During the Great Depression, a con man finds himself saddled with a young girl who may or may not be his daughter, and the two forge an unlikely partnership.

Director:

Peter Bogdanovich

Writers:

Joe David Brown (novel), Alvin Sargent (screenplay)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ryan O'Neal ... Moses Pray
Tatum O'Neal ... Addie Loggins
Madeline Kahn ... Trixie Delight
John Hillerman ... Deputy Hardin / Jess Hardin
P.J. Johnson ... Imogene
Jessie Lee Fulton ... Miss Ollie
James N. Harrell James N. Harrell ... The Minister (as Jim Harrell)
Lila Waters Lila Waters ... The Minister's Wife
Noble Willingham ... Mr. Robertson
Bob Young Bob Young ... Gas Station Attendant
Jack Saunders Jack Saunders ... Station Master
Jody Wilbur Jody Wilbur ... Cafe Waitress
Liz Ross Liz Ross ... The Widow Morgan - Pearl
Yvonne Harrison Yvonne Harrison ... The Widow Bates - Marie
Ed Reed ... The Lawman - Bates' Home
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Storyline

Set in the midwest of the depression-era, Paper Moon follows Moses Pray and Addie Loggins - one a con artist, the other, the young girl who's the daughter of a woman who's just passed away. The pair meet when 'Mose' stops by the sparsely-attended funeral in Kansas of a woman he once knew (we never see her). In attendance, is the woman's young daughter, Addie, whom Moses agrees to transport to St Joseph, Mo -- for money, of course. Mose - an inveterate hustler, has been working ostensibly as a representative of the Kansas Bible Company - who picks his marks from the obits, and tries to sell - at exorbitant prices - the decedents' spouse the custom bible they'd previously ordered. Wise beyond her years, Addie picks up on Moses' grift, and very quickly, she and Mose become a team. Traveling from town to town, making money in every dishonest way imaginable, and looking for the ultimate score. The colorful characters they meet along the way make the film all the more interesting. One in ... Written by MARK FLEETWOOD <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

As P.T. Barnum put it, "There's a sucker born every minute." See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Various changes were made in adapting the book to film: Addie's age was reduced from 12 to nine to accommodate young Tatum O'Neal, several events from the book were combined for pacing issues, and the last third of the novel, when Moses and Addie graduate to the big leagues as con artists after going into partnership with a fake millionaire, was dropped. The location also was changed from the rural south of the novel - primarily Alabama-- to midwestern Kansas and Missouri. See more »

Goofs

The film is set in 1935 and there are multiple references to bootlegging. Although national Prohibition was repealed in 1933 by the 21st Amendment, the Amendment did not legalize liquor: it left regulation of liquor to the states. Kansas did not legalize the sale of cereal malt beverage (also known as 3.2 beer) until 1937, and the first post-Prohibition legalization of alcoholic liquor did not occur until the state's constitution was amended in 1948. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
The Minister: Judge me, oh Lord, for I have lost in mine integrity. I have trusted also in the Lord, therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, oh Lord, and prove me. Try my reins and my heart, for Thy loving kindness is before mine eyes, and I have walked in Thy truth.
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Crazy Credits

Special thanks to the people in and around Hays, Kansas and St. Joseph, Missouri See more »

Connections

Featured in Words (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Nobody's Darlin' But Mine
(1936) (uncredited)
Written by Jimmie Davis
Performed by Gene Autry and the Sons of the Pioneers
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User Reviews

 
A Perfect Film
29 September 2004 | by oceantracksSee all my reviews

If Hayes, Kansas, and thereabouts...were the perfect locations for Peter Bogdonavich's classic "Paper Moon," then the film itself is the perfect realization of those real places forever etched in celluloid.

Few times will you ever see a film so visually wedded to its locale and cinematic style. In a typical film, you might picture the presentation of the movie working in a number of ways, but in "Paper Moon," it will forever seem like it could only have been done this way...on location, in black and white, and photographed like moving Andrew Wyeth shots of Americana.

Tatum O' Neal is terrific and justifiably won an Oscar for her part, but Ryan is wonderful as well....funny in that exasperated manner that Bud Abbott is, and the quality goes right down to the smallest bit player in the cast.

A perfect film would have great acting, great visuals and utilization of music, a superb story and lines that have you repeating them for years. Welcome to "Paper Moon." I can't recommend this blend of comedy and drama enough. A modern classic.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 May 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Paper Moon See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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