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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. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Real-life father and daughter Ryan and Tatum O'Neal team up as slick con-artists Moses Pray and Addie Loggins in 1930s Kansas. When "Moze" is unexpectedly saddled with getting the 9-year-old Addie to relatives in Missouri after the death of her mother, his attempt to dupe her out of her money backfires, and he's forced to take her on as a partner. Swindling their way through farm country, the pair is nearly done in by a burlesque dancer (Madeline Kahn) and an angry bootlegger.

Cast & Crew

Ryan O'Neal
Moses Pray
Tatum O'Neal
Addie Loggins
Madeline Kahn
Trixie Delight
John Hillerman
Deputy Hardin, Jess Hardin
Jim Harrell
The Minister
Lila Waters
The Minister's Wife
Noble Willingham
Mr. Robertson
Bob Young
Gas Station Attendant
Joe David Brown
Writer (Novel)
Frank Marshall
Associate Producer
László Kovács
Cinematographer
Verna Fields
Film Editor
Polly Platt
Production Design
John P. Austin
Set Decoration
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News & Interviews for Paper Moon

Critic Reviews for Paper Moon

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (3)

  • It is distinguished by its moral tone, and it is the tone that lifts it above the average flim-flam comedy.

    March 14, 2021 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    September 15, 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…
  • 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…
  • 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.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

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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