[[caption-width-right:280:Crime has never been this silly.]]

->''"On December 1, 1935, Mrs. William Starkwell, the wife of a New Jersey handyman, gives birth to her first and only child. It is a boy, and they name it Virgil. He is an exceptionally cute baby, with a sweet disposition. Before he is 25 years old, he will be wanted by police in six states, for assault, armed robbery, and illegal possession of a wart."''
-->-- '''OpeningNarration'''

''Take the Money and Run'' is a 1969 {{Mockumentary}} comedy co-written by Creator/WoodyAllen and Mickey Rose, which marked Allen's full-fledged directorial debut.[[note]]Allen had directed ''Film/WhatsUpTigerLily'', a GagDub of a Japanese spy flick, in 1966.[[/note]]

The film chronicles the life of [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain Ineffectual Sympathetic]] VillainProtagonist [[StupidCrooks Virgil Starkwell]] (Allen) and his wife Louise (Janet Margolin). 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".
* BankTeller: Virgil is robbing a bank and hands the teller a note demanding money. The teller has trouble reading his hand writing and starts asking the other tellers what the words are.
* 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]].
* BornUnlucky: Virgil can't catch a break. For example, when he robs some passerby, it turns out to be a school buddy... who is now an FBI agent. One might argue it's because crime doesn't pay, and most of his bad luck comes from trying a life of crime.
* 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.
* BrokenAesop: In-universe. Virgil says that crime definitely does pay at the end, despite being incarcerated again.
* TheCameo: Allen's then-wife (and frequent early costar) Louise Lasser plays one of the interviewees.
* TheComicallySerious: The deadpan {{narrator}}.
* CoolAndUnusualPunishment: Being sent to "the box" - with an insurance salesman.
* {{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]].
* DistractingDisambiguation: The bank tellers think that Virgil's holdup note says "I have a gub." He spends some time correcting them that he has a gun.
* 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.]]
* DreamingOfThingsToCome: Virgil dreams of being on the beach with his love while in jail. It happens when he escapes.
* DroppedGlasses: A RunningGag has characters removing Virgil's glasses and stomping on them. And at one point he does this to himself to beat someone to the punch.
* DynamiteCandle: Virgil tries to get rid of a blackmailer by giving her sticks of dynamite disguised as candles.
* 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 - as a buffet.
* FauxDocumentary: The film has some documentary trappings, including the narrator interviewing Virgil's parents.
* FilmFelons: Virgil stages one bank robbery to look like a movie shoot, complete with a camera and a very eccentric man as "the director".
* HereWeGoAgain: At the end of the film, Virgil is carving a new soap-gun.
* HustlingTheMark: Virgil attempts to become a pool hustler and fails miserably.
* IdentityAmnesia: After [[TapOnTheHead getting hit in the head with a baseball]] at a Washington Senators game, Virgil's grandfather thinks he's [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI 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 [[SpyCam 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".
* InkblotTest: Virgil's troubled youth is highlighted when he interprets an inkblot drawing as "Two ostriches making love to a glee club."
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: A meta-example. Creator/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.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: The former film director named Fritz is obviously a caricature of Creator/FritzLang, right down to his characteristic Teutonic accent, black boots and riding crop.
* 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.
* OnlyALighter: Virgil is seen at one point stealing a gun from a pawn shop and gets in a shootout with the police soon after only to realize that the "gun" that he just stole is a cigarette lighter.
* PantsFree: Virgil is preparing for a date, grooming himself at the mirror, leaving his apartment...then coming right back in, with the camera panning back to reveal he forgot his pants.
* 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''.
* PrisonersWork: Virgil works in the prison laundry, where he steals t-shirts for a proposed prison escape by putting them on. He builds up so many layers he ends up looking like a bodybuilder from the waist up.
* PunishmentBox: Virgil is locked in one of these at one point... with an insurance salesman.
* RevisedEnding: The film originally ended with Virgil meeting his end in a hail of bullets a'la ''Film/BonnieAndClyde''. This would have been followed by a brief humorous scene at his funeral when his wife hears him whisper from below ground, "Get me out". Editor Ralph Rosenblum convinced Creator/WoodyAllen to go for a lighter ending.
* RougeAnglesOfSatin: "Abt natural, I've got a gub."
* RuleOfFunny: Virgil is imprisoned and punished by being locked in confinement with an insurance salesman, and briefly becomes an Orthodox rabbi as a side effect of medical experimentation.
* 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.
* ShadowDiscretionShot: Parodied when it's revealed that the shadow itself is what's being whipped.
* ShoutOut:
** When Virgil tries to go straight and goes in for a job interview, the questions about his previous job start playing out like a round of ''Series/WhatsMyLine''[[note]] A series on which Woody Allen was a guest panellist and/or mystery guest on several occasions in the mid-1960s.[[/note]], including questions about whether or not a product is involved and ultimately leading to Virgil saying they've run out of time and that he's going to flip over all the cards and give the interviewer the full $50 prize.
* 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.
* SpyCam: Virgil cases a bank that his gang is going to rob by sneaking in a camera in a loaf of bread. Then he holds the loaf of bread up to his eye to take pictures with it.
* StupidCrooks: Virgil can't ''ever'' commit a successful crime, and is usually foiled by stupid mistakes, like ''misspelling a holdup note''.
* {{Tuckerization}}: The film Virgil shows his gang ("Trout Fishing in Quebec") is listed as being a Rollings and Joffe production, the real-life producers of Creator/WoodyAllen.
* Ventriloquism: There's a brief background gag of a prison inmate holding a ventriloquist's dummy and taking through a glass screen to a visitor, who also holds a dummy.
* 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.
* YouMakeMeSic: Virgil attempts to rob a bank, and he fails because the tellers have difficulty reading past the spelling errors in his hold-up note, which says to "abt natural" because he has a "gub" pointed at them. The bank tellers even debate on whether he actually misspelled gun or if they just don't notice that the B is actually a C or N, and ask other people what they think, including a ''police officer''.