7.0/10
285,096
583 user 352 critic

Burn After Reading (2008)

Trailer
1:47 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
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
1,849 ( 42)

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 »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Adventure | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson
A Serious Man (2009)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Larry Gopnik, a Midwestern physics teacher, watches his life unravel over multiple sudden incidents. Though seeking meaning and answers amidst his turmoils, he seems to keep sinking.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Sari Lennick
True Grit (2010)
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A stubborn teenager enlists the help of a tough U.S. Marshal to track down her father's murderer.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld
Barton Fink (1991)
Comedy | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A renowned New York playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and discovers the hellish truth of Hollywood.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: John Turturro, John Goodman, Judy Davis
Hail, Caesar! (2016)
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio's stars in line.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Tom Regan, an advisor to a Prohibition-era crime boss, tries to keep the peace between warring mobs but gets caught in divided loyalties.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, John Turturro
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

When a childless couple of an ex-con and an ex-cop decide to help themselves to one of another family's quintuplets, their lives become more complicated than they anticipated.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman
In Bruges (2008)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be.

Director: Martin McDonagh
Stars: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ciarán Hinds
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire of the same name, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore
Comedy | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An eccentric, if not charming Southern professor and his crew pose as a classical ensemble in order to rob a casino, all under the nose of his unsuspecting but sharp old landlady.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Tom Hanks, Marlon Wayans, Irma P. Hall
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A laconic, chain-smoking barber blackmails his wife's boss and lover for money to invest in dry cleaning, but his plan goes terribly wrong.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand, Michael Badalucco
Edit

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
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
Edit

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 »
Edit

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 »

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

George Clooney's second film opposite Tilda Swinton following Michael Clayton (2007) the year before. While in this film they play lovers, in the other they are rivals. See more »

Goofs

In the final scene with Linda, in which she's being picked up by the CIA, an agent pulls alongside her on the right. In the second shot depicting him, the car is in the same spot, in a traffic lane (not parked), but the shifter is in the Park position. See more »

Quotes

Harry Pfarrer: Maybe I can get a run in.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A female attorney handled 'Serious Matters' See more »

Connections

References 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Pictures At An Exhibition Promenade
(1874)
Written by Modest Mussorgsky
Performed by Ukraine National Symphony Orchestra
Courtesy of Naxos Of America
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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.


4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 583 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed