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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?


In the picnic scene, Madeline Kahn initially refused to say the line "Let Miss Trixie sit up front with her big tits," objecting to the vulgarity. Director Peter Bogdanovich convinced her to say the line for only one take. This take appears in the final film. Kahn's odd reaction of embarrassment after saying the line is genuine. See more »


When the hotel clerk is writing the note to accompany the box of candy he's sending to Trixie's room, the sheet of stationery he uses has white tape over 2 areas - one just above and another just below the word "Hotel" at the top - that blocks off some type of text. 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 Truman Show (1998) See more »


The Object of My Affection
(1934) (uncredited)
Written by Pinky Tomlin, Coy Poe and Jimmy Grier
Performed by Jimmie Grier and His Orchestra
Vocal by Pinky Tomlin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Depression- The Good Guys Started it!!!
28 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Environment is Frankenstein for situations gone bad, and, actions which become instigated for the wrong reason... Everyone in the movie is basically alright, just a little twisted, despite what side of the law they are masquerading under!!...The film, "Paper Moon", based on the book "Adie Pray", so succinctly accommodates the definition of a comedy by correlating to all of the diverse characteristics of human error!!Isn't it funny!! isn't it cute!! isn't it slightly sordid, and pretty illegal!! Most of all!! Isn't "Paper Moon" a film which initiates a compendium of some of the most creative types of humor you have ever seen in virtually any movie made whatsoever!!! To quote another movie ("A Funny Thing Happened To Me On The Way To The Forum") "Nothing with kings, nothing with crowns, bring on the LOVERS!! liars and clowns"..."Old situations, new complications, something for everyone it's Comedy" (Ryan O'Neal) "Comedy" (Tatum O'Neal) "Comedy" (Madeline Kahn) "Comedy" (John Hilerman) "Comedy" (Randy Quaid) TONIGHT!!!".. How devoutly we the movie audience will root for the underdog...Fathers and daughters are suppose to go to chocolate cake socials in the public school gymnasium together, they are not suppose to be swindling bootleggers, merchants, and well to do widows!!!!! ..The precarious camaraderie between Ryan and Tatum O'Neal resonates itself to whereby con games are a dangerous form of nefarious fun!! Their overall philosophy being: "Please understand that we are only human!" "Let us hasten to add" "Please understand that we are only human, and the country is in the middle of the Depression!!!" This movie is hilarious! If you are not laughing outwardly throughout the entire film, your eyes are smiling every minute of this incredibly funny film.. guaranteed!! The plot is very well developed in this movie, and, the acting, cinematography, and director, are all first rate with this comedy classic!! In my opinion, Ryan O'Neal has never been better, of course, I'm not a woman!! The role of the charming finagler by default, suits Ryan O'Neal perfectly!!! Tatum O'Neal has never been better!! Her role is such that even as young as Adie is, she realizes that situational survival necessitates pecuniary chicanery!!! The whole thirties genre with this movie is sensational!! "Paper Moon" is one of my favorite movies of all time, I even love the song!!...The title was conjured up as a result of Tatum giving Ryan a picture of herself sitting on a paper moon at a carnival...It is sort of a love by way of a kindred spirit..There is love through marriage! There is love through family and friendship bonds!! There is love through sexual encounters! This love, however, is predicated on the parlayed premise of "Hey! Don't we make a great team of cons, no one swindles people with more finesse than the two of us...Don't you think?".. In 1973, when this movie was released, it manufactured a tailor made invitation for the moviegoer to be empathetic with the thought patterns of a con man!! "Sting" came out that year too, and "Sting" won for best picture in 1973. The mercurial charm of a swindler, and, his wickedly clever wiles of debauchery, became a train of thought which garnered a fascinating charisma with the movie audience that year!! The director of the film, "Paper Moon" Peter Bogdanovich, sets his own standards for the definition of a great movie...He articulates an aspect of human nature whereby the characters in the movie are innately aware of their seedier side!!! They are cajoled by lucrative adversity, and thus, very susceptible to the yearnings of the proverbial larceny in the soul!! Bogdanovich evokes a bittersweet empathy for the performing actors in his movie, as well as the emotions of people in general, this is what makes him an excellent director!! "Paper Moon" is Bogdanovich's prize movie, mostly on account of it's artistic gratification!!! I am impressed!!! Like I said before, I loved this movie!!

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