Shadows and Fog

6.71 h 25 min1992PG-13
HD. Woody Allen wrote, directed and stars as a timid clerk wandering through an unidentified European city in search of a serial strangler.
Woody Allen
Woody AllenKathy BatesJohn Cusack
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Mia FarrowJodie FosterFred GwynneJulie KavnerMadonnaJohn MalkovichKenneth MarsKate NelliganDonald PleasenceLily Tomlin
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
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4.5 out of 5 stars

185 global ratings

  1. 74% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 9% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 6% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Robert StreckerReviewed in the United States on March 24, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
A wonderful tribute to Kafka and German cinema
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This is a classic and one of woody's best. This film threw people off at the time as well as today and i think i have figured it out. The main theme of the whole movie quite obviously mirrors not Fritz Lang the film noir legend (as i noticed another reviewer said)but literature's Franz Kafka.
I agree there is a general homage to German cinema which can easily be confused with film noir. I feel the main tribute is definitely toward Kafka in that the main character is being asked to partake in an event with factions of people seemingly caught up in a conspiracy. If you do not understand the main theme of absurdity as used in Kafka'a The Trial then i can see how the movie would be less enjoyable and possibly confusing.
In the Trial the main character is named K and he is continuously being caught up in a Plan just like Allens character.
This movie set supposedly was one of the biggest indoor sets to the degree of record setting at the time which was a hard lesson learned in finance for Woody due to the film being a box office failure.
This film is an experimental film and contains the only other really watchable Cuszac performance other than Bullets over Broadway.
Malkovic's character is funny as well as Allens character with loads of special guests. Mitch Pileggi from the x files is even in it.
I rank this in his top 10 always for being so different and original.
7 people found this helpful
True BookWormReviewed in the United States on November 28, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
Weirdly Entertaining......
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After becoming nauseated from scrolling through the endless (lack of quality) Prime movies. I stumbled across this black and white picture from 1991. I watched this movie only for Julie Kavner's character (The Simpsons, Rhoda, etc). Not wanting to create any spoilers, I will not go into full details of the plot. The movie is about a meek mannered man who is constantly getting into mishaps. The mishaps are the result of a "Plan" to capture a serial killer. Shadows and Fog is not a horror movie. It's more along the lines of dark humor quality. It starts off slow however, it does pick up pace as the events unfold. Kathy Bates was excellent as always and the star-studded cast turned an otherwise boring movie into a comical evening. Keep an open mind while watching this movie remember, this was considered a low budget movie back in the day. There are not any gory scenes and if you're not a Woody Allen fan this may not be the movie for you. Overall, it killed a few hours on a rainy Sunday night.
8 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on August 31, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
Never gets funny nor that interesting
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After Woody Allen’s heyday in the 1970s his output has been up and down. This was a disappointment. The story is about Woody Allen wandering in a city at night while a serial killer is lose. He plays his usual neurotic part. The problem is he doesn’t push it enough to become funny. Usually when he becomes absurd he gets the laughs. That doesn’t happen here. The rest of the film is about a star studded ensemble cast talking about love and life. That includes Mia Farrow, John Malkovich, Donald Pleasence, David Ogden Stiers, Jodie Foster, Lily Tomlin, Madonna, Kathy Bates, John Cusack, and more. They’re wasted as well as none of their conversations is that interesting.
Richard The Buying HeartedReviewed in the United States on February 8, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
One Of The Woodster's Best!
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How far Jimmy Bond had come by the time Woody decided to give us his take on our desperate struggle to make sense out of our place in all things human. Couple Allen's impeccable writing with a cast to literally die for....Madonna, Donald Pleasence, John Cusack, John Malkovich, Kathy Bates, Lily Tomlin, Kenneth Mars (Young Frankenstein), Julie Kavner (Voice Of Marge Simpson), Jodie Foster, Kate Nelligan and his special friend of late - Mia Farrow...not to mention all the other famous faces billowing out of the fog to contribute one or two lines of dialogue along the way with Woody's comic timing and every man and woman becomes everyman right before your eyes. The plot is manifest from the first moment but the slices of existence carved out of that foggy classic Eastern European city ( I kept waiting for Harry Lime to make himself disappear) in which all this musing and bustling takes place are first rate Woody at his Film Auteur best. And yet he orchestrates all the mayhem and confusion we all feel into an incoherent philosophy that aptly applies to all of us. So grab a mirror and slip the DVD into the machine and give yourself over to all your delusions and illusions about life and let Woody et al dazzle you with the ultimate knowledge that we know nothing! NOTHING!! (Sgt. Schultz would get an honorary Doctorate here)

Incidentally one of the largest sets ever constructed for a motion picture is used to great effect in this film which many Allen fans despise...the movie...not the set. A large majority of them would like to buy up all the prints and do a William Randolph Hearst on them. In fact if you want to have great fun...go to a cocktail party and start the Woody Allen ball rolling and then after the child molestation conversation has run its course insert acerbically this film into the conversation and watch the avid eagerly involved faces dry up and suck the wet from your martini. Too bad really. They just don't get it!!! They know nothing! NOTHING!!!
5 people found this helpful
Carolyn SmagalskiReviewed in the United States on March 21, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Memorable lines from a Prostitutes' Table
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If you lust for adventure movies with a car chase, guns, explosives and choppers, look elsewhere. As a Woody Allen classic, Shadows and Fog is totally different - out-of-the-box, fun, edgy, bizarre, masterful. As Allen's tribute to German Expressionism, it asks more questions than it answers, like a Franz Kafka novel. The story wraps us in Kleinman's fear of a mystery he can't control, his own lack of confidence, and an ever-present dry wit, while telling parallel tales connecting every character he encounters. Memorable lines roll off every tongue, from the prostitute's dinner table to the late-night bar scene. The treatment of light and shadow is magnificent, adding to the intrigue that pulls us along from the opening scene to the very last moment. Woody Allen ends up a hero ... in a way ... not on purpose ... caught in the moment ... willing to uphold life's illusions.
6 people found this helpful
John C. MucciReviewed in the United States on October 31, 2017
1.0 out of 5 stars
Woody's Low Point, IMHO.
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On a mission to watch every Woody Allen film, I was eager to see this one -- but really disappointed in it; in fact I'd say it is the lowest on my estimation of his work. Using the most tired clichés from UFA films of the 1920-1930's, the story is left way behind in trying to make it look like something directed by Fritz Lang. The humor is strained, the story downright silly. The cameo appearances of Madonna, et al. are equally silly and don't contribute anything. So many other Allen films are head and shoulders above this one.
2 people found this helpful
johnReviewed in the United States on September 9, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
extra enjoyment
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Extra enjoyment comes from knowing some of the references from which Shadows and Fog's plot is created. One being Kafka's The Trial and Orsen Wells' film version, I believe this is where the plot line of the guys trying to get Woody Allen's character to inact some plan that they won't tell him about. I think I'm right in making this connection, therefore... extra enjoyment!
K DudeReviewed in the United States on November 20, 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
Atmospheric dark homage to old classics
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This is an understated slow paced Woody Allen film. I love Woody Allen and most of his films. This one isn't quite as good as some of my other favorites of his like "Husbands and Wives", "Hannah and Her Sisters" or "Manhattan Murder Mystery", but it's a nice, little art piece. "Shadows and Fog" seems to he heavy on the atmosphere and less so in the actual dialogue and script. I'm sure that's only slightly unusual considering that Woody Allen excels in those areas. He got some pretty big names to star in this too like John Malkovich, Jodie Foster, Madonna, John Cusack, Lily Tomlin, Kathy Bates and Donald Pleasance. They're all underutilized, but again the draw of this film is the ambiance Woody creates over anything else. Worth seeing if you're a Woody Allen fan.
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