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Crimes and Misdemeanors

140 customer reviews

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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.

Special Features

  • Colliectible Booklet

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: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: June 5, 2001
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005AUJK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,401 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Crimes and Misdemeanors" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Veronica on June 22, 1999
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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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Pequod on January 31, 2005
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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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 1, 2005
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 1999
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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