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Burn After Reading (2008)

Trailer
1:47 | Trailer
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
1,479 ( 618)
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 8 wins & 30 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Linda (Frances McDormand) and Harry (George Clooney) go to the theater to watch "Coming Up Daisy," the board displaying showtimes lists "Hail Caeser" as one of the films showing at the theater. This is a reference to "Hail, Caesar! (2016)," the 2016 Coen Brothers (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen) film of the same name, which would not be produced for eight more years. See more »

Goofs

When Osborne returns home after being served for divorce, he tries to enter his home with a car key not a house key. See more »

Quotes

Harry Pfarrer: [Looks at floor] What is this? Pine?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Soundtracks

Nocturne in G Major, Op, 37, No. 2
(1839)
Written by Frédéric Chopin (as Fryderyk Chopin)
Performed by Idil Biret
Courtesy of Naxos of America
See more »

User Reviews

 
not their best, but pleasurable nonetheless
16 September 2008 | by massimo-pigliucciSee all my reviews

This is by far not the most interesting production by the Cohens, but it is worth watching on a variety of levels. First, there is the pleasure of seeing a bunch of good actors working together with great chemistry, some of them (like Pitt and Clooney) certainly not in their "traditional" roles. Second, the story is actually wacky enough to hold up in terms of internal logic, as strange as it may seem. As usual with the brothers, do expect some unexpected turns, of the violent variety. And yet, somehow, the movie retains the character of a light comedy. Pay particular attention to the very last words spoken in the film, they may be the best summary of the whole thing I've heard so far.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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

Gross USA:

$60,355,347

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$163,728,902
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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