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Paper Moon (1973)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  9 May 1973 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 21,998 users  
Reviews: 115 user | 62 critic

During the Great Depression, a con man finds himself saddled with a young girl who may or may not be his daughter, and the two forge an unlikely partnership.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Addie / Addie Loggins
Deputy Hardin / Jess Hardin
P.J. Johnson ...
Jessie Lee Fulton ...
Miss Ollie
James N. Harrell ...
The Minister (as Jim Harrell)
Lila Waters ...
The Minister's Wife
Mr. Robertson
Bob Young ...
Gas Station Attendant
Jack Saunders ...
Station Master
Jody Wilbur ...
Cafe Waitress
Liz Ross ...
Yvonne Harrison ...
Ed Reed ...
The Lawman (Bates' Home)


Adapted from the novel, "Addie Pray" (1971) by Joe David Brown, PAPER MOON is the story of Moses Pray and Addie Loggins. With scenery reminiscent of "The Grapes of Wrath," the film is set in the depression-era Midwestern region of the United States. As the movie opens, we see a small group of mourners clustered at a graveside. Among the mourners is Addie, the dead woman's small daughter. Moses Pray -- ostensibly of the "Kansas Bible Company" -- approaches the group, as the service concludes, and two of the elderly women remark that the child bears some resemblance to him and asks if he might be related. "If ever a child needed kin, it's now," one lady says. With no knowledge of who her father is, Addie's only haven is her Aunt's home in St. Joseph, Missouri. Having identified himself as a "traveling man spreading the Lord's gospel in these troubled times," "Mose" is prevailed upon to deliver the helpless child to her Aunt since he's going that way, anyway. Addie, wise beyond her years... Written by MARK FLEETWOOD <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bible | girl | con | missouri | kansas | See All (62) »


As P.T. Barnum put it, "There's a sucker born every minute."


Comedy | Crime | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 May 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Luna de papel  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Peter Bogdanovich has said that the long, one-take sequence where Addie and Moze fight in the car about running out of Bibles took 2 days and 39 takes to get right. It was shot on a one-mile stretch of road just before hitting a very modern portion of the town, so each time a line was flubbed, they would have to turn everything around and drive back. See more »


When Mose and Addy are agreeing to meet after they arrive in St. Joseph, he tells her to meet him on the 'Corner of East Wearing and Burlington.' There is no Wearing, (east or west) or Burlington in St. Joseph, MO. The streets in downtown St. Joseph, MO are numbered and/or named after the children of St. Joseph's founder, Joseph Robidoux. See more »


[first lines]
The Minister: Judge me, oh Lord, for I have lost in mine integrity. I have trusted also in the Lord, therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, oh Lord, and prove me. Try my reins and my heart, for Thy loving kindness is before mine eyes, and I have walked in Thy truth.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to the people in and around Hays, Kansas and St. Joseph, Missouri See more »


Featured in The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) See more »


Rock of Ages
(1830) (uncredited)
Music by Thomas Hastings
Words by Augustus Montague Toplady (1776)
Sung a cappella by Jessie Lee Fulton, James N. Harrell and Lila Waters
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

best father-daughter movie ever made
29 December 2002 | by (mission, kansas) – See all my reviews

Paper Moon is one hell of a movie. I saw this film as a 10 year old in 1973 and loved it then as I do now at 39. Set in Depression era Kansas, it is story of the relationship between Addie, a smart talking 7 year old, and Moses, a bible selling con man who might be her father. The on screen chemistry between Ryan and Tatum O'Neal is fantastic. Madeline Kahn is great as a side show floosey they pick up along the way and she almost steals the show! Filmed in Kansas and Missouri, director Peter Bogdonavich used local people in cameo roles which adds to the authentic feel of the film. Also to the director's credit, this film may be one the best to portray 1930's America. All in all, Paper Moon is full of great characters and a fine story line. On a personal note, I saw this film with my 90 year old grandmother and she laughed throughout the film and said it was one the best films she ever saw. That's not a bad recomendation coming from someone born in 1883!

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