Manhattan Murder Mystery



Witty Woody Allen film about marriage and maybe murder.
  • Review Date: January 30, 2012
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1993
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This film about couples and how people who love each other get along sends a mostly positive, if comic, message about long-term relationships.

Positive role models

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton have what appears to be a very normal marriage, and the whiff of intrigue surrounding their neighbor's mysterious behavior adds some spice to the relationship. They doggedly try to determine if a neighbor has murdered his wife. They follow him around, break into his apartment to snoop, and lie to him about their motives. In the end, their behavior may or may not be justified.


The couple at the center of the film suspects their neighbor has murdered his wife and spend much of the film wondering if any foul play has actually occurred. By the end, there's a dead body, a chase scene, and some comic gunplay.


No sex, though some discussion of sex and suggestive comments.


Occasional swearing, including "s--t" and "damn."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some social drinking at restaurants and small gatherings in apartments.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this witty, wonderful Woody Allen film focuses on the possibility that a murder has occurred, but there's only some mild comic violence during the climax. The main characters snoop around to dig up the truth, even lying to their neighbor, who they suspect of the crime. There's some suggestive dialogue and rare swearing (including "s--t").

Kids say

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What's the story?

Carol Lipton (Diane Keaton) is convinced there's something amiss about her genial neighbor, a recent widower who perhaps isn't as upset as he should be about his wife's passing. As she snoops for clues, dragging her reluctant husband Larry (Woody Allen) along for the ride, she slowly comes to the realization that her neighbor just might be a killer. Their pals Ted and Marcia (Alan Alda and Angelica Huston) join in the caper that starts off as a fun lark, but soon becomes deadly serious.

Is it any good?


MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY is one of director Allen's better films in a long career filled with hits and misses. The mystery at the center is fun, satisfying, and surprising, and the audience will enjoy uncovering the truth nearly as much as the four characters.

But that's only part of the story. Like many of Allen's movies, the story is a partly a vehicle to show off the characters, and to see how they relate to each other. And there's no more delightful Woody Allen movie pairing than him and Keaton to take on the roles of the long-married Liptons, who love each other and are comfortable with each other, but a little bored, too. The murder investigation is just the thing to infuse some needed zing into their relationship. And we, as viewers, are lucky to come along for the ride.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the messages in this movie. Is this a movie about honesty? About relationships?

  • How does this film compare to other Woody Allen comedies?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 18, 1993
DVD release date:December 15, 1998
Cast:Alan Alda, Anjelica Huston, Diane Keaton, Woody Allen
Director:Woody Allen
Studio:Sony Pictures
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of Manhattan Murder Mystery was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 13 year old Written bycolten97 October 10, 2012

Allen is a comic genius!

This is the sort of movie I can watch over and over. In one word I would say it is clever. A combination of mystery, suspense, drama, and Allen's ingenious humor, Manhattan Murder Mystery is my favorite Woody Allen movie. Perhaps my favorite movie - period. The plot was fresh, and having such humor with suspense is just too good. Another quality I enjoy in this movie is how Allen avoids an "over-polished" look. For instance, the scene where a neighbor in the hallway asks Paul about a rent increase. The actor appears to stumble for the right word, but Allen let the scene go that way giving it a very natural look. The restaurant scenes also portray realism with multiple conversations at one time; a quality I love in all of his movies. This makes reviewing the movies interesting- you pick up something new each time you watch it! Woody Allen's style is definitely an intelligent humor.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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