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Freakonomics (2010) More at IMDbPro »

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Freakonomics -- Some of the world's most innovative documentary filmmakers explore incentives-based thinking.
Freakonomics -- Freakonomics is the highly anticipated film version of the phenomenally bestselling book about incentives-based thinking by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. The film examines human behavior with provocative and sometimes hilarious case studies...


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Up 60% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Peter Bull (written by) (segment) &
Alex Gibney (written by) (segment) ...
View company contact information for Freakonomics on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 December 2010 (UK) See more »
Six Rogue Filmmakers Explore The Hidden Side Of Everything
A collection of documentaries that explores the hidden side of human nature through the use of the science of economics. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
When economics becomes freaky See more (23 total) »



James Ransone

Tempestt Bledsoe ... Herself (archive footage)

Morgan Spurlock ... Himself - Narrator

Bill Gates ... Himself

Melvin Van Peebles ... Himself - Narrator (segment "It's Not Always A Wonderful Life")

Alisha Nagarsheth ... Student
Sarah Croce ... Yoga Instructor

Rahmel Long ... Courtroom Audience

Zoe Sloane ... Blake
Barry Eisler ... Himself

Jade Viggiano ... High School Girl

Blaire Whitney ... High School Girl

Mala Wright ... Courtroom Audience
John D. Rockefeller ... Himself

Dan Chen ... Bruce-Cubicle Worker

Kellie Gerardi ... Lexus

Lian Toni Amado ... High School Girl
Kahiry Bess ... Deshawn
Konishiki ... Himself

Greg Crowe ... Johnny the Mechanic
Hassan Brown ... Deshawn's Dad
Akebono ... Himself
Emily Shaw ... Stripper
Steven Levitt ... Himself - Author
Jalani McNair ... Loser Lane
Amancaya Aguilar ... Mercedes
Stephen Dubner ... Himself - Co-Author
Tyler J. Gilmore ... Kevin-Cubicle Worker
Danielle Sabrina ... High School Girl
Nicholas Tong ... Dwight-Cubicle Worker
Mark Fernandes ... Courtroom Audience
Richard Kohn ... Judge Ignatius Lyons
Adesuwa Addy Iyare ... Temptress' Mom
Paul Matulef ... Courtroom Audience
Peggy Davern ... Courtroom Audience
Carl Alleyne ... Temptress' Mom's Boyfriend
Andrew Greiche ... Jake
Christina Duran ... All American Mom / Tallulah
Mike MacAllister ... Himself
Veronica Heffron ... Courtroom Audience

Kelli Chaves ... High School Girl
James Leibow ... Himself
Loshona ... Uneqqee
Peter Zerneck ... All American Dad / Marmaduke
Lori Richardson ... Deshawn's Mom
Mark Getman ... Murray
Leslie Marx ... Courtroom Audience
Terence B. Exodus ... Courtroom Audience
Lisa Sobin ... High School Girl
Mark Dorsey ... Jake's Dad
Ngozi Jane Anyanwu ... Uneek
Kristina Hovey ... Stripper
Erin Renee Taylor ... High School Girl
Shae Weber ... All American Daughter / Alabama
Alyssa Wheeldon ... High School Girl
Ashley Bryan ... Jake's Mom
Sendhil Mullainathan ... Himself (as Dr. Sendhil Mullainathan)
Ron Douglas ... Robert Lane
J. Avery Shoates ... Young Temptress
Richard Kohn ... Judge Ignatius Lyons
Jameesha Blackburn ... Uneque
Davida Kelly ... Bobbi
Almudin Ally ... Courtroom Audience
Tara Hall ... High School Girl
Francie Scanlon ... Courtroom Audience
Keenan Pollack ... All American Infant / Gidget
Adam Kaufman ... Angry Deli Owner
Hector Palacios ... Courtroom Audience
Maya Cain ... Baby Temptress
Roland Fryer ... Himself
Loren Cagno ... High School Girl
Michael Worthington ... Baliff
Nikoli ... Winner Lane
Laura Wattenberg ... Herself
Emma Meyers ... Angela-Cubicle Worker
Cheyenne Bascoe ... Temptress
Nicholas Bulba ... All American Son / Rufus

Bill Clinton ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Dan Rather ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Directed by
Heidi Ewing 
Alex Gibney 
Seth Gordon 
Rachel Grady 
Eugene Jarecki 
Morgan Spurlock 
Writing credits
Peter Bull (written by) (segment "Pure Corruption") &
Alex Gibney (written by) (segment "Pure Corruption")

Jeremy Chilnick (written by) (segment "A Roshanda by Any Other Name") &
Morgan Spurlock (written by) (segment "A Roshanda by Any Other Name")

Eugene Jarecki (written by) (segment "It's Not Always a Wonderful Life")

Heidi Ewing (written by) (segment "Can a Ninth Grader Be Bribed to Succeed?") &
Rachel Grady (written by) (segment "Can a Ninth Grader Be Bribed to Succeed?")

Seth Gordon (written by) (intro and transitional segments)

Steven Levitt (book) (as Steven D. Levitt) and
Stephen Dubner (book) (as Stephen J. Dubner)

Produced by
Peter Bull .... segment producer
Hilary Carr .... co-producer
Peter Cerbin .... co-producer
Rafi Chaudry .... co-producer
Joanna Chejade-Bloom .... co-segment producer
Jeremy Chilnick .... segment producer
Paul Fiore .... executive producer
Kathleen Fournier .... segment producer
Alex Gibney .... segment producer
Christina Gonzalez .... line producer
Seth Gordon .... executive producer
Alexandra Johnes .... segment producer
Sloane Klevin .... co-producer
Erika Knowles .... associate producer
Damon Martin .... executive producer
Dan O'Meara .... producer
Jay Rifkin .... executive producer
Michael Roban .... executive producer
Mary Rohlich .... segment producer
Chris Romano .... producer
Melinda Shopsin .... co-producer
Michiko Toyama .... associate producer
Chad Troutwine .... producer
Original Music by
Paul Brill 
Craig Deleon 
Michael Furjanic 
Mike MacAllister 
Peter Nashel 
Jon Spurney 
Michael Wandmacher 
Cinematography by
Junji Aoki 
Derek Hallquist 
Tony Hardmon 
Darren Lew 
Daniel Marracino 
Ferne Pearlstein 
Rob VanAlkemade 
Film Editing by
Douglas Blush 
Tova Goodman 
Sloane Klevin 
Luis Lopez 
Nelson Ryland 
Michael Taylor 
Art Direction by
Joe Posner 
Makeup Department
Nicole Khitrik .... makeup artist
Mindi Levinson .... key makeup artist
Production Management
Alexandra Johnes .... post-production supervisor
Shirel Kozak .... production manager
Sound Department
Peter Buccellato .... sound recordist
Travis Call .... audio post coordinator
Bill Chesley .... sound designer
Rusty Dunn .... sound effects editor
Brian Fish .... sound mixer
Matt Geldof .... sound recordist
Steve Giammaria .... assistant re-recording mixer
Steve Giammaria .... sound editor
Lewis Goldstein .... sound re-recording mixer
David Hocs .... sound recordist
Christopher Koch .... sound re-recording mixer
Shuji Kosaki .... sound recordist
Cate Montana .... dialogue editor
Ryan M. Price .... voiceover recordist
Alex Riordan .... production sound mixer: Chicago
Tom Ryan .... adr recordist
Matt Vogel .... sound mixer
Tony Volante .... sound re-recording mixer
Elmo Weber .... sound re-recording mixer
Visual Effects by
Marie Deleon .... di producer
Billy Gabor .... DI colorist
Marci Ichimura .... visual effects lead
Lewis Kofsky .... visual effects and animation producer
Jess Mireau .... motion graphics
Brian Oakes .... motion graphics producer
Mark Rubbo .... visual effects
J. Clay Tweel .... visual effects
Chris Wiseman .... conforming hd editor
Camera and Electrical Department
Jillian Arnold .... first assistant camera: introductoin and transitional segments
Ben Bloodwell .... additional cinematography
Hisashi Kikuchi .... assistant camera
Ronan Killeen .... second camera
Philip J. Martinez .... additional Steadicam operator
William O'Marra .... second camera
Antonio Rossi .... additional cinematography
Animation Department
Matthew Foglia .... 3D animation supervisor
Editorial Department
Simon Barker .... supervising editor
Dan Bowhers .... technical assistance
Marc Brown .... film output: digital intermediate
Rob Burgos .... colorist (segment: Can a Ninth Grader Be Bribed to Succeed?)
Daniel DiMauro .... assistant editor
Andrew Doga .... assistant editor
Paul Frost .... supervising editor
Dan Hacker .... assistant editor
Jeff Hedberg .... technical assistance
Benjamin Murray .... on-line editor
Ben Sozanski .... first assistant editor
J. Clay Tweel .... assistant editor
Music Department
Susie Bench .... orchestrator
Paul Brill .... composer: additional music
Michael Wandmacher .... orchestrator: introduction and transitional segments
Other crew
Audra Arnaudon .... production coordinator
Erin Barnett .... assistant to director
Sam Black .... researcher
Caitlin Bray .... assistant to director
Sarah Carleton .... assistant to executive producer
Philip Dann .... location manager
Jacqueline Eckhouse .... production counsel
Eline Gordts .... intern
Amna Hafiz .... intern
Emmy Suzuki Harris .... interpreter
Emmy Suzuki Harris .... production coordinator
Rolando Hudson .... location manager
Christopher St John .... researcher
Brian Nils Johnson .... production assistant
Susan Johnson .... researcher
Barbara Karen .... production accountant
Nate McCallister .... intern
Nicholas Nummerdor .... production assistant
Dana O'Keefe .... sales agent
Nicholas Ray .... intern
Daniel Schloss .... production assistant
Sara Schweizer .... production assistant
Siobhan Shields .... production assistant
Robert Stein .... legal services
Yukari Watanabe .... interpreter
Henriette Wollmann .... legal consultant: international sales
Zachary Skipp .... intern (uncredited)
Robert Edwards .... thanks
Edward Eglin .... special thanks
Aidan Ferreria .... special thanks
Christine Ferreria .... special thanks
Brian Galvin .... special thanks
Nova Jacobs .... special thanks
Helen Kay .... thanks
Jeremy Rabb .... special thanks
Daniel A. West .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG-13 for elements of violence, sexuality/nudity, drugs, and brief strong language
93 min | USA:85 min
Sound Mix:
Germany:6 | Japan:G | Singapore:NC-16 | USA:PG-13 (certificate #46215)

Did You Know?

Himself - Author:The closest thing to a worldview, I would say, in "Freakonomics," is that incentives matter. Not just financial incentives, but social incentives and moral incentives.See more »
Movie Connections:
References The Seven Year Itch (1955)See more »
This Too Shall PassSee more »


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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
When economics becomes freaky, 21 June 2012
Author: Spiked! from London, United Kingdom

Until 2005, the words 'economics' and 'fun' were unlikely to be found in the same sentence. Economics was seen as a dry, technical, mathematical discipline: the preserve of driven businessmen, greedy bankers and staid Treasury officials. Fun was its opposite: spontaneous enjoyment available to regular people.

The publication of Freakonomics in 2005 changed all that. Steven Levitt, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Dubner, a New York Times journalist, somehow gave economics popular appeal. So far the book has sold over four million copies worldwide. Last year, a sequel, Superfreakonomics, was published and there is also a Freakonomics blog linked to the New York Times website.

Wherever there's an unexpected publishing hit, you can be sure that a bandwagon will soon follow. In 2007 alone we had Steven Landsburg's More Sex is Safer Sex, Tyler Cowen's Discover Your Inner Economist and Diane Coyle's The Soulful Science. Nor is the fun confined to the paperback stands. Earlier this month there was even an international academic symposium on 'economics made fun in the face of economic crisis' at Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

The film follows the structure of the book with chapters loosely linked by the broad approach of the authors. There is little sense of narrative beyond that. However, one innovation is that different chapters are made by different directors including Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) and Seth Gordon (The King of Kong).

Freakonomics the movie is worth watching for two reasons. As with any cultural phenomenon, whether it is The X-Factor or Strictly Come Dancing (aka Dancing with the Stars outside the UK), it is interesting to ask why it catches the popular imagination. This is particularly true when the subject matter is – or at least was – widely seen as incredibly dull.

Understanding the approach to economics taken in the film also helps reveal some deeper truths. It shows the limitations of contemporary economics and can even help viewers understand fashionable policy initiatives such as the attempt to 'nudge' people to behave in a particular way.

The first thing that viewers of the Freakonomics movie are likely to notice it that has little time for the traditional subject matter of the discipline. There is no room for discussion of business, supply-and- demand curves, and certainly no mathematics. Instead it covers such subjects as parenting, naming babies, cheating at exams, corruption among Sumo wrestlers and crime. If anything, such topics would normally be classified as sociology rather than economics.

From the authors' perspective, what makes their book economics is their approach to these subjects. Their concerns are unashamedly practical. They want to use economic tools to help improve human behaviour in all these areas.

Levitt and Dubner's mantra, and indeed that of contemporary market economics generally, is that 'humans respond to incentives'. Such incentives are often financial but they can also be moral and social. In each case the authors ask themselves what incentives would work best to improve outcomes:

Is bribing toddlers with M&Ms a good way to potty train them? Should pupils be paid to perform better at school? If so, at what age and exactly how? Does choosing a particular name for a baby improve its life chances? For example, through the choice of name alone, is a Brendan likely to do better than a Deshawn? Both the attractions and limitations of this form of economics should already have started to become clear. The subject matter of Freakonomics relates to everyday interests and concerns. It is about practical questions that confront individuals and parents as well as policymakers.

In many ways it is better seen as a form of self-help than economics in the traditional sense. It is an attempt to find better, supposedly more scientific, ways to improve the behaviour of errant individuals. It says little, if anything, about traditional key economic questions such as how to organise production, how to raise productivity or how to create a more prosperous society.

Although the Freakonomics approach is not entirely mainstream it is not marginal either. Gary Becker, also a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, won the Nobel Prize for economics in 1992 for work on similar questions to those raised in the film. Although his work was not aimed at the general public, his concerns were comparable to those of Levitt and Dubner's.

Even mainstream economics, although more concerned with business than Freakonomics, suffers from many of the same weaknesses. Its focus is largely on individual consumer behaviour, its approach is ahistorical and it has little to say about the process of production.

Freakonomics the film, like the book, is entertaining and sometimes thought-provoking. Although it is more self-help than traditional economics it shares many of the weaknesses of more serious works in the discipline.

Its focus on individual behaviour also lends itself to a preoccupation with manipulating individual choices. That is where Freakonomics becomes truly freaky.

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