Skip to main content

50 Greatest Woody Allen Characters

Tracy

The Character: 17-year-old student (played by Mariel Hemingway) who dates Woody's older man Isaac in Manhattan .

Best Line: "Not everybody gets corrupted. You have to have a little faith in people."

How Woody-Esque? Uncomfortably so.

Humphrey Bogart

The Character: The ghost of the late Hollywood star (played by Jerry Lacy), who doles out advice to Woody's character, Allan Felix, in Play It Again, Sam .

Best Line: Bogart tells Allan to move closer for a kiss. How close? "The length of your lips."

How Woody-Esque? The whole point is that Woody is nothing like Bogie.

Cecilia

The Character: Lonely housewife who finds refuge from her unhappy marriage in the local cinema - and who finds fantasy bleeding into reality when movie character Tom Baxter comes to life.

Best Line: "I just met a wonderful new man. He's fictional but you can't have everything."

How Woody-Esque? The finest role Woody ever gave to his long-term lover Mia Farrow during their professional relationship - and it's about somebody enchanted with cinema.

Mara Elena

The Character: Blowsy, suicidal Spaniard who can't keep away from stormy lover Juan Antonio in Vicky Cristina Barcelona .

Best Line: To Juan Antonio - "you'll always seek to duplicate what we had. You know it."

How Woody-Esque? A suitably tempestuous, Oscar-winning performance by Penélope Cruz highlights the divide with the more Woody-esque Vicky (Rebecca Hall).

Leonard Zelig

The Character: Human chameleon who found fame in the early 20th Century for his ability to change his appearance and character to fit in wherever he is - even if that means Nazi Germany.

Best Line: "I'm treating two sets of Siamese twins with split personalities. I'm getting paid by eight people."

How Woody-Esque? For once, Woody submerges his usual personality to suit Zelig's intriguing character.

Alvy Singer

The Character: Neurotic? Check. Sex-obsessed? Sure. New Yorker? To the core. Funny? Yep, Alvy's the deliverer of some of Woody's best ever gags.

Best Line: "Hey, don't knock masturbation. It's sex with someone I love."

How Woody-Esque? As star of the transition from Allen's "early, funny ones" to a more searching, self-reflective autobiographical type of filmmaking, Alvy couldn't be any more like Woody if he tried.

Holly

The Character: One of the sisters in Hannah And Her Sisters , Holly is a recovering addict and a failed actress who is forever in the shadow of her family.

Best Line: "My stupid roller-skating joke. I should never tell jokes. Mom can tell 'em and Hannah, but I kill 'em."

How Woody-Esque? A gift of a role for Oscar-winning Dianne Wiest, who makes Holly fragile, flawed but still fabulous - note she gets Woody in one of the director's most hopeful endings.

Judah Rosenthal

The Character: Martin Landau was Oscar-nominated for his performance in Crimes And Misdemeanors , as a man so terrified that his lover will reveal their affair that he has her killed.

Best Line: "If you want a happy ending, you should go see a Hollywood movie."

How Woody-Esque? One of the best examples of Allen writing a character to be the polar opposite of the Woody "type," in this case the director's own role as Cliff Stern.

Annie Hall

The Character: The object of Alvy Singer's affection, breezing through life in bohemian dress and a "la-di-da" attitude.

Best Line: When Alvy won't smoke weed before sex, Annie replies, "You've been seeing a psychiatrist for 15 years. You should smoke some of this. You'd be off the couch in no time."

How Woody-Esque? The character for whom Woody will always be remembered as writer and director was, give or take, an exact likeness of the actress who played her, Diane Keaton.

Isaac Davis

The Character: Middle-aged writer in the throes of juggling various relationships in Manhattan , who "has complaints about life but never any solutions" and idolises New York out of all proportion.

Best Line: "I think people should mate for life, like pigeons or Catholics."

How Woody-Esque? Perhaps the director's most honest self-portrait of the lot.