Why Is Life Worth Living? (according to Woody Allen)

October 20, 2012 in Art · 0 comments

In his 1978 movie Manhattan, Woody Allen’s character offers these thoughts on life:

Why is life worth living? That’s a very good question. Well, there are certain things I guess that make it worthwhile. Like what? Okay, for me, I would say, Groucho Marx, to name one thing and Willie Mays, and the second movement of the Jupiter Symphony, and Louie Armstrong’s recording of “Potato Head Blues,” Swedish movies, naturally, “Sentimental Education” by Flaubert, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, those incredible apples and pears by Cézanne, the crabs at Sam Wo’s, Tracy’s face …

This quote often comes to mind when I contemplate art, beauty and the meaning of life. Although it’s an idiosyncratic list, I think it offers a meaningful cross-section of aesthetically significant human experiences. It’s not a definitive statement on beauty and life, but many of the items resonate within me as being, in one way or another, truly important. So, here they are, for you enjoyment and contemplation:

Groucho Marx

Willie Mays

Second Movement of the Jupiter Symphony

Potato Head Blues

Prologue from Fanny and Alexander, 1982 Swedish film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman

Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert

Marlon Brando

Frank Sinatra

Apples, Peaches, Pears, and Grapes by Paul Cézanne

Review of Sam Wo, New York Magazine, 1972

Mariel Hemingway as Tracy in Manhattan

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