Paula Nelson (Anna Karina) goes to Atlantic City to meet her lover, Richard Politzer, at an unknown point in the future (maybe 1969). Once there, she learns that Richard is dead and decides to investigate. In her hotel room, she meets Typhus, whom she ends up knocking out. His corpse is later found in the apartment of David Goodis (Yves Afonso), a writer. Paula is arrested and interrogated. From then on, she encounters many gangsters.Anna Karina as Paula Nelson
Jean-Pierre Léaud as Donald Siegel
László Szabó as Richard Widmark
Ernest Menzer as Edgar Typhus
Kyôko Kosaka as Doris Mizoguchi
Yves Afonso as David Goodis
Marc Dudicourt as Barman
Sylvain Godet as Robert MacNamara
Claude Bouillon as Inspector Aldrich
Philippe Labro as Himself
The movie was shot at the same time as Two or Three Things I Know About Her. Godard did it to help his friend and producer, Georges de Beauregard, in difficulties after the censorship of The Nun, a movie by Jacques Rivette, that he produced.
This is the last full-length movie where Anna Karina and Jean-Luc Godard collaborated. He again directed her in a segment (called "Anticipation, ou: l'amour en l'an 2000" (Anticipation: or Love in the Year 2000)) of the movie Le plus vieux métier du monde (1967).
Marianne Faithfull has a cameo in a cafe scene where she sings "As Tears Go By".
Characters in the film are named for such real-life personages as Don Siegel, Kenji Mizoguchi, Richard Widmark, Robert McNamara, David Goodis and Richard Nixon. Paula Nelson is probably named for Baby Face Nelson, about whom Siegel had made a film starring Mickey Rooney
The film is dedicated to "Nick and Sam," referring to Nicholas Ray and Samuel Fuller, "Hollywood mavericks who were objects of filial awe and Oedipal aggression" for Godard.
Made in U.S.A "has rarely been seen in the U.S.A."; it was shown at the 1967 New York Film Festival, promptingThe New York Times to call it an "often bewildering potpourri of film narration, imagery and message" and point out that "Anna Karina, as the questing girl friend, supplies not only a luminous beauty but also a unifying thread of humanity." Over forty years later, A.O. Scott saw it at Film Forum and said while it is "far from a lost masterpiece, it is nonetheless a bright and jagged piece of the jigsaw puzzle of Mr. Godard’s career"; he suggested a number of "reasons for non-Godardians" to see the film:
There is, for one thing, a pouting and lovely Marianne Faithfull singing an a capella version of 'As Tears Go By.' There are skinny young men smoking and arguing. There are the bright Pop colors of modernity juxtaposed with the weathered, handsome ordinariness of Old France, all of it beautifully photographed by Raoul Coutard. There are political speeches delivered via squawk box. And of course there is a maddening, liberating indifference to conventions of narrative coherence, psychological verisimilitude or emotional accessibility.
The film holds a rating of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes.