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Paper Moon (1973)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  9 May 1973 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 21,957 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?


The minister is reading Psalm 26 at the funeral in the opening scene. See more »


When Moses is being chased through the streets of St. Joseph, modern electrical transformers can be seen on utility poles in the background. 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 »


Edited into The Clock (2010) See more »


It's Only a Paper Moon
(1933) (uncredited)
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg and Billy Rose
Performed by Paul Whiteman and Orchestra
Vocal by Peggy Healy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Perfect Film
29 September 2004 | by See all my reviews

If Hayes, Kansas, and thereabouts...were the perfect locations for Peter Bogdonavich's classic "Paper Moon," then the film itself is the perfect realization of those real places forever etched in celluloid.

Few times will you ever see a film so visually wedded to its locale and cinematic style. In a typical film, you might picture the presentation of the movie working in a number of ways, but in "Paper Moon," it will forever seem like it could only have been done this way...on location, in black and white, and photographed like moving Andrew Wyeth shots of Americana.

Tatum O' Neal is terrific and justifiably won an Oscar for her part, but Ryan is wonderful as well....funny in that exasperated manner that Bud Abbott is, and the quality goes right down to the smallest bit player in the cast.

A perfect film would have great acting, great visuals and utilization of music, a superb story and lines that have you repeating them for years. Welcome to "Paper Moon." I can't recommend this blend of comedy and drama enough. A modern classic.

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Lines from the movie you can use in real life! chunkybutter2000
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