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Pay It Forward (2000)

PG-13 | | Drama | 20 October 2000 (USA)
0:33 | Trailer

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A young boy attempts to make the world a better place after his teacher gives him that chance.



(book), (screenplay)
2,612 ( 131)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ricky McKinney
Colleen Flynn ...
Woman on Bridge
Thorsen's Daughter (as Hannah Werntz)


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


When someone does you a big favor, don't pay it back... Pay It Forward See more »



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:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

20 October 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cadena de favores  »

Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$9,631,359 (USA) (20 October 2000)


$33,508,922 (USA) (2 February 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The bridge that the "jumper" is on is the Saint Johns Bridge in Portland, OR. See more »


The same man walks out of the casino twice when Eugene meets Arlene there. See more »


Arley: [Storming into the room] Mr. Simonet?
Eugene: Yes, I'm Eugene...
[looks up from his desk to see Arlene]
Eugene: ...Simonet.
Arley: [Taken aback by Eugene's scars] Hello.
Eugene: Hello.
Arley: What is this assignment?
Eugene: Excuse me?
Arley: What did you tell my son to make him bring a homeless man into my house?
Eugene: Uh, I have two problems. One: I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. And two: I don't know who you are.
See more »


Referenced in Will & Grace: Fagmalion Part 1: Gay It Forward (2003) See more »


Behind Every Good Woman
Written and Performedy by Tracy Bonham
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

More realistic than a pyramid money making scheme
30 January 2007 | by (South Africa) – See all my reviews

watched the movie over the weekend! And i really enjoyed the story. I haven't read the book but i think the idea deserves credit and well done on making it into a movie... greater potential to get people thinking even if it is just for 5minutes.

It reminded me of the pyramid get rich schemes that some people promote... only this had more substance and seemed more attainable than the selling life insurance to people!!! I came across a review that said the movie was over sentimental and perhaps unrealistic. For those that have lost faith in humanity and ability to do a good deed for someone you really don't know ... perhaps it is unrealistic. But living in a developing context means that we are faced with that opportunity all the time.

Irrespective, of linguistical, social, cultural or economic barriers we all have the capacity to recognise when the hand of support or help is extended... its tough to ignore! So for those of you that are extending/ receiving that hand .. Pay it forward!

10 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
How can anyone possibly like this movie?? chloen1979
a better ending rutica
now if you got stabbed in the stomach Sensfan1915
Did anyone ever have 7th grade teacher like that? MBasler89
Should be a law... libertess66
from a mother who lost her son goldstalk
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