Played by Woody Allen
An anal-retentive, extremely self-conscious Jewish comedian and the protagonist of the film. Alvy’s quick wit is hilarious and often endearingly self-effacing. He claims his adult life is based on the joke “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.” He also claims to be alienated by the “intellectual” climate of New York City of which he himself is so much a part. Obsessed with death, sex, and anti-Semitism, among other things, Alvy has been seeing a psychoanalyst regularly for fifteen years, with little success. He has a wry, pessimistic outlook on life that informs his actions, especially as pertains to his relationships with women.
Played by Diane Keaton
The flighty, giggly woman whose relationship with Alvy is the focus of the film. Although Annie is smart and can keep up with Alvy’s wit, she is insecure about her intelligence. She is a photographer and singer and, with Alvy’s guidance, becomes increasingly more confident and independent. Originally from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, Annie is the antithesis of a “New York girl” and has a positive, fairly healthy outlook on life. She has a generally good-natured, albeit quirky, personality and a kooky but stylish fashion sense. Her trademark expression is “La-dee-da.”
Read an in-depth analysis of Annie Hall.
Played by Tony Roberts
Alvy’s mellow, somewhat superficial sidekick. Rob takes Alvy’s anal-retentiveness in stride, his own coolness providing a balance to his buddy’s hyperactive aggression. Although Rob often serves as a target for Alvy’s venting, he largely lets it roll off his back. Unlike Alvy, he is enamored with Los Angeles and wants a shallower life than is prevalent in New York. In some ways, Rob is Alvy’s mirror image, understanding his friend’s actions and concerns but reacting in the opposite direction. Alvy and Rob call each other “Max.”
Read an in-depth analysis of Rob.
Played by Paul Simon
A music producer and Svengali figure to Annie. Tony is symbolic of the glamour and self-indulgence of L.A. Tony has hip parties in his house in Hollywood. He is charming and takes an interest in Annie both artistically and romantically. Annie is intrigued by him, and Alvy is repelled.
Played by Carol Kane
Alvy’s first wife, whom he reduces to a cultural stereotype: “New York, Jewish, left-wing, liberal, intellectual. . . . ” Allison is always willing to have sex with Alvy, but he loses interest, unable to desire a woman who desires him in return.
Played by Janet Margolin
Alvy’s second wife. Pretentious, snobby, and intellectual to the point of coldness, Robin is concerned primarily with academic schmoozing. She refuses Alvy’s attempts at lovemaking and blames distractions like street noise for keeping her from reaching orgasm. She cites her analyst when complaining about tension and reaching for Valium.
Played by Shelley Duvall
A Rolling Stone reporter who has a one-night relationship with Alvy after his separation with Annie. The strikingly thin Pam has great interest in spiritual transcendence and tells Alvy at a gathering with the Maharishi (of Transcendental Mediation fame) that she is a Rosicrucian who follows a Christian mystic philosophy. Alvy goes out with her at Rob’s suggestion but is underwhelmed by their sexual experience, which Pam describes as “Kafkaesque.”
Played by Colleen Dewhurst
Annie’s mother. A proper WASP wife and mother, Mrs. Hall does not approve of Alvy and does not get any of his jokes. Polite and gracious, Mrs. Hall steers the dinner conversation around safe topics like Christmas and a swap meet.
Played by Christopher Walken
Annie’s disturbed brother. Duane has fantasies of crashing his car into oncoming traffic and does not hesitate to tell Alvy this, with all seriousness, before eventually driving Alvy and Annie to the airport.
Played by Helen Ludlam
Annie’s anti-Semitic grandmother, whom Alvy describes as a “classic Jew hater.” Grammy Hall doesn’t speak to Alvy.
Played by Joan Newman
Alvy’s loudmouthed mother. Mrs. Singer is effusive, neurotic, and argumentative. She runs a lively, informal household as a staunchly Jewish matriarch figure.
Played by Mordecai Lawner
Alvy’s father. Like Mrs. Singer, Mr. Singer is argumentative and lives out Jewish traditions. Although he is more rational than his wife, she is the one in control.
Played by himself
A Canadian media theorist whom Alvy pulls onscreen for the benefit of the audience and the obnoxious man behind Alvy and Annie in line for a movie. McLuhan’s appearance proves Alvy’s point and adds a tongue-in-cheek fantasy layer to the film.