Woody Allen Interviews Billy Graham

In 1969, Woody Allen interviewed Billy Graham on national television. Allen was agnostic and irreverent. Yet somehow Graham managed the encounter with humor and grace. It looks like the two actually established a genuine rapport, even though they couldn’t be any more different from each other.

Allen would later point to this encounter as an inspiration for one of his movies. Here’s how one report describes it:

Allen’s talk with Graham resonates with him today, informing in part the themes of his latest film, “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.” The movie stars Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins and Gemma Jones in a story about the quest for comfort and certainty, and how faith — even an irrational one — can help us find solace.

In New York this week to discuss “Stranger,” Allen reflected on his meeting with Graham.

“Years ago I was on television with Billy Graham and I was taking this position, this bleak outlook position and Billy Graham was saying to me that even if I was right and he was wrong, and there was no meaning to life and it was a bleak experience and there was no god and no afterlife or no hope or anything, he would still have a better life than me, because he believed differently and even if he was 100 percent wrong, our lives would both be completed and I would have had a miserable life wallowing in a bleak outlook and he would have had a wonderful life, confident that there was more.”

(HT: Huffington Post)


Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

5 Responses to Woody Allen Interviews Billy Graham

  1. Paul July 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    I wish that on my best day, I could be as good as Billy Graham on his worst. That guy has more class, and is more consistently on point than nearly anyone else I’ve ever seen. Cool video Denny. Thanks for posting it.

  2. Denny Burk July 21, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    Thanks, Paul. You know me. I aim to please!

  3. yankeegospelgirl July 22, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    Interesting. Graham’s argument works as a humorous soundbite for the context he was in, but I certainly wouldn’t use it to try to seriously persuade someone to become a Christian. “Even if there’s no other good reason to believe and you’re completely wrong, at least you’ll have a confident feeling inside for the rest of your life.” I wouldn’t take that as an actual approach. But for this context, it works.

  4. yankeegospelgirl July 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    And actually, after looking at how Graham really worded things, I definitely agree with what he’s saying. He says that God gave us rules and boundaries for our own well-being. It’s certainly true that Christians can avoid a lot of the misery non-Christians suffer by living according to God’s commandments, because most of the time, it corresponds with sheer common sense.


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