Paper Lion (1968)

Paper Lion





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This film is taken from the actual experiences of journalist George Plimpton. George dons helmet and pads to play quarterback against the Detroit Lions. His experience is less-than-successful as he is mercilessly tackled by the Lion's defense, including Alex Karras.

Rating: G
Genre: Kids & Family, Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Lawrence Roman
In Theaters:
United Artists


as George Plimpton

as Oscar

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Susan

as (uncredited)
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Paper Lion

There are no critic reviews yet for Paper Lion. Keep checking Rotten Tomatoes for updates!

Audience Reviews for Paper Lion


Time-worn but still entertaining. Lauren Hutton is absolutely gorgeous!

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

7.5/10. Compellingly gritty and brutally realistic portrayal of the sport. Very entertaining debut by Alan Alda. 8-15-2014.

Served up by TCM at 3:45am as its graveyard steak special - and the meat was pretty tough to chew.

Alan Alda, early on his career, here plays the incompetent neophyte quarterback in this farcical and unentertaining adaptation of George Plimpton's experience training alongside the 1963 Detroit Lions. Though Plimpton was only allowed to call a few plays in scrimmage, this adaptation in search of a story-worth-telling places Alda in the final moments of a pre-season game with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The film's payoff is seeing Alda give ground and eat turf on 1st and 2nd downs then, while scrambling but unable to find his wide-open receiver, knocking himself out by running head-first into the goal post. Hardee-har-har.

Most people will consider neither that, nor Alda's subsequent resuscitation with smelling salts, to be adequate reward for their 100 minutes of patient viewing.

Lauren Hutton, bouncing up and down on the sidelines in her career debut, isn't very interesting, unless the viewer fancies the novelty of the gap between her front teeth.

The most tasty part of the meal is the occasional close-up look-sees of the vintage Lions doing their thing and the cameos from gridiron greats such as Frank Gifford, Alex Karras, and Vince Lombardi.

Diehard football fans might well be fascinated by the paperback that probes the nature of the players and the game - but it's doubtful the same can be said of this cinematic retelling focused squarely upon Plimpton's self-indulgence.

Ultimately, Plimpton carved a career (of sorts) out of such self-indulgence, dealing out the insider's view of several other sports over several other novels. Truly, the story this film documents is what doors of opportunity will be thrown wide open for a ne'er-do-well - - if he's prepped at Phillips Exeter, graduated Harvard, taken tea with the Kennedys, and done a bit of step-and-fetch work for the CIA.

REcOMMENDATION: At 3rd and 32, Alda should have punted - and you should punt here as well.

TonyPolito Polito

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