The Fortune Cookie (1966)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  19 October 1966 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 8,700 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


Some people will do anything for $249,000.92 See more »


Comedy | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

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?


Production was halted for weeks after Walter Matthau had a heart attack. He had slimmed from 190 to 160 pounds by the time filming was completed, and had to wear a heavy black coat to conceal the weight loss. See more »


Early in the movie, a poster showing the Browns schedule appears. The Washington Redskins are listed as the opponents for a game on December 5. However, later in the movie, mention is made (in connection with the planned Harry Hinkle Charitable Fund announcement) of the game against Washington being scheduled for November 27. See more »


Willie Gingrich: What about Mrs. Cunningham vs. Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Ohio, number eighty-nine twenty-seven. Mrs. Cunningham, en route to Cincinnati to visit dying uncle, gets trapped in the toilet on account of a faulty lock. The car is hitched to another train. Mrs. Cunningham winds up in San Bernadino California. By this time, the uncle is dead and she's cut out of the will, so she sues the railroad for damages. Does this ring a bell?
O'Brien: Never heard of it!
Willie Gingrich: None of...
See more »


Referenced in The Simpsons: Bart Gets Hit by a Car (1991) 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

Walter Matthau Steals the Show in His Oscar-Winning Role.
6 July 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Amazingly original and intelligent comedy by Billy Wilder that has CBS cameraman Jack Lemmon injured one day by a football player while covering a Cleveland Browns game. Lemmon is rushed off the field and to the hospital but other than a few bruises he is just fine. Enter brother-in-law lawyer Walter Matthau (in a very well-deserved Oscar-winning role) who convinces Lemmon to fake various injuries so the duo can sue CBS, the NFL and the Cleveland Browns all for negligence. Lemmon is not too sure but when he realizes that he can get back with his ex-wife, he finally agrees to the charade. The biggest problem is that all-around-great-guy Ron Rich (the Cleveland Brown who collided with Lemmon on the sideline) feels lousy about the situation and starts to develop a bad drinking problem when he sees how poorly Lemmon is supposedly doing. The title refers to a strange message that Lemmon receives after eating some Chinese food. A great film that has lots of upside. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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