The First Wives Club

  • Directors: Hugh Wilson
  • Producers: Scott Rudin
  • Writers: Olivia Goldsmith, Robert Harling, Paul Rudnick
  • Genres: Comedy
  • Actors: Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Bette Midler, Elizabeth Berkley, Stockard Channing, Stephen Collins, Victor Garber, Marcia Gay Harden, Eileen Heckart, Dan Hedaya, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bronson Pinchot, Maggie Smith

At Middlebury College in 1969, four friends, Elise Elliot (Goldie Hawn), Brenda Morelli (Bette Midler), Annie MacDuggan (Diane Keaton), and Cynthia Griffin (Stockard Channing), are graduating. As graduation gifts, Cynthia (the valedictorian of the class) presents the girls with matching pearl necklaces. As the graduates take a commemorative picture of the four of them (presumably for the last time), Cynthia makes Annie, Brenda and Elise promise that they will always be there for each other throughout the remainder of their lives.

In the present time, the four friends eventually lose touch with one another, as evident when Cynthia is tearfully gazing at the picture of the four of them on that graduation day. She gives her maid a pearl necklace (identical to the one she gave to her friends on graduation day), and she has her mail letters to her college chums. She later walks outside of the balcony of her luxurious penthouse in a floor length fur coat, a cigarette and a drink, and then commits suicide by jumping off the balcony after learning through tabloids that her husband is divorcing her for a much younger woman. Her former friends aren’t doing much better: Brenda is divorced, left for a younger woman, depressed, and struggling financially. Elise, also divorced for a younger woman, is now an aging alcoholic movie star who has become a plastic-surgery addict to keep her career afloat. Annie, meanwhile, is separated and going through therapy with her husband. Shortly after Cynthia’s funeral, at which the three remaining friends are reunited for the first time since college, Annie’s husband Aaron (Stephen Collins) leaves her for her younger therapist (Marcia Gay Harden) and asks her for a divorce; Brenda has a rather unpleasant encounter at a clothing store with her ex, Morty (Dan Hedaya) and his younger and rather hateful mistress Shelly (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Elise finds out that her husband wants a divorce and is requesting alimony and half of their marital assets. Also, during a meeting with a director for a possible leading lady movie role, she discovers that she is only wanted for the mother of the leading lady. Shortly thereafter, the three friends receive the letter that Cynthia mailed to them before her suicide. After all three read their letter from Cynthia and feeling that they have been taken for granted by their husbands, the women decide to create the First Wives Club, aiming to get revenge on their exes. Annie’s lesbian daughter Chris (Jennifer Dundas) also gets in on the plan by asking for a job at her father’s advertising agency so she can supply her mother with inside information.

Deciding that revenge would make them no better than their husbands, they instead use these situations to push their men into funding the establishment of a non-profit organization dedicated to aiding abused women, in memory of their college friend Cynthia. The movie ends with a celebration at the new women’s center. Annie narrates that Elise started a relationship with a cast member in her new play, that Brenda and Morty reconciled their differences and got back together, and that when Aaron tried to get back together with her, Annie, she told him to “drop dead.”

Something s Gotta Give

  • Directors: Nancy Meyers
  • Producers: Nancy Meyers
  • Writers: Nancy Meyers
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet

Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson) is a wealthy New York music mogul who has had a habit of dating women under 30 for 40 years. When he and his latest conquest, Marin Klein (Amanda Peet), drive to her mother’s Hamptons beach house on the coast, his life turns upside down.

Expecting to be alone, Harry and Marin are surprised by Marin’s mother, successful playwright Erica Barry (Diane Keaton), and her sister Zoe (Frances McDormand). After an awkward dinner, the night turns disastrous when — during foreplay with Marin — Harry has a heart attack and is rushed to a hospital. The handsome young doctor, Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves), tells Harry to stay in the area for a few days, and so Harry ends up staying with Erica. Their differing personalities initially make for awkward living arrangements (seeing her naked), until the two begin to get to know each other.

Soon, the two have fallen in love, they live very different lifestyles — Erica’s determination to be single and independent, and Harry’s constant desire for new women and experiences — combined with the fact that Harry is dating Marin and Julian has fallen for Erica, leave the two struggling to deal with their current relationships with others, but also work on their own. Marin soon breaks up with Harry after she suspects that he’s in love with her mother. The break up is not out of anger, but rather she wants her mother to be able to have a relationship with him and for her own life to move on. Harry and Erica spend more time together and the relationship they have with each other gets even more serious. Harry’s improving health means that he no longer has to stay with Erica, and in a very awkward decision, he heads home.

While Harry is gazing over the river Seine in the Paris night saying “look who gets to be the girl” as it starts to snow, Erica pulls up in a taxi. She gets out and explains to Harry that Julian figured that they both still loved each other. Harry says “I’m 63 years old and for the first time in love”. Harry and Erica kiss; the movie resumes about one year and a half later at another restaurant in New York. Erica and Harry are eating out with Marin and her new husband with their year old child.

Manhattan

  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Producers: Charles H Joffe
  • Writers: Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy, Mariel Hemingway, Meryl Streep, Anne Byrne

The film opens with a montage of images of Manhattan accompanied by George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. TV writer Isaac Davis (Allen), is introduced as a man writing a book about his love for New York City. He is a twice-divorced 42-year-old dealing with the women in his life who gives up his unfulfilling job as a comedy writer.

He is dating Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), a 17-year old high school girl. His best friend Yale (Michael Murphy), married to Emily (Anne Byrne) is having an affair with Mary Wilkie (Diane Keaton); her ex-husband and former teacher Jeremiah (Wallace Shawn) also appears. Isaac’s lesbian ex-wife, Jill (Meryl Streep), is writing a confessional book about their marriage.

When Isaac meets Mary, he immediately takes a dislike to her. Isaac runs into her again at an Equal Rights Amendment fund raising event at the Museum of Modern Art and he walks her home. Mary asks to go out with him for a Sunday afternoon when Yale is unavailable. They stay out all night until dawn culminating in the iconic shot of Queensboro Bridge.

Isaac continues his relationship with Tracy. He also encourages her to pursue an educational opportunity in London. In another iconic scene, at Tracy’s request, they go on a carriage ride through Central Park.

Unable to catch a taxi, he runs for 2 hours to tell Tracy he loves her. He catches her just as she is leaving for England. He says that she doesn’t have to go and that he doesn’t want that special thing about her to change. She replies that the plans have already been made and reassures him that not everyone gets corrupted. He gives her a slight smile segueing into shots of the skyline with Rhapsody in Blue playing again.

Annie Hall

  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Producers: Charles H Joffe, Jack Rollins
  • Writers: Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Paul Simon, Shelley Duvall

The film is set in New York City and Los Angeles.

Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) is a neurotic comedian, attempting to maintain a relationship with the seemingly ditzy but exuberant Annie (Diane Keaton). The film chronicles their relationship over several years, intercut with various imaginary trips into each other’s history (Annie is able to “see” Alvy’s family when he was only a child, and likewise Alvy observes Annie’s past sexual relationships). In the first flashback showing Alvy as a child, we learn he was raised in Brooklyn; his father’s occupation was operating a bumper cars concession and the family home was located below the Thunderbolt roller coaster on Coney Island.

After many arguments and reconciliations, the two realize they are fundamentally different and split up. Annie moves in with Hollywood record company executive Tony Lacey (Paul Simon); Annie likes California, but Alvy hates it. Alvy soon realizes he still loves her after seeing Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis) and tries to convince her to return with him to New York. He fails and, resignedly, returns home to write a play about their relationship, recycling the conversation just exchanged but ending with him winning Annie back.

Later, with Annie back in New York, the two are able to meet on good terms as friends, now with different lovers. Alvy ends the film by musing about how love and relationships are something we all require despite their often painful and complex nature.

The Godfather: Part II

  • Directors: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Producers: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Writers: Novel, Mario Puzo, Screenplay, Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Lee Strasberg

The Godfather Part II presents two parallel storylines. One involves Mafia chief Michael Corleone following the events of the first movie from 1958 to 1963; the other is a series of flashbacks following his father, Vito Corleone, from his childhood in Sicily (1901) to his founding of the criminal Corleone Family in New York City while still a young man (1917–1925).

In 1958, Michael Corleone, Godfather of the Corleone Family, deals with various business and family problems at his Lake Tahoe, Nevada compound during an elaborate party celebrating his son’s First Communion. He meets with Nevada Senator Pat Geary, who despises the Corleones, but has shown up with his wife to accept a large endowment to the state university. Senator Geary demands a grossly exaggerated price for a new gaming license and a monthly payment of 5% of the gross profits from all of the Corleone Family’s Nevada gaming interests, to which Michael responds with a counter-offer of “nothing … not even the fee for the gaming license, which I would appreciate if you would put up personally.”

Michael also deals with his sister Connie, who, although recently divorced, is planning to marry a man with no obvious means of support, and of whom Michael disapproves. He also talks with Johnny Ola, the right hand man of Jewish gangster Hyman Roth, who is supporting Michael’s move into the gambling industry. Finally, Michael meets with Frank “Five Angels” Pentangeli, who took over Corleone caporegime Peter Clemenza’s territory after his death, and now has problems with the Rosato Brothers, who are backed by Roth. Michael refuses to allow Pentangeli to kill the Rosatos, due to his desire to prevent interruption of his business with Roth. Pentangeli leaves abruptly, after telling Michael “your father did business with Hyman Roth, your father respected Hyman Roth, but your father never trusted Hyman Roth.”

The film ends with a final flashback depicting Vito and a young Michael leaving Corleone by train, and Michael sitting in the Lake Tahoe compound, alone in silence.

The Godfather

  • Directors: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Producers: Albert S Ruddy
  • Writers: Novel, Mario Puzo, Screenplay, Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Towne,
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, Diane Keaton

In late summer 1945, guests are gathered for the wedding reception of Don Vito Corleone’s daughter Connie and Carlo Rizzi. Vito (Marlon Brando), the head of the Corleone Mafia family – who is known to friends and associates as “Godfather” – and Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), the Corleone family lawyer and consigliere (counselor), are hearing requests for favors because “no Sicilian can refuse a request on his daughter’s wedding day”. Meanwhile, the Don’s youngest son Michael (Al Pacino), a decorated Marine war hero returning from World War II service, tells his girlfriend Kay Adams (Diane Keaton) anecdotes about his family, attempting to inform her about his father’s criminal life; he reassures her that he is different from his family. Among depicting the marriage of Connie and Carlo, the wedding scene also serves as a critical exposition scene for the remainder of the film, as Michael figuratively introduces the main characters to Kay.

Among the guests at the celebration is the famous singer Johnny Fontane (Al Martino), Corleone’s godson, who has come from Hollywood to petition Vito’s help in landing a movie role that will revitalize his flagging career. Jack Woltz (John Marley), the head of the studio, denies Fontane the part, but Don Corleone explains to Johnny: “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Hagen is dispatched to California to fix the problem, but Woltz angrily tells him that he will never cast Fontane in the role, for which he is perfect and will make him an even bigger star, because Fontane seduced and “ruined” a starlet that Woltz favored. Woltz is persuaded otherwise, however, when he wakes up early the next morning and feels something wet in his bed. He pulls back the sheets, and finds himself in a pool of blood with the severed head of his prized $600,000 stud horse, Khartoum, in the bed with him, and screams in horror.[5]

The book’s ending differs from the movie: whereas in the film Kay suddenly realizes that Michael has become “like his family”, the drama is toned down in the book. She leaves Michael and goes to stay with her parents. When Tom Hagen visits her there, he lets her in on family secrets for which, according to him, he would be killed should Michael find out what he has revealed. This is then followed by Kay’s visit to the church, where she prays for her husband’s soul.