Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

In director/writer Woody Allen's ensemble masterpiece about three sisters - Hannah, Holly, and Lee:

  • the early scene of successful stage actress Hannah's (Mia Farrow) financial advisor husband Elliot's (Michael Caine) opening monologue about his lustful infatuation with Hannah's sexy sister Lee (Barbara Hershey): ("God, she's beautiful. She's got the prettiest eyes, and she looks so sexy in that sweater. I just want to be alone with her and hold her and kiss her and tell her how much I love her and take care of her. Stop it, you idiot. She's your wife's sister. But I can't help it! I'm consumed by her. It's been months now. I dream about her. I, I, I think about her at the office. Ah, Lee. (sighing) What am I gonna do? I hear myself mooning over you, and it's disgusting. Before, when she squeezed past me in the doorway, and I smelled that perfume on the back of her neck... Jesus, I, I thought I was gonna swoon! Easy. You're a dignified financial advisor. It doesn't look good for you to swoon")
  • the moment that Elliot grabbed Lee and kissed her - and her shocked reaction; and then later, his wide-eyed, childlike delight at discovering she was attracted to him as well: ("I have my answer! I have my answer! I'm walking on air!")
  • hypochondriacal TV producer and comedy show writer Mickey Sachs' (Woody Allen) (Hannah's ex-husband) obsession about death: ("Look at all these people, trying to stave off the inevitable decay of their bodies") and the scenes of his doctor's visits when he fancifully believed he had a brain tumor
  • the bitter and reclusive artist Frederick's (Max Von Sydow) dismissal of contemporary American culture to his younger lover Lee: ("You see the whole culture - Nazis, deodorant salesman, wrestlers, beauty contests, the talk show. Can you imagine the level of a mind that watches wrestling, hmm? But the worst are the fundamentalist preachers, third-rate con men, telling the poor suckers that watch them that they speak for Jesus and to please send in money. Money, money, money! If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up")
  • and the stark, aching breakup scene of Frederick with Lee for having an affair - (when he asserted: "You are, you are my only connection to the world") - shot with a continuous single, eight minute shot
  • the disastrous dates of neurotic, flighty, coke-head, struggling actress-caterer sister Holly (Diane Weist) with Mickey: ("Don't you just love songs about extra-terrestrials?" "Not when they're sung by extra-terrestrials!")
  • the restaurant lunch scene with the three sisters: (1) Hannah's discussion with Lee about how she feared that her husband Elliot might be having an affair, and (2) Holly's discovery that her catering partner April had taken away her architect boyfriend, and (3) Holly's explanation of her goal to be a screenwriter - and after listening to Hannah's discouraging advice to be realistic and more productive, lambasted her with: ("You never have any faith in my plans. You always undercut my enthusiasm")
  • Mickey's later epiphany about life and death, when he thought back (in voice-over) to a time when he almost killed himself with a shotgun blast, and then explained how he had found refuge in a movie theatre that was playing the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup (1933) where he experienced a climactic epiphany: ("...And I went upstairs to the balcony, and I sat down, and, you know, the movie was a-a-a film that I'd seen many times in my life since I was a kid, and-and I always, uh, loved it. And, you know, I'm-I'm watching these people up on the screen and I started getting hooked on the film, you know. And I started to feel, how can you even think of killing yourself. I mean isn't it so stupid? I mean, l-look at all the people up there on the screen. You know, they're real funny, and-and what if the worst is true. What if there's no God, and you only go around once and that's it. Well, you know, don't you want to be part of the experience? You know, what the hell, it's-it's not all a drag. And I'm thinkin' to myself, geez, I should stop ruining my life - searching for answers I'm never gonna get, and just enjoy it while it lasts. And, you know, after, who knows? I mean, you know, maybe there is something. Nobody really knows. I know, I know maybe is a very slim reed to hang your whole life on, but that's the best we have. And then, I started to sit back, and I actually began to enjoy myself.")
Mickey's Near-Suicide
Mickey Watching Duck Soup
  • the film's last line - newly-married Holly's revelation to husband Mickey: "I'm pregnant"

(Mia Farrow)

(Barbara Hershey)

Elliot's (Michael Caine) Lust for Lee

Elliot: "I have my answer"

Frederick's Speech About American Culture

Holly: "I'm pregnant"


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