best film: Hannah and Her Sisters though this could certainly change over time as the closest two contenders are so recent that I hesitate to compare them with a film like Hannah which I have in the top 100 of all-time. Those two contenders come from Caine’s work with Nolan: The Dark Knight (2008) and Inception (2010). I think Woody’s masterpiece will outlast those two but I’m not sure. Woody’s film is perfect. It’s an ensemble film with more than enough meat on the bone for all three sisters (Diane Wiest, Mia Farrow and Barbara Hershey) along with Allen himself and, of course, Michael Caine who walks away with the best performance.

best performance: Caine, on the surface, may seem like an odd choice for an Allen film. Most of the males in Allen films are Allen himself or Allen surrogates (everyone from Owen Wilson to Jesse Eisenberg). Rarely would Allen would pick someone out of the norm (Gene Hackman in Another Woman) like Caine who is hyper-masculine. Caine is Get Carter and Alfie after all. He’s perfect here and dressed down of course. He somehow makes this pretty sickening character sympathetic—or if not sympathetic then at least real and a bit pitiable. Caine deserved his Academy award win for his work here. As much as I like him in The Man Who Would be King this was a pretty straight-forward and easy choice.

stylistic innovations/traits: Caine has six Academy Award noms, two wins and has been in 24 films in the archives and still counting. Caine has had a very long and prestigious career. 1964 and Zulu was 50 years before Interstellar and he wasn’t a late bloomer like Hopkins. Caine was a big-time star in 1966. His work prior to 75’ is interesting and worth study but it’s really in 75’ when he first works with an auteur of note (John Huston here). His take on Anthony Perkins (but in doctor form) is fascinating in Dressed to Kill and of course his work with Nolan in the 21st century shouldn’t be underestimated. His story about the Joker and watching the world burn in The Dark Knight so important to the film. He’s a little hurt on this list because there’s really only one year where he’s amongst the 5 best performances of the year and that’s 1986 with Hannah and Her Sisters– still to this day, Caine’s crowning achievement.

directors worked with:   Nolan (6) and then once a piece with John Huston, De Palma, Lumet and Woody Allen

Top 5 Performances:

  1. Hannah and Her Sisters
  2. The Man Who Would be King
  3. Dressed to Kill
  4. The Dark Knight
  5. Get Carter

Archiveable films

1964- Zulu
1965- The Ipcress File
1966- Alfie
1966- Gambit
1971- Get Carter
1972- Sleuth
1975- The Man Who Would Be King
1975- The Wilby Conspiracy
1977- A Bridge Too Far
1978- California Suite
1980- Dressed To Kill
1982- Death Trap
1986- Hannah and Her Sisters
1986- Mona Lisa
1988- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
1999- The Cider House Rules
2000- Quills
2002- The Quiet American
2005- Batman Begins
2006- The Prestige
2008- The Dark Knight
2010- Inception
2012- The Dark Knight Rises
2014- Interstellar