101 Funniest Screenplays

The last of the zany, out-and-out comedies Allen made before Annie Hall transformed the trajectory of his career. As film critic Scott Tobias wrote in slate.com, Love and Death was the climax of a decade in which Allen mastered “a sophisticated form of low comedy, mingling the silly antics of the Marx Brothers and Buster Keaton with the droll intellect of his standup and New Yorker magazine contributions.” Here Allen takes his horn-rimmed persona to czarist Russia, playing Boris, a nervous peasant who pines for his cousin (Diane Keaton) and gets swept up in the Napoleonic wars. The high-brow-meets-low-brow parody includes not only the Russian master novelists (Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky) but important filmmakers, with a cameo by Death himself from Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. Allen later said Love and Death was the funniest film he’d made up until that time.