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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Manhattan can be found here.
American director and playwright Woody Allen and Brazilian-born screenwriter Marshall Brickman wrote the screenplay for Manhattan.
Woody Allen's character says in the opening monologue that he always pictures Manhattan in black-and-white with Gershwin music. Since the movie is about a middle-aged guy trying to recapture his youth, that explains why Manhattan looks and sounds at times like a movie that a guy would have watched growing up in the 1940s.
In the scene where Isaac (Woody Allen) and Mary (Diane Keaton) are laying in bed, Mary says "You're someone I could imagine having children with", and Isaac says to her, "Hit the lights, turn them off again, and we'll trade fours". Trading fours refers to the practice whereby jazz musicians trade off playing solos, each four measures long.
Viewers of "Manhattan" generally agree that the Porsche was used as a symbol of Yale (Michael Murphy)'s generally shallow, impractical, and self-gratifying character. Indeed, a Porsche is a most impractical purchase for a teacher in traffic-clogged, no-parking-spaces Manhattan. It also suggests that Yale is having a midlife crisis.
Woody Allen wanted to preserve the photography of the film, so he expressly refused to have it released in pan-and-scan as was the norm at the time. Early broadcasts and Betamax and VHS releases used gray borders due to FCC regulations, but now the letterboxing can be shown with black borders.
Contrary to popular belief, the earliest known film to be letterboxed in its entirety on home video was actually the Magnetic Video release of Don't Give Up the Ship, in 1978. It was presented in an approximately 1.5:1 aspect ratio. The 1981 Thorn EMI Video release of SOS Titanic, presented in 1.6:1, is another early example of letterboxing on home video. Manhattan, released by MGM/UA Home Video in 1985, is simply one of the first high-profile letterboxed home video releases, along with a 1984 RCA CED of Amarcord.
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