Deconstructing Harry

December 12th, 1997


Deconstructing Harry

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Still of Woody Allen and Mariel Hemingway in Deconstructing HarryStill of Tobey Maguire in Deconstructing HarryJulia Louis-Dreyfus at event of Deconstructing HarryStill of Robin Williams and Julie Kavner in Deconstructing HarryStill of Woody Allen, Elisabeth Shue and Billy Crystal in Deconstructing HarryStill of Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Deconstructing Harry

Suffering from writer's block and eagerly awaiting his writing award, Harry Block remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.

Release Year: 1997

Rating: 7.3/10 (20,611 voted)

Critic's Score: 61/100

Director: Woody Allen

Stars: Woody Allen, Richard Benjamin, Kirstie Alley

Harry Block is a well-regarded novelist whose tendency to thinly-veil his own experiences in his work, as well as his un-apologetic attitude and his proclivity for pills and whores, has left him with three ex-wives that hate him. As he is about to be honored for his writing by the college that expelled him, he faces writer's block and the impending marriage of his latest flame to a writer friend. As scenes from his stories and novels pass and interact with him, Harry faces the people whose lives he has affected - wives, lovers, his son, his sister.

Woody Allen - Harry Block
Richard Benjamin - Ken / Harry's Character
Kirstie Alley - Joan
Billy Crystal - Larry / The Devil (Harry's Character)
Judy Davis - Lucy
Bob Balaban - Richard
Elisabeth Shue - Fay
Demi Moore - Helen / Harry's Character
Robin Williams - Mel / Harry's Character
Caroline Aaron - Doris
Eric Bogosian - Burt
Mariel Hemingway - Beth Kramer
Amy Irving - Jane
Julie Kavner - Grace / Harry's Character
Eric Lloyd - Hilly

Taglines: Harry Block wrote a bestseller about his best friends. Now, his best friends are about to become his worst enemies.


Official Website: Fine Line Features |

Release Date: 12 December 1997

Filming Locations: Bethesda Fountain, Central Park, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $356,476 (USA) (14 December 1997) (10 Screens)

Gross: $10,569,071 (USA) (8 March 1998)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Woody originally wanted Elliott Gould to play his part as Harry Block.

Harry Block: Look, I was merely explaining to you why my choice of necessity is confined to your practice.

User Review

One of Allen's Best


Just as I've found a newfound appreciation for Elvis Costello, I've likewise opened my heart to Woody Allen (my New Year's resolution: be nicer to nerdy art-types). I even saw Deconstructing Harry twice, (after which I read a Woody Allen collection of short pieces and rented both Bananas and Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex). Hey, what can I say – I thought The Purple Rose Of Cairo might've been a fluke, but I guess I'm just a Woody Allen fan now.

Deconstructing Harry is laugh-out-loud funny, tracing the steps of Harry Block, a neurotic, foul-mouthed, Jewish, self-hating, pill-popping, womanizing alcoholic (three wives and six therapists later) that oddly enough, resembles Woody Allen and his own life (give or take a few things). Block has (giggle) writer's block, and can't write about his life. As a result, he becomes `unfocused,' entangling himself in fact and fiction (i.e. he interacts with his own characters). `You expect the world to adjust to the distortion you've become,' Harry's analyst tells him. What follows is a series of skits that interact with the past and present and the real and imagined – it's kind of like watching a Kurt Vonnegut story edited by Quentin Tarentino.

The all-star cast is phenomenal: Robin Williams is hilarious, Kirstie Alley is hysterically funny, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is super-sexy and Elizabeth Shue is as sweet as sugar. Billy Crystal even pulls off a good role as the Devil. But other than the characterization, Woody's new flick is witty, cold-hearted, extremely vulgar, often tasteless and perfectly profane with enough catch-lines to keep film buffs cracking for years (`I always keep a little hooker money around'). Hannah And Her Sisters this ain't!


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