Take the Money and Run

Synopsis: This film is presented as a documentary on the life of an incompetent, petty criminal called Virgil Starkwell. It describes the early childhood and youth of Virgil, his failure at a musical career, and his obsession with bank robberies. The film uses a voice over narrative and interviews with his family, friends and acquaintances.
Genre: Comedy, Crime
Director(s): Woody Allen
Production: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
  3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
85 min

On December 1, 1935,

Mrs. Williams Starkwell,

a 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.

Growing up

in a slum neighborhood...

where the crime rate is amongst

the highest in the nation is not easy.

Particularly for Virgil, who is a small

and frail compared to the other children.

Virgil Starkwell attends this school,

where he scores well on an IQ test,

although his behavior

disturbs the teachers.

We interviewed Mrs. Dorthy Lowry,

a school teacher who remembers Virgil.

I remember one time,

he stole a fountain pen.

I didn't want to embarrass him.

So, you know teachers

have a way of doing things.

And so I said to the class.

We will all close our eyes,

and will the one who took the pen,

please return it.

Well, while our eyes were closed,

he returned the pen.

But he took the opportunity

of feeling all the girls!

Can I say feel?

Spending most of his time

on the streets,

Virgil takes to crime at an early age.

He is an immediate failure.

Barely manages to escape with

a gumball machine stuck on his hand.

With both parents working

to make ends meet,

Virgil becomes closest

to his grandfather.

A 60-year-old German immigrant

who takes the boy to movies

and baseball games.

Then tragedy strikes.

At a Washington Senator's game,

Virgil's grandfather is struck

in the head by a foul ball.

The blow causes permanent injury

to his mind.

And he becomes convinced

he is Kyzer Willhelm.

Here are rare photos of him with other

patients on the sanitarium grounds.

When he is 15 years old, amidst

the violence and poverty of the slums,

Virgil receives a cello as a gift.

He is fascinated by the instrument.

And for the first time in the

Starkwell house, music is heard.

We spoke to Mr. Torgman,

his first and only cello teacher.

Well, there isn't really much tell,


uh... because his cello playing

is just terrible.

He would a... He had no idea

about tone production.

He would just saw it

back and forth.

Just scratch the instrument,

to such a point

that it would drive everyone who

listening to it an absolutely insane.

He had no conception

of the instrument.

He was blowing into it.

He loved his cello.

And I think he stole to pay

for his lessons.

But he would not apply

himself one iota.

Virgil steals to pay for

cello lessons.

And although he does not achieve

greatness on the instrument,

he is soon good enough

to play in a local band.

A jungle however is no place

for a cellist.

And Virgil soon learns

the facts of life.

At 18, Virgil is lonely and confused.

Unable to concentrate in school,

he has long since dropped out.

He wants nothing more than to belong,

if only to a street gang.

It is here he thinks

he will prove his manhood.

Under constant economic pressure,

Virgil turns to the local pool hall

as a means of making a living.

I'm going to be a pool hustler,

he tells his friends.

Ball please.


Virgil tries to join the navy,

but is psychologically unfit.

That looks to me like two elephants

making love to a man's glee club.

Mr. T. S. Foster, Virgil's first probation

officer remembers him vividly.

He was a trustworthy kind of person.

I mean, you had to remember

certain idiosyncrasies that he had.

Like what?

Well, uh... like not always

telling the truth.

He didn't always tell the truth.

Rate this script:3.0 / 1 vote

Woody Allen

Heywood "Woody" Allen is an American actor, comedian, filmmaker, and playwright, whose career spans more than six decades. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Take the Money and Run" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 29 Sep. 2023. <https://www.scripts.com/script/take_the_money_and_run_19323>.

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