Woody Allen’s Bananas (1971) was, I recently discovered thanks to YouTube, shot in Old San Juan, and some other parts of Puerto Rico, notably the El Yunque Rainforest.

The scene in the next video was shot close to where I lived for many years… so I have something quite close and personal with this movie, besides it being one of the first Allen movies that I loved. In Italian, the title was changed into something like “The dictator of the Free State of Bananas”, which was long but a bit more comprehensible than the simple “Bananas”, so easily understood by Americans.

Enjoy the alleys and old-town streets paved with the blue-ish adoquines, the typical cobblestones, and of course, Allen’s refined humor. In the second video, he enters a bar which is located at the entrance of the El Yunque Rainforest, and plays with ordering hundreds of grilled-cheese sandwiches. “Do you have any grilled-cheese sandwiches? Let me have one thousand.”

So, up with his still-current wordplay, between the word Bananas (like being nut) and the adjective given to country-states which are not to be taken too seriously, exactly like the ones we’re living in now! And long live Old San Juan!


Antonio Vantaggiato