Rent Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

3.8 of 5 from 162 ratings
1h 40min
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Cliff Stern (Woody Allen) is an idealistic filmmaker…until he is offered a lucrative job shooting a flattering 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 Waterson) and the murderous advice of his mobster brother (Jerry Orbach), each man must examine his own morality, and make an irrevocable decision - that will change everyone's lives forever.
, , Bill Bernstein, , , , , , , , , , Zina Jasper, , , , , , ,
Robert Greenhut
Woody Allen
Robert Greenhut, Susan Morse
Classics, Comedy, Drama
Release Date:
Run Time:
100 minutes
English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, French Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
Danish, English, French, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
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Release Date:
Run Time:
104 minutes
English Dolby Digital 1.0
English Hard of Hearing
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour and B & W
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Reviews (2) of Crimes and Misdemeanors

Deep and shallow - Crimes and Misdemeanors review by HM

Spoiler Alert

Clever analysis of life's unfairness and selfish perspectives on moral issues (deep). As usual Allen's one-liners fit perfectly, although they ought to be out of place (shallow). The story is gripping as a thriller and an emotional ringer. What would you do? Does the nice guy get the girl? Is it all life's rich tapestry or a kick in the groin?

We all have to swallow the effects of other people's actions and plot to perpetrate harm to others interests to further our desires. So we can commit crimes and especially misdemeanors. The scripting is tight with no flab whatsoever. I found it to be gripping and an education. Much recommended for those that like intelligent cinema; one of Allen's best.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Tragi-comedy. - Crimes and Misdemeanors review by Steve

Spoiler Alert
Updated 18/10/2021

Woody closed out the eighties with this well constructed comedy about a documentary film maker (Allen) continually eclipsed by his more successful brother in law (Alan Alda). But he audaciously couples this with a very dark drama about an ophthalmologist (Martin Landau) who has his lover (Angelica Huston) killed, to save his marriage and reputation.

Allen brings the two stories together with a satisfying serendipity. His characters may be destroyed by guilt for even the smallest transgression while others commit terrible crimes and (providing they are not caught) choose to be unaffected by the consequences. There is no moral law.

The script is clever, with unexpected twists and shrewd observations. Huston is very moving as an emotionally unbalanced woman chronically starved of love. Landau is chilling in a demanding role as a rich man without conscience or moral compass.  

Perhaps the most interesting parts of the film are a number of philosophical diversions voiced on tape by a (real life) professor of psychology at NYU, Martin Bergmann, the subject of Woody's documentary. This film is pessimistic, but moderated by intelligence and humour, and Bergmann (as Professor Levy) shines a flicker of light into the darkness. 

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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