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Crimes and Misdemeanors (Widescreen)

Martin Landau , Woody Allen , Woody Allen    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 65.61
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Some critics and filmgoers have hailed this 1989 comedy-drama as Woody Allen's best film, and while that's certainly open for debate, a good case can be made that it's the most ambitious and morally complex of Allen's films. It's the kind of movie that provokes heated philosophical debate about the role of God in our lives, the nature of guilt, and the circumstances that would allow a seemingly good, law-abiding family man and successful professional (Martin Landau) to commit a murder with no risk of being caught. Could you live with yourself under those conditions? Allen explores this complicated issue in the context of an extramarital affair that Landau's mistress (Anjelica Huston) threatens to expose, while developing a second story about a documentary filmmaker (Allen) who reluctantly makes a film about his brother-in-law (Alan Alda), a TV sitcom producer whose vanity is seemingly unlimited. From serious crimes to misdemeanors of personal behavior, Allen ties these stories together to create a provocative and unsettling study of divergent moralities and the price we're willing to pay to preserve our personal comfort and happiness. It's a sobering film, but a fascinating and funny one as well, unfolding like a thriller in which the question is not whodunit but rather, would you do it if you knew you could get away with it? --Jeff Shannon

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great movie of modern life June 9 2012
Format:DVD
When i was young i recall watching the great movies of neil simon on tv, brighton beach memoirs and biloxi blues,and those films of his one time wife marsha mason,and his big break in hollywood,when his play come blow your horn was produced. A playwright making films,something very few playwrights have the luxury of doing,and in fact making an impact i hope on writing in movies and the different types of films he produced. Here in crimes and misdemeanors we have a different type of filmmaker,woody allen,whoose films always had lower budgets than typical productions and he always had a staple of decent american actors who often worked they said to be in one of his films,that was their reason for making his films,since they took a big cut in salary. The movie begins with a religious doctor saying a speech in which being raised on the tanach,the understanding of jews and their god,although their teachings go much beyond that,he became a scientist and he always struggled with the tension within himself,but the movie shows he wants a moral order to make sense of life,the world and human minds are lost he's convinced without a god,as the film shows not just fantasies,fantasies could be moral and good,but bad fantasies which actually harm everyone. We have an affair,a man whoose mind leads him astray, a doctor who cant check himself,and rather than resolving the situation in a humane way,decides to dispose of her and has her murdered. He later feeling bad about the matter,he develops a sense of religiousness or conscience,decides to inform police who havent apprehended anyone,but the killer tells the doctor a lesson...think before you act,about affairs,and murders,and everything... Read more ›
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By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Deeply moving, deeply though-provoking, brilliantly acted and occasionally very funny. A disturbing, dark film about human nature that still manages to leave room for a glimmer of hope within it's chilling bleakness.

Martin Landau is amazing, but all of the cast make significant contributions.

One of the few films I can watch over and over, with no loss of its power. Every time I watch it I end up pondering my own sense of morality, my questions about whether there is truly justice in the world, and the extent to which good people do bad things. And yet, along with all those heavy ideas, this is also entertaining, witty, and occasionally very tense story-telling of the first order.

For me it's second only to 'Annie Hall' amongst Allen's huge body of work, and stands as one of the few truly great films of the 1980s.
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5.0 out of 5 stars How round is your circle? Nov. 4 2007
Format:DVD
There's no need to force conclusions from this fantastic movie about either the nature of god or the nature of man - that would be like rejecting the circle that I draw because you can find parts which aren't perfectly round. We all know what a circle is, and we all know the difference between right and wrong. Rather than go on and on forever trying to explain it, if you can sit through this movie and not find Judah's actions distasteful, then no god or good is going to have any impact on you ... "I've gone out the window."
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4.0 out of 5 stars Crime but no time May 15 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I think what Allen meant to call this film was "Felonies and Misdemeanors" since a misdemeanor is a crime and the title a little redundant. That aside I think it's his best film, hands down. He managed to pull together his comic and tragic instincts into what is an entertaining and occasionally harrowing declaration of atheism. Not a philosophy everyone agrees with but he doesn't soft-pedal it. The staging of the murder that parallels Allen's romantic misadventures with a TV producer gives Martin Landau the role of a lifetime as a well-meaning physician who profits from an evil act. Great performances all around, especially Jerry Ohrbach as Landau's hoody brother and Allan Alda as a TV impressario who divests Woody of Mia Farrow (something the director probably wishes had happened in real life).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerfully intelligent film Jan. 14 2004
Format:DVD
This is not a typical Woody Allen film in that it has an overall seriously philosophical quality. The performance of Martin Landau as a successful opthamolgist who is morally conflicted is one of the most moving and grounded Film performances I have ever seen. He is just magnificent in this movie. Allen deftly weaves Landau's story together with another thread featuring Allen as a documentary film maker who is unhappily married. His brother-in - law is an obnoxious televison producer played to great effect by Alan Alda. This film raises questions of morality , faithfulness and does so in a way that leaves the viewer to think through these issues as the characters go trough their respective moral crises. There are some laughs included but for the most part this is serious filmmaking at it's best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Woody Allen Film Dec 21 2003
By A Customer
Format:DVD
This film ranks among Woody's best:
Annie Hall, Manhattan, Deconstructing Harry, Hannah and Her Sisters, Interiors, and Stardust Memories
Amazing performances by the entire cast. Great writing and direction. Give it a watch and you'll love it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Is Woody Religious? April 6 2003
Format:DVD
Woody Allen is the most deeply religious of movie directors; He just doesn't know it yet.
"Crimes and Misdemeanors" (an obvious nod to Fyodor Dostoyevsky) is Allen's most engrossing quest for moral order in the universe, which quest leaves him -- and the viewer -- utterly bereft.
However, unlike the bleak "Interiors" or Allen's hilarious send-up on impending death being the impetus for finding God in "Hannah and Her Sisters," Allen's treatment of God, morality and free will is multi-faceted, and doesn't come to any pat answers.
In fact, it is Allen's ambivalent contemplation of religion and ethics that conservative critics find lacking at best, or disingenuous at worst. I see it differently: Agree or disagree with him, Allen is an atheist who is nonetheless tormented by the conclusion he has reached that there is no God. His is no knee-jerk atheism, as he has clearly thought through the philosophical issues involved, wavering between Nietzschean will to power and outright denial, to existentialist reluctance in the face of the ultimate meaningless of life beyond the here-and-now.
"Crimes and Misdemeanors" is peopled by a sterling cast, whose lives and choices are in direct conflict and contrast with one another; Yet, all speak with one voice, in Allen's exquisitely economical and pointed dialogue.
Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau, in the role of a lifetime, so perfectly is the dialogue tailored to his cadence of voice and gestures), like Job, is a man who has everything he could ever want. Unlike Job, when he sees his wealth and seemingly ideal family life (with wife Claire Bloom) jeopardized, he turns his back on God.
The catalyst for Judah's life crisis is Dolores (Angelica Huston), a lonely airline stewardress with whom he's having more than a fling.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars God Is Not An Idiot
Examining theodicy, the enigma of reconciling a benevolent God with capricious fate and suffering, Woody Allen fails to get much beyond a dark comic-dramatization of a freshman... Read more
Published on March 10 2004 by Edward J. Baker
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking and Humorous.
~Crimes and Misdemeanors~ is one of Woody Allen's more acclaimed motion pictures. Not since 'Hannah and Her Sisters' had the critics as well as the American public gave it the... Read more
Published on Oct. 1 2002 by C. Middleton
5.0 out of 5 stars situational ethics under scrutiny
I had read only great reviews about this film from all quarters, and then was asked to teach it to high school students. Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2002 by Bill Engel
5.0 out of 5 stars Woody Allen's finest serious film
In Crimes and Misdemeanors, Woody Allen recalls the work of the great European directors (especially Bergman's soul-searching preoccupation with matters of faith). Read more
Published on Sept. 15 2002 by Wing J. Flanagan
5.0 out of 5 stars Near The Top Of The 'Woody List'
Crimes and Misdemeanors is my favorite of Woody Allen's dramas and it is a drama. If you're looking for pure comedy, look elsewhere. Read more
Published on Sept. 1 2002 by "mnlaustin"
5.0 out of 5 stars TRAGEDY MEETS COMEDY IN ONE OF WOODY'S FINEST FILMS
Perhaps Woody Allen's finest writing and directing, rich in irony, symbolism and impeccably well-crafted characters. Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2002 by Noah
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