181 user 103 critic

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 3 November 1989 (USA)
1:36 | Trailer
An ophthalmologist's mistress threatens to reveal their affair to his wife while a married documentary filmmaker is infatuated with another woman.


Woody Allen


Woody Allen
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Between two Thanksgivings two years apart, Hannah's husband falls in love with her sister Lee, while her hypochondriac ex-husband rekindles his relationship with her sister Holly.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, Michael Caine
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Suffering from writer's block and eagerly awaiting his writing award, Harry Block remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Judy Davis, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Manhattan (1979)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

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.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Mariel Hemingway
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

When their best friends announce that they're separating, a professor and his wife discover the faults in their own marriage.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Sydney Pollack
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In his attempts to reconcile a lounge singer with his mistress, a hapless talent agent is mistaken as her lover by a jealous gangster.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Nick Apollo Forte
Zelig (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

"Documentary" about a man who can look and act like whoever he's around, and meets various famous people.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Patrick Horgan
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In New Jersey in 1935, a movie character walks off the screen and into the real world.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Mia Farrow, Jeff Daniels, Danny Aiello
Annie Hall (1977)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditzy Annie Hall.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts
Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In czarist Russia, a neurotic soldier and his distant cousin formulate a plot to assassinate Napoleon.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Georges Adet
Radio Days (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A nostalgic look at radio's golden age focusing on one ordinary family and the various performers in the medium.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, Mike Starr
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

While attending a retrospective of his work, a filmmaker recalls his life and his loves: the inspirations for his films.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper
Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A middle-aged couple suspects foul play when their neighbor's wife suddenly drops dead.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Jerry Adler


Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Bernstein Bill Bernstein ... Testimonial Speaker
Martin Landau ... Judah Rosenthal
Claire Bloom ... Miriam Rosenthal
Stephanie Roth Haberle ... Sharon Rosenthal (as Stephanie Roth)
Gregg Edelman ... Chris
George J. Manos George J. Manos ... Photographer (as George Manos)
Anjelica Huston ... Dolores Paley
Woody Allen ... Cliff Stern
Jenny Nichols Jenny Nichols ... Jenny
Joanna Gleason ... Wendy Stern
Alan Alda ... Lester
Sam Waterston ... Ben
Zina Jasper Zina Jasper ... Carol
Dolores Sutton ... Judah's Secretary
Joel Fogel Joel Fogel ... T.V. Producer (as Joel S. Fogel)


Judah Rosenthal is an ophthalmologist and a pillar of the community who has a big problem: his mistress Dolores Paley has told him that he is to leave his wife and marry her - as he had promised to do - or she will tell everyone of their affair. When he intercepts a letter Dolores has written to his wife Miriam, he is frantic. He confesses all to his shady brother Jack who assures him that he has friends who can take care of her. Meanwhile, filmmaker Cliff Stern is having his own problems. He's been working on a documentary film for some time but has yet to complete it. He and his wife Wendy have long ago stopped loving one another and are clearly on their way to divorce. He falls in love with Halley Reed who works with a producer, Lester. Cliff soon finds himself making a documentary about Lester and hates every minute of it. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A film about humanity.


Comedy | Drama


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Hebrew

Release Date:

3 November 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brothers See more »


Box Office


$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$911,385, 15 October 1989

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR (Mono)


Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


One-third of the film had Woody Allen's character shooting a documentary on old vaudevillians, with Mia Farrow as the head of the institute to which they belonged. Allen didn't like the scenes in the final cut. During postproduction he cut an entire third of the film, then rewrote and re-shot that section from scratch. As a result, Sean Young's scenes were cut out, and Daryl Hannah's role was reduced to a brief cameo. See more »


When Judah decides to have Delores killed, he only dials seven digits on the phone calling his brother, Jack. Judah lives in Connecticut and Jack lives in New York, so he would have to dial at least 10 digits to call him. See more »


[first lines]
Testimonial Speaker: We're all very proud of Judah Rosenthal's philanthropic efforts. His endless hours of fund raising for the hospital, the new medical center, and now, the ophthalmology wing, which until this year had just been a dream. But it's due to Rosenthal our friend that we most appreciate. The husband, the father, the golf companion. Naturally if you have a medical problem you can call Judah...
Miriam Rosenthal: You're blushing, darling.
Testimonial Speaker: ...day or night, weekends or holidays. But you can also call Judah to ...
See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Woody Allen Movies (2014) See more »


Crazy Rhythm
Music by Roger Wolfe Kahn (as R. Wolfe Kahn) & Joseph Meyer
Lyrics by Irving Caesar
Performed by the Wedding Band
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Fatal flaw in premise of otherwise excellent movie on microcosm of NY
18 October 2015 | by film-222See all my reviews

This is a deftly made movie with parallel stories and portrayal of the world of Jewish New Yorkers. The angst over whether there is a true morality from an omnipotent God makes the film thought-provoking and, to some, disturbing. Allen has grappled now twice with this idea of getting away with murder and whether one can go on to live a good life without fear of retribution. He explored it in this film, and then again in Matchpoint. In Crimes and Misdemeanors, the issue was whether God was watching and if the guilty character could live well with his conscience. In Matchpoint, retribution is a matter of random luck.

The conclusions of both films can seem brilliant to some, but quite troubling to others. The reason this is so, is because Allen's main question, "Can the murderer get away with it?" hinges on one important assumption: that all rewards and punishments occur in this life...and that moral behavior is subject to rewards and punishments. This is in fact a very Jewish point of view (hence the family debate in their Midwood, Brooklyn, home). Jews do not believe in Heaven or Hell, so all has to be achieved in this life. Within the logic that emerges from the above question is inevitably a morally confused universe and cynical point of view. What's worse is that the movie assumes the rewards are things like wealth, career success, love.

If murderers do not get found out and do not suffer punishment, does that mean there is no moral God watching over us? No, their crime or misdemeanor is still wrong, because it caused harm to someone. If they have no conscience and they are not caught, it is still wrong. If there is not a God meting out rewards and punishments in this life or the afterlife, what makes it wrong? Does it not matter if one decides to murder for personal gain? Is not the rule to follow simply dog eat dog and every man for himself? Allen has not progressed in questioning the assumption, whether material rewards are the appropriate measure of morality.

To get past his ongoing conundrum, the next time Allen takes on this theme, he needs to consider how society as a whole would break down if no one subscribed to any code of morality. There would not be anything to get away with, since everyone would subscribe to the law of the jungle: who ever eats, wins. Without a common code of morals, we would be reduced to a primitive state.

Allen is very literary, but to address moral issues, he needs to go beyond the individual and consider social systems as a whole. Morality is a matter of relationships to our fellow human beings, not of individual success in life. One might argue that societies have a long history of sanctioning, through the law, behaviors we find abhorrent today, so morality is still all relative and there is no moral absolute. I think, rather, that human societies evolve as we learn from our mistakes, and we find out these mistakes because indeed there is a moral absolute that reveals them to be wrong: gradually it becomes recognized that it is not okay for women to be an underclass to men; that racism violates the rights of people; that lying, cheating, stealing, and murdering result in a breakdown of the trust required to engage in transactions and the economic health of a society; that crime is a symptom of a lot of social ills, from economic inequities to mental illness to social pressures that sway the individual's moral compass. Obviously, there are sociopaths and criminals who have no empathy for their victims and no conscience about gaining at the expense of others, including murder -- we now have clinical terms for them, and even can link aberrant, deficient behaviors to parts of the brain. Judah's brother is such a one with no twinges of conscience. Judah enjoys the trappings of success very much because those around subscribe to a moral code to which he must pretend.

Criminals are put in jail to punish them, to protect society from them, and to reform them. Society's sense of morality evolves in the effort to achieve some social order that is sustainable. If someone gets away with murder, the goal of the law is that society does not implode with everyone doing the same as some norm of behavior. One does not need a God to tell us what works or not. Our different beliefs in God or not, meanwhile, color how we codify our morals in social conduct and the law.

Good movie, within its narrowly defined universe, but Allen needs to expand beyond that small universe to truly answer the question of moral absolutes. I hope he reads my review somehow, as I get the sense that his is indeed a very troubled man.

P.S. To those who analyze the film in terms of Utilitarianism and Kant, my above take based on human relationships draws from Asian philosophy and Confucianism, and the concept of societies as complex systems.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 181 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Recently Viewed