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A Simple Plan
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A Simple Plan (1998) More at IMDbPro »

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A Simple Plan -- 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. Of course, nothing turns out simple...
A Simple Plan -- 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.


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Popularity: ?
Up 17% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Scott B. Smith (novel)
Scott B. Smith (screenplay)
View company contact information for A Simple Plan on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
22 January 1999 (USA) See more »
Sometimes good people do evil things. See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 18 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Simply brilliant See more (416 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Bill Paxton ... Hank

Bridget Fonda ... Sarah

Billy Bob Thornton ... Jacob

Brent Briscoe ... Lou
Jack Walsh ... Tom Butler

Chelcie Ross ... Carl

Becky Ann Baker ... Nancy Chambers

Gary Cole ... Baxter
Bob Davis ... FBI Agent Renkins

Peter Syvertsen ... FBI Agent Freemont
Tom Carey ... Dwight Stephanson

John Paxton ... Mr. Schmitt
Marie Mathay ... News Reporter
Paul Magers ... Anchorman
Joan Steffand ... Anchorwoman

Jill Sayre ... Hospital Nurse
Wayne A. Evenson ... Bartender

Tim Storms ... Drinker (as Timothy Storms)
Terry Hempleman ... Dead Pilot
Jay Gjernes ... Bearded Man
Grant Curtis ... Bar Patron
Solomon Abrams ... Bar Patron

Nina Kaczorowski ... Bar Patron
Thomas Boedy ... Priest
Mary Woolever ... Linda
Rhiannon R. Sauers ... Girl on Sled
Christopher Gallus ... Boy on Sled
Eric Cegon ... Tommy
Robert Martin Halverson ... Detective
Roger Watton ... Barber
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Frank Beard ... Funeral Party Member (uncredited)
Joel Edwards ... Funeral Party Member (uncredited)
Steven Gilmer ... Funeral Director (uncredited)

Directed by
Sam Raimi 
Writing credits
Scott B. Smith (novel)

Scott B. Smith (screenplay)

Produced by
Mark Gordon .... executive producer
James Jacks .... producer
Gary Levinsohn .... executive producer
Michael Polaire .... co-producer
Adam Schroeder .... producer
Original Music by
Danny Elfman 
Cinematography by
Alar Kivilo 
Film Editing by
Eric L. Beason 
Arthur Coburn 
Casting by
Ilene Starger 
Production Design by
Patrizia von Brandenstein  (as Patrizia Von Brandenstein)
Art Direction by
James F. Truesdale 
Set Decoration by
Hilton Rosemarin 
Costume Design by
Julie Weiss 
Makeup Department
Crist Ballas .... special makeup effects artist
Kamar Bitar .... makeup coordinator
Lynne K. Eagan .... makeup artist (as Lynne Eagan)
Theodore Haines .... special makeup effects technician
Sherry Heart .... hair stylist: second unit
Sherry Heart .... makeup artist: second unit
Garrett Immel .... special makeup effects technician
Karen Keener .... special makeup effects technician
Robert Kurtzman .... special makeup effects supervisor/puppeteer
Jake McKinnon .... special makeup effects technician
Ron Pipes .... special makeup effects technician
Kim Santantonio .... supervising hair stylist
Janeen Schreyer .... supervising makeup artist
Mary Jo Seidl .... assistant hair stylist
Wayne Toth .... special makeup effects technician
David Wogh .... special makeup effects technician (as Dave Wogh)
Matthew W. Mungle .... special makeup effects artist: prosthetic pregnancy for Bridget Fonda (uncredited)
Production Management
Joe Dishner .... unit production manager
Julie Hartley .... production supervisor: second unit
George Hernandez .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Newt Arnold .... first assistant director
George Fortmuller .... first assistant director: second unit
Dave Halls .... second second assistant director
Doug Lefler .... second unit director
Robin R. Oliver .... second assistant director (as Robin Oliver)
Art Department
Alton Anderson .... painter
Joseph Barillaro .... painter
John Barry McMahon .... painter
Adam Beck .... property master: second unit
Curtis Bellows .... painter
John Berger .... assistant art director
Sarah Black .... painter
Chad Busewicz .... painter
Bill Cancienne .... property person
John Alan Champion .... set dresser (as John Champion)
W. Therese Eberhard .... scenic foreperson
Kelly Hemenway .... lead scenic artist (as Kelly Rae Hemenway)
Deeanna Langely .... painter
Kimberly Lawler .... painter
Cyril H. Matthys .... set dresser (as Cyril Matthys)
Scott Nordhausen .... set dresser
Troy Osman .... construction foreperson
Tyler Osman .... construction coordinator
Joel Prihoda .... lead person
Eric Ramsey .... storyboard artist
Michelle Roy .... painter
Rando Schmook .... set designer
Tim Schwob .... construction foreperson (as Timothy R. Schwob)
F. Andrew Scott .... painter
Cathy Shapiro .... painter
Stuart Skrien .... set dresser
Joshua Sundby .... property person
Thomas Torrison .... painter
Scott Troha .... set dresser
Devin Tuuri-Derby .... scenic foreperson
Susan J. Tveit .... art department coordinator (as Suzy Tveit)
Douglas Weatherhead .... painter
William A. Wilson .... set dresser (as William Wilson)
Amie McCarthy Winn .... property master (as Amie McCarthy-Winn)
Norine Joy Francis .... set decoration buyer (uncredited)
Sound Department
David W. Alstadter .... foley mixer (as David Alstadter)
Laura Harris Atkinson .... dialogue editor (as Laura R. Harris)
Dana Austin .... adr recordist (as Dana Porter)
Ron Bedrosian .... adr mixer
Patricia Conaway Lamberti .... digital sound assistant (as Patricia Lamberti)
Harve Cook .... cable person
Dino Dimuro .... sound editor
Craig S. Jaeger .... foley editor
Nick Kharabadz .... first assistant sound editor (as Nick Kharabadze)
Kimaree Long .... dialogue editor
Julie Lucas .... foley recordist (as Julie C. Lucas)
James Moriana .... foley artist (as Jim Moriana)
Philip D. Morrill .... digital sound assistant
Gary Mundheim .... foley editor
Ed Novick .... sound mixer
Christopher O'Donnell .... boom operator
Kelly Oxford .... sound editor (as Kelly L. Oxford)
Alan Rankin .... sound editor
Scott Sanders .... sound editor
Brad Sherman .... sound re-recording mixer
Melissa Sherwood Hofmann .... sound re-recording mixer (as Melissa S. Hofmann)
Frederick H. Stahly .... dialogue editor
Drew Webster .... mixing recordist
Jeffrey Wilhoit .... foley artist (as Jeff Wilhoit)
Michael D. Wilhoit .... supervising sound editor (as Michael Wilhoit)
Scott Wolf .... adr editor
Douglas Shamburger .... boom operator (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Nicholas Aune .... snow effects crew
Donald Beaulieu .... snow effects crew (as Don Beaulieu)
Kenneth Coulman .... snow effects crew (as Kenny Coulman)
Matt Eder .... snow effects crew
Mike Gulenchyn .... special effects assistant
Rodman Kiser .... special effects foreperson (as Rod Kiser)
Marc Mahowald .... special effects assistant
Allan Martin .... snow effects crew
John D. Milinac .... special effects supervisor
Paul Murphy .... special effects technician
Aron D. Peterson .... snow effects crew (as Aron Peterson)
Jason Michael Pinski .... snow effects crew
Bryan Relyea .... snow effects crew
Dieter Sturm .... snow effects supervisor
Yvonne Sturm .... snow effects foreperson
Brett Tardiff .... special effects assistant
Nate Courteau .... special effects makeup (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Will McCoy .... digital compositor
Dave Rand .... digital artist (as David Rand)
John Rauh .... digital compositor
David Stephan .... visual storyboard supervisor (as Dave Stephan)
Brigitte Bourque .... visual effects compositor: Rainmaker Digital (uncredited)
Mark Franco .... visual effects executive producer: Rainmaker Digital Pictures (uncredited)
Matt Linder .... digital artist (uncredited)
Mindy Minkow .... optical camera (uncredited)
Jay Caputo .... stunt coordinator
Christopher Doyle .... stunt coordinator (as Chris Doyle)
James Fierro .... stunts
Eric D. Howell .... stunts
Greg Walker .... stunts
Spice Williams-Crosby .... stunts (as Spice Williams)
Benjamin Meade .... stunt double (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Greg Bubb .... camera operator: "b" camera
Robert C. Carlson .... first assistant camera: "b" camera, second unit (as Robert Carlson)
Peter Clemence .... second company grip
Ed Dally .... second assistant camera: "b" camera
Christopher Devitt .... electrician
Joseph Dianda .... first company grip
Vincent Donohue .... rigging lighting electrician
Milo Durben .... dolly grip
Tom Franchett .... assistant chief lighting technician
Dave Gillen .... electrician
Michael Handley .... assistant chief lighting technician: second unit (as Mike Handley)
Michael Hoffer .... rigging first company grip
Laura Holzschuh .... film loader (as Laura Holzshuh)
Christopher Hultgren .... rigging electrician (as Chris Hultgren)
George Kohut .... camera operator: "b" camera, second unit
Peter Kuttner .... first assistant camera
Chris Malone .... electrician
Michelle Mann .... camera remote technician
David Meyers .... gaffer: second unit
Chris Miller .... dolly grip: second unit
Melissa Moseley .... still photographer
Thomas O'Connor .... gaffer
Timothy O'Toole .... video assist operator
Rory Olson .... rigging electrician
Monty Rowan .... camera operator
Paul Ryan .... director of photography: second unit
James Schaidler .... grip: second unit
Gary D. Scott .... first assistant camera: second unit (as Gary Scott)
Afshin Shahidi .... second assistant camera
Joseph Slagerman .... electrician (as Joe Slagerman)
Christopher Slater .... rigging electrician (as Chris Slater)
Steve Speers .... film loader
Laura Mae Sutherland-Bobick .... film loader: second unit (as Laura Mae Bobick)
J.R. Thompson .... first assistant camera: "b" camera
Jeff Villars .... rigging grip
Wilson Webb .... electrician
Elan Yaari .... gaffer
Gerhard Riautschnig .... grip (uncredited)
Casting Department
Lynn Blumenthal .... casting: Minnesota
Nancy Briggs .... casting assistant
Barbara Harris .... adr voice casting
Kim Miscia .... casting associate
Sonya 'Sonny' Tormoen .... extras casting
David Pollison .... casting associate (uncredited)
Erin Sahlstrom .... extras casting assistant (uncredited)
Janice Wilde .... casting assistant (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Nancy Mrnak .... seamstress
Trina Mrnak .... supervising set costumer
Hope Slepak .... costume supervisor
Spence Spensely .... set costumer
Reese Spensley .... key costumer: second unit
Reese Spensley .... set costumer
Susan Strubel .... production assistant: costume department
Editorial Department
Mary Ahmann .... editor intern
Patrick Gallagher .... assistant editor: avid
Lynel Moore .... assistant film editor (as Lynel Moore Cioffi)
Jim Passon .... color timer
Amanda M. Pirkl .... post-production assistant
Theresa Repola Mohammed .... negative cutter
Sean Valla .... first assistant editor
Location Management
Mark Har .... assistant location manager
Anne Healy .... location manager: Ashland
Bob Medcraft .... location manager
Music Department
Steve Bartek .... orchestrator
Bob Bornstein .... music preparation
Tod Holcomb .... assistant music editor
Artie Kane .... conductor
Marc Mann .... orchestrator
Shawn Murphy .... score mixer
Shawn Murphy .... score recordist
Ellen Segal .... music editor
Edgardo Simone .... orchestrator
Patti Zimmitti .... orchestra contractor
Tom Boyd .... oboe (uncredited)
Ted Masur .... assistant to orchestrator (uncredited)
Stephanie Murray .... score stage administrator (uncredited)
Paul Wertheimer .... music recordist (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Michael Arnold .... picture car coordinator
Michael Kennedy .... transportation captain (as Mike Kennedy)
Marc Scott .... transportation coordinator
Leo Skudlarek .... driver: hair and makeup department (uncredited)
Other crew
Matt Adler .... adr loop group
Shad Allen .... production assistant
Paul Asplund .... assistant production coordinator
Dawn Barkan .... animal trainer
Judi Beecher .... adr loop group
Cheryl Broussard .... production assistant: second unit
Kyle Clementson .... production assistant
Dennis Compton .... technical advisor
Michael Culbert .... assistant: Mr. Paxton (as Michael Colbert)
Grant Curtis .... assistant: Mr. Raimi
Jenni David .... production assistant (as Jennifer David)
Michael Deak .... puppeteer (as Mike Deak)
Tim Drackert .... mechanical special assistant
Judi M. Durand .... adr loop group (as Judi Durand)
Signe Erickson .... production assistant
Greg Finley .... adr loop group
Peggy Flood .... adr loop group
Sean Hartley Francis .... production assistant (as Sean Francis)
Joe Hackett .... adr loop group (as Joe Hacket)
Tony Hanson .... production assistant
Barbara Harris .... adr loop group (as Barbara Iley)
Cheryl Harris .... animal trainer
Michelle Harwell .... production assistant: second unit
Susan Hegstrom .... production assistant
Bruce Heller .... assistant: Mr. Thornton
Greg Hill .... production assistant
Boysie Jereza .... payroll auditor
Amity Johnson .... production assistant: second unit
Nina Kaczorowski .... assistant: Mr. Jacks
Linda Kuusisto .... script supervisor: second unit (as Linda Kusisto)
Robert Louis Kurtzman .... puppeteer
Jake McKinnon .... puppeteer
Sean McNamee .... assistant: Mr. Thornton
Jennifer Moyer .... assistant: Mr. Jacks
Lucia Murillo .... assistant: Mr. Schroeder
Bob Neill .... adr loop group
Margaret J. Orlando .... assistant production coordinator (as Margaret Orlando)
Jeremy Oswald .... production assistant: second unit
Missy Parker .... production assistant (as Melissa Parker)
David Parr .... production assistant
Susana Preston .... script supervisor
David Randolph .... adr loop group
Lucas Roman .... production assistant: second unit
Peggy Rosson .... auditor (as Peggy Ann Rosson)
Albert G. Ruben .... insurance (as Albert G. Rubens)
Kate Sheeley .... assistant: Mr. Polaire
Barbara Spado .... craft service (as Barb Spado)
Michaelle Sparrow .... assistant auditor
Janice F. Sperling .... production coordinator
Michael Swafford .... first assistant auditor
Gloria Tacchino .... assistant: Ms. Fonda
Michelle Theis .... production assistant: second unit
Sonya 'Sonny' Tormoen .... production assistant
Jeff Tyler .... assistant: Ms. Fonda (as Jeffrey Tyler)
James P. Warren .... animal trainer (as Jim Warren)
Lynn Younglove .... production assistant
Michael Barnes .... financial legal services (uncredited)
Eric Chatterjee .... library researcher (uncredited)
Dave Dustin .... set medic (uncredited)
Melissa Elliott .... title designer (uncredited)
Greg Ferris .... marketing canada (uncredited)
Michael Hansen .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Michael Landers .... body double: Bill Paxton (uncredited)
Alyssa Spado .... craft service assistant (uncredited)
Lindy Bartlett .... thanks
Sean Daniel .... thanks
Ross Peterson .... thanks
Rob Tapert .... thanks (as Robert Tapert)
Red White .... thanks
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for violence and language
121 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Laura Dern and Embeth Davidtz were both in contention for the part later taken by Bridget Fonda.See more »
Revealing mistakes: There is no rear view mirror in Carl's truck. This is visible when the three men are on their way to the downed plane.See more »
[first lines]
Hank Mitchell:[narrating] When I was still just a kid, I remember my father telling me what he thought that it took for a man to be happy. Simple things, really. A wife he loves, a decent job, friends and neighbors who like and respect him. And for a while there, without hardly even realizing it, I had all that. I was a happy man.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "After Hours" (2010)See more »
Deliver MeSee more »


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22 out of 35 people found the following review useful.
Simply brilliant, 1 July 1999
Author: Dan Grant ( from Toronto, Ontario

A Simple Plan is a film that had immense critical acclaim yet was in limited release. I was eagerly looking forward to this films release seeing as I am a huge Bill Paxton fan, but why wasn't this film in wide release? I was living in Toronto at the time and to find this film I had to go downtown to one very small art house theater. It wasn't at any of the bigger Silver City's. And that is a disappointment. Because this film is amazing. In a way ( I can't believe I'm saying this ) this film reminds me a bit of Star Wars. Only in the sense that I think there is enough intrigue and well developed characters that you could have made a trilogy and prequels out of this. Jacob could have a whole movie made about him. The characters are that rich.

The film starts off with two brothers named Hank and Jacob ( Paxton and Thorton ) and a friend named Lou( Brent Briscoe ) chasing their dog into the forest. As they get deep into the woods, they stumble onto a downed plane. It is here they find the money, the buried treasure to the tune of about 4 million dollars. At first they are talking about how rich they are and what they are going to do with the money. But it is then that Hank says that maybe they should wait a while to see if anyone comes looking for the money before they start to spend it. After all, the plane is snow covered so maybe it has been here for a while so by the end of the winter if no one comes for it, they will keep it. The other two are adamantly against that logic. " This is the American dream, " one of them says. " You work for the American dream, you don't steal it." Hank replies. Then of course all hell is about to break loose.

Suddenly people that lead their lives without much money are consumed with greed and desperation. Hank's wife Sarah, in a great performance by Bridget Fonda, says that she is tired of having to eat dessert at home when they go out for dinner. She wants to provide a nest egg for their soon to be child. Lou owes money to everybody and wants his share of the money now. Jacob wants to fix up his dads farm. The insatiable need for money is driving everyone apart. It is from here that the plot thickens and it is like the layers of an onion. Every time you peel one layer back, there is another layer to deal with, until there is nothing left. And then what happens?

This film works because it has a terrific story but it also works because of the people involved with it. I will first mention Raimi, the man responsible for directing this tangled web. He masterfully strokes every shot perfectly. He gets the feel for a small, cold winter town and he actually makes you shiver inspite of yourself. If anyone is a true horror fan they would have known that Raimi had a ( hidden ) genius. His Evil Dead films ( especially the first one ) really showed that he could direct a tight film and he did a masterful job of scaring you. And that is not easy. There are not many truly scary films out there and Evil Dead is one of them. Here he finally gets his due.

The second person I want to mention is the cinematographer. This is Alar Kivilo's first real foray into film. He has worked mostly in TV and for this to be as well photographed as it is, is a true credit to his ability. Filming in the snow adds many challenges to this aspect of film and he conquers it beautifully. There is one scene where there are a few men heading into the woods to find the plane and all we see is their footprints. This scene reminded me of a similar one in Lawrence Of Arabia. It is executed perfectly and it conveys the feeling of what the scene is supposed to represent.

As for the actors involved, as I said, I am a huge Paxton fan, just as anyone is if you like his portrayal of Chet and Hudson. And he is very good in this film. He has to play the level headed one of everyone involved and he comes across as the torn voice of reason here. But as much as I thought he was excellent in this flick, I have to say that Billy Bob Thorton blew me away. You can feel his pain. You can sense his split loyalty--friendship and brotherhood. Everything that we are supposed to see in him, we do. He really should have won a best supporting actor this year but he had the deck stacked against him seeing that he already has a statue and James Coburn, the veteran that he is, has none. Go figure. Too many politics in the academy, but anyway....

This film examines so many human issues and it asks us to make our own decisions along the way. And the sad reality is maybe we wouldn't make some of the same decisions, but maybe we would have made worse ones as well. It is a tough movie to examine, and that is what ultimately makes it brilliant.

**** Just on a side note here, I just find it amazing how the six degrees of separation works here. Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thorton have known each other for years and they worked together on a similar character study in One False Move. They also briefly had screen time together in Tombstone. ( If you can't figure out who Thornton is in that film, try thinking of Johnny Tyler. He was about 100 pounds heavier than what he is now. ) Raimi and Paxton met on the set of Indian Summer. Raimi had a small role as Stick. So it is kind of nice to see loyalty does perhaps still exist in Hollywood. And I am really glad they met and then hooked up for this project. This is a true definition of a great film.

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what happened to the kidnap victim? rutica
Which mistake was the dumbest of all? BigEasy1203
Gary Cole was so deliciously creepy in this.... ajtaylor82
Would it technically be possible to get away with it today? *spoilers* MickeMies
Rip-off of Shallow Grave (1994)? krakkety
Only 10% of serial numbers on money were recorded chipnauman
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