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Play it Again, Sam

4.6 out of 5 stars 210 customer reviews

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(Oct 23, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

Woody Allen's play makes a successful leap to the big screen in this hilarious romp, directed by Herbert Ross (THE SUNSHINE BOYS, STEEL MAGNOLIAS). Allen has never been better as Allan Felix, a neurotic New York film critic who has just broken up with his wife, Nancy (Susan Anspach). This devastating event has caused him to spiral into a deep depression and look for solace in the classic movies that he loves, particularly the romantic saga CASABLANCA. Allan begins to have conversations with the fantasy ghost of his film idol, Humphrey Bogart (Jerry Lacy), who gives him advice on romance and masculinity. Worried about their insecure friend, Linda and Dick (Diane Keaton and Tony Roberts) spark Allan into action, which leads to a series of disastrously funny blind dates in which Allan tries, but fails, to be as cool as Bogie. Allan's love life is clearly going nowhere, until his quest for romance unexpectedly leads him into the arms of Linda.With PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM, Allen's comedic talents are on full display. One-liners, neurotic pathos, and keen observations are all unleashed in a boundless frenzy, rarely giving viewers a chance to breathe before the next laugh. Keaton and Roberts prove to be the perfect partners-in-crime for Allen, both actors having that undeniably charming blend of sweetness and absurdity. A tribute to two of Allen's favorite topics--cinema and romance--PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM is another classic contribution to the Allen oeuvre.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Jerry Lacy, Susan Anspach
  • Directors: Herbert Ross
  • Writers: Woody Allen
  • Producers: Arthur P. Jacobs, Charles H. Joffe, Frank Capra Jr.
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: October 23, 2001
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005NVDF
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,344 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Play it Again, Sam" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I saw this film at Cal State Northridge with Eric Lax as a special guest. He is the author of Woody Allen: A Biography, as well as bios on Humphrey Bogart and Paul Newman. David Kipen, book critic for the San Francisco Chronicle moderated the program.

In answer to an audience member's question during the Q&A session, Lax said that Woody Allen has never made a bad film. I agree with this comment because I've enjoyed most of Allen's films. The ones I haven't been too fond of have plenty of redeeming qualities in them anyway. Even the heavy-handed Interiors had a lot to recommend it, at least for true movie buffs. Play It Again Sam was one of the funniest and most underrated Woody Allen film I have ever seen.

Based on a play written by Woody Allen in 1968 and directed by Herbert Ross (who also directed film versions of Neil Simon plays back in the 70's), the film concerns a mild-mannered film critic named Allan Felix, played by Allen, who is dumped by his wife (Susan Anspach). What a gorgeous woman like her was doing with a guy like Allan Felix is beyond me, but for some reason, Allen (was Woody playing himself?) tends to pair himself up with a slew of gorgeous females in almost all his films.

Felix's apartment is a shrine to Humphrey Bogart and it is none other than Bogey himself who counsels him in the romance department since his ego is crushed. Felix's best friend Dick (Tony Roberts) and his wife Linda (Diane Keaton) also try to find a woman for him by setting him up on one disastrous date after another. When Felix finds himself falling for Linda, a series of hilarious complications take place as he is guided by Bogey on what to do.
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Format: DVD
This is perhaps the funniest film of all time, bar none. I had recently become disenchanted with the comedies of today. I found myself watching whole movies, and never even smiling, let alone laughing. Than I happened upon this little known oddity at the video store. I took it home, and laughed in a way that I had never laughed before. It is wonderful to see Woody Allen and Diane Keaton looking so vibrant and full of life! The jokes come fast and furious, but they do not beg the viewer for a response, they just happen. That, in itself, makes it funnier than most comedies of today. Also, there is very little, if any, profanity in this movie. I've noticed that movies of today seem to rely too much on juvenile toilet humor and profanity to provide laughs. There is none of that here. To watch this is to have the senses rejuvinated, and to laugh so hard that your jaws ache. Basically, this is the movie that you can innocently recommend to anyone, and they will love you for it later. Make it a point to see this film!
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Format: DVD
A comedy masterpiece with all of the traditional Woody elements:
slapstick gags, supernatural moments, neurotic career-woman heroine, oblivious husband, great locations, classic dialouge.
BUT - why did PARAMOUNT HOME VIDEO not include the 1972 15 minute "Making of Play It Again Sam" featurette and the 1972 promotional radio show on the DVD?. Let's hope PHV will release a special 30th anniverasry edition with these items next year.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In "Stardust Memories", Woody Allen's response to Fellini's "8 & 1/2", his character is confronted by visitors from outer space who quiz him as to why he doesn't make funny movies anymore. This funny but formulaic exercise would be Allen's retort to the intergalactic inquisitors. What's lacking in this film is the artistry that is omnipresent in both his serious and comedic efforts. Though Allen stars and scripted from his stage play the film is helmed by Herbert Ross who in his day was a competent director but not one you would call an auteur. The nebbish at the center of this film would have more depth under the assured hand of Allen. Regardless Allen shows himself here as a dexterous physical comedian as well as a brilliant verbal one. A young Diane Keaton shines in her first pairing with Allen demonstrating the sweet neuroticism that charged her later films. I love the conceit of the spirit of Humphrey Bogart (Jerry Lacy) coaching Allen on the mechanics of courting women. My criticisms don't indicate a dislike for "Play It Again, Sam" just a statement of where it stands in the Allen canon.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
`Play It Again, Sam', based on a stage play by Woody Alan is high among those movies one cites when you tick off the Woodman's `early, funny' movies. It should probably be noted that this is not a typical Allen movie in that he did not direct, although it is an excellent bridge, with the performances of Diane Keaton and Tony Roberts to his most famous movie, `Annie Hall' and others he did with Keaton around this time.

Just before viewing the DVD of this movie, I watched `Meet the Fockers' and found this very recent film with its stellar cast, to be less funny and more contrived than the little classic `Play It Again, Sam'. Even hours of extras on the Fockers' DVD cannot make up for the almost total lack of rewatchability in the film.

I have not watched `Play It Again, Sam' for some time, although I believe I have probably seen it at least three times before, yet I was still surprised at discovering new things about the movie. For starters, I found at least two pieces of business that I swear were copied directly into scenes of `Animal House'. Since `Animal House' is a great comedy that easily stands on its own merits, I don't begrudge the borrowing. Another observation I had with this movie was how much visual comedy there was going on. None of it was the kind of over the top long scenes done by W. C. Fields, but it definitely contributed a lot to the interest of the movie. A third new observation was the fact that `Play It Again, Sam' begins with a clip from the final scene of `Casablanca' and ends with the characters of `Play It Again, Sam' reenacting that same `Casablanca' scene. This fact stood out so strongly for me this time around since I just got finished seeing exactly the same device used in Allen's `Stardust Memories'.
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