Paper Moon (1973)

paper moon poster 1973 movie
9.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great looking, great cast

Story sometimes drags a bit, but still very strong

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Paper Moon

Studio:  The Directors Company

Genre(s):  Comedy/Drama

Release Date(s):  May 9, 1973

MPAA Rating:  PG


I want my $200!

Moses Pray (Ryan O’Neal) is a con man who has just found himself a new partner.  Addie Loggins (Tatum O’Neal) is the orphaned child of a call girl, and Moses has agreed to take her to St. Joseph, Missouri.  When Addie finds Moses is making money from him, Addie forces him into an uneasy partnership as they con their way around the state…but sometimes cons can catch-up to a con-artist.

Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, Paper Moon is based on the 1971 Joe David Brown novel Addie Pray.  The movie received critical acclaim and Tatum O’Neal won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (still the youngest winner) with nominations for Madeline Kahn (Best Supporting Actress also), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Sound.


Poor Ms. Trixie…

I love Paper Moon.  The movie is great looking and has a great cast.  The decision to stylize the movie and make it in black-in-white really added to this Depression era story.  Paper Moon might not get as much play as it used to, but it is a smart drama-comedy.

The story for Paper Moon is rather touching, and the script does it while still filling it with humor.  The dynamic between Moses and Addie is great and just when it starts to slow down it is changed up by adding dangers and characters to divide and threaten them.  The relationship between the two characters really overrides the plot and becomes the thrust of the film.


At the end of the day even kids want a nice smoke!

It really helps that Ryan O’Neal and Tatum O’Neal father and daughter.  The movie shows a strained relationship and watching the movie now, viewers know that the relationship was strained.  O’Neal seems like a smart girl and after Paper Moon, the feud between Ryan and Tatum escalated (including Ryan refusing to talk to Tatum after The Bad News Bears beat Barry Lyndon at the box office).  I particularly like the addition of Madeline Kahn and her young maid played by P.J. Johnson…both characters steal the show, but Tatum manages to maintain control in her war with Kahn.

Peter Bogdanovich chose to shoot the movie in black-and-white like his previous film The Last Picture Show.  This really does make it look like it is the period in which it is set, but Bogdanovich also gains such depths with the lack of color…it really adds to the film.

Paper Moon is a great movie and a movie where the stars really hold it together.  It is a good looking picture and has a lot of charm mixed with some true drama.  With the old style, Paper Moon holds up…it could have been made yesterday or it could have been made today.  Paper Moon is movie with heart.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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