Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes

Crimes and Misdemeanors1989

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Considered an important entry in filmmaker Woody Allen's body of work, and certainly one of his most interesting pieces, Crimes and Misdemeanors is an alternately comical and dramatic examination of scruples as it follows two parallel storylines that manage to connect by the story's end. One follows the exploits of a philandering optometrist (Martin Landau) who is trying hard to break off his relationship with an obsessive, overly dependent woman (Angelica Huston) who blackmails him into remaining with her. Her conniving leads to tragedy. The other plotline deals with a depressive documentarymaker (Allen) in love with his producer (Mia Farrow). He is working on a film about her selfish and arrogant employer, a popular television comedian.


Woody Allen
as Clifford Stern
Martin Landau
as Judah Rosenthal
Mia Farrow
as Halley Reed
Alan Alda
as Lester
Anjelica Huston
as Dolores Paley
Joanna Gleason
as Wendy Stern
Jerry Orbach
as Jack Rosenthal
Claire Bloom
as Miriam Rosenthal
Stephanie Roth
as Sharon Rosenthal
Victor Argo
as Detective
Bill Bernstein
as Testimonial Speaker
Thomas P. Crow
as TV Producer
George J. Manos
as Photographer
Delores Sutton
as Judah's Secretary
Martin Bergmann (II)
as Prof. Louis Levy
Jerry Zaks
as Man on Campus
George Mason
as Photographer
Dolores Sutton
as Judah's Secretary
Stanley Reichman
as Chris' Father
Joel Fogel
as TV Producer
Rebecca Schull
as Chris' Mother
Donna Castellano
as TV Producer
David S. Howard
as Sol Rosenthal
Barry Finkel
as TV Writer
Garrett Simowitz
as Young Judah
Frances Conroy
as House Owner
Steve Maidment
as TV Writer
Anna Berger
as Aunt May
Sol Frieder
as Seder Guest
Justin Zaremby
as Seder Guest
Marvin Terban
as Seder Guest
Hy Anzell
as Seder Guest
Sylvia Kauders
as Seder Guest
Nora Ephron
as Wedding Guest
Merv Bloch
as Wedding Guest
Thomas Bolster
as Wedding Guest
Robin Bartlett
as Wedding Guest
Warren Vache
as Jazz Band
View All

Critic Reviews for Crimes and Misdemeanors

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (9)

Woody Alton's films alternate between the comic, in which he himself stars, and the serious and even solemn, which he does not Crimes and Misdemeanors successfully combines both styles.

June 23, 2020 | Full Review…

It is both a civilised comedy with iron in its soul and a serious examination of our inner fears that also manages to be very funny.

March 20, 2018 | Full Review…

The overall 'philosophical' thrust -- that good guys finish last and that crime does pay -- is designed to make the audience feel very wise, but none of the characters or ideas is allowed to develop beyond its cardboard profile.

February 12, 2008

The structural and stylistic conceit is that when Landau is onscreen, the film is dead serious, even solemn, while Allen's own appearance onscreen signals hilarious satire and priceless one-liners.

February 12, 2008 | Full Review…

Dramatically, the film seldom fulfils its promise, and its pessimistic 'moral' -- that good and evil do not always meet with their just deserts -- looks contrived and hollow. Intriguing and patchily effective, nevertheless.

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

The movie's secret strength -- its structure, really -- comes from the truth of the dozens and dozens of particular details through which it arrives at its own very hesitant, not especially comforting, very moving generality.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4.5/5

Audience Reviews for Crimes and Misdemeanors

I coincidentally happened to watch this on Woody's birthday, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate the man than by watching one of his finest films. In one of his finest films to blend comedy and drama, we get a superb meditation on choice, morality, fidelity, and the consequences of such things told both humorously and tragically. With the dramatic story, we get wealthy society man Judah Rosenthal whose ex-mistress is planning to expose his marital and financial indiscretions. He finds himself torn between taking the advice of his rabbi or following the propositions made by his mob-connected brother. Comedically, there's the story of filmmaker Cliff Stern who is torn between making an important work full of integrity or selling out to make a commercial piece that flatters a man who doesn't really deserve it. Yeah, the two stories have a big contrast in terms of the immediate impact of things, but the repercussions of things are matched in the weightiness of ow it'll all end. This really is a joy to watch, even when it gets dark and heavy. It's impeccably written, wonderfully acted, very compelling, and succeeds with both the drama and the comedy (some of the best laughs being the interactions between Cliff and his niece). And on top of that, the climax and final monologue are simply perfect. I very highly recommend this masterpiece.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Perhaps this is a good movie - after all 90% of reviewers like it. I'm in the 10%. Is the world that full of MD's who get away with murder, comedians who are not funny, filmmakers who cannot make films, marriages that are farces? I guess I would prefer my movies to offer me hope instead of realism.

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer


"Sleeper" was and has been my favorite Allen film, always light, breezy and fun, but I haven't seen them all and now this dark rumination forces me to alter my original opinion. The acceptance here of dark forces roaming the void is unavoidable and comedy becomes ... disposable, or at best only momentary in a sea of sadness. Must see for Allen fans.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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