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Manhattan (1979)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Romance  -  25 April 1979 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 86,473 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 223 user | 115 critic | 9 from Metacritic.com

The life of a divorced television writer dating a teenage girl is further complicated when he falls in love with his best friend's mistress.

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Title: Manhattan (1979)

Manhattan (1979) on IMDb 8/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 19 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Emily (as Anne Byrne)
...
Michael O'Donoghue ...
Victor Truro ...
Party Guest
...
Party Guest
Helen Hanft ...
Party Guest
Bella Abzug ...
Guest of Honor
Gary Weis ...
Television Director
Kenny Vance ...
Television Producer
Charles Levin ...
Television Actor #1
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Storyline

Isaac, 42, has divorced Jill. She is now living with another woman, Connie, and is writing a book in which she will reveal some very private points of their relationship. Isaac has a love affair with Tracy, 17, when he meets Mary, the mistress of his best friend Yale. Yale is already married to Emily. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Woody Allen's New Comedy Hit

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 April 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Manhetenas  »

Box Office

Gross:

$45,700,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Apparently, there exists a clause in the studio's contract for the film that mandates that the movie must always be shown in letterbox format in any home video release and/or TV/cable broadcast. See more »

Goofs

Camera and crew reflected on passing cars while following Isaac running down the street. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[music: the opening of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Voiceover]
Isaac Davis: Chapter One. He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion. Eh uh, no, make that he, he romanticized it all out of proportion. Better. To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin. Uh, no, let me start this over.
Isaac Davis: Chapter One: He was too romantic about Manhattan, as he was about everything else. He thrived on...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits, save the production company bumper and the film's title, which appears as part of a flashing neon sign in New York City. See more »

Connections

Referenced in I Am Woody (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Land of the Gay Caballero
(1930)
Music by George Gershwin
Performed by New York Philharmonic (as The New York Philharmonic)
Music director: Zubin Mehta
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A love song to Manhattan disguised as romantic comedy
14 May 1999 | by (Vancouver) – See all my reviews

I won't rework the thorough comments which preceded mine here, because all the accolades I would give this film are stated quite eloquently. It is his best film; it does contain brilliant insights into human nature; it is visually breathtaking. I just want to mention a few aspects from my point of view.

It has been on my list of the five best movies ever made ever since I saw it in 1979, chiefly for its realistic dialogue and probing commentary on the desperate nature of human beings in search of love, but I had never seen New York with my own eyes, so I could only try to accept but not fully understand Woody's love for Manhattan, which is firmly stated in the introductory narration.

After my recent 4 day trip there, I have a new perspective - the city itself is so charmingly and compactly laid out, so full of history and culture and everything famous, that you can't go to New York without falling in love with it. After only 3 days I felt I wanted to live there. It is the city of not only Woody Allen but Bob Dylan, Tennessee Williams, Edgar Allan Poe, George Washington, Paul Newman, Jacqueline Onassis, and hundreds of other illustrious and creative people of the past and present. The tour guides can't possibly squeeze in the whole story of every district and every building; the air just vibrates with this knowledge that you are in the greatest city in the world.

The beauty of Manhattan that Woody conveys so perfectly in every camera shot and through the music of Gershwin has new meaning for me because I was there. It's not so much a physical beauty but a feeling that all is right with the city, that this is what a city is supposed to be. It puts other cities to shame.

All I can say is he fully succeeded in conveying what New York City is like. Not to mention that I now understand the obsession with delis; they have the best food in the world.

I would also like to add my new perspective on the story itself - a very 70's plot of several people switching romantic partners back and forth at the drop of a hat. Diane Keaton's Mary remains the most perfect of the characterizations as the neurotic free spirit who despite her total self-absorption inspires our sympathy and affection. The 17 year old played by Mariel Hemingway is more irritating with the passage of 20 years, not because Woody's real-life obsession with young girls came to light, but because Mariel is a truly vapid non-actress with no ability to convey any depth or feeling. The constant commentary about her stunning beauty falls flat because she merely has a strikingly angular face, no personality and really possesses nothing except the bloom of youth and shiny hair. Mary rightly tells Isaac that his first wife becoming a lesbian "explains the little girl."

The denouement seems more unsatisfactory now than in previous viewings, and I want to shake the characters awake. But it was the seventies, and this is how people acted. It captures the times perfectly. I can't discuss who ends up with whom without spoiling the end for those who haven't seen it, but the problem for me is that the characters seem to live for the moment and if they can't have the one they want, they simply change partners without much strain.

This attitude does not play quite so charmingly at the end of the 90's when fidelity is valued more highly than it was in the 70's.

Nevertheless the beauty of the city stands alone no matter what the characters' desperate machinations.

And as a hilarious commentary on the human instinct to find someone to love no matter what the consequences, there is nothing finer. Though I might not approve of Isaac's final choice, his almost religious experience which brings him to that conclusion is a stunning climax to the film. Whether he changes his mind about who is the right one for him, he has learned something crucial about what really is important to him in life.

The true stars of the movie are Manhattan, never more beautiful, and Diane Keaton, never more brilliant.


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why did it shot in Black + white ? noom98
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He shouldn't have accepted that harmonica. DinahtheCat
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