Bananas is a film written, directed, and starring Woody Allen and Louise Lasser in 1971.
It is centered around one of Allen's rare character-types. Allen plays a mediocre unintellectual blue collar man, Fielding Mellish, who tries to impress Nancy (Lasser), a social activist he loves. Trying to get in touch with the San Marcos revolution, he visits attempting to show his concern for the native people. However, nearly killed by the fascist dictator, only to be saved by the revolutionaries, he is then indebted to help them. Mellish clumsily learns how to be a revolutionary, and then in an effort to feed the troops goes to a restaurant and in typical New Yorker fashion orders out thousands of deli sandwichs (with wheelbarrows of cole slaw on the side). When the revolution is successful, the Castro-style leader goes mad (declaring at one point that all underwear be worn on the outside), forcing the rebels to place Mellish as their President. When traveling back to the US to obtain financial aid, he reunites with his activist ex-girlfriend, and is exposed. In a classic courtroom scene , Mellish tries to defend himself from a series of incriminating witnesses (including J. Edgar Hoover disguised as a black woman), only to be freed by the judge on the condition he never moves into the judge's neighborhood.
Allen's most famous scenes in this film include his testing a work office gym (a reference to Chaplin's Modern Times), his cowardly attempts to defend an elderly woman from subway thugs (incuding Sylvester Stallone), his indiscreetly trying to buy men's magazines in a general magazine store in front of mixed company, and the series of mishaps he goes through learning the various techniques of jungle warfare.
Also noteworthy is Fielding's return to the United States as the President of San Marcos, where he is greeted by a representative from the State Department and Mr. Hernandez, the official interpreter. After a few pleasantries are exchanged and it is obvious that Fielding speaks and understands perfect English, Mr. Hernandez is chased away by two men with butterfly nets.
Bookending the movie are two scenes of absolute absurdism, where ABC's Wide World of Sports covers a live assassination in San Marcos, complete with Howard Cosell shouting "It's all over for El Presidente!" as well as Fielding Mellish's honeymoon with Nancy, which plays out as a boxing match.
One continuity problem in this film occurs during the assassination of the original president of San Marcos. The assassin draws his revolver and begins to fire. The camera (now on the front of the gun) shows three bullets left. Then the camera switches to the trigger, and, without pause, the assassin fires a further nine bullets from the same gun.