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A Simple Plan (1998)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  22 January 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 48,011 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 415 user | 124 critic | 28 from

When three blue collar acquaintances come across millions of dollars in lost cash they make a plan to keep their find from the authorities but find complications and mistrust weaving its way into their plan.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: A Simple Plan (1998)

A Simple Plan (1998) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Walsh ...
Nancy Chambers
Bob Davis ...
FBI Agent Renkins
FBI Agent Freemont
Tom Carey ...
Dwight Stephanson
Mr. Schmitt
Marie Mathay ...
News Reporter
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Three diverse characters, for the most part intellectually challenged, find a deserted plane with a bag full of millions of dollars inside. They devise a simple plan to keep the money if no-one claims it. Ofcourse, nothing turns out simple... Written by Filmtwob <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They've worked hard all their lives, but they still can't afford the American Dream. Stealing it is even better. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| | | |


Release Date:

22 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Thousand Miles  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$17,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$390,563 (USA) (11 December 1998)


£506,625 (UK) (11 June 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Hank and Sarah have a black & white photo of Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno from The Incredible Hulk TV series on their fridge. See more »


When the money is burned in the fireplace, you can see that some of the bills say "motion picture use only". See more »


Sarah Mitchell: He's going to shoot all three of you, as soon as he sees the plane!
See more »


References 20/20 (1978) See more »


Spirit in the Sky
Written and Performed by Norman Greenbaum
Courtesy of Trans/Tone Productions
See more »

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User Reviews

Twisted, but exceptionally crafted.
4 January 1999 | by (Arlington, VA) – See all my reviews

This is not the film to see if you're looking for a feel-good Hollywood anesthetic to cope with the end of the holiday season. If, however, you wish to experience a great film, then I highly recommend *A Simple Plan*. Its disturbing twist on the American dream may be too difficult for some--especially the very dark ending--but that is part of what makes the film such quality fare. Scott B. Smith's screenplay is tight and flawless. Sam Raimi's inspired direction may finally reveal to the rest of the film industry what fans of the Evil Dead trilogy have known for years: that, though his tongue is often firmly in his cheek, Raimi is a fine and grossly underrated filmmaker. Especially impressive is the way he and cinematographer Alar Kivilo approach the snow-covered landscapes. There is an immensity to the frozen wastelands of the film's crucial scenes that is almost worthy of David Lean. Also commendable is Raimi's skillful use of animals (among them crows and foxes) for symbolic purposes.

But the cast, not to be outdone by their crew, is equally notable. Billy Bob Thornton gives his best performance to date, surpassing even his award-winning role in *Sling Blade*. Bill Paxton is phenomenal as a straight-laced-family-man- turned sociopath, and Bridget Fonda's convincing portrayal of Paxton's determined wife complements him well.

Audiences at the screening I saw were commenting on the film's similarities to *Fargo* as they exited the theater, and seemed to belittle *A Simple Plan* for its lack of "originality." Granted, *A Simple Plan* is not entirely original. There are indeed vague shadows of *Fargo*, as well as *Macbeth* and Robert Frost, among others. But there is no such thing as an entirely original work, as great art is made by standing on the shoulders of giants. Make no mistake, this is NOT a cheap replay of *Fargo*. The differences are too numerous to note here, but suffice it to say that *A Simple Plan* is a great work in its own right, and deserves to be appreciated as such.

79 of 86 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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