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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 -- The story of a seemingly simple barber, who turns to blackmail and revenge to escape his achingly dull life.
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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Popularity: ?
Down 2% 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:
16 November 2001 (USA) 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 »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 29 wins & 36 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Black and White and Gray All Over See more (442 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 ... 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 (uncredited)
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
Location Management
France Myung Fagin .... key assistant location manager (as France Metz)
Kei Rowan-Young .... assistant location manager
Ned R. Shapiro .... location manager (as Ned Shapiro)
Pavel Sterba .... assistant location manager
Tiffany Weston .... location assistant
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
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
Kristin Scott Irving .... assistant: Mr. Thornton (as Kristin Scott)
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
Neda Rudela .... chef: Toby's Food Service (as Neda Kerum)
Alan Schoolcraft .... secretary general: Mike Zoss Productions (as Alan J. Schoolcraft)
Barbara-Ann Stein .... post-production accountant (as Barbara Ann Stein)
Lynn Struiksma .... set production assistant
Eileen Sullivan .... friend of the firm
Richard Vanegas .... barber cast trainer
Chris Wessman .... office production 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:
Argentina:13 | Australia:MA15+ | Brazil:14 | Canada:14A (Alberta/British Columbia/Manitoba) | Canada:14 (Nova Scotia) | Canada:AA (Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Czech Republic:12 | Finland:K-11 | France:Tous publics | Germany:12 | Hong Kong:IIA | Hungary:16 | Iceland:14 | Iceland:16 (video rating) | Italy:T | Netherlands:12 | New Zealand:R16 | Peru:14 | Philippines:PG-13 | Portugal:M/12 | Russia:16+ | Singapore:NC-16 | Singapore:PG (censored version) | South Korea:18 | Spain:18 | Sweden:11 | Switzerland:12 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:12 (canton of Vaud) | UK:15 | USA:R (certificate #38227)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

When Ed Crane is at the French piano teacher's studio (Jacques Carcanogues), the actor portraying him, Adam Alexi-Malle, plays the opening of the Piano Concerto #1 by Franz Liszt. This was unplanned and spontaneous during one of the takes during shooting as Joel Coen and Ethan Coen were unaware that Adam was in fact an accomplished concert pianist.See more »
Crew or equipment visible: 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 »
Movie Connections:
References Double Indemnity (1944)See more »
Piano Sonata No.14 in C sharp minor, Op.27 No.2 (Moonlight)See more »


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122 out of 142 people found the following review useful.
Black and White and Gray All Over, 26 November 2001
Author: pc_dean from Arlington, VA

Billy Bob Thornton has the perfect face for film noir. His craggy, drawn features lead up to sunken but large and staring eyes, and cheeks that look to be made out of plaster. Particularly when shot in black and white, his face becomes a landscape of shifting shadows, while he doesn't move a muscle. He is able to give the impression of a man at war with himself even while sitting perfectly still and staring ahead. He's Jeremy Irons, only without that unsettling accent. The Coen brothers take great advantage of their stars' granite physiognomy throughout "The Man That Wasn't There," constructing several shots around Thornton staring into a point just slightly away from the camera, impassive as an Easter Island head, moving only to smoke an ever-present cigarette while the obligatory noir voice-over narration runs. His voice is perfect, too: a kind of calm, measured rumbling, which describes incredible events but never seems amazed by them. Thornton says "I don't talk much," and it's true: he doesn't do much either, but he is still fascinating, and commands our attention.

The Coens take great relish in the noir conventions, even beyond the 1940s setting and the black and white photography (let's face it, we're so used to '40s movies in black and white that color would look a little weird). The story follows classic lines (with a few wild divergences): Thornton's character is a barber in one of those small postwar California towns that Hitchcock was so enamored of. He comes up with a scheme to raise some money, which naturally spins a little beyond what he anticipated. That's all I can say in good conscience, and the plot goes pretty far afield (I mean REALLY far afield, catering to fans both of Dashiell Hammett and "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers"). But really, you know what to expect, if you've ever seen one of these movies before: greed, dark secrets, and murder, in a world of fedoras, cigarette smoke, snapping lighters, and deep moral turpitude. A world where nothing or no one is what they seem, and the only sure thing is that, in the end, some sap is gonna get it.

As good as Thornton is, he can't carry the movie alone. Fortunately, he is surrounded by a top-notch cast, including a lot of familiar Coen veterans, and it is this that really makes this movie work. Michael Badalucco puts in a hilarious turn as Thornton's gabby brother-in-law, Frances McDormand is effective in her relatively few scenes as his brittle wife, and James Gandolfini plays yet another boorish tough guy to a turn. Practically shoplifting the movie is Tony Shalhoub, playing a fast-talking Sacramento lawyer who doesn't so much speak as summate. His discussion of Heisenberg is almost worth the ticket price alone. Christopher Kriesa and Brian Haley get a lot of mileage out of their brief appearances as a pair of slightly dim cops (aren't they all in these movies?)

Joel Coen, who directed, makes sure that the movie is consistently interesting to watch, too. Black and white photography being mostly about shades of gray, noir is perhaps the only genre that benefits from the relative primitiveness of its visual technology. Coen, therefore, sticks with it, unlike the colors he used in the '30s themed "O Brother Where Art Thou?" which managed to be both more fanciful and less surreal than this movie. He uses the light-and-shadow character of black and white to great effect here, carefully crafting his images to make best use of it. In fact, if the movie has a fault, it's that the images are a little TOO carefully crafted. The purest noir was cleverly filmed, but it allowed its cleverness to seep into the background. You have to watch a few times to pick up on how sharp the filmmaking is. Coen is unable to hide his arty cleverness, and so in the end, fun as it is to watch, the movie is a bit too pretty to truly capture the essence of its forbears. Perhaps realizing this, the Coens tweak the conventions mercilessly, and inject a streak of humor that is funnier for being played so straight (there are lots of funny lines, but don't be surprised if you are the only one in the theater laughing. Actually, don't be surprised if you are the only one in the theater, period.) The movie does require a bit of patience; the pacing is intense but quite slow, and the story wanders like a drunk driver. In the end, it is somewhat debatable whether the twisty plot is fully resolved, or whether that even matters. "The Man That Wasn't There" is best viewed as a wicked cinematic joke, and in that regard, it succeeds, in (Sam) spades.

But what do I know? I'm just some sap.

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Something doesn't fit mphillips18
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Could there be more SMOKING?! matt_66
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Birdy - did Ed git disappointed in her? hraban
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