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Paper Moon (1973)

PG | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 9 May 1973 (USA)
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 (64) »


These aren't everyday people and this is no ordinary movie. See more »


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 cigarettes used by Tatum O'Neal contained no nicotine. They were made out of lettuce. 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 »


Referenced in The Simpsons: The Great Money Caper (2000) See more »


Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee
(1932) (uncredited)
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by Enric Madriguera and Orchestra
Sung a cappella by Ryan O'Neal and then by Tatum O'Neal
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"Just this once let Miss Trixie sit up front with her big tits"
12 February 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Film directors of the 1970's had an obsession with older films of the 30's and 40's. The director of this movie is Peter Bogdonavich and he really put together a masterpiece of nostalgic film making. Paper Moon is a classic comedy drama, that resembles the films of John Ford or Sam Wood. Ryan O' Neal in his best performance, stars as Moses pray a con man who sells bibles to recent widows meets up with Addie Loggins played by Academy Award Winner Tatum O'Neal who is wonderful. The cinematography is beautifully crafted. The landscapes and roads of St. Louis and other cities are so expertly filmed. The black and white photography, would make todays audiences think this film was released in 1933 not 30 years after in 1973. Now 32 years later this film holds up and stands the test of time. I don't want to give too much away, I am sure many of the readers here have seen it. The supporting cast is great John Hillerman in 2 roles a bootlegger and his brother, who is a sheriff. Then you have Randy Quaid and Burton Gilliam in smaller roles. P.j. Johnson is hysterical as the maid to Miss Trixie Delight played with such zest by th greatest comic actress of the 20th century the late and great Madeline Kahn. She stole the film. She was nominated for an Oscar for supporting actress and lost out to you know who. I think she should have gotten it, because her role really was supporting and also for a small role around 20 minutes with few close-ups she gave such a tarnished performance. She makes you laugh so hard and yet is so heartbreakingly touching in her big scene on the hill with Addie.

If this film was actually made in the 30's Moses could have been played by maybe James Stewart, James Cagney, Henry Fonda or John Garfied. Addie could have been played by Shirley Temple and Trixie maybe have been played by Sylvia Sidney, Betty Field or Ann Sheridan. But I don't think they could have played them any better than Ryan O'Neal, Tatum O'Neal and most especially Madeline Kahn.

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Lines from the movie you can use in real life! chunkybutter2000
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Geography of St. Joseph, Mo. area paulcoxwell
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