding Mellish (Allen), travels there to impress his ex-girlfriend (Louise Lasser). After the fascist government tries to have him assassinated, poor Fielding falls in with the rebel gangs, somehow eventually becoming the President of the Latin American republic. This absurd plot line allows Allen to pile one gag on top of another, and, interestingly, the story itself never seems to lose its way or go off on any tangents. The film's satirical take on war, with the Vietnam War still raging in 1971, was very timely, and Allen also aims a few jabs at the media's handling of warfare – in the ridiculous and inspired opening, ABC's Wide World of Sports arrives in San Marcos to commentate the assassination of the current President. Later, Howard Cosell returns to host the consummation of Fielding's marriage, with an enthusiastic crowd watching the awkward couple tussling beneath the covers. 'Bananas' is a type specimen of one of Woody Allen's "early, funny movies."
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6/10
One-liners aplenty, and definitely worth a watch.
glocksout24 August 2006
At the recommendation of a friend, I watched Woody Allen's Bananas. Allen is often portrayed in the media and by critics as an albatross of Hollywood, and I really don't have a lot of experience with his films. Besides Bananas, I have only seen Match Point, which is one of the best films I've ever seen. Being made in 1971, Bananas touches on the activism culture of the time, and the USA's involvement in South American politics. Focused around the the fictitious country of San Marcos, presumably any number of nation-states the USA was involved in destroying. It opens with the president of San Marcos being assassinated and a general taking the reigns of power in the country.

Good afternoon. Wide World of Sports is in the republic of San Marcos where we are going to bring you a live on the spot assassination. They're going to kill the president of this lovely Latin American country and replace him with a military dictatorship.

A strong-handed dictator, a group of (apparently marxist) rebels ban together in opposition. Woody Allen's character is living in the States and falls in love with an activist who is looking for support of the people of San Marcos. They make plans together to fly down there in a show of solidarity, but his girlfriend breaks up with him (in one of the most humorous moments of dialog recorded on film). Because he already had plans to go, he visits San Marcos where he is unwittingly joined to the rebel cause.

This is a very funny movie, especially is you are a fan of Groucho Marx - Allen's influence is quite obvious through lines such as, "I object, your honor! This trial is a travesty. It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham." But Woody also brings his own spin, which is pretty political - "You cannot bash in the head of an American citizen without written permission from the State Department." Most of it is one-liners or character comedy, but there are also cleverly composed dialog sequences and wacky settings. The film making is somewhat weak, and the musical score is odd, but this is about on par with early 70s movies. The story was flimsy, but apparently most of the movie was filmed improv. It is definitely worth a watch if only for the last scene alone.
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10/10
Woody Allen's best comedy
griess2 September 2003
This is one of Woody Allen's earliest films -which should rank with the all-time greatest comedies. Although it was made back when the trial of The Chicago Seven was still fresh and Tobacco was still advertised on television, Bananas is timeless and still topical: J. Edgar Hoover in drag; the CIA sending US troops to fight on both sides of a revolution because they are afraid of being on the wrong side. One can usually recall a few scenes from a good movie, but Bananas is one of those great movies which one can replay in the mind from beginning to end. (Bananas is neatly bracketed at the beginning and end by Howard Cossell playing himself in bizarre Wide World of Sports coverages.) Allen has total control as writer, director and lead actor as in his later films, but in Bananas, the humor is broader and more cinematic. He plays the nebbish Fielding Mellish with less of the existential whining that mars his later films. There is a youthful resiliance like a toy punching bag that keeps coming back up. That is what made Chaplin's little tramp both comical and endearing.
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8/10
A Witty Joke with the US- Sponsored Dictatorships in Latin America in the 60's
Claudio Carvalho11 March 2012
In the Republic of San Marcos, in Latin America, the president is killed in a Coup d'État promoted by General Emilio M. Vargas (Carlos Montalbán).

In New York, the products tester Fielding Mellish (Woody Allen) meets the political activist Nancy (Louise Lasser) and they have a love affair. Fielding has an unrequited love with Nancy, who believes that he is immature and without leadership.

Fielding decides to travel to San Marcos and General Vargas plots a scheme the assassination of Fielding to be supported by the USA against the rebels led by Esposito (Jacobo Morales). However the rebels save Fielding and train him in guerrilla warfare. General Vargas flees to the United States. Esposito deranges with the power and Fielding becomes the President of San Marcos. He wears a long beard and travels to USA seeking financial support to the country and he meets Nancy again, who falls in love with him.

"Bananas" is a witty joke with the US- sponsored dictatorships in Latin America in the 60's by Woody Allen. The story has hilarious situations, like when Fielding Mellish is buying the porn magazine "Orgasm"; or with the two subway thugs (one of them the uncredited Sylvester Stallone); or having dinner with the junta; or training with the rebels. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Bananas"
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10/10
Allen's funniest movie ever
Lee Eisenberg9 July 2005
"Bananas" shows why Woody Allen's early movies were far better. He plays Fielding Mellish, a products tester who is wishing that he had stayed in college ("I was taking black studies. I could be black!") After a brief fling with political activist Nancy (Louise Lasser), who is trying to restore democracy in the Latin American country of San Marcos (the movie begins with Howard Cosell hosting a "live, on-the-spot assassination" there). After she leaves him, he decides to go to San Marcos, where he gets involved with the revolutionary forces. Following the revolution's success, the leader installs some loony policies, and the US arrests Mellish for aiding the revolution. What follows shows the meaning of the expression "trial and error"!

Allen truly reached his apex with this movie. It's just one crazy thing after another, namely when Mellish and the revolutionaries buy lunch. Sylvester Stallone, in an early role, plays one of the hoodlums on the subway.
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7/10
Laugh out loud funny, with some dull spots
RovingGambler19 July 2006
This is one of Woody Allen's earliest movies, and I'd rank it probably 2nd out of his pre-Annie Hall movies, only behind Love and Death. It's certainly one of his funniest. The plot is pretty ridiculous (a neurotic product tester goes to the fictional San Marcos and ends up joining the rebels and eventually becoming president), but it's really secondary, and only serves to provide transitions from one comedy skit to another.

It's pretty much a hit and miss movie, but when he hits (which is more often than not), it's very funny. There are plenty of hilarious one liners throughout. The music is very cheesy as well, but it fits in well with the silly humor. Obviously, this isn't like Woody's later movies, just take it for what it is -- a silly comedy -- and I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Also of note, the opening credits are very funny and rivals Monty Python and the Holy Grail for best opening credits sequence.
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When Woody was funny
petra_ste6 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"Dinner with the president..!" mutters the protagonist dreamily halfway through the movie, as a chirpy harp melody starts playing in the background as if to celebrate the event. Perplexed, he opens his closet only to find an harpist hidden there. Bananas never stops: it's packed with jokes, from physical comedy to biting satire, from surreal inventions to hilarious throwaway moments.

In the first act we get acquainted with Fielding Mellish (Allen), a neurotic loser. Mellish falls in love with Nancy (Louise Lassater), but she soon dumps him ("You are immature, Fielding","How am I immature?", "Well, emotionally, sexually, and intellectually","Yes, but in what other ways?")

In the second act, Mellish goes on a self-pity holiday to a small south-American country and gets involved in the revolution of Esposito and his rebels against dictator Vargas (Ricardo Montalban).

In the third act, Mellish replaces Esposito, gone insane after seizing power, and returns to the United States for a farcical trial.

8/10
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10/10
Woody Allen's best
ajlposh17 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Before I saw this movie for the first time last night, I didn't know what to expect. When I first saw Annie Hall, I didn't find it as funny as I expected (read my review of that movie for more info). But I heard that there was a love scene narrated by Howard Cosell, so I thought I would find it funny. Well, I saw this movie, and found it to be very hilarious. Before I saw this movie on TCM, Robert Osbourne was talking about how hilarious this movie was, and he obviously knew what he was saying. Many hilarious parts, like the scenes with Howard Cosell, the part where Woody Allen's character falls into the sewer, the trial, and many other parts. Also, keep an eye out for a then-unknown actor named Sylvester Stallone. I enjoyed this movie, and I don't see why anyone else wouldn't.
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9/10
Still fine, with added enjoyment now
caa82115 December 2006
Most of us saw this movie either when originally in theaters, or shortly thereafter, when everybody was younger and the film was topical and original and contemporary.

I recently saw it again (the third time - saw it a second time, perhaps 15 or so years ago).

It now is still humorous and clever, with some of the gags and sequences "dated," and a number of the participants now gone or retired.

But seeing it anew provides an added nostalgic enjoyment which can only occur with the passage of time. And much of what is "dated" is not only because of changes in politics and other areas over the years - but also because many of the gags and techniques have been adapted by others in many films since.

It still contains the clear Woody Allen "imprint," and gives us a memorable view of his earlier work.
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7/10
Amusing Satirical Comedy
James Hitchcock13 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
When asked why this film is called "Bananas", Woody Allen is said to have replied "Because there are no bananas in it". Given that the action takes place in a military dictatorship in South America, the name is presumably a reference to the expression "banana republic", and possibly also to the phrase "go bananas", meaning to go crazy.

Woody plays Fielding Mellish, an early incarnation of the sort of character he was to play in most of his films, the perpetually worried, neurotic New Yorker (although in this case less obviously Jewish than some later Woody characters). Fielding, who works as a consumer products tester, gets involved with Latin American politics when he falls in love with Nancy, a political radical whose pet cause is supporting the guerrillas fighting to overthrow the dictatorial President Vargas of the small Republic of San Marcos. When their relationship comes to an end, he decides to visit the country for himself, only to become mixed up with the rebels. The film ends with Fielding himself becoming President of San Marcos after a revolution and then, on his return to the United States, being placed on trial as a subversive.

This film was made in 1971, near the beginning of Woody's career, and like most of his other early films such as "Take the Money and Run", "Sleeper" and "Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex……." it is a "pure" comedy, without the philosophical depth or analysis of human relationships that were to mark later films such as "Annie Hall" or "Manhattan". The film with which it perhaps has most in common is "Sleeper" from two years later, which also deals in a comic way with the theme of the little man getting mixed up in a rebellion against a dictator. Nancy has something in common with Luna, the character played by Diane Keaton in the later film.

The main difference between the two films is that "Sleeper", which is set in an imagined future two centuries hence, revolves around physical slapstick humour of the sort familiar from old silent comedies. Although there is some humour of that type in "Bananas", such as the scene where Fielding tries to demonstrate an exercise machine for busy executives, the style of humour is less physical and more satirical, particularly in the scenes set in San Marcos.

I particularly liked the scene where Vargas receives tribute from the peasants, each of whom has to present their President with his weight in dung on his birthday, so that he can fertilise his private estates- a farcical concept, but a suitably surreal and Chaplinesque comment on the politics of dictatorship (and there have been some dictators who have made their subjects do things that are almost equally absurd). Some of the satire is aimed at American foreign policy; during this period of history the State Department was prepared to support virtually any non-Communist ruler, no matter how oppressive (and even Communist ones, such as Tito, if they were anti-Russian), on the basis of "he may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch". The trial scenes (also very funny) can be seen as a critique of the American establishment's McCarthy-style intolerance of any political dissent.

This does not, however, mean that Woody is simply concerned to attach the political Right from a left-wing position. There is plenty here to offend the political Left as well. Nancy is a shallow character, a radical-chic fun-revolutionary whose support for foreign revolutionary movements owes less to idealism than to a need to bring glamour and excitement into a humdrum existence. Fielding is initially even more shallow- his interest in the politics of San Marcos is due to nothing more elevated than his hopes of getting Nancy into bed. Woody's also satirises the Left through the figure of Esposito, the Marxist guerrilla leader (modelled on Fidel Castro) who succeeds in overthrowing Vargas only to prove as power-hungry as the man he has replaced, and even more irrational. If there is a political message here, it is that there is little point in a revolution which simply exchanges one dictator for another; Castro was originally supported by many American liberals who became disenchanted when, having overthrown the dictator Batista, he failed to hold free elections and instead turned Cuba into a one-party Communist state and a launch-pad for Khrushchev's missiles.

I felt that the film started off rather slowly, although there are some good scenes even in the early part, such as the one where a reporter gives a commentary on the overthrow and assassination of the President of San Marcos in the style of a sports commentary. It soon, however, picked up and turned into an amusing satirical comedy. It doesn't, however, have the depth of some of Woody's later films or quite the same biting verbal wit. 7/10
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9/10
Great Comedy From Woody Allen's Early Times
ragosaal12 October 2006
Woody Allen's Career can be divided in two clearly defined times. In his first films Allen made us laugh with what we could call classical absurd comedy ("Boris Gruschenko", "The Sleeper" or "Play It Again Sam") and then he turned to a sort of more psychological and elaborated products that didn't lack comedy but this was not the main issue ("Hannah and His Sisters", "Manhattan"). He was very good at both.

"Bananas" is a gag-after-gag comedy most ingenious and entertaining with really hilarious moments (Allen's training as a "guerrilla" fighter is memorable as well as the frustrated attempt to kidnap the British ambassador). Let's accept that Allen's looks is funny in itself, but the man takes the most of it.

You can be sure this is a film you'll watch with at list a permanent smile in your face. By the way, look for Sylvester Stallone in a very short but funny sequence, long before "Rocky" and "Rambo".
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8/10
Back when the Woodman was still funny.
haildevilman8 November 2006
The best Woody? Maybe.

Allen was never known for physical humor, but he did a lot of it here. And it mostly worked.

He played his usual loser type. He never seemed to take himself seriously despite his success, and this was before all the Oscars. The puns and jokes came fast enough so that even non-fans might enjoy it.

The subject matter was interesting for the time too. And some might call it prophetic seeing as what happened in Central America in the eighties.

Sly Stallone's first non-porno role.

The best bit was when he went to the roadside café and ordered all those sandwiches because the rebel food supply was low. (1000 tuna, 998 on white, 2 on rye...) The deadpan expression of the counterman was priceless.
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Slipping on Peels.
tfrizzell7 November 2003
"Bananas" is a quietly angry commentary on America's involvement in the Vietnam War. Woody Allen, obviously very upset at the nation's conflict in the 1970s and wanting to show a comedy that pointed the finger at U.S. policy and diplomacy, would come up with one of the more hilarious products of the period with this one. Allen is a New York consumer products tester who falls in love with glassy-eyed political activist Louise Lasser (never really feeling right in this film) almost immediately. It is very clear that Allen cares for her much more than she cares for him and he is dismissed. Love-sick and wanting her, Allen decides to join a revolution in San Marcos and soon he even becomes the leader of the fighting. Could it actually be possible that Allen could rise to the top and become president of the small land? We get running play-by-play expertise throughout via Howard Cossell (playing himself) and ABC's Wide World of Sports. "Bananas" is a very short product (only running about 82 minutes), but the movie is still pretty impressive nonetheless. Allen's unique brand of story-telling and humor are enough to make "Bananas" one of his more memorable pictures. Far from a masterpiece, the film will be loved more by Woody's fans than most others. 4 stars out of 5.
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7/10
Not bad early Woody
The_Void13 December 2004
Woody Allen's Bananas is a comedy of hits and misses. When it's funny, it's very funny and the film features a number of real stand out moments, such as the power mad general dishing out the new laws he's made, and of course Allen's neurotic dialogue, which is always a treat. However, at a number of moments; you get the impression that Woody Allen is trying to be funny, but he's failing miserably, which only serves in being annoying. This is Woody Allen while he was still in his rather immature phase (everything before Annie Hall), and it shows by way of the rather ludicrous plot, which sees Allen losing he girl he is infatuated with, on the grounds of him not having leadership qualities. So, he goes on the holiday to San Marcos that the two of them were meant to go on, and somehow gets caught up with a group rebels there that are trying to provoke a revolution, and eventually becomes president. Hey, I told you it was silly!

In Woody's immature period, he had several hit's and misses, with Sleeper being at the foot of his filmography, and the wonderful Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex at the summit. This one is more hit than miss, but to call it an actual 'hit' would be lying. Basically, Woody doesn't capitalise on the more interesting parts of the story, and instead seems all to keen to show us some slapstick humour. Although this is funny at a number of times, this film could have been a biting political satire on how America deals with other nations, or maybe even how rebels fail once they come to power. It could have even been an interesting commentary on the superficiality of love. Maybe Allen could have outdone himself and gone for all three! Basically, this is a 7/10 movie where a 10/10 one could have been. Don't get me wrong, this is definitely a good film and well worth watching, particularly for the Woody Allen fan; it's just unfortunate that it came at a time when Woody was still a clown.
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10/10
Woody Allen's best film.
mikemoto19 September 1998
Bananas is Woody Allen's best film, hands down. Sorry, Annie Hall fans but the gags in here are the most creative I have seen in any movie of his. I would put Sleeper a fairly close second.
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5/10
Probably funny when fresh, now very dated
smatysia29 September 2010
I suppose this was very funny when it was new. And I do get it, how fresh and new and different this humor was at the time. But this is not that time, and this film has not aged well. All of the funny things that had some (or a lot) of originality back then, have now been done to death. Like the Howard Cosell scenes. I'm sure that was a scream, then, but now it's old hat. I suppose I should judge the film from its own time, but I didn't see it then, I saw it now. Woody Allen's tiresome New York angst shtick has palled over the decades, and that's not new, or fresh, or funny anymore. I would probably suggest taking a pass on this film, unless you have some interest in it as film history. It won't work as comedy.
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10/10
The greatest comedy ever
djb825 October 2000
How Woody Allen ever came up with all of the jokes in "Bananas," I'll never understand. The movie's first 20 minutes are so hilarious, it's painful. I can't remember the last time I watched it and didn't cry from laughing so hard. And Fielding Mellish? When have we seen a better title character?
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6/10
Not his best...
dkbritt8513 May 2003
...but certainly not Woody Allen's worst film. While it is hilariously funny, it lacks the educated verbal wit of "Annie Hall" or "Manhattan." Although, this is obviously not meant to be an intellectual piece. It is done more in the tradition of "Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex* *but were afraid to ask." Of course, it puts his recent work to shame. The last semi-decent movie Allen has done is "Deconstructing Harry," and even that wasn't nearly up to his caliber of writing. "Curse of the Jade Scorpion" and "Hollywood Ending," and even "Small Time Crooks" were pitiful attempts at recreating a style that, unfortunately, has not really been accepted by American society in over twenty years. The best and most recent work of Allen is by far "Manhattan Murder Mystery." If you like dumb slapstick and some tacky but sharply hilarious jokes, check out BANANAS.
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10/10
Everyone will wear their underwear on the outside...
the_mad_mckenna3 January 2004
...so we can check.

So, what happens when you take a NYC loser and involve him in the political intrigue of Central America? Lots and lots of laughs. From the famous opening Cosell sequence to the porn buying mishap to being chastised by a Generalissimo for "not bringing an assortment" to a state dinner, this is great and highly original stuff. The non-original stuff is great too; Woody's Groucho, Chaplin and Hope lines and mannerisms are pure joy. Sit back, and "Suck out the Poison"!
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7/10
Not his best, but still smart and ahead of its time
Antonius Block1 December 2016
This early comedy from Woody Allen has many of his hallmark trademarks – clever dialogue, sight gags, and slapstick comedy. It also has Howard Cosell and a cameo from a young Sylvester Stallone. There is political satire – Cosell broadcasting an assassination as if it were a sporting event, J. Edgar Hoover "appearing" at a trial as an African-American woman, and a woman capturing the conservative views of the radical left so perfectly when she says in a sugary tone, "Differences of opinion should be tolerated, but not when they're too different. Then he becomes a subversive mother." But mostly it's a screwball comedy, one that for me was most interesting in the desperate relationship Allen's character, Fielding Mellish, has with a political activist (played by Louise Lasser), with her pointing out all of his shortcomings, always in such a nice tone. An example while they were breaking up – Him: "How am I immature?" Her: "Well, emotionally, sexually, and intellectually." Him: "Yeah but what other ways?" I'm sure you can just hear that in Allen's whiny, neurotic voice. This movie is not his best, but it's smart and was ahead of its time, and it's still entertaining decades later. Oh, last point - I also loved how Allen put the conservative 'National Review' in a row of pornographic magazines. :)
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8/10
An Impressive Satire!
g-bodyl16 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Bananas is a very early Woody Allen film, the second film on his resume if I remember correctly. It's a small film, but it's one that opened the eyes of everyone to the comedic talents of Woody Allen. His flair for dialogue and comedic timing, both as a director and an actor, is prevalent. He also exercises his skill for dialogue, and this film is full of fresh, wonderful dialogue. Coming off the Vietnam War and world-known trouble in Latin America, this film was ripe for opportunity and Allen seized his chance. I love the satirical tone of the film, as it lambasts everything from politics to relationships. The movie doesn't take itself seriously, and that is evident from such scenes as commentating on a sexual encounter as if it's a boxing match and the main protagonist becoming a dictator of a country. It's all quite funny, if you are willing to suspend your belief.

Woody Allen's film is about a man named Fielding Mellish who is a consumer products tester. When his girlfriend dumps him, he decides to go to the fictional South American country of San Marcos for a vacation. But he gets caught in the political turmoil of that country, which is led for him to being nabbed by the FBI.

The film doesn't have any stars to speak of, maybe other than Allen himself. He's quite funny and he delivers his own dialogue with expertise. If you don't believe, look no further than the courtroom scene, where he cross-examines himself. His girlfriend was played by newcomer Louise Lasser, and she does a really good job of coming across as the bored girl of the relationship. If you look closely, you may spot a cameo of Sylvester Stallone, before his Rocky days. I also loved the commentary delivered none other than Howard Coswell, one of the commentators on ABC's Wide World of Sports.

Overall, Bananas is a sharp, witty motion picture that has the customary humor we expect from Woody Allen. This really isn't one of those romantic comedies he is good at making, but rather a satire against politics. This isn't the best film to come from him. There were moments I felt the comedy was forced, especially when it came to the relationships. But on the whole, a very enjoyable film.

My Grade: B+
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