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The Man Who Wasn't There
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The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) More at IMDbPro »

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The Man Who Wasn't There -- 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.


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Up 5% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Joel Coen (written by) &
Ethan Coen (written by)
View company contact information for The Man Who Wasn't There on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
26 October 2001 (UK) See more »
The last thing on his mind is murder.
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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Nominated for Oscar. Another 29 wins & 36 nominations See more »
(124 articles)
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User Reviews:
Great pastiche of the noir genre See more (428 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Billy Bob Thornton ... Ed Crane

Frances McDormand ... Doris Crane

Michael Badalucco ... Frank

James Gandolfini ... Big Dave Brewster

Katherine Borowitz ... Ann Nirdlinger Brewster

Jon Polito ... Creighton Tolliver

Scarlett Johansson ... Birdy Abundas

Richard Jenkins ... Walter Abundas

Tony Shalhoub ... Freddy Riedenschneider

Christopher Kriesa ... Officer Persky

Brian Haley ... Officer Krebs

Jack McGee ... P.I. Burns

Gregg Binkley ... The New Man

Alan Fudge ... Dr. Diedrickson
Lilyan Chauvin ... Medium

Adam Alexi-Malle ... Jacques Carcanogues
Ted Rooney ... Bingo Caller

Abraham Benrubi ... Party Man
Christian Ferratti ... Child

Rhoda Gemignani ... Costanza

E.J. Callahan ... Customer

Brooke Smith ... Sobbing Prisoner

Ron Ross ... Banker
Hallie Singleton ... Waitress
Jon Donnelly ... Gatto Eater

Dan Martin ... Bailiff
Nicholas Lanier ... Tony
Tom Dahlgren ... Judge #1
Booth Colman ... Judge #2

Stanley DeSantis ... New Man's Customer (as Stanley Desantis)

Peter Siragusa ... Bartender

Christopher McDonald ... Macadam Salesman

Rick Scarry ... District Attorney
George Ives ... Lloyd Garroway
Devon Cole Borisoff ... Swimming Boy (as Devin Cole Borisoff)

Mary Bogue ... Prisoner Visitor
Don Donati ... Pie Contest Timer
Arthur Reeves ... Flophouse Clerk
Michelle Weber ... Dancer (as Michelle Rae Weber)

Randi Pareira ... Dancer
Robert Loftin ... Dancer

Kenneth Hughes ... Dancer
Gordon Hart ... Dancer
Brenda Mae Hamilton ... Dancer
Lloyd Gordon ... Dancer
Leonard Crofoot ... Dancer
Rita Bland ... Dancer
Audrey K. Baranishyn ... Dancer (as Audrey Baranishyn)
Qyn Hughes ... Dancer
Rachel McDonald ... Dancer
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Craig Berenson ... Jail Guy (uncredited)

Joan Blair ... Prison Matron (uncredited)

Geoffrey Gould ... Alpine Rope Toss Man (uncredited)
Paul G. Gray ... Man in Courtroom (uncredited)

Phil Hawn ... Man in Courtroom (uncredited)

Cherilyn Hayres ... Swing Dancer (uncredited)

John Michael Higgins ... Emergency Room Physician (uncredited)

Jennifer Jason Leigh ... Female inmate (uncredited)
Peter Schrum ... Truck Driver (uncredited)

Max Thayer ... Witness (uncredited)

Directed by
Joel Coen 
Ethan Coen (uncredited)
Writing credits
Joel Coen (written by) &
Ethan Coen (written by)

Produced by
Tim Bevan .... executive producer
John Cameron .... co-producer
Ethan Coen .... producer
Eric Fellner .... executive producer
Robert Graf .... associate producer
Joel Coen .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Carter Burwell 
Cinematography by
Roger Deakins 
Film Editing by
Ethan Coen  (as Roderick Jaynes)
Joel Coen  (as Roderick Jaynes)
Tricia Cooke 
Casting by
Ellen Chenoweth 
Production Design by
Dennis Gassner 
Art Direction by
Chris Gorak 
Set Decoration by
Chris L. Spellman  (as Chris Spellman)
Costume Design by
Mary Zophres 
Makeup Department
Jean Ann Black .... makeup supervisor (as Jean Black)
Carol F. Doran .... wigs (as Carol Doran)
Lynne K. Eagan .... makeup artist: Mr. Thornton (as Lynne Eagan)
Paul LeBlanc .... hair designer
Renate Leuschner .... wigs (as Renata Leischner)
Amy Schmiederer .... key makeup artist
Joani Yarbrough .... key hair stylist
Laverne Caracuzzi .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Susan Mills .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Production Management
John Cameron .... unit production manager
David Diliberto .... post-production supervisor
Michelle Wright .... executive in charge of production: Working Title Films
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ime Etuk .... dga trainee
Betsy Magruder .... first assistant director
Rusty Mahmood .... second second assistant director
Jonathan McGarry .... second assistant director
Art Department
Damon Allison .... set dresser
J. Todd Anderson .... hand-to-eye man
Scott Bobbitt .... leadman
Roosevelt Bonner .... gangboss painter
Gert Broekema .... props assistant
Thomas E. Brown .... paint supervisor (as Thomas Brown)
Adolfo Castanon .... greensperson
Stacy Clinger .... gangboss painter
Alberto Delgado .... greensperson
John Dugan .... plaster foreman
David French .... sculptor
Kristen Gassner .... assistant set decorator
Lori Goldbach .... construction administrative assistant
Donald Goodman .... drapery foreman (as Don Goodman)
Ted Haigh .... graphic designer
Lance Hammer .... assistant art director
Kearsley Higgins .... art department administrator
Ritchie Kremer .... property master
Larry Laurent .... paint foreman
John Leone .... labor foreman
Jeff Markwith .... set designer
James P. Meehan .... on-set dresser (as James Meehan)
Grant Osborn .... gangboss painter
Sam Page .... art department assistant
Jeff Passanante .... construction coordinator
Gay Perello .... assistant property master
Eric Ramirez .... set dresser
Fred Seibly .... signwriter
Mark Sparks .... location construction foreman (as Mark A. Sparks)
Cheryl Gould Strang .... set dresser (as Cheryl Gould)
Edward L. Turk .... stage construction foreman
Matt Orefice .... property department researcher (uncredited)
Sound Department
Benjamin Cheah .... foley editor (as Ben Cheah)
Marko A. Costanzo .... foley artist (as Marko Costanzo)
Jesse Ehredt .... pre-mix recordist
Chris Fielder .... transfer assistant editor
Eugene Gearty .... sound designer
Elisabeth Giglio .... sound studio manager: C5, Inc.
Kenton Jakub .... adr editor
Randall L. Johnson .... boom operator (as Randy Johnson)
Peter F. Kurland .... production sound mixer (as Peter Kurland)
George A. Lara .... foley mixer
Skip Lievsay .... sound re-recording mixer
Skip Lievsay .... supervising sound editor
Igor Nikolic .... assistant sound editor
Eric Potter .... field recordist
Jen Ralston .... foley supervisor (as Jennifer Ralston)
Fred Rosenberg .... dialogue editor
Jerry Ross .... sound editor
Jerry Ross .... utility sound technician
Alex Soto .... assistant sound editor
Larry Wineland .... apprentice sound editor
Lila Yomtoob .... sound intern
Allan Zaleski .... sound effects transfer assistant (as Alan Zaleski)
Special Effects by
Barry Beaulac .... special effects technician
Peter Chesney Jr. .... special effects assistant
Peter Chesney .... special effects supervisor
Tom Chesney .... special effects technician
Emmet Kane .... special effects foreman
Michael Roundy .... special effects gang boss (as Michael D. Roundy)
Vaughn Williams .... special effects technician (as Vaughn M. Williams)
Roy Ceballos .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Sonny Kato Chapman .... special effects assistant (uncredited)
Robert Pendergraft .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Brian Penikas .... special effects foreman (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Patrick Ballin .... visual effects editor: MVFX
Travis Baumann .... compositor: MVFX
John Cassella .... 3D artist: MVFX (as John Cassella Jr.)
Nicolle Cornute .... paint/roto artist: MVFX
Matt Dessero .... digital effects supervisor: MVFX
Shannon Blake Gans .... miniatures construction: Hunter/Gratzner Industries
Gary George .... I/O supervisor: MVFX
Matthew Gratzner .... miniatures construction: Hunter/Gratzner Industries
Ian Hunter .... miniatures construction: Hunter/Gratzner Industries
Matt Magnolia .... visual effects coordinator: MVFX (as Matt '45' Magnolia)
Diana Miao .... 3D artist: MVFX
Amanda Morrison .... compositor: MVFX
Jake Morrison .... compositor: MVFX
Amit Sethi .... digital artist: Balsmeyer & Everett Inc.
Janek Sirrs .... visual effects supervisor
Jonathan F. Styrlund .... digital effects producer: MVFX (as Jonathan Styrlund)
Daniel Sunwoo .... 3D artist: MVFX
Eric Weinschenk .... compositor: MVFX (as Eric W. Weinschenk)
Chris Wood .... paint/roto supervisor: MVFX
Enrico Altmann .... apprentice model maker (uncredited)
Lloyd Lee Barnett .... digital compositor (uncredited)
Leigh-Alexandra Jacob .... lead painter (uncredited)
Scott Lukowski .... model maker (uncredited)
James Waterhouse .... model crew chief (uncredited)
Ken Clark .... stunts
Mickey Giacomazzi .... stunts
Jery Hewitt .... stunt coordinator
Jennifer Lamb .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Erik Bernstein .... best boy electric
Josh Blakeslee .... second assistant camera (as Joshua Blakeslee)
Will Dearborn .... camera loader
Clinton Dougherty .... camera operator (as Clint Dougherty)
Melinda Sue Gordon .... still photographer
Robert Gray .... key grip (as Bob Gray)
Quinn Grove .... best boy grip
Bruce Hamme .... dolly grip
Andy Harris .... first assistant camera
J. Elizabeth Ingram .... camera intern (as Elizabeth Ingram)
Chris Napolitano .... rigging gaffer
Edward R. Nedin .... electric rigging best boy
Mark R. Shultz .... key rigging grip
Martin Weight .... video assist operator (as Marty Weight)
Paul David Williams .... rigging best boy grip (as Paul Williams)
Randy Woodside .... chief lighting technician
James Barrett .... electrician (uncredited)
Billy Craft .... lighting technician (uncredited)
Andrew Dumas .... second assistant camera (uncredited)
Jeff Durling .... electrician (uncredited)
Raymond Gonzales .... electrician (uncredited)
Rick Harris .... grip (uncredited)
Daisuke Dice Miyake .... grip (uncredited)
Sean Smith .... electrician (uncredited)
Casting Department
Sondra James .... voice casting (as Sandra James)
Amanda Koblin .... casting associate
Tracy Dixon .... extras casting (uncredited)
Joseph Hicks .... extras casting (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
María Aguilar .... assistant costume designer (as Maria Aguilar)
Cha Blevins .... costume supervisor (as Deborah 'Cha' Blevins)
Jenny Eagan .... set costumer
Mila Hermanovski .... wardrobe assistant
Mary Liane .... costumer
Cookie Lopez .... key set costumer
Guy Miracle .... set costumer
Pablo Nantas .... tailor (as Pablo B. Nantas)
Zhanna Tataryan .... costumer
Danielle Valenciano .... assistant costume designer
Christine Wada .... costume ager/dyer
Guy Miracle .... costumer (uncredited)
Lori Jean Sacks .... costumer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Karyn Anonia .... assistant film editor
David Diliberto .... associate film editor
Catherine Farrell .... post-production assistant
Vida Fitzgerald .... assistant film editor
Mike Milliken .... color timer
Theresa Repola Mohammed .... negative cutter
Neil A. Stelzner .... assistant film editor
Music Department
Carter Burwell .... conductor
Carter Burwell .... orchestrator
Michael Farrow .... music scoring mixer
Jonathan Feldman .... musician: piano performances
Tony Finno .... music copyist
Steve Kasow .... assistant music editor
Todd Kasow .... music supervisor
Agim Krajka .... musician: accordion solo
Sandra Park .... music contractor
Dean Parker .... assistant to composer
Kevin E. Patterson .... music playback (as Kevin Patterson)
Chris Robertson .... music clearance (uncredited)
Transportation Department
James R. Brown .... driver co-captain (as James Brown)
William F. Luehm .... picture car captain
Paul Ripple .... transportation assistant
Timothy P. Ryan .... transportation captain (as Tim Ryan)
Don Tardino .... transportation coordinator
Jon Tardino .... driver captain
Bruce Callahan .... transportation (uncredited)
James Nordberg .... transportation (uncredited)
Other crew
Kimberly Aguirre .... payroll accountant
Randall Balsmeyer .... title designer: Balsmeyer & Everett Inc.
Paul Barry .... second assistant accountant
Jules Carideo .... assistant production coordinator
Katie Cooper .... assistant: Mr. Bevan, Working Title Films
Tony Davis .... company coordinator: Working Title Films
France Myung Fagin .... key assistant location manager (as France Metz)
Karen Ruth Getchell .... production coordinator
David Goodman .... assistant to cast
Eric Hamme .... set production assistant
Rachel Holroyd .... head of legal/business affairs: Working Title Films
Aliza James .... assistant: Mr. Fellner, Working Title Films
Nancy G. James .... craft service (as Nancy James)
Larry Kaplan .... unit publicist
Kathy Kelehan .... title producer: Balsmeyer & Everett Inc.
Ivan Kerum .... chef: Toby's Food Service
Cheryl Kurk .... production accountant
Bill Landrum .... choreographer
Jacqui Landrum .... choreographer
Mary Macias .... alteration fitter
Angela Morrison .... chief operating officer: Working Title Films
Michael M. Mosley .... craft service assistant (as Mike Mosley)
Smriti Mundhra .... production secretary
Donald Murphy .... script supervisor
Travis Nicholson .... assistant: Pedro Coen
Kevin O'Shea .... insurance services: Aon/Albert G. Ruben
Chrissy Phelan .... office production assistant
Taylor Phillips .... set production assistant
Keith Potter .... set production assistant
Kei Rowan-Young .... assistant location manager
Neda Rudela .... chef: Toby's Food Service (as Neda Kerum)
Alan J. Schoolcraft .... secretary general: Mike Zoss Productions
Kristin Scott .... assistant: Mr. Thornton
Ned R. Shapiro .... location manager (as Ned Shapiro)
Barbara-Ann Stein .... post-production accountant (as Barbara Ann Stein)
Pavel Sterba .... assistant location manager
Lynn Struiksma .... set production assistant
Eileen Sullivan .... friend of the firm
Richard Vanegas .... barber cast trainer
Chris Wessman .... office production assistant
Tiffany Weston .... location assistant
Odessa Whitmire .... assistant: Mr. Thornton
Beverly Wood .... lab consultant
Karen Yokomizo .... first assistant accountant
Margie Balter .... piano coach: Scarlett Johansson (uncredited)
Jason Brock .... production assistant (uncredited)
Laura Gary .... studio teacher (uncredited)
Li'l Greazer .... special thanks
Senor Greazer .... special thanks (as Señor Greazer)
Jennifer Jason Leigh .... special thanks
Mohan Sawh .... special thanks
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for a scene of violence
116 min | Spain:118 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Jennifer Jason Leigh dubbed in the murmuring voice of the sobbing prisoner's visitor.See more »
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): When Riedenschneider is talking to Ed in the jail after receiving information from the private detective: "You can't know the reality of what happened, or what would have happened if you hadn't stuck in your own Goddamn schnoz. So, there is no 'what happened.' Looking at something changes it. They call it The Uncertainty Principle. Sure it sounds screwy, but even Einstein says the guy is on to something." However, Albert Einstein never accepted Werner Heisenberg's uncertainty principle as a fundamental physical law, stating: "Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the 'old one'. I, at any rate, am convinced that He (God)does not throw dice." [Quantum Mechanics is based on laws of probability ... hence the reference to dice.]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 »
Movie Connections:
References Double Indemnity (1944)See more »
Moonlight in VermontSee more »


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45 out of 59 people found the following review useful.
Great pastiche of the noir genre, 19 July 2002
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

Ed Crane is a barber who quietly wants more from his life. When he meets a man with a business proposition he decides to go for it. He suspects his wife is having an affair with her boss and anonymously blackmails him – however things in noir are never straightforward and blackmail leads to murder and a series of events are sparked off around Ed.

I must say I'm surprised this is as high up the imdb charts as it is, but I'm not surprised by the lukewarm reception it had from multiplex audiences. This is a slow, moody homage where things just happen, rather than a neat `start-middle-tidy finish-bad guy dies' type thing. The Cohen brothers have a reputation for the old quirks and here is no different – mixing the steady noir narration with talk of haircuts and bingo makes for a strange if humorous mix. The plot is good but the noir feel mixed with weird going-ons may alienate many audiences.

Thornton is a perfect choice – his features fit well in the black and white shadows and his voice suits the noir narration. McDormand is good and Gandolfini gets another good role and does well. The support is very good – Badalucco, Shalhoub, Polito are all very good. Some elements of it are like a spot the TV face – we have Benrubi from ER, Higgins from Ally McBeal and Abundas from Six Feet Under all in small roles. It's even nice to see a cameo from McDonald.

Overall this isn't as funny as it was billed, simply because it is a noir. As such the Cohens mix the familiar themes of that genre with all new subjects and create a great effect.

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