7.2/10
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Pay It Forward (2000)

PG-13 | | Drama | 20 October 2000 (USA)
A young boy attempts to make the world a better place after his teacher gives him that chance.

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(book), (screenplay)
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4,472 ( 61)

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ON DISC
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Grace
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Gary Werntz ...
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Adam
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Bonnie
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Michelle
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Thorsen's Daughter (as Hannah Werntz)
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Storyline

Young Trevor McKinney, troubled by his mother's alcoholism and fears of his abusive but absent father, is caught up by an intriguing assignment from his new social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet. The assignment: think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor conjures the notion of paying a favor not back, but forward--repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people. Trevor's efforts to make good on his idea bring a revolution not only in the lives of himself, his mother and his physically and emotionally scarred teacher, but in those of an ever-widening circle of people completely unknown to him. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Some favours you are not allowed to pay back. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements including substance abuse/recovery, some sexual situations, language and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

Release Date:

20 October 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cadena de favores  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,631,359, 22 October 2000, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$33,519,628

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$55,707,411
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The license plate 2GAT123, which appears in this film, is also featured in Traffic (2000), Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), Mulholland Dr. (2001), Crazy/Beautiful (2001), L.A. Story (1991), Two and a Half Men (2003), S.W.A.T. (2003), and Go (1999). See more »

Goofs

In the ending credits, special thanks are given to "O'Callaghas Middle School." This should actually refer to O'Callaghan Middle School, named after former governor Mike O'Callaghan. See more »

Quotes

Chris: Is that what you want for your birthday? Everybody it forward?
Trevor: I can't ask for that.
Chris: Sure you can. Why not?
Trevor: It wouldn't work.
Chris: Why?
Trevor: [Long pause] I already blew out my candles.
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Connections

Referenced in Workaholics: Peyote It Forward (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Because I Got It Like That
By Nathaniel Hall and Michael Small
Performed by Jungle Brothers
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Just the Sort of Treacle I Wrote When I Was Eleven
7 August 2001 | by See all my reviews

This was not a bad film; in fact, it was fairly well done, for what it was. Unfortunately, what it was was emotionally manipulative. Child abuse survivors, cute kids, recovering alcoholic mom working two jobs, this movie had it all. Above all, the director's vision was muddled. "Life is sh*t," says Trevor (Osment); by the end of the film, we can see that life is not sh*t after all. Or is it? The dramatic twist at the end (I won't spoil it for you) seemed to revoke the entire message of the movie. It had no apparent purpose, other than to lead up to the buy-the-world-a-coke, faux-heartwarming finale. The movie was not a total wash, however, as the genuinely solid performances from everyone involved lifted it above the sappy little mess it could have been. Osment is a gifted actor who manages to be a scared, vulnerable kid, without resorting to overt cuteness; he has a wary toughness which makes his performances very believable. Although I am admittedly ambiguous about Helen Hunt, she did turn in a very strong, thoughtful performance in a role that could easily have been one-sided or overplayed. Final analyss: If you like sentimentality, "Pay it Forward" is worth the effort, but it falls far short of a classic.


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