Though he started out writing comedy for others to perform, Woody Allen first gained true notoriety as a stand-up comedian. His anxious, intellectual stage persona was unlike the other performers of the time - and it was a routine that he brought with him to his early films.
One of the first Woody Allen movies to achieve real critical success was the hilarious "Take the Money and Run", which often features prominently on lists of his best works. This was followed by "Bananas", "Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex*", "Sleeper" and "Love and Death". Already, Allen was releasing a new movie every year, something he has continued to do over the last 60 years.
The end of the 70s saw Allen win four Academy Awards for "Annie Hall", and make two of his best loved movies, "Manhattan" and "Stardust Memories". In this last film, Allen paid homage to some of his favorite European directors such as Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini.
Stardust Memories (a direct homage to Fellini's "8 1/2") sees Allen accosted by members of the public who tell him they prefered his 'early, funny' movies. The later dark comedy "Deconstructing Harry" is an adaptation of Bergman's "Wild Strawberries", and is also seen as one of his finest works.