The Changing Landscape


-With Husbands and Wives and Manhattan Murder Mystery both underperforming at the box office, Tri-Star quietly pulled out from their three-picture deal with Woody. Nobaody at TriStar seemed upset to bid Woody farewell, nor did they offer to distribute his future films.  [6]


-For the first time in twenty-five years, [Woody] was forced to address an unpleasant reality: Filmmaking is like any other business. [6]


-That summer, when nobody wanted to make movies with Woody anymore, Jean Dourmanian was continuing to brood about the media’s treatment of her friend.


-In 1991 she had started her own production company.  Sweetland Films bankrolled her productions, but Dourmanian wouldn’t publicly identify her backers. In turn, Sweetland Film would become Woody’s new source financing. Talk started that Sweetland Films principal investor was her wealthily boyfriend, Jaqu Safra. [6]


-On July 21, 1993, Woody announced he would be leaving TriStar because Sweetland had offered him a deal he couldn’t refuse: a 25 percent larger production budget, a generous director’s fee consisting of a cash fee in the low seven figures, and a cut of the profits after Sweetland recouped its investment. [6]


-“Nobody wants to be involved with him,” declared a senior studio executive. “If his deal is so wonderful, as another put it, “how come he doesn’t have distribution?” [6]


-Doumanian was in charge of shopping Woody’s films for distribution rights. Her first act was to concentrate on controlling costs. As it turned out, her idea of trimming the production budget was to decree sizable pay cuts of Woody’s loyal staff. [6]


-Over the next two years Sweetland would be responsible for the exodus of almost the entire production team Woody assembled since Annie Hall… [6]


-It was not as if Woody had run out of alternatives. He could have retained his staff, very likely at their usual salaries, by alternating personal films with the occasional commercial films…[6]


- Dourmanian received 4 bids to distribute Woody’s first film with Sweetland Films and settled on Mirimax Films. Still relatively new and based in New York instead of Hollywood, the Weinsteins instinctively gobbled up the film sight unseen. [6]


-Despite the wrenching events of the past two years, Woody had nonetheless managed to pull out of his hat a stylish film that found favor with mainstream audiences (making only $13.4 million, yet his most successful film since Crimes and Misdemeanors). It was a tribute to his toughness – and an answer to his enemies. [6]

The After Effects *


-Two days after Judge Wilk’s decision, Eleanor Alter filed a motion in Surrogate’s Court asking judge Renee Roth to overturn Woody’s adoptions of Dylan and Moses, in effects reversing her 1991 decision to permot the adoptions. [6]


-Although he was loath to admit it publicly, Woody was emotionally drained by the prolong custody battle. [6]


-When a Rolling Stone reporter asked Woody if his audience might turn against him, it provoked an outburst, “I don’t care.” If people wanted to see his movies, “fine, If they don’t, they won’t.” People had no notion of what he was really feeling. “I do what I want, and they can take it or leave it. [6]


-On September 24, 1993, Frank Maco, the Litchfield County prosecutor held a news conference to announce that he was dropping the sexual-molestation charges against Woody. In his opinion, he said matter-of-factly, there was no question that Dylan Farrow had been molested. There was persuasive evidence to prove his case in court and an arrest warrant for Woody had been drawn up, but he had decided not to pursue the case in order to spare Dylan the trauma of a criminal trial.  [6]


-Woody swiftly called a news conference the same day. Losing his customary cool, he characterized Mia and Maco as “a vindictive mother and a cowardly, dishonest, irresponsible state’s attorney,” whose “cheap scheming reeks of sleaze and deception.” [6]


-Three weeks later, he filed an ethics complaint with Connecticut’s State Criminal Justice Commission. He demanded that Maco be disbarred for professional misconduct. As a result of the complaint, the Litchfield County prosecutor was suspended from trying cases. By the time the suit was settled four years later, it had cost the Connecticut taxpayers a quarter of a million dollars to defend Maco against Woody’s allegations. [6]


-In September, with a full three months to go before Dylan’s psychiatrist was ordered to revisited Woody’s right to visit his daughter. He warned that a resumption of visits would be harmful to the child. In March of 1994,  Wilk asked again for an extension. [6]


-One year after Judge Wilk’s decision, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court unanimously confirmed his ruling. Its harshest criticism was reserved for Woody’s involvement with Soon-Yi because as Judge David Ross wrote, “continuation of the relationship, viewed in the best possible light, shows a distinct absence of judgment. It demonstrates to this court Mr. Allen’s Tendency to place inappropriate emphasis on his own wants and needs and to minimize and even ignore those of his children.” [6]


- The Appellate Division also upheld Wilk’s restrictions on the amount of time Woody could spend with Satchel. Still convinced that he had been the victim of an unjust legal system, he tried to overturn the Appellate Division’s ruling. The case went to the State Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court. It was dismissed. [6]


-All told, Woody’s romance with Soon-Yi set him back upwards of $7 million, a king’s ransom that would have meant nothing to him had it accomplished his two main goals: clearing his name of child-molestation charge and winning back his daughter. But for all the energy and time he poured into the struggle, in the ends it proved to be money down the drain. [6]

The density of Bullets Over Broadway recalls Woody Allen’s late-’70s/mid-’80s period — it may not be as profound, but it reminded me of movies like Annie Hall and Zelig in the way it develops characters, sets scenes and tells a story without ever ceasing to be funny. [2]


-What, for example, is the responsibility of the artist to his art? We've heard of artists who would "kill for their art" - but would they, really? And should they? There's the sneaky suspicion that some of this subplot in Bullets Over Broadway may refer obliquely to events in the last two years in Allen's life. The heart has its reasons, he argued at a famous press conference, and in the movie that's echoed with "an artist creates his own moral universe." Only gradually do we realize that the only artist in Bullets Over Broadway who takes art really seriously is Cheech, the bodyguard. [5]


-Bullets Over Broadway shares a kinship with a more serious film by Allen, Crimes and Misdemeanors, in which a man committed murder and was able, somehow, to almost justify it. Now here is the comic side of the same coin. The movie is very funny and, in the way it follows its logic wherever it leads, surprisingly tough. [5]

"Bullets over Broadway " Screening Companion

-Original released on January 18, 1995

-Runtime: 98 min

-Production Company: Miramax Films (presents), Sweetland Films Magnolia Productions

-Distributor: Miramax Films

-Budget: 20 Million [1]

-Gross (USA): $13,383,737 [1] $11,367,702 [3]

-Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1

Writing with Company


-The film was written during the tumultuous year of his custody battle. [6]


-Woody would have dinner with his friend Jane Read Martin, his recent resigned personal assistant. And her boyfriend Douglas McGrath. [6]


-Not only did Woody and Doug establish rapport because he was Jane’s steady date, but Woody began to regard him as a trusted insider and part of his extended family. [6]


-Throughout [Woody’s] long and productive career, Woody insisted that he never ran short of ideas and had no trouble writing, but for the second year in a row he found himself unable to complete a screenplay for a new film. By Christmas of 1992, distracted by staggering legal woes, [Woody] was still scrounging around for an idea for a fall project for 1993. He invited Doug McGrath to work with him on the screenplay [for Bullets Over Broadway]. [6]


-After New Year’s, Doug began showing up at Woody’s apartment for three or four each day to brainstorm ideas for a comedy set in the 1920s. [6]


-McGrath apparently talked Allen into making this movie (Allen had come up with the plot outline, but wasn’t sure whether to go through with it), and pitched him “some ideas” for the story. I don’t know which ideas were McGrath’s, but there’s an important lesson here: marry someone close to Woody Allen, for it may one day net you an Oscar nomination. [2]



-Allen's most expensive movie to date. [2]


-Cinematographer Carlo Di Palma returns once again, this time abandoning the shakey-cam in favor of more traditional, framed shots. [2]


-Dianne Wiest said she really struggled with Helen Sinclair's signature line. She finally decided to lower her voice when she said "Don't speak!" The lower she said it, the funnier it became. [1]


-The is Benay Venuta's (theater well-wisher) final film. [1]


-The film's title may have been an homage to a lengthy sketch of the same title from the 1950s television show Caesar's Hour; one of Allen's first jobs in television was writing for Sid Caesar specials after the initial run of the show. [4]


-The film's locales include the duplex co-op on the 22nd floor of 5 Tudor City Place in Manhattan [4]


-[Spoiler] In the original ending, Cheech lives on and word eventually gets out that he was the real brains behind the play. After a while in show-business though, he finds that it’s even more vicious and cut-throat than his last job, and can’t handle it. [2]






- When Olive and Cheech arrive (late) for the first day of rehearsals, Olive says “I told you it wasn’t the Morosco!” The Morosco Theatre is where Don’t Drink the Water played. [2]


-Woody Allen chose Chazz Palminteri after casting director Juliet Taylor showed him A Bronx Tale, Palminteri’s collaboration with Robert De Niro. [2]


-Fans of television: Weeds star Mary-Louise Parker and Sopranos stars Edie Falco and Tony “Paulie Walnuts” Sirico all have small parts.[2]


-Joe Viteralli and Chazz Palminteri re-teamed in the similarly mobster-themed comedy, Analyze This. [2]


-Chazz Palminteri and Jennifer Tilly have recently been playing a married couple on the popular sitcom Modern Family. [2]


-In February 2012 it was announced that Woody Allen was taking Bullets Over Broadway to Broadway as a musical. Allen, who co-wrote the film with Douglas McGrath, will pen the book himself. The score will feature existing period music. [4]


Allen is adapting the film as a stage musical to be directed by Susan Stroman, produced by Julian Schlossberg and Letty Aronson, with a score from the American songbook. [4]

*[Editor Note: WAW is a web site that celebrates the art of Woody Allen. Although at times we mention aspects of his social life, we try and keep it to a minimum. The majority of critics would probably agree that a person's social/home life has an effect on one's work. As we move into Woody's infamous period of his life which most mainstream audiences only know him by, it would be foolish to completely ignore this time of his life. Our goal is to present a well-rounded and judge-free account of these turbulent times in Woody Allen's life.]

Critical Reception


Bullets Over Broadway is a movie made with incredible sincerity and conviction. There is an effortless mastery over the material absent from Don’t Drink the Water. It even makes the wonderful Manhattan Murder Mystery look a little sloppy by comparison. [2]


-The important thing to me is that it is exciting, and it is funny, and it’s part of one of the most entertaining Woody Allen movies I’ve watched so far. I’m reminded of something I wrote about Take the Money and Run (another great comedy): “to be considered a classic, maybe it’s good enough to just be very, very funny.” [2]


-"One of Allen's best and most revealing comedies, as much a moral meditation as it is dazzling fun."  Peter Travers, Rolling Stone


-The twist involving the bodyguard is what makes Bullets Over Broadway more than what it could have been, a funny but routine backstage comedy. Allen follows the simple logic of this character until it leads to a moment both shocking and incredibly funny; when I saw the movie, the audience laughed uproariously, because taboos were being broken even as inexorable logic was being followed." -Roger Ebert [5]


- This was Woody Allen’s most Oscar-nominated movie ever, with 7 nominations (Annie Hall received 5). [2]


-The only Oscar won was Best Supporting Actress, for Dianne Wiest. This was her second Oscar in a Woody Allen movie (she also won for Hannah and her Sisters). [2]


-Woody Allen got his 11th screenwriting nomination, which tied him with Billy Wilder for the all-time record. [2]


-Douglas McGrath is only the second person (after Marshall Brickman) that Woody Allen has shared a Best Screenplay nomination with. [2]


-Allen also got a Best Director nomination, his fifth and, so far, his last. [2]


-This movie’s abundance of nominations is probably due in part to the fact that this is Allen’s first film with Miramax, then headed by notorious Oscar hounds Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Allen actually lost his screenplay nomination to another Miramax movie — Pulp Fiction. [2]


The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Allen and co-writer Douglas McGrath for Original Screenplay, Allen for Director and Tilly and Palminteri for Supporting Actress and Actor respectively. Wiest won Best Supporting Actress for her performance, the second time Allen directed her to an Academy Award. [4]


-96% Rotten Tomatoes Rating


[1] -

[2] -

[3] - Turner Movie Classics

[4] - Wikipedia -

[5] - Roger Ebert

[6] The Unruly Life of Woody Allen by Marion Meade