Paper Moon (1973)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  9 May 1973 (USA)
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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 <>

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
See  »

Did You Know?


Peter Bogdanovich said that John Hillerman, playing both the bootlegger and his brother the Sheriff, had just a few weeks in the shooting schedule to lose the weight for the Sheriff role that he had deliberately put on in a short period of time prior to shooting the bootlegger's scenes. See more »


The straw in the "Nehi and Coney Island" scene moves several positions during the scene. First the straw is straight and sticking out above the rim of the bottle then it's submerged then straight and above again and then leaning to the left and then back to straight again. 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 »


Referenced in Supernatural: Paper Moon (2014) See more »


My Mary
(1941) (uncredited)
Written by Jimmie Davis and Stuart Hamblen
Performed by Jimmie Davis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Enchanting Depression-era comedy...
29 August 2006 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

True, TATUM O'NEIL won an Oscar for her role as Addie Pray in PAPER MOON and fully deserved it. Her dad, RYAN O'NEIL must have been proud of her but his only reward was a Golden Globe nomination.

The con artist and little girl theme had been used before in Damon Runyon's famous comedy "Little Miss Marker" with Shirley Temple and Adolphe Menjou. But here the twist is that the girl is just as much a con artist as the man--and that's the key that makes the film so much more palatable for 1970s audiences without getting too sentimental about it.

There's a real Depression-era feeling to the whole story, with some richly detailed panoramas of rural America and its citizens at that time in history. Peter Bogdanovich has done a commendable job in making sure that his authentic backgrounds illuminate an enchanting tale about two drifters who share an unusual partnership when it becomes clear to the man that the girl would be a valuable aid in his con work.

There's a bright supporting role by MADELINE KAHN as Trixie Delight, a stripper who tosses off some good one-liners, but it's the chemistry between Tatum and Ryan that turns this into the most satisfying "buddy" movie of the '70s.

Summing up: A treat not to be missed.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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