The Fortune Cookie (1966)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  19 October 1966 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 8,697 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 38 critic

A crooked lawyer persuades his brother-in-law to feign a serious injury.


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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ron Rich ...
Judi West ...
Mother Hinkle
Harry Holcombe ...
Lauren Gilbert ...
Marge Redmond ...
Charlotte Gingrich
Noam Pitlik ...
Harry Davis ...
Dr. Krugman
Ann Shoemaker ...
Sister Veronica
Maryesther Denver ...


A cameraman is knocked over during a football game. His brother in law as the king of the ambulance chasing lawyers starts a suit while he's still knocked out. The cameraman is against it until he hears that his ex-wife will be coming to see him. He pretends to be injured to get her back, but also sees what the strain is doing to the football player who injured him. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Dough is the most important ingredient in... See more »


Comedy | Romance


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 October 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Glückspilz  »

Box Office


$3,705,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


For later shots of the game, the Browns were playing elsewhere, so Billy Wilder substituted the Kent State football team. Spectators were lured to the stadium to serve as unpaid extras with the promise of free prizes, ranging from transistor radios to a new car. The latter was awarded to Wilder's wife, Audrey. See more »


Reflected in the apartment window when Harry is holding the candle. See more »


Harry Hinkle: Of course he's upset. He's a lawyer - he's paid to be upset.
See more »


Referenced in Cinemania (2002) See more »


You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To
Music and lyrics by Cole Porter
Sung by Judi West
Also strains played throughout the movie
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Matthau saves what could have been a tragically dull film...
1 May 2004 | by (My House, Canada) – See all my reviews

"The Fortune Cookie" is a light, lovable con/slapstick film about Harry Hinkle (Jack Lemmon), a sports cameraman who is accidentally knocked down by NFL star Boom Boom Jackson (Ron Rich) at a football game. Hinkle suffers a minor concussion but his lawyer brother-in-law, Willie Gingrich (Walter Matthau) is immediately on the seen. Willie thinks that they can sue for millions of dollars if Harry plays that he's got a "compressed vertebrae", and Harry reluctantly agrees. Meanwhile Boom Boom is feeling desperately guilty and is taking care of Harry to make himself feel better.

This movie is labeled as a comedy but most of the humor is dry and subtle. I'd go as far as to call it out-dated, it was probably considered a lot funnier when it first came out.

Though I guess the only character that is supposed to be actually funny is Matthau's, and he is. Hilarious, in fact. He never misses a beat, every movement and line is delivered in perfect accordance to his character. And considering the guy had a heart attack while working on the film, his drive and proffesionalism is admirable.

Aside from Matthau the movie is a little bland, but not bad. The other performances, from Lemmon, Rich and Judi West as Hinkle's gold-digging ex-wife, are all well-played, Rich gives the most notable performance as the guilt-ridden Boom Boom.

The style, direction and other componets of the film are well too...but in the end Matthau's performance is the only real benefit of this film, but it's a big benefit, and gets a 7.5/10 from me.

18 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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