Paper Moon (1973) - Rotten Tomatoes

Paper Moon (1973)



Critic Consensus: Expertly balancing tones, Paper Moon is a deft blend of film nostalgia and finely tuned performances -- especially from Tatum O'Neal, who won an Oscar for her debut.

Movie Info

A bible salesman teams up with an orphan girl to form a money-making con team in Depression-era Kansas.more
Rating: PG (adult situations)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Classics, Comedy
Directed By: ,
Written By: Alvin Sargent, Joe David Brown
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 12, 2003
Paramount Pictures


Ryan O'Neal
as Moses Pray
Madeline Kahn
as Trixie Delight
P.J. Johnson
as Imogene
Lila Water
as Minister's Wife
Noble Willingham
as Mr. Robertson
Bob Young II
as Gas Station Attendan...
Jack Saunders
as Station Master
Jody Wilbur
as Cafe Waitress
Liz Ross
as Pearl, the Widow Mo...
Yvonne Harrison
as Marie, the Widow Ba...
Ed Reed
as Lawman
Dorothy Price
as Ribbon Saleslady
Eleanor Bogart
as Elvira, the Widow S...
Dorothy Foster
as Edna, the Widow Huf...
Lana Daniel
as Moses' Girl Friend
Dejah Moore
as Salesgirl
Ralph Coder
as Store Manager
Harriet Ketchum
as Store Customer
Desmond Dhooge
as Cotton Candy Man
Kenneth Hughes
as Harem Tent Barker
George Lillie
as Photographer
Burton Gilliam
as Floyd, the Desk Cle...
Floyd Mahaney
as Beau, the Deputy
Gilbert Milton
as Leroy's Father
Tandy Arnold
as Leroy's Brother
Vernon Schwanke
as Leroy's Brother
Dennis Beden
as Leroy's Brother
Hugh Gillin
as 2nd Deputy
Art Ellison
as Silver Mine Gentlema...
Rosemary Rumbley
as Aunt Billie
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Paper Moon

Critic Reviews for Paper Moon

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (7)

It is very fussy about period detail, and goes to some length to evoke the dim days of Depression America, while just about everything else is left to slide.

Full Review… | August 17, 2010
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

It's everything a road picture is supposed to be, a life-changing personal journey, a quest, a bit old-fashioned and a hoot.

Full Review… | May 13, 2009
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Tatum O'Neal makes a sensational screen debut.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

A charming mixture of Hawksian comedy and Fordian lyricism.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The film never makes up its mind whether it wants to be an instant antique or a comment on one.

Full Review… | May 10, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

I wonder how many moviegoers will be prepared for the astonishing confidence and depth that Tatum brings to what's really the starring role.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Paper Moon

Addie Loggins: She always has to go to the bathroom. She must have a bladder the size of a peanut. 

A favorite of mine will always be this nice, little road movie, Paper Moon. It was a movie that I sat down and watched years ago at a young age and I really didn't expect much from it. After 10 minutes on the road with Addie and Moze, I was having more fun than I could have thought possible. I've seen it several times since and it always leaves a lasting impression on me. It's one of those movies that you just have to watch once in awhile. It makes me feel a variety of feelings. 

A con man named Moses attends the funeral of a one time "friend" and is asked to escort the dead woman's daughter, Addie, to Missouri. He reluctantly accepts and we soon learn it was just to make a quick buck off of her. When Addie finds out, she demands her money. So they begin to pull little con jobs together as they make their way to Missouri. Along the way, we see their relationship grow and there's always a sense of wonderment about whether Moze is Addie's biological father. I mean, they do have the same jaw.

What makes this movie is the amazing father-daughter duo of Ryan O'Neal and Tatum O'Neal. Ryan is extremely good as the con man, but Tatum ends up taking over the show. Her performance as Addie is funny and emotional. Tatum didn't just impersonate being an actress as many child actors and actresses will do; she was one. I am under the firm belief that her performance in this film is the best performance from a child actress, or actor for that matter, ever. I'm also under the firm belief that that will never, ever change. You can hear all the praise about her performance and you can know that she won an Oscar, but until you see her onscreen; you couldn't believe it could be as amazing as it is.

If you want a fun movie, a depression era movie, a road movie, a father-daughter movie, or a grifter movie; watch Paper Moon immediately. It's an under-praised, under-seen, totally under-rated classic film, that entirely too few people know about. This is easily Peter Bogdanovich's best work I've seen. Give it a chance and I can say with pretty sting conviction that won't regret it. 

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Father Ryan O'Neal teams up with his daughter Tatum for this comedy adventure set in the 30s. The story is good, it's fun, and very funny too. I highly recommend this movie.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

Tatum swings into acting and comes out the other side to shock us all. I don't think Ryan could have played her traveling companion any better.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Paper Moon Quotes

Addie Loggins: I need to go to the shithouse.
– Submitted by monsieur r (4 years ago)
Addie Loggins: I want my two hundred dollars.
Cafe Waitress: What do you say, Daddy? Why don't we give Precious a little dessert if she eats her dog?
Trixie Delight: Hurry up, Doctor. This baby gots to go winky tinky!
Moses Pray: Well, she ain't my grown-up and I ain't plannin' no more to sit in the back. Not for no cow!
Leroy: Will you keep your voice down? And Miss Delight ain't no cow. She's a proper woman. She has a high school diploma. And right now she's got to go to the bathroom, so you get on down to the car!
Trixie Delight: I just don't understand it, Daddy, but this little baby has got to go winky tinky all the time.
Addie Loggins: said to Moses: No, I don't know what it is, but if you got 'em, it's a sure bet they belong to somebody else!
– Submitted by monsieur r (4 years ago)
Moses Pray: Don't you think I have any scruples?
Addie Loggins: Well, if you do, it's a sure bet they belong to someone else!
– Submitted by Deborah H (4 years ago)
Moses Pray: Eat you're Coney Island!
– Submitted by Joe A (4 years ago)

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