Though based primarily on Woody Allen's real-life relationship with Diane Keaton, the fact that Annie Hall comes from Chippewa Falls, Wis, likely was inspired by Allen's past relationship with folk singer Judy Henske, who was born in Chippewa Falls. Keaton was born in Los Angeles.
Alvy's (Woody Allen's) sneezing into the cocaine was an unscripted accident. When previewed, the audience laughed so loud that director Allen decided to leave it in, and had to add footage to compensate for people missing the next few jokes from laughing too much.
Woody Allen and Diane Keaton had trouble keeping a straight face when working together. An example of the uncontrollable laughter between the two was the lobster dinner scene. It was the first scene shot for the movie and neither Woody nor Diane had to do much acting for the scene, for their laughter was completely spontaneous.
The film's working title was "Anhedonia" - the inability to feel pleasure. United Artists fought against it (among other things, they were unable to come up with an ad campaign that explained the meaning of the word) and Woody Allen compromised on naming the film after the central character three weeks before the film's premiere. Other titles suggested were "It Had to Be Jew," "A Rollercoaster Named Desire," and "Me and My Goy."
According to Tony Roberts, in the scene where Rob picks Alvy up from jail, Woody Allen was unaware that Roberts was going to pull the green visor down on his coat. Allen ad-libbed the line "Are we driving through plutonium?" They shot a second take during which Allen changed the line to "Are we driving through a field of bees?" The first take is the one in the film.
During the classroom flashbacks, one of the teachers writes, "Tuesday, December 1" on the chalkboard. December 1 is Woody Allen's birthday, and Tuesday December 1, 1942 was his seventh birthday, tying in with the school setting.
When Annie arrives at the theater where Alvy has been waiting for her, he says "I'm standing here with the cast of The Godfather." Rick Petrucelli, the actor who plays Ralph, was an uncredited extra in The Godfather (1972). Funnily enough, Alvy is escaping "the cast of 'The Godfather'" in order to see Annie, played by Diane Keaton who was actually in The Godfather (1972).
The first rough cut ran 2 hours and 20 minutes. Among the scenes later eliminated were: segments showing Alvy's former classmates in the present day; Alvy as a teenager; a scene in a junk-food restaurant (featuring Danny Aiello); extensive additional scenes featuring Carol Kane, Janet Margolin, Colleen Dewhurst and Shelley Duvall; and a fantasy segment at Madison Square Garden featuring the New York Knicks competing against a team of five great philosophers. Christopher Walken's driving scene was also cut, but was restored a week before the film was completed. New material for the ending was filmed on three occasions, but most was discarded. The final montage was a late addition.
The house under the rollercoaster where Alvy grew up is actually the Kensington Hotel in Coney Island, Brooklyn which was located underneath the Thunderbolt rollercoaster. Allen discovered it while searching locations during filming. The hotel and rollercoaster were demolished in 2000.
Woody Allen originally filmed a scene in which a traffic advisory sign "urges" Alvy to go to Annie in California. Editor Ralph Rosenblum wrote that Allen was so disgusted by the scene's cuteness that he took the footage and threw it into the East River. The traffic-sign motif was later used in Steve Martin's L.A. Story (1991).
During the lobster-cooking scene Annie runs and retrieves a camera to take pictures of Alvy dealing with the crustaceans. Later, when Alvy runs over to Annie's house to smash a spider, the series of photos Annie took is on the wall in the background.
In the scene when Alvie and Annie say goodbye to each other at the health food restaurant on Sunset Blvd in LA, on the beach umbrella under which Alvie is seated, it's written "Addio", which means "Farewell" in Italian.
Some younger viewers believe the appearance of Sigourney Weaver and Jeff Goldblum were cameos, like the part of Paul Simon. While Jeff Goldblum had made about 7 feature film appearance and 3 TV series, none of those roles were substantive and he was relatively unknown at the time. For Sigourney Weaver, this was her very first appearance in a film, hence the reason why she was listed at the end of the credits. Two years after this film though, she would win the starring role of Ellen Ripley in the hit movie "Alien" and become a household name.
During the ambulance siren scene, Alvy comments that he could never live in the country because "Dick and Perry" might be there. This is a reference to Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, whose deadly attack on a Kansas family was popularized in the Truman Capote book "In Cold Blood." As previously noted, Truman Capote makes an uncredited cameo appearance in Annie Hall (1977).
The phrase "La Dee Dah" used often by Annie Hall (Diane Keaton), who grew up in the 1950s, was the title of a 1958 R n R standard - #9 US Pop, by Billy and Lillie and popular on "the oldie's circuit" at the time of this film's release.
Though uncredited, the animated scene with Alvy and Annie-as-Wicked-Queen was drawn by Stu Hample, who was then drawing the comic strip "Inside Woody Allen" which was based on Woody's stand-up comic period.
The shooting schedule began at Long Island's South Fork and was kept secret from the media. Soon, Woody Allen and his crew were filming all over New York City - Coney Island, the Upper West Side, St. Bernard's School in West Village (for Alvy's elementary school scenes), the Statler Hilton Hotel (the Adlai Stevenson rally sequence), Grand Finale on West 70th Street (the nightclub where Annie sings her songs), and the South Street Seaport Museum by the East River. There were also several scenes featuring popular New York cinemas such as the Thalia, the Beekman, The New Yorker, and the Paris. The beach scenes were shot at Amagansett, Long Island and Englewood, New Jersey was used as a stand-in for Chippewa Falls.
The scene where Alvy and Annie are making up stories about people in the park is reminiscent of the Paul Simon song "America". "Laughing on the bus/Playing games with the faces/She said the man in the gabardine suite was a spy/I said his bow tie is really a camera". Paul Simon plays Tony Lacey in the film.
This film features six actors who would go on to star in iconic horror movies. Sigourney Weaver, who plays Alvy's date at the end would go on to star in the "Alien" franchise as "Ripley." Shelley Duvall who plays Pam would go on to play Wendy in the 1980 movie "The Shining." Christopher Walken who plays Duane would go on to star in 1983's "The Dead Zone." Carol Kane and Colleen Dewhurst would go on to co-star in 1979's "When a Stranger Calls" and Jeff Goldblum went on to star as "Seth Brundel" in 1986's "The Fly".
The first cut took six weeks to assemble. Ralph Rosenblum and his assistant Susan E. Morse were assigned the task of condensing 100,000 feet of footage to a 93-minute running time. But their first cut was severely disappointing to Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman who quickly saw the strengths and weaknesses of their concept magnified. In fact, Brickman considered the first twenty-five minutes "a disaster."
Some scenes were completely eliminated like a French Resistance fantasy, a spoof on Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), an elaborate sports fantasy involving the Knickerbockers' and shot on location at Madison Square Garden, and a surreal takeoff on Angel on My Shoulder (1946).
In early shots of Alvy and Annie at the health food restaurant in L.A. a yellow and red KISS billboard can be seen in the background down the street. This is when the band was at their peak of celebrity.
This film features the actresses Colleen Dewhurst and Carol Kane. The two share no scenes. Two years after the film was released, the two women would costar in the 1979 horror film "When a Stranger Calls," in which they also share no scenes.
In 1979 the film's producer, Jack Rollins, bought a race horse (together with the jazz pianist Bill Evans) which he named "Annie Hall". Annie ran in harness races, appropriately, watched closely by its owners.