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Paper Moon (1973)



Average Rating: 8.5/10
Reviews Counted: 33
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 3

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.


Average Rating: 8/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 2

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.



liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 10,757

My Rating

Movie Info

The year is 1936. Orphaned Addie Loggins (Tatum O'Neal, in her film debut) is left in the care of unethical travelling Bible salesman Moses Pray (Ryan O'Neal, Tatum's dad), who may or may not be her father. En route to Addie's relatives, Moses learns that the 9-year-old is quite a handful: she smokes, cusses, and is almost as devious and manipulative as he is. They join forces as swindlers, working together so well that Addie is averse to breaking up the team -- which is one reason that she


Drama, Romance, Classics, Comedy


Joe David Brown, Alvin Sargent

Aug 12, 2003

Paramount Pictures

Watch It Now



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All Critics (33) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (3) | DVD (11)

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.

August 17, 2010 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop 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.

May 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tatum O'Neal makes a sensational screen debut.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A charming mixture of Hawksian comedy and Fordian lyricism.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

May 10, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

From its opening monochrome close-up of nine-year-old Addie Loggins at the barely attended outdoor funeral of her mother, Peter Bogdanovich's Depression-era road movie Paper Moon (1973) is dominated by the presence of Tatum O'Neal.

September 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4

A cute little family drama about a young con artist and her father as they build a grifting empire.

August 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

What's most interesting about Paper Moon is that it has the tone and timbre of a comedy, but the setting and style of the film are somber and more reminiscent of a European art film.

January 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Tatum O'Neal's smoke- and booze-filled caper.

December 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Bogdanovich's warmest film, featuring charming performances from real-life father and daughter Ryan and Tatum O'Neal.

August 17, 2010 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Charming Depression-era road movie comedy.

October 18, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Like Bogdanovich's masterpiece, Last Picture Show, this film is at once an evocation of childhood in a specific time and place (story is inspired by a Shirley Temple vehicle) and a commentary on it. Remarkably shot in b/w by ace lenser Laszlo Kovac.

January 10, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

The O'Neals are great together, equalled by cinematography, story, direction, acting by all.

June 8, 2005

The film's documentary feel meshes perfectly with the sweet cynicism of the characters.

September 18, 2003 Full Review

Bogdanovich was a film scholar and historian before he was a director, and he knew exactly how to capture the essence of a bygone cinematic era and still make it relevant to a modern audience.

August 17, 2003 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Has the Depression ever been this much fun?

July 29, 2003 Full Review Source:

The affectionately drawn characters and the easy-going tempo make for a reasonably pleasurable ride.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

The period detail and sound is pretty much perfect. The story is beguiling, the dialogue sparkles and the performances are first-rate.

August 14, 2002 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A true treasure. Bogdanovich's magical world has elements of whimsy and noir.

August 2, 2002
Arizona Daily Star

Audience Reviews for Paper Moon

Father and daughter (in real life, possibly in the film) play con artist partners during the great depression. Moses isn't used to nor does he want the constraints or responsibility of a young partner/daughter but when he realises it could be to his financial advantage he goes along with the idea. A heartwarming but never schmaltzy road trip ensures. It's the lack of schmaltz that is key to the films success, to succumb would have been cheap and easy, everything that this film isn't. It is beautifully shot in Black and White to great effect, the image of little Addie sitting on the Moon on her own is heartbreaking though. A really lovely film.
March 13, 2014

Super Reviewer

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.
August 14, 2012
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.
December 30, 2010

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.
August 2, 2010

Super Reviewer

    1. Addie Loggins: I need to go to the shithouse.
    – Submitted by rick b (2 years ago)
    1. Addie Loggins: I want my two hundred dollars.
    2. Cafe Waitress: What do you say, Daddy? Why don't we give Precious a little dessert if she eats her dog?
    3. Trixie Delight: Hurry up, Doctor. This baby gots to go winky tinky!
    4. 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!
    5. 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!
    6. Trixie Delight: I just don't understand it, Daddy, but this little baby has got to go winky tinky all the time.
    7. 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 rick b (2 years ago)
    1. Moses Pray: Don't you think I have any scruples?
    2. Addie Loggins: Well, if you do, it's a sure bet they belong to someone else!
    – Submitted by Deborah H (2 years ago)
    1. Moses Pray: Eat you're Coney Island!
    – Submitted by Joe A (2 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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Foreign Titles

  • Paper Moon (1973) (CA)
  • La Barbe papa (FR)
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