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Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

Caroline Aaron , Alan Alda , Woody Allen  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Caroline Aaron, Alan Alda, Martin S. Bergmann, Bill Bernstein, Claire Bloom
  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: June 5, 2001
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005AUJK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,233 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Crimes and Misdemeanors" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Colliectible Booklet

Editorial Reviews

"Poignant, penetrating [and] scathingly hilarious" (Long Beach Press Telegram), Crimes and Misdemeanors is a deftly rendered tale about the complexity of human choices and the moral microcosms they represent. Showcasing Allen's brilliant grasp of the link between the funny and the fatal, his 19th movie is "one of the watershed films of his career" (Los Angeles Times). Cliff Stern (Woody Allen) is an idealistic filmmaker until he's offered a lucrative job shooting aflattering profile of a pompous TV producer (Alan Alda). Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau) is the pillar of his community until he learns that his ex-mistress (Anjelica Huston) plans to expose his financial and extramarital misdeeds. As Cliff chooses between integrity and selling out, and Judah decides between the counsel of his rabbi (Sam Waterston) and the murderous advice of his mobster brother (Jerry Orbach), each man must examine his own morality, and make an irrevocable decisionthat willchange everyone's lives forever.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
What can I say about this movie, except that I have seen it more times than I can count. Each time I watch it, something more is revealed and to me that is the sign of truly excellent writing. The characters are three-dimensional, each with their own idiosyncracies and contradictions. The separate plots compliment each other and stay distinct till the very end, yet they both deal with fundamental human issues and dilemmas. The cast is first-rate. Much of the movie is seen through Allen's character; as always, a cynical and unhappy man, yet you leave the film feeling a certain satisfaction and a greater insight into human behavior. The philosopher is a second narrator, in a sense, and his points of view are pertinent to both of the parallel plots. His suicide adds a twist to the story, where the viewer is suddenly left unsure on how to feel about his poignant words which we once trusted and valued. Overall, the movie is a gem and should be seen by every serious Woody Allen fan as well as those who can't stand him.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TEN STARS January 31, 2005
By Pequod
Format:DVD
This is my favorite fil of all time!

Two elements combine magnificently to create this masterpiece: the script and the actors.

The director does a fine job, but mostly by restraining himself so as not to distract from the story, the dialogue, and the characters. I know some people see this as an argument against God's existance and therefore feel a pious need to trash it. I would argue, however, that it is no such thing. There have been enough movies about how the universe tends to right the wrongs of human design, the fact is that doesn't always happen, ON THIS EARTH. To say that there is no divine hand guiding the lives of people who sail through this mortal existance is not necasserily an argument that there is no divine hand at all. This and films like it (the Seventh Seal comes to mind) are more about the truth of the human condition than the truth of the divine condition. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people, many times good things happen to you BECAUSE you're bad, and vice-verse. Ideally, the righteous are rewarded and the evil punished, but we do not live in an ideal world. Unfortunatley, film and literature are not resplendent with the truth of this reality. The meek have yet to inherit the earth, and that's exactly what this movie is about. It does not argue atheism, it represents human experience and presents to us the very real temptation to lose hope, but it ends with a plea from beyond the grave (the grave of someone who did lose hope) that we have faith in the small joys of life and look forward with optimism. Why should we retain hope? Because the triumph of the human spirit is that we continue to move forward, and hopefully we learn from past mistakes and our posterity may yet find that extra happiness which eluded us.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
`Crimes and Misdemeanors' written and directed by Woody Allen may very well be Allen's best film to date. It is a straight drama with intermixed humor. It has no parody or self-reference like `Stardust Memories', it has no gimmicks like `Annie Hall', and it is not leadenly serious like `Interiors'. While this does not necessarily make it a better movie, it has what seems to be the largest `name' cast of all Allen's works, even though he is able to attract `name' actors like flies to honey. It even has a real plot where events early in the movie create situations to which you expect a resolution by the time the credits roll.

There is a very neat symmetry between two parallel series of events in the movie. The parallelism and it's nature are signaled by the title and the promise is realized far better than other works with similar titles. The liner notes compare the subject in this movie with `Love and Death', but I think the comparison is strained at best. The real issues in this movie are guilt and loss.

The Crime is the murder of Landau's mistress (Angelica Houston) arranged by Landau's brother (Jerry Orbach), a gangster with access to contract killers. The motive for the murder is fact that the mistress has become impatient in her expectation that Landau will leave his wife (Claire Bloom) and threatens to reveal the infidelity to Bloom and the world. What makes the risk to Landau even greater is that he is a very successful and wealthy doctor of ophthalmology who has contributed much to local hospitals and other charities.

The Misdemeanor is the dalliance of Allen's character with his assistant (Mia Farrow) while his marriage with wife Joanna Gleason is souring.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaves the appreciating viewer in awe. June 30, 1999
By A Customer
Format:DVD
Granted, I am a very devoted Woody Allen fan. However, that does not mean I like everyone of his movies w/o question. I can barely get thru some of his "earlier, funnier" movies. Crimes and Misdemeanors is a film that I quite honestly cannot believe. It is proof that there are things only Woody can accomplish. The drama of the scence in which Landau imagines discussing his plan with his rabbi leaves me as awestruck as the humor of viewing Woody's rough draft of the documentary he makes of Alda. To laugh at the latter scene would not do it justice, it is simply too brilliant. Alan Alda is so perfectly directed by Allen. He is the perfect actor to repeatedly declare the empty, psuedo-intellectual, "If it bends, it's funny; if it breaks, it isn't". The theme of eyes and seeing is interesting: the doctor can't make the rabbi see, and as the rabbi tries to make the doctor "see", he goes blind himself, and does not know if he has succeeded or not. Alda is so obnoxious, and Farrow so sweet, that one becomes ever aware of how women are all too often unable to choose the right man. Absolutely Brilliant! Possibly his best, certainly his most ambitious.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
classic Woody Allen - enjoyed it greatly.
Published 1 day ago by Linda Bubeck
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great item
Published 3 days ago by sam
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Arrived on time and in perfect shape.
Published 28 days ago by Nancy Ingram
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Woody: God, Are You Out There?
If you had the opportunity to rid yourself of an extremely annoying person who threatens your entire comfortable existence and emerge scot free, would you take it? Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dr. Robert F. Knoll
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable movie!
It's an oldie, but a goodie! Good entertainment at a great price. If you haven't seen it before, give it a try.
Published 1 month ago by Buck Sanders
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic film
This is one great film. Best to watch on a cold, cloudy, and windy day, with the blinds open. This film offers a lot to thinnk about (though there aren't any naked chicks!)
Published 1 month ago by Jeff A
5.0 out of 5 stars Defines great movie making!
By accident, I just watched Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors. I had forgotten what a superb film this is. Allen's writing and direction are stellar. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ed Brodow
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Allen film receives a strong looking blu-ray transfer but...
One of Woody Allen's finest films, "Crimes of Misdemeanors" receives a very nice blu-ray upgrade from Twilight Time. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Wayne Klein
5.0 out of 5 stars TWILIGHT TIME GIVES THIS ALLEN CLASSIC AN EXCEPTIONAL BLU RAY UPGRAGE
In his nearly fifty year film career, Woody Allen has made some of the best films("Annie Hall", "Manhattan", "Hannah and Her Sisters") of any... Read more
Published 5 months ago by MICHAEL STODGHILL
5.0 out of 5 stars Even more harrowing decades later
I've always loved this film. It's a dark masterpiece. I just watched it again last night, and found it was more haunting, funny, and terrifying than ever. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Koreatown Krooner
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