Paper Moon


Paper Moon

Critics 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.



Total Count: 37


Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,364
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Paper Moon Photos

Movie Info

A bible salesman teams up with an orphan girl to form a money-making con team in Depression-era Kansas.

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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 Attendant
Jack Saunders
as Station Master
Jody Wilbur
as Cafe Waitress
Liz Ross
as Pearl, the Widow Morgan
Yvonne Harrison
as Marie, the Widow Bates
Ed Reed
as Lawman
Dorothy Price
as Ribbon Saleslady
Eleanor Bogart
as Elvira, the Widow Stanley
Dorothy Foster
as Edna, the Widow Huff
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 Clerk
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 Gentleman
Rosemary Rumbley
as Aunt Billie
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News & Interviews for Paper Moon

Critic Reviews for Paper Moon

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (9)

  • Shot in black and white by the versatile cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, this has a mix of folksiness and precise craft that anticipates the Coen brothers, aiming to charm and succeeding.

    Sep 14, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Part of an incredible 1970s career run for the director Peter Bogdanovich, Paper Moon remains a high point, not just for the talent involved behind the scenes and in front of the camera, but also for Hollywood.

    May 14, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Aug 17, 2010 | Full Review…
  • 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 | Rating: 5/5
  • Tatum O'Neal makes a sensational screen debut.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • A charming mixture of Hawksian comedy and Fordian lyricism.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Paper Moon

  • Aug 11, 2018
    Tatum O'Neal delivers an Oscar quality performance, stealing every scene she's in, in Bogdanavich's nostalgic evocation of Prohibition-era Depression days as a pair of con artists move through middle American farm country. "Times might've been hard," Bogdanavich seems to imply, "but at least we were together." The best road trips are never over with. Ryan is good in this as well.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 22, 2018
    The period details are fantastic, but what's really impressive is how through a few clever camera angles and close-ups Bogdanovich is able to get you entirely invested in Tatum O'Neal's character.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 27, 2015
    Getting the much-deserved Blu Ray treatment, Peter Bogdanovich's 1930s throwback and kiss to the Golden Age of H'Wood deserves even more acclaim in the wake of The Artist's "Best Picture" win in 2012. The director's deep-seated appreciation for classic American cinema shines throughout, perhaps even more so than with his '30s screwball love letter What's Up Doc. In real life, former film critic Bogdanovich befriended and interviewed every lionized director from George Cukor (The Philadelphia Story) to Howard Hawks (Bringing Up Baby) to Leo McCarey (Duck Soup). And God, does it show. From Lazslo Kovacs' ace black and white cinematography to set designer Polly Platt's period detail to the choice of soundtrack (everything from The Jack Benny Program to the vintage tune "Paper Moon" fills your ears), the film feels as rooted in the Dust Bowl era as John Steinbeck. But then, it dares to channel 1970s sensibilities like foul language and talk of women's problems. In this PG-rated Great Depression-set dramedy, a con man (Ryan O'Neal) finds himself saddled with a young girl (Tatum O'Neal) who may or may not be his daughter and the two forge an unlikely partnership. Tatum O'Neal won the Oscar for this at-times both heartless AND heartfelt romp, but Paper Moon truly is Bogdanovich's show, staking a phenomenal follow-up to The Last Picture Show. Bottom line: Moonstruck
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 10, 2012
    A really good film with some exceptional performances from real-life father and daughter team, Ryan and Tatum O'Neal. Really entertaining.
    Jared H Super Reviewer

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