Bullets over Broadway

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

Bullets over Broadway
Bullets over Broadway movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWoody Allen
Produced by
Written by
CinematographyCarlo DiPalma
Edited bySusan E. Morse
Distributed byMiramax Films
Release date
  • September 4, 1994 (1994-09-04) (Venice)
  • October 14, 1994 (1994-10-14) (United States)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million[not verified in body]
Box office$13.4 million[not verified in body]

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 Supporting Actor, respectively. Wiest won Best Supporting Actress for her performance, the second time Allen directed her to an Academy Award.


In 1928, David Shayne 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 actress Olive Neal, the girlfriend of a gangster. She is demanding and talentless, but her gangster escort Cheech turns out to be a genius, who constantly comes up with excellent ideas for revising the play.

As the actors prepare for opening night, Shayne is soon in over his head claiming Cheech's rewrites as his own, cheating on his partner, Ellen, with the show's seductive, alcoholic leading lady, Helen Sinclair, and facing his leading man, a compulsive eater, 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.


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."[2]

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."[3] 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."[4] 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."[5]

Stage musicalEdit

Allen adapted the film as a stage Jukebox musical, titled Bullets Over Broadway the Musical. The musical is directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, produced by Julian Schlossberg and Allen's younger sister Letty Aronson, with a score from the American songbook using songs from the 1920s and 1930s.[6] The new musical premiered on Broadway at the St. James Theatre on April 10, 2014.[7] A staged reading was held in June 2013.[8] The cast features Zach Braff as David Shayne, Brooks Ashmanskas, Betsy Wolfe, Lenny Wolpe, and Vincent Pastore.[9] Marin Mazzie stars as Helen Sinclair,[10] and Karen Ziemba appears as "Eden Brent."[11] 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".[7] The musical closed on August 24, 2014, after 156 performances and 33 previews.[12]

Awards and nominationsEdit




  1. ^ Barbanel, Josh. "Selling a Tudor City Treasure", The Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2012
  2. ^ Bullets Over Broadway at Rotten Tomatoes
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ McCarthy, Todd (September 6, 1994). "Review: 'Bullets Over Broadway'". Variety. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 28, 1994). "Bullets Over Broadway". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  6. ^ Rooney, David (June 14, 2012). "Susan Stroman to Shepherd Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway' to Stage". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  7. ^ a b Hetrick, Adam. "The Verdict: Critics Review Woody Allen Musical 'Bullets Over Broadway'" Archived June 23, 2014, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, April 10, 2014
  8. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "With Reading Underway, Woody Allen Musical 'Bullets Over Broadway' Will Test Legs in Fall Lab" Archived September 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Playbil, June 12, 2013
  9. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Zach Braff, Brooks Ashmanskas, Betsy Wolfe, Vincent Pastore Set for 'Bullets Over Broadway', Opening in April 2014" Archived September 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Playbill, June 27, 2013
  10. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Marin Mazzie Lands Coveted Leading Role in Woody Allen Musical 'Bullets Over Broadway' " Archived January 10, 2014, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, December 5, 2013
  11. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Karen Ziemba Joins Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'; Casting Now Complete" Archived January 10, 2014, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, January 9, 2014
  12. ^ Gans, Andrew and Hetrick, Adam. "Curtain Comes Down on Woody Allen Musical Bullets Over Broadway " Archived 2014-08-26 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, August 24, 2014

External linksEdit