50 Greatest Woody Allen Characters

Linda Ash

The Character: When Woody adopts a son in Mighty Aphrodite , he decides to track down the biological mother - 'tart with a heart' Linda (Mira Sorvino in an Oscar-winning performance).

Best Line: Discussing her prized possession, a novelty watch: "the mainspring goes back and forth, the bishop keeps fucking her in the ass. It's a genuine antique and it keeps perfect time."

How Woody-Esque? The Pygmalion -inspired plot marks a change from Woody's usual penchant for female co-stars as bookish and intellectual as he is.


The Character: After her husband leaves her, Sally reluctantly but sarcastically discovers life after being Husbands And Wives .

Best Line: "It's the Second Law of Thermodynamics: sooner or later everything turns to shit. That's my phrasing, not the Encyclopaedia Britannica."

How Woody-Esque? In a film that mirrored the end of Woody's real-life relationship with Mia Farrow, Oscar-nominated Judy Davis gives a memorable portrayal of what happens to someone after their partner leaves them.

Tom Baxter

The Character: The main protagonist of film-within-a-film The Purple Rose Of Cairo (played by Jeff Daniels), who steps out of his own movie when he spies lonely Cecilia watching the movie over and over.

Best Line: Tom suddenly becomes aware of the advantages of not being tied to the standards of 1930s Hollywood. "You make love without fading out?"

How Woody-Esque? Totally different, yet imbued with all the hallmarks of Allen's idealised version of Golden Age cinema - "honest, dependable, courageous, romantic, and a great kisser."

Ernest Hemingway

The Character: Allen has fun recreating the literary titans of the 1920s in Midnight In Paris , nowhere more so than in Corey Stoll's rambunctious portrayal of Hemingway.

Best Line: Asked to give his opinion of time-traveller Gil's novel, Hemingway refuses. "If it's bad, I'll hate it. If it's good, then I'll be envious and hate it even more. You don't want the opinion of another writer."

How Woody-Esque? Since Hemingway's credo is that "you'll never write well if you fear dying," probably not.

Sperm #1

The Character: As his 'owner' prepares for sex in Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid To Ask) , the pressure is on for Allen and his fellow semen to find their way towards the target egg.

Best Line: "I'm not getting shot out of that thing. What if he's masturbating? I'm liable to end up on the ceiling."

How Woody-Esque? He could be the seed for all Woody Allen characters.

Virgil Starkwell

The Character: Inept bank robber, whose life of crime is followed in (spoof) documentary Take The Money And Run .

Best Line: "The psychiatrist asked me, do I think sex is dirty. I said, 'it is if you're doing it right.'"

How Woody-Esque? As Allen's first self-directed surrogate, Virgil set the standard for on-screen Woody-ness.


The Character: In Love And Death , Diane Keaton provides the former as Woody's philosophically-minded Russian cousin and, later, wife.

Best Line: "I'm having trouble adjusting my belt. Do you think you could come over here and hold my bosom for a while?"

How Woody-Esque? Mixing physical comedy with highbrow literature gags, Sonja is very nearly the perfect Woody heroine… except that, for Keaton, it's just a dry run for Annie Hall .

Gabe Roth

The Character: Apparently settled down with Judy (Mia Farrow), his certainties about Husbands And Wives are torn apart when their best friends separate.

Best Line: "Can I go? Is this over?"

How Woody-Esque? Made documentary-style as Allen was breaking up with on-screen/off-screen partner Farrow, this cuts uncomfortable close to the bone in portraying Woody's mid-life crisis.

Helen Sinclair

The Character: Alcoholic theatre star in Bullets Over Broadway , whose scene-stealing antics bagged Dianne Wiest her second Best Support Actress Oscar for a Woody Allen film.

Best Line: "I'm still a star. I never play frumps or virgins."

How Woody-Esque? Allen didn't always act, so when he stays behind the camera those zingers have to go to somebody.

Miles Monroe

The Character: Jazz musician who is cryogenically frozen for 200 years and forced to find his way in a 22nd Century police state in Sleeper .

Best Line: "Sex and death - two things that come once in a lifetime... but at least after death, you're not nauseous."

How Woody-Esque? Even though this is science-fiction, no matter what the genre, Woody can't help being Woody.