Paper Lion (1968) - Rotten Tomatoes

Paper Lion (1968)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Paper Lion is taken from the actual experiences of journalist George Plimpton. George (Alan Alda) 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. Roger Aaron Brown tackles George and carries the ball and the player over the line for a touchdown. Flashbacks include the reporter's three-round bout with "Sugar Ray" Robinson. Football legends Frank Gifford and coach Vince Lombardi also appear. The final scene is the actual pre-season game against the St. Louis Cardinals football team. After his retirement from the Lions, Alex Karras made a successful transition into acting in films and on television, joining Jim Brown who preceded and Bubba Smith and others who followed.

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Alan Alda
as George Plimpton
Alex Karras
as Himself
Joe Schmidt
as Himself
Mike Lucci
as Himself
John Gordy
as Himself
Roy Scheider
as (uncredited)
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Paper Lion

All Critics (1)

A popular smart sports film.

Full Review… | April 30, 2016
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Paper Lion

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

Eduardo Litsinger
Eduardo Litsinger

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

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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
TonyPolito Polito

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