By 1977, writer/director/actor Woody Allen had already written and directed six feature-length films. Annie Hall established Allen as a formidable director. While it’s reported that Allen doesn’t think this is his greatest film because it can’t live up to the cult status it’s attained over the years, Annie Hall — to the public — remains one of his most iconic films to date.
Since Annie Hall, Allen has become one of the most productive and recognizable figures in Hollywood. He has written and produced one film approximately every year; sometimes, he churns out two films. His output, along with the relatively high quality of his films — including Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters, Blue Jasmine and Midnight in Paris — have made his body of work cherished in the cinematic canon. Allen is still working, having recently created, written, directed and starred in the Amazon miniseries Crisis in Six Scenes. His next feature film is titled Wonder Wheel and stars Kate Winslet and Justin Timberlake.
Diane Keaton is a venerated film star 40 years later. Back in ’77, Annie Hall marked Keaton’s third on-screen appearance with Allen (after Sleeper and Love and Death) and the fourth time she’d appeared in a work written by him (add to that list the film Play It Again, Sam). To say that Keaton and Allen were thick as thieves by the time Annie Hall rolled around would be an understatement. Of her role in Annie Hall, Keaton reportedly remarked that she saw herself in her role: “I was this sort of novice who had lots of feelings but didn’t know how to express herself, and I see that in Annie. I think Woody used a kind of essential quality that he found in me at that time, and I’m glad he did because it worked really well in the movie.”
Keaton’s career arguably skyrocketed after Annie Hall. Subsequent credits include Hannah and Her Sisters, Baby Boom, The First Wives Club, Something’s Gotta Give and, recently, The Young Pope. Keaton never married but did become a mother. Annie Hall may have won her an Oscar, but more importantly, it earned her a high-profile film career for decades after.
Tony Roberts had a budding acting career before Annie Hall, with his most notable roles coming in the form of Serpico and the film adaptation of Allen’s play, Play It Again, Sam. In every way, Roberts looked and acted the foil to Allen’s neurotic, sardonic Alvy Singer in the film: Rob (Roberts’ character) was cool, stylish, a real lady-killer. He was Alvy’s confidant and life coach, most of which Alvy took for granted. Roberts’ early on-screen persona was, in a way, well-matched enough that he could play Rob so well.
Now, four decades later, Roberts has maintained a lively acting career but hasn’t achieved the kind of all-out notoriety of some of his other castmates. He continued to collaborate with Allen in the years after Annie Hall, appearing in Radio Days, Hannah and Her Sisters and Stardust Memories. Excitingly, Roberts can be spotted in the 2017 made-for-TV remake of Dirty Dancing as Max Kellerman. Keep an eye out for him!
In Annie Hall, a young Carol Kane appeared as Allison, the liberal and whip-smart young woman who Alvy tries to bed by labeling her based on his first impressions of her. She falls for it, of course, because she becomes Alvy’s first wife. It’s one of Annie Hall‘s most amusing moments, and Kane matches Allen quick remark for quick remark. Annie Hall was one of Kane’s earliest roles, with previous credits including Dog Day Afternoon.
Kane has cultivated a strong résumé full of great character roles. Both her look and her high-pitched voice have worked to her advantage, and while you may not immediately recognize her name, both of those attributes have ensured that you’ve seen her literally everywhere over the last 40 years. She’s popped up in The Muppets Movie, The Princess Bride, Addams Family Values, The Pacifier and just recently, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Paul Simon was one of a handful of celeb cameos in Annie Hall. He appears in the film as Tony Lacey, a potentially skeezy guy who sidles up to Annie after one of her nightclub performances to compliment her. A total smooth talker, Tony immediately throws Alvy off with talk of getting together with Annie in the recording studio. Simon’s cameo is short-lived but lovely.
Of course, in real life, we all know Simon as half of Simon and Garfunkel, the folk music duo so popular in the ’60s and ’70s. After Simon’s breakup with Garfunkel, he went on to have a lively solo career. Hit albums like Graceland and songs like “You Can Call Me Al” remain Simon’s biggest calling cards today.
In Annie Hall, Shelley Duvall played Pam, a Rolling Stone reporter set up with Alvy by their mutual friend, Rob. By 1977, Duvall’s star was on a meteoric rise after she appeared in McCabe & Mrs. Miller and Nashville. A favorite of director Robert Altman’s, Duvall’s unique look and ability to portray women who were at once superficially girly yet full of psychological depth made her an in-demand actor in the ’70s and ’80s. After Annie Hall, Duvall went on to star in The Shining and Time Bandits, and she even appeared in an episode of the hit ’90s show Wishbone.
Sadly, Duvall’s last major film or television appearance was in 2002. In 2016, troubling reports emerged that Duvall had become a recluse and her mental health was declining. In a highly publicized interview, Dr. Phil attempted to discuss with Duvall her own health and well-being. The public perceived the interview as gross misconduct on Dr. Phil’s part, negligent of Duvall’s need for serious medical attention in a bid for TV ratings.
Christopher Walken had a pretty damn creepy role in Annie Hall, but it oddly suited him at the time. Playing Annie’s creepy brother Duane, he took Alvy and Annie on a very… interesting car ride, shall we say. The weirdness of the scene stands out in the film and that partially because Walken’s now-iconic on-screen demeanor was present even then.
Now, of course, Walken is everywhere. His well-known staccato speech patterns and knack for great character roles have led him to pop up in films like Pulp Fiction, Wedding Crashers, Hairspray, The Stepford Wives and so much more. Seriously, he’s everywhere. His résumé boasts a mind-boggling 132 credits, and that includes the two films he currently has in the pipeline for 2017. Walken shows no signs of slowing down 40 years after Annie Hall.
Colleen Dewhurst was mostly known for her theater work and, in that respect, known for her great dramatic roles. In her autobiography, she notes that she was called the “Queen of Off-Broadway” because she was moving so quickly from one off-Broadway show to the next. While her career consisted of a plentiful amount of TV movies and TV shows, Dewhurst’s most notable film role is still Annie Hall, where she played Annie’s mother.
Arguably one of the most iconic Annie Hall cameos goes to a young Jeff Goldblum, whose only line in the film is, “I forgot my mantra.” Goldblum appears during the Tony Lacey L.A. party sequence in the film, but it obviously wasn’t the last time we would see him. He had a handful of bit parts in films during the late ’70s, including Annie Hall, but his career began to really pick up with the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Now, 40 years later, Goldblum is best known for his roles in Jurassic Park and Independence Day. He’s also become a great character actor in his generation, with his highly identifiable speech pattern helping get him roles in projects like Will & Grace, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Thor: Ragnarok and The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.