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Burn After Reading (2008)

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A disk containing mysterious information from a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous and daft gym employees who attempt to sell it.

Directors:

Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Writers:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Reviews
Popularity
2,060 ( 115)

A Guide to the Films of the Coen Brothers

From Blood Simple to the new The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, we take a look at the offbeat stylings of Academy Award-winners Joel and Ethan Coen.

Dude, let's go bowling

Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 8 wins & 29 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Clooney ... Harry Pfarrer
Frances McDormand ... Linda Litzke
Brad Pitt ... Chad Feldheimer
John Malkovich ... Osborne Cox
Tilda Swinton ... Katie Cox
Richard Jenkins ... Ted
Elizabeth Marvel ... Sandy Pfarrer
David Rasche ... CIA Officer Palmer DeBakey Smith
J.K. Simmons ... CIA Superior (as JK Simmons)
Olek Krupa ... Krapotkin
Michael Countryman ... Alan
Kevin Sussman ... Tuchman Marsh Man
J.R. Horne J.R. Horne ... Divorce Lawyer (as JR Horne)
Hamilton Clancy ... Peck
Armand Schultz ... Olson
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Storyline

Osbourne Cox, a Balkan expert, resigned from the CIA because of a drinking problem, so he begins a memoir. His wife wants a divorce and expects her lover, Harry, a philandering State Department marshal, to leave his wife. A CD-ROM falls out of a gym bag at a Georgetown fitness center. Two employees there try to turn it into cash: Linda, who wants money for cosmetic surgery, and Chad, an amiable goof. Information on the disc leads them to Osbourne who rejects their sales pitch; then they visit the Russian embassy. To sweeten the pot, they decide they need more of Osbourne's secrets. Meanwhile, Linda's boss likes her, and Harry's wife leaves for a book tour. All roads lead to Osbourne's house. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Intelligence is relative. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA | UK | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 September 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Burn After Reading See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$37,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,128,001, 14 September 2008, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$60,355,347, 25 December 2008

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$163,720,069, 25 December 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frances McDormand utters the phrase "For Pete's sake!" while in her car surrounded by CIA agents. She utters the same phrase in Fargo (1996) while interviewing William H. Macy's character. See more »

Goofs

When Linda and Chad are at the Russian Embassy, the video surveillance shot shows that it is May 1st, later it shows Harry looking at his cell phone with the date being 17/9/2008, September 17th, obviously 5 months later. See more »

Quotes

Star of "Coming Up Daisy": [repeated line from the movie within the movie] we've been over, and over, and over this, first you say you can't commit, and then... would you come down from there?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Cort Hessler's name appears twice. He was a Stunt Driver on the film. See more »

Connections

Features Family Feud (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Day After Day (Royal Appt Remix)
Written by Tiff McGinnis (as T.McGinnis)
Performed by Tiff McGinnis (as Crazy Girl)
Courtesy of Tummy Touch Records LLC
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Burn After Reading — What if you believed you were in a spy movie?
2 June 2013 | by AvidClimberSee all my reviews

Burn After Reading is a weird movie. It takes everything that makes a good spy flick and turn it on its head. You can't help but incredulously laugh at what happens. This is all about oddballs.

The good. Excellent acting. Totally off the wall characters, actions and situations, yet completely logical. Story with twists within twists. Well paced scenario. Solid dialogs. Nice action.

The actors. George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, and John Malkovich play disturbingly crazy roles stuffed with delusion and heavily dosed with stupidity. While Richard Jenkins, David Rasche, and J.K. Simmons seem almost out of place as the standard bearers of reason.

The bad. Since it's so bizarre, it won't please everyone.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. Offbeat and cooky comedy. Don't think you'll see your run of the mill kind of film and you'll have fun.


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