[[quoteright:193:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Original_movie_poster_for_the_film_Take_the_Money_and_Run_5307.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:193:Crime has never been this silly.]]

->''[[{{Backstory}} On December 1, 1935, Mrs. Williams Starkwell,]] [[HumbleBeginnings the wife of a New Jersey handyman,]] [[WhereItAllBegan gives birth to her first and only child.]] [[BabiesMakeEverythingBetter It is a boy, and they name it]] [[NonIndicativeName Virgil.]] [[DeliberatelyCuteChild He is an exceptionally cute baby, with a sweet disposition.]] [[FromNobodyToNightmare Before he is 25 years old, he will be wanted by police in six states,]] [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking for assault, armed robbery, and illegal possession of a wart.]]''
-->--The opening narration

''Take the Money and Run'' (1969) is a {{Mockumentary}} co-written by Creator/WoodyAllen and Mickey Rose, and marked Allen's full-fledged directorial debut[[note]]Allen had directed ''Film/WhatsUpTigerLily'', a GagDub of a Japanese spy flick, in 1966[[/note]]. It chronicles the life of [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain Ineffectual Sympathetic]] VillainProtagonist [[StupidCrooks Virgil Starkwell]] and his wife Louise. Through exclusive interviews with his family, friends and teachers, we learn more about Virgil’s [[HilariouslyAbusiveChildhood past]], [[ParentalNeglect upbringing]], and his love of [[DamnItFeelsGoodToBeAGangster crime]] and [[DreadfulMusician the cello.]]

''Take the Money and Run'' was a monumental turning point in the shaping of the mockumentary; while [[Film/AHardDaysNight earlier mocumentaries]] attempted to film a fictional story and pretend it was true, ''Money'' went out of its way to emulate the style of documentaries at the time, even hiring veteran narrator Jackson Beck to serve as TheComicallySerious narrator. Scenes play out with individual gags strung together by a thin story, with plenty of [[VisualGag Visual Gags]] and InherentlyFunnyWords being used to [[InvokedTrope deliberately]] [[{{Narm}} rid the movie of any dramatic tension.]]

The film received critical acclaim, cementing Creator/WoodyAllen’s AuteurLicense that he has enjoyed for the rest of his career. Allen would revisit the theme of StupidCrooks in ''Film/SmallTimeCrooks''.

!!''Take the Money and Run'' provides examples of:
* ApplianceDefenestration: Virgil's cello is thrown out a window, presumably by someone fed up with [[DreadfulMusician his horrible skill with the instrument]].
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: Several criminal characters are given rap sheets that follow this pattern. At the very beginning, the narrator says that Virgil is wanted for "robbery, attempted murder, and illegal possession of a wart". Later, as Virgil assembles a gang to rob a bank, the narrator reveals what each of them has served time for--one was "bank robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, murder, and getting naked in front of his in-laws"; another was just "dancing with a mailman"; the third was "arson, robbery, assault with intent to kill, and marrying a horse".
* BlatantLies: Virgil tells Louise he’s in the Philharmonic when he first hits on her. [[LampshadeHanging Virgil later notes that she probably saw right through his ruse because he didn’t know who Mozart was]].
* BrandishmentBluff: Virgil carves a bar of soap into the shape of a gun and paints it black with shoe polish in order to escape from prison. He gets caught out, though, when it starts to rain during his escape and his "gun" turns into a bunch of bubbles.
* TheComicallySerious: The narrator.
* {{Determinator}}: Virgil simply ''cannot'' give up crime or escaping from prison. The last shot of him is carving a bar of soap to look like a gun. [[BrickJoke Again]].
* DreadfulMusician: Virgil, according to his cello instructor, had “no concept of the instrument...he was ''blowing'' into it.” Virgil does, however, end up being good enough to play... [[HilarityEnsues in a local marching band.]]
* EatTheEvidence: When going over plans to rob a bank with his accomplices, Virgil says he'll show films of the bank they will be robbing. Virgil announces that they are going to see them just once... and to destroy the evidence, they're going to eat the film afterward.
* FilmFelons: Virgil stages one bank robbery to look like a movie shoot, complete with a camera and a very eccentric man as "the director".
* IdentityAmnesia: After [[TapOnTheHead getting hit in the head with a baseball]] at a Washington Senators game, Virgil's grandfather thinks he's [[WorldWarOne Kaiser Wilhelm]]. Cue StockFootage [[spoiler: of the ''real'' Kaiser.]]
* TheIllegible: A bank robbery is foiled when tellers can't read Virgil's hold up note. It sparks an argument throughout the entire bank over whether he wrote "gun" or "gub", "act natural" or "abt natural."
* IncrediblyObviousBug: Virgil devises a way to take a hidden camera into a bank he is scouting out for a planned robbery. It's hidden in a loaf of bread, which Virgil repeatedly holds up to his face as one would an ordinary camera.
* IneffectualSympatheticVillain: Pretty much the only reason we’re rooting for Virgil is because he keeps getting beaten up and humiliated in a [[{{Peanuts}} Charlie Brown]]-esque way.
* InformedJudaism: Virgil’s father seems to think so about his son; he says he tried to “beat God into him” but it didn’t work.
* InherentlyFunnyWords: "Gub".
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: A meta-example. RogerEbert's [[http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19691006/REVIEWS/910060301/1023 lukewarm review]] has this air, casting doubt on Allen's future success.
* LikeAnOldMarriedCouple: Virgil’s parents are constantly bickering throughout their interview. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] because they’re an old married couple.
* TheNotSoHarmlessPunishment: Played with. A pretty nasty punishment turns out to be even ''more'' harmful. As the narrator states, "Food on a chain gang is scarce and not very nourishing. The men get one hot meal a day... a bowl of steam." This is shortly followed by the [[InvertedTrope inverse of the trope]], a man who didn't give a good day's work is hauled into another room, and the warden takes Virgil over to show him "what he's got to look forward to". In a parody of a classic scene from ''Film/IAmAFugitiveFromAChainGang'', we [[ShadowDiscretionShot see the shadow]] of what appears to be the man tied to the ceiling being whipped by another guard (and sounds of whipping and the prisoner wincing seem to confirm this), but after Virgil and the warden walk through the door, we find out that the guard is whipping the prisoner's shadow, instead.
* ParentalNeglect: Virgil was raised by his grandfather because his parents were never around for him. At least, until said grandfather got a TapOnTheHead.
* PaperThinDisguise: Virgil’s parents refuse to show their faces on camera when interviewed, but hide their identities with ''Groucho Marx glasses''.
* PunishmentBox: Virgil is locked in one of these at one point... with an insurance salesman.
* RougeAnglesOfSatin: "Apt natural, I've got a gub."
* RunningGag: Virgil getting his glasses stomped on. It slowly [[SerialEscalation escalates]] throughout the film, starting with some kid gangster, then a garbage man, then adult gangster, and finally '''''[[UpToEleven a judge]]''''' getting in on the action.
* SoundtrackDissonance: All the time.
** It even becomes ''monologue'' dissonance at one point during Louise and Virgil’s FallingInLoveMontage. The music is very appropriate, but it’s dubbed over with a speech from Virgil about how he knew he was in love because he was “slightly nauseous.”
--->'''Virgil:''' [[LoveAtFirstSight After fifteen minutes I wanted to marry her]], and after half an hour I completely gave up the idea of snatching her purse.
* StupidCrooks: Virgil can't ''ever'' commit a successful crime, and is usually foiled by stupid mistakes, like ''misspelling a holdup note''.
* TechnologyMarchesOn: One of the film's big laugh lines comes when Virgil, bluffing his way through a job interview, is asked if he's "ever had any experience running a high-speed digital electronic computer", and answers in the affirmative, adding, "My aunt has one."
* WorkingOnTheChainGang: Virgil is sentenced to a chain gang after a failed bank robbery. At one point, his chain gang decides to make an escape. HilarityEnsues.

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