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Paper Moon (1973)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  9 May 1973 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 22,006 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

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The whiskey being sold by the bootlegger shown toward the end of the film is Three Feathers blended whiskey, a label introduced by Oldtyme Distilling Corp. in 1882 and still produced up to the 1980s. See more »


In the scene with the $20 bill "gift" from Addie's "aunt", the $20 bill Moses gives to the cashier is vintage. The $5 bill Addies gives to the cashier is modern. 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 »


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

What's not to like?
26 November 2004 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

As cute and sharp as it's 9-year-old star Tatum O'Neal, Paper Moon is a bona-fide gem that says that, one way or another, we're all con artists. The acting is wonderful (Ryan O'Neal was never better), the cinematography is exceptional and it's to the eternal credit of director Bogdanovich and his writer Alvin Sargeant that the caper never sinks into mushiness. By avoiding the earnestness that pervades so many Depression Era tales and perfectly balancing character with situation, it rolls along so merrily that you don't realise how touching it is until the very end.

Having (criminally) never seen Paper Moon before, I suspect that it must have had more than a passing influence on a great many other movies, including my all-time favourite Midnight Run. Watching it is an experience to be savoured and treasured, and one that I'm looking forward to repeating time and again.

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