Bullets over Broadway

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Bullets over Broadway
Bullets over Broadway movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Woody Allen
Produced by Robert Greenhut
Letty Aronson
J. E. Beaucaire
Jean Doumanian
Charles H. Joffe
Jack Rollins
Written by Woody Allen
Douglas McGrath
Starring Jim Broadbent
John Cusack
Harvey Fierstein
Chazz Palminteri
Mary-Louise Parker
Rob Reiner
Jennifer Tilly
Tracey Ullman
Joe Viterelli
Jack Warden
Dianne Wiest
Cinematography Carlo DiPalma
Edited by Susan E. Morse
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates
  • October 14, 1994 (1994-10-14)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million
Box office $13,383,747

Bullets over Broadway is a 1994 American crime-comedy film written by Woody Allen and Douglas McGrath and directed by Woody Allen. It stars an ensemble cast including John Cusack, Dianne Wiest, Chazz Palminteri, and Jennifer Tilly.

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.

A Broadway musical theatre version opened in previews on March 11, 2014.


In 1928, David Shayne (John Cusack) is an idealistic young playwright newly arrived on Broadway. In order to gain financing for his play, God of Our Fathers, he agrees to hire Olive Neal (Jennifer Tilly), the actress/girlfriend of a gangster. She is demanding and talentless, but her gangster escort Cheech (Chazz Palminteri) turns out to be a genius, who constantly comes up with excellent ideas for revising the play.

As the players prepare for opening night, Shayne is soon in over his head claiming Cheech's rewrites as his own, cheating on his partner Ellen (Mary-Louise Parker) with the show's seductive, alcoholic leading lady Helen Sinclair (Dianne Wiest), and facing his leading man, a compulsive eater (Jim Broadbent), beginning an affair with Olive.



The film's locales include the duplex co-op on the 22nd floor of 5 Tudor City Place in Manhattan.[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. The film featured the last screen appearance of Benay Venuta. Allen cast her in a cameo role as a well-wishing wealthy theatre patron. She died of lung cancer months after the film opened.

Stage musical[edit]

Allen adapted the film as a stage musical, titled Bullets Over Broadway the Musical. The musical is directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, produced by Julian Schlossberg and Letty Aronson, with a score from the American songbook using songs from the 1920s and 1930s.[2] The new musical premiered on Broadway at the St. James Theatre on April 10, 2014.[3] A staged reading was held in June 2013.[4] The cast features Zach Braff as David Shayne, Brooks Ashmanskas, Betsy Wolfe, Lenny Wolpe, and Vincent Pastore.[5] Marin Mazzie stars as Helen Sinclair,[6] and Karen Ziemba appears as "Eden Brent."[7] Musical supervisor Glen Kelly has adapted and written additional lyrics for songs including "Tain't Nobody's Bus'ness," "Running Wild," "Let's Misbehave" and "I Found A New Baby".[3] The musical closed on August 24, 2014, after 156 performances and 33 previews.[8]


Bullets over Broadway received a positive response from critics. The review-aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes reports 96% positive reviews, with the consensus "A gleefully entertaining backstage comedy, Bullets Over Broadway features some of Woody Allen's sharpest, most inspired late-period writing and direction."[9]

Janet Maslin of The New York Times described the film as "a bright, energetic, sometimes side-splitting comedy with vital matters on its mind, precisely the kind of sharp-edged farce [Allen] has always done best."[10] Todd McCarthy of Variety similarly called it "a backstage comedy bolstered by healthy shots of prohibition gangster melodrama and romantic entanglements" and wrote, "In its mixing of showbiz and gangsters, this is a nice companion piece to Allen's Broadway Danny Rose, and about as amusing."[11] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times praised, "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."[12]

Awards and nominations[edit]




  1. ^ Barbanel, Josh. "Selling a Tudor City Treasure", The Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2012
  2. ^ Rooney, David (June 14, 2012). "Susan Stroman to Shepherd Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway' to Stage". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Hetrick, Adam. "The Verdict: Critics Review Woody Allen Musical 'Bullets Over Broadway'" playbill.com, April 10, 2014
  4. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "With Reading Underway, Woody Allen Musical 'Bullets Over Broadway' Will Test Legs in Fall Lab" Playbil, June 12, 2013
  5. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Zach Braff, Brooks Ashmanskas, Betsy Wolfe, Vincent Pastore Set for 'Bullets Over Broadway', Opening in April 2014" Playbill, June 27, 2013
  6. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Marin Mazzie Lands Coveted Leading Role in Woody Allen Musical 'Bullets Over Broadway' " playbill.com, December 5, 2013
  7. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Karen Ziemba Joins Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'; Casting Now Complete" playbill.com, January 9, 2014
  8. ^ Gans, Andrew and Hetrick, Adam. "Curtain Comes Down on Woody Allen Musical Bullets Over Broadway " playbill.com, August 24, 2014
  9. ^ Bullets Over Broadway at Rotten Tomatoes
  10. ^ Maslin, Janet (September 30, 1994). "Film Festival Review; Allen's Ode to Theater and, as Always, New York". The New York Times. Retrieved September 20, 2015. 
  11. ^ McCarthy, Todd (September 6, 1994). "Review: 'Bullets Over Broadway'". Variety. Retrieved September 20, 2015. 
  12. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 28, 1994). "Bullets Over Broadway". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved September 20, 2015. 
  13. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees
  14. ^ AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot

External links[edit]