Paper Moon



Tatum O'Neal's smoke- and booze-filled caper.
  • Review Date: July 24, 2007
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1973
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Addie and Moze fleece widows, bootleg liquor, escape from the police. Generally, their bond is over being criminal.


Moze and Addie are shot at by police during a car chase. Moze and a guy wrestle and fight, with Moze punching him. Moze is attacked and beaten off-screen and seen beaten, with blood on his face and a split lip. Addie sits in the driver's seat of a car with no brakes.


Moze kisses a woman in the doorway of his hotel room, with Addie looking on. Lots of talk about Addie's mom being a "slut." Moze dates a woman who's a prostitute and Addie tries to talk the woman into turning a trick while Moze is out. Lots of talk of "putting out."


Lots of salty language, including "ass," "damn," "s--t," "son of a bitch," "tits," and "godammit."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Addie, Moze, and Trixie all smoke cigarettes pretty regularly. Once, Moze even lights it for her. Addie's mom died in a drunk driving accident. Several characters drink alcohol, and they steal alcohol, too.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that even though this movie stars a 10-year-old Tatum O'Neal, there's plenty of drinking, smoking (even by Tatum's Addie), and corruption on display. The movie actually starts with Addie's mother's funeral. Some scenes are thematically intense, especially when Ryan O'Neal's character Moze is chased down by corrupt policemen and beaten. Characters are also dragged into the police station for selling stolen bootleg liquor.

What's the story?

Buddy movies are great fun, and so are caper flicks -- movies where you get to live out a fantasy of not being good; of in fact being really, really bad. For some viewers, PAPER MOON will be the ultimate bad-girl escape film: full of road trips, car chases, money, tricks, and general hijinx. Tatum O'Neal stars in her Oscar-winning role as Addie Loggins, a little girl whose mother has just died and is suddenly thrust into the care of Moze (Tatum's dad, Ryan O'Neal), a traveling conman whom Addie is convinced is her real father because they have the same chin. While Moze denies it, he does take little Addie under his wing, teaching her to con widows out of money, steal liquor, and generally live a depraved but fun life.

Is it any good?


If kids can get past the black-and-white screening created by director Peter Bogdanovich, they may love the pleasure Addie takes in tricking people. And she may have won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, but she's certainly the star of the film. You can thank the writing for that.

Addie, as a street-wise orphan, is smarter, sneakier, and more conniving than her foil of a father figure. As Moze dumbly tryies to get the same $7 out of every widow for a "deluxe edition Bible," Addie adjusts prices based on a customer's financial status and earns them more money. When she feels abandoned by Moze for taking a lover, the "harem slave" Trixie (Madeline Kahn), Addie is sharp enough to know that Trixie is a prostitute and makes sure Moze catches her turning a trick. No doubt, Addie (cigarette dangling) lives in a very adult, criminal world, and it's why this movie is a much better choice for teens and up.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about life during the Great Depression. This film makes light of the desperation and dispair of life in the Great Depression, but perhaps now would be a good time to talk to kids about your own family's experience during the Great Depression. How were grandparents and great-grandparents affected by it? This film is a good opportunity to talk about what brought about the Great Depression and how many families made ends meet.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 24, 1973
DVD release date:August 12, 2003
Cast:Madeline Kahn, Ryan O'Neal, Tatum O'Neal
Director:Peter Bogdanovich
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:102 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byworldlydad2011 June 14, 2011

terrible piece of trash

I thought this movie was a terrible piece of trash that portrays the worst kind of moral relativism. My problem isn't the language, drinking or smoking. I've practice plenty of all those things. My problem is with the glorification of lying, cheating and stealing. The co-stars are bilking widows out of money at a vulnerable time, and egging each on to con nice folks. Yes, the movie was beautifully filmed and the actors did a nice job. No, this movie is not for families, or anyone else who is interested in honesty, virtue or consideration of others.
Kid, 11 years old March 3, 2013

Haven't seen anything better

This is so much fun--and hilaroious!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bybabalu12 April 9, 2011

A Great Representation of the Great Depression

I really, really love this movie! It is one of the most accurate representations of the thirties. There is quite a bit of smoking (including by a young girl) and drinking. One of the main characters is a con artist, and there is quite a bit of vulgar language, but nothing terrible. All in all, it's a great movie!
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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