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The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  16 November 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 81,942 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 441 user | 190 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

A laconic, chain-smoking barber blackmails his wife's boss and lover for money to invest in dry cleaning, but his plan goes terribly wrong.


, (uncredited)


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 23 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lilyan Chauvin ...


1949, Santa Rosa, California. A laconic, chain-smoking barber with fallen arches tells a story of a man trying to escape a humdrum life. It's a tale of suspected adultery, blackmail, foul play, death, Sacramento city slickers, racial slurs, invented war heroics, shaved legs, a gamine piano player, aliens, and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Ed Crane cuts hair in his in-law's shop; his wife drinks and may be having an affair with her boss, Big Dave, who has $10,000 to invest in a second department store. Ed gets wind of a chance to make money in dry cleaning. Blackmail and investment are his opportunity to be more than a man no one notices. Settle in the chair and listen. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The last thing on his mind is murder.


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| |

Release Date:

16 November 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Barber Project  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£419,609 (UK) (26 October 2001)


$7,494,849 (USA) (22 February 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"Riedenschneider" is named after a character in the novel The Asphalt Jungle by W.R. Burnett. See more »


In the opening scene a reflection of the camera and scaffolding is visible in the barber pole as the angle shifts from looking up to looking down. See more »


[first lines]
Ed Crane: Yeah, I worked in a barbershop, but I never considered myself a barber. I stumbled into it. Or married into it, more precisely.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to citizens and merchants of Orange, CA and The Bungalow Heaven Neighborhood - City of Pasadena, CA. See more »


References The Godfather (1972) See more »


Fibber McGee & Molly
Courtesy of NBC Studios and The Museum of Broadcasting Communications, Chicago
See more »

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User Reviews

Why you should see this movie
29 October 2001 | by (Seattle, WA) – See all my reviews

It is beautifully and refreshingly unpretentious. It is acted and filmed with grace and delicacy. This is the kind if movie we hope to find while sitting through most of the glitz and superficiality that gets made. Without question worth eight bucks, and two hours of your evening. Score another one for the Coen brothers.

102 of 138 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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