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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)
2,481 ( 79)
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


Three imperfect people. One perfect idea. 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?


Haley Joel Osment celebrated his 12th birthday on the set during the last day of shooting. Although Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt had completed their own filming, they turned up on the set just to celebrate his birthday. Coincidentally, Trevor McKinney, the character played by Osment, celebrates his 12th birthday in the movie. See more »


When Trevor is drawing his "Pay it forward" diagram on the black board, the diagram has clearly already been drawn once and erased. See more »


Trevor McKenney: [to Mr. Simonet] What did you ever do to change the world?
See more »


References Fantasia 2000 (1999) See more »


Last Resort
By Tobin Esperance, Jerry Horton, Jacoby Shaddix and Dave Buckner
Performed by Papa Roach
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

An underrated, beautiful movie.
30 June 2012 | by (Turkey) – See all my reviews

Pay It Forward is based on a plot that makes you think almost about everything -both while watching and after. There are elements that make you smile and cry, and the cast is very good at delivering the superb scenario. Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey surely do not disappoint and Haley Joel Osment performs perfect, giving everything one could expect from such a young actor. Jon Bon Jovi is the surprise among the cast and adds a nice flavor to an already delicious dish. From the beginning until the very end, the movie manages to touch somewhere deep in your heart, and although I did not the book it was based on, the plot makes a lot of sense in its entirety and shines with its originality. It does not come with numerous awards or an exceptionally high IMDb rating, but it really is a very good movie.

5 of 5 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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