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The Fortune Cookie (1966)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance | 19 October 1966 (USA)
2:34 | Trailer
A crooked lawyer persuades his brother-in-law to feign a serious injury.


Billy Wilder
2,193 ( 5,909)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Lemmon ... Harry Hinkle
Walter Matthau ... Willie Gingrich
Ron Rich ... Luther 'Boom Boom' Jackson
Judi West ... Sandy Hinkle
Cliff Osmond ... Purkey
Lurene Tuttle ... Mother Hinkle
Harry Holcombe ... O'Brien
Les Tremayne ... Thompson
Lauren Gilbert Lauren Gilbert ... Kincaid
Marge Redmond ... Charlotte Gingrich
Noam Pitlik ... Max
Harry Davis Harry Davis ... Dr. Krugman
Ann Shoemaker ... Sister Veronica
Maryesther Denver Maryesther Denver ... Nurse
Ned Glass ... Doc Schindler


A CBS cameraman is accidentally knocked out during a football game in Cleveland. His brother-in-law, William "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich, is the king of the ambulance chasing lawyers and starts a suit while he's still unconscious. The cameraman is against it until he hears that his ex-wife will be coming to see him. He pretends to be injured to get her back, but also sees what the strain is doing to the Cleveland Browns player who injured him. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Why was she planted in Harry Hinkle's bedroom? See more »


Comedy | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This is the first film on which Billy Wilder and Walter Matthau worked together, though Matthau was Wilder's first choice for the part in The Seven Year Itch (1955) that was eventually played by Tom Ewell. See more »


During the football game in which Harry is injured, the Browns are playing the Minnesota Vikings. On Boom-Boom's punt return, however, the opponents are the Philadelphia Eagles. See more »


Mr. Cimoli: Hey, how much do you think my pain is worth?
Willie Gingrich: By itself, nothing. So, it's a good thing you came to me. Before we're through with them, we'll have them begging for mercy
Mr. Cimoli: Who's them?
Willie Gingrich: That I haven't figured out yet. But don't go away. I'll think if maybe...
See more »


Featured in The 70th Annual Academy Awards (1998) See more »


You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To
Music and lyrics by Cole Porter
Sung by Judi West
Also strains played throughout the movie
See more »

User Reviews

" When they build a better mouse trap, .. . . . the Mice get smarter "
25 March 2009 | by thinker1691See all my reviews

In the course of Hollywood legends, there emerges a great chemistry when certain scripts, actors, and directors are combined to make a movie. In this immortal Black and White film, we have such a combination. Herein we have, the late, great Jack Lemmon playing Harry Hinkle, a standard cameraman working with a TV crew covering a Cleveland Browns football game. As the game proceeds, a celebrity running-back Luther " Boom Boom " Jackson (Ron Rich) accidentally runs off the field and directly into the filming cameraman, knocking him out cold. Fortunately for Hinkle, his wily Brother-in-law, William Gingrich, attorney-at-law, (Walter Matthau) leaps into his life and proposes an insurance lawsuit which, if Hinkle goes along with, will net them $1.000.000. Hinkle explains to 'Whiplash Willy,' there is nothing wrong with him and will not participate in the scheme. The plan is doomed, until Gingrich uses a trump card, Hinkles' ex-wife Sandy, (Judi West) whom Harry believes still loves him. The plan is flawless despite the fact, the Insurance company hires the Purkey (Cliff Osmond) Dectective Agency to spy on him 24 hours a day. While Gingrich is busy with the Insurance lawyers and Hinkle is attempting to win his wife back, by pretending to be an invalid, no one notices Luthor Jackson is miserable, drinking and becoming despondent. The movie is wonderful as Lemmon and Matthau are a superb team under the direction of their favorite director Billy Wilder. This is a great movie and certain to become a Classic. ****

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Release Date:

19 October 1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Fortune Cookie See more »

Filming Locations:

Cleveland, Ohio, USA See more »


Box Office


$3,705,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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