January 27, 2021

Broadway Danny Rose and the Church of Acceptance, Forgiveness, and Love

One of my favorite movie scenes of all time, from Woody Allen’s film “Broadway Danny Rose,” reminds me of church, starting with the crazy characters who come together at Danny’s house each Thanksgiving for frozen turkeys — the stuttering ventriloquist, the blind xylophonist, the balloon folder, the lady who plays the water glasses, and the woman with piano playing birds. Somehow, there’s an inexplicable bond of grace and hospitality we who are broken share with one another, along with the “pastor” who feels like a failure but truly cares for and believes in all the “losers” (like himself) who gather around. Finally, we meet the sinner who has a hard time fitting in, and the ultimate triumph of Uncle Sidney’s famous saying: acceptance, forgiveness, and love.

It brings a tear and a smile every time I see Danny running down the street to catch Tina in front of the Carnegie Deli, to bring her back for Thanksgiving dinner with his friends.

Blessed are the misfits; there is always a place for them at heaven’s table.

Note: The clip includes the film credits; skip them if you like (though the music is touching).

Broadway Danny Rose
Written and Directed by Woody Allen
Orion, 1984


  1. Woody (love him or hate him) always has that uncanny ability, and courage, to ask the really hard questions of life, that others are afraid to discuss outside of their own heads. This is one of the few movies of his I have not seen. It makes me want to watch the whole thing.

  2. It still amazes and disturbs me that many have the attitude that we have “to protect” the church from certain people, as if we dispense grace rather than Jesus.

  3. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Blessed are the misfits; there is always a place for them at heaven’s table.

    Blessed are the Goths?
    Blessed are the Gamers?
    Blessed are the Furries?
    Blessed are the Bronies?

  4. That looks like the church, to me.

    It looks like those in my church.

    It looks like me.

  5. The Previous Dan says

    CM – between this post and your one about Kevin and Tommy a lot of things have been stirred up in me. Here is what is knocking around my head:

    I never really liked Woody Allen or his movies and the group pictured in this film is a good example of why. I find that I don’t like weaklings because I despise the weakling that I was as a boy. I’d much rather go to an MMA fight with Mark Driscoll than eat frozen turkey with a bunch of losers. Of course, I know this is wrong. It isn’t the heart of Jesus.

    But a friend of mine in the military likes to say “pain is weakness leaving the body” and even before I heard that saying I believed it. It’s a restatement of Nietzsche’s “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” On a gut level that appeals to me. When I watch an MMA fight I can feel the blows. It was the defiance of life’s blows that made me strong. Actually just angry, but anger can look like strength.

    Pain+God may in fact produce strength (Romans 5:3-4) but apart from Him it just produces anger which eventually destroys us. Nietzsche died a broken man, his life refuted his philosophy. It was said in reference to him that “man incarnate’ must also go mad”, but his philosophy still set the stage for the rise of the Nazis. It is interesting how Nietzsche’s wrong headedness appeals to angry people on such a gut level.

    Sorry, I know this is a rather incoherent jumble of thoughts. Brokenness takes so many forms. What you posted here is one of many.

  6. Amen and Amen.

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