IMDb > Pay It Forward (2000)
Pay It Forward
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Pay It Forward (2000) More at IMDbPro »

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Up 15% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Catherine Ryan Hyde (book)
Leslie Dixon (screenplay)
View company contact information for Pay It Forward on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 October 2000 (USA) See more »
Three imperfect people. One perfect idea. See more »
A young boy attempts to make the world a better place after his teacher gives him that chance. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
1 win & 4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A topnotch message heads a topnotch film See more (648 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Kevin Spacey ... Eugene Simonet

Helen Hunt ... Arlene McKinney

Haley Joel Osment ... Trevor McKinney

Jay Mohr ... Chris Chandler

Jim Caviezel ... Jerry

Jon Bon Jovi ... Ricky McKinney

Angie Dickinson ... Grace

David Ramsey ... Sidney Parker

Gary Werntz ... Mr. Thorsen
Colleen Flynn ... Woman on Bridge

Marc Donato ... Adam

Kathleen Wilhoite ... Bonnie

Liza Snyder ... Michelle

Jeannetta Arnette ... Nurse

Hannah Leder ... Thorsen's Daughter (as Hannah Werntz)

Tina Lifford ... Principal
Loren D. Baum ... Rough Kid #1
Nico Matinata ... Rough Kid #2

Zack Duhame ... Rough Kid #3

Shawn Pyfrom ... Shawn
Alexandra Kotcheff ... Alexandra

Bradley White ... Jordan
Christi Colombo ... Christi
Phillip D. Stewart ... Phillip (as Phillip Stewart)
Justin Parsons ... Justin
Myeshia Dejore Walker ... Myeshia
Brenae Suzanne Davey ... Brenae

Molly Kate Bernard ... Molly
Andrew Patrick Flood ... Andy
Tameila N. Turner ... Tameila
Julian Correa ... Julian

Carrie Ann Sullivan ... School Girl
Patricia Deanda ... Change Girl
Ryan Berti ... Hallway Kid #1
Gabriela Rivas ... Hallway Kid #2

Carrick O'Quinn ... Man in Window

Stephanie Feury ... Sandra

Bernard White ... Cop
Tom Bailey ... Liquid Man #1

Tim De Zarn ... Liquid Man #2 (as Tim Dezarn)

Jonathan Nichols ... Liquid Man #3
Ron Keck ... Lowlife #1
John Powers ... Lowlife #2

Bob McCracken ... Creepy Middle-Aged Man
Frank Whiteman ... Doctor

Eugene Osment ... Cop Who Gives Directions
Kendall Tenney ... Male Newscaster
Sue Tripathy ... Female Newscaster

Rusty Meyers ... News Stand Guy
Leslie Dilley ... The Governor
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Cynthia Ettinger ... (unconfirmed)
Joe Rampino ... Bar patron

Stacy Bellew ... School Girl (uncredited)
Johnny Drocco ... Stripper's Boyfriend (uncredited)

Jeremy Dunn ... Diner Patron (uncredited)

Sebastian Feldman ... Looky Lou (uncredited)
Ryan Keating ... Stranded Motorist (uncredited)

Lana Kinnear ... Dancer (uncredited)
Vampiro ... Vampiro (archive footage) (uncredited)
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Directed by
Mimi Leder 
Writing credits
Catherine Ryan Hyde (book)

Leslie Dixon (screenplay)

Produced by
Peter Abrams .... producer
Paddy Carson .... associate producer (as Paddy Sam Carson)
Robert L. Levy .... producer
Mary McLaglen .... executive producer
Steven Reuther .... producer
Jonathan Treisman .... executive producer
Original Music by
Thomas Newman 
Cinematography by
Oliver Stapleton (director of photography)
Film Editing by
David Rosenbloom 
Casting by
Geraldine Leder 
Production Design by
Leslie Dilley 
Art Direction by
Lawrence A. Hubbs  (as Larry Hubbs)
Set Decoration by
Peg Cummings 
Costume Design by
Renee Ehrlich Kalfus 
Makeup Department
Louis Lazzara .... makeup artist
Vivian McAteer .... makeup department head
Tania McComas .... key makeup artist
Matthew W. Mungle .... makeup prosthetics
Carol A. O'Connell .... hair stylist: Mr. Spacey (as Carol O'Connell)
Darrell Redleaf-Fielder .... hair stylist: Ms. Hunt (as Darrell Fielder)
Waldo Sanchez .... key hair stylist
Ronnie Specter .... makeup artist: Ms. Hunt (as Ronnie Spector)
Christine M. Steele .... assistant makeup artist (as Christine Steele)
Ryan McDowell .... prosthetic technician (uncredited)
Production Management
Scott Elias .... production supervisor
Mary McLaglen .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Steve Danton .... first assistant director
Paul Byrne Prenderville .... second second assistant director (as Paul Prenderville)
Brian Relyea .... second second assistant director: Las Vegas
David H. Venghaus Jr. .... second assistant director
Art Department
Marcos Alvarez .... set designer
Carlo Basail .... greens
Mick Cukurs .... set designer
China Fox .... assistant property master (as China Iwata)
Douglas Fox .... property master (as Doug Fox)
David Gabrielli .... construction general foreman
Nicholas C. John .... stand-by painter (as Nic John)
Stuart John .... construction foreman
Philip Keller .... storyboard artist
Melissa M. Levander .... auxilliary set decorator (as Melissa Levander)
David L. McGuire .... set dresser
Larry McGuire .... lead man
Laura M. O'Brien .... art department coordinator (as Laura O'Brien)
Marvin Salsberg .... construction coordinator
Mike Schenk .... on-set dresser (as Michael Schenk)
Gary Speckman .... set designer
Michael P. Sweeney .... assistant property master (as Michael Sweeney)
Bill Kincaid .... set dresser (uncredited)
Bruce G. Smith .... paint supervisor (uncredited)
Sound Department
Christopher S. Aud .... supervising sound editor (as Christopher Aud)
Kevin Bartnof .... foley artist
John Voss Bonds Jr. .... sound effects editor (as John Bonds)
Raul A. Bruce .... boom operator (as Raul Bruce)
David E. Campbell .... sound re-recording mixer (as David Campbell)
Jeffrey Cranford .... assistant sound editor (as Jeff Cranford)
Thom 'Coach' Ehle .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby
Patrick J. Foley .... dialogue editor
Terry Garcia .... assistant sound editor
Eric Gotthelf .... foley mixer
Catherine Harper .... foley artist
David L. Horton Jr. .... foley editor (as David H. Horton Jr.)
David M. Horton .... foley editor (as David M. Horton Sr.)
J. Paul Huntsman .... supervising sound editor
Lee Lemont .... adr editor
Mark Hopkins McNabb .... production sound mixer
Mark Morrell .... assistant sound editor
Thomas J. O'Connell .... adr mixer
John T. Reitz .... sound re-recording mixer (as John Rietz)
John F. Reynolds .... dialogue editor (as John Reynolds)
Gregg Rudloff .... sound re-recording mixer
James Simcik .... supervising adr editor
David Werntz .... sound effects editor
Jack Wolpa .... cable operator
Cody Dorkin .... adr (uncredited)
Mark Johnston .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Rodney M. Byrd .... special effects foreman (as Rod Byrd)
Burt Dalton .... special effects supervisor
Albert Delgado .... special effects
Visual Effects by
Lloyd Hess .... technical support (uncredited)
George Sakellariou .... production engineering: ILM (uncredited)
William H. Burton .... stunts
Chad Dashnaw .... stunts
Jeffrey J. Dashnaw .... stunt coordinator (as Jeff Dashnaw)
Brennan Dyson .... stunts
Debbie Evans .... stunts
Greg Harris .... stunts
Buddy Joe Hooker .... stunt coordinator (as Buddy Jo Hooker)
Norman Howell .... stunts
Johnny Martin .... stunt coordinator
Ralph W. Odum .... stunts (as Ralph Odum)
Kim Renee .... stunts (as Kim Reneé)
Debby Lynn Ross .... stunts (as Debby Ross Rondell)
Peter Weireter .... stunts (as Pete Weireter)
Dick Ziker .... stunts
Ryan Keating .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Stephen S. Campanelli .... Steadicam operator (as Stephen Campanelli)
Stephen S. Campanelli .... camera operator (as Stepehn Campanelli)
Bill Coe .... first assistant camera (as William Coe)
J. Patrick Daily .... key grip
Isaac Friedman .... second assistant camera: "b" camera
Barry Idoine .... first assistant camera: "b" camera
David James .... still photographer
Dwight Joseph Lavers .... dolly grip
Chris Lombardi .... camera operator: "b" camera
Michael McGuire .... key rigging grip
Charlie McIntyre .... key rigging lighting technician
Bobby McMahan .... second assistant camera
Scott Andrew Ressler .... first assistant camera: "b" camera (as Scott Ressler)
John 'Fest' Sandau .... assistant chief lighting technician
James R. Tynes .... chief lighting technician
Tom West .... second grip
Ismael Araujo Jr. .... grip (uncredited)
Greg Argarin .... lighting technician (uncredited)
James F. Cornick .... rigging technician (uncredited)
Eric Vincent Cruse .... grip (uncredited)
Neal Eldridge .... electrician (uncredited)
Bruce 'Sarge' Fleskes .... rigging electrician (uncredited)
Chris Funk .... rigging electrician (uncredited)
Steve Galloway .... additional playback (uncredited)
Lamarr Gray .... rigging electrician (uncredited)
John Johnson .... additional still photographer (uncredited)
Jesse Mather .... lighting technician (uncredited)
Colin Mayo .... lighting programmer (uncredited)
Charles 'Chaz' Norcross .... grip (uncredited)
Shayna Ritenour .... camera loader (uncredited)
Brian Rosso .... grip (uncredited)
David Schmalz .... second video assist operator (uncredited)
Jeremy Settles .... electrician (uncredited)
Cricket Sloat .... rigging assistant chief lighting technician (uncredited)
Tony Varuola .... electrician (uncredited)
Steven J. Winslow .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Steven J. Winslow .... camera technician: Wescam camera (uncredited)
Casting Department
Stacey Bunch .... casting assistant
Jessie Disla .... casting assistant
Jimmy Jue .... extras casting (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Candice Canty .... costumer: Las Vegas crew
Tangi Crawford .... costumer
Lynda Foote .... costume supervisor
Kimmie Furlong .... costumer: Ms. Hunt (as Kim Furlong)
Nadine Haders .... costumer
Dennis McCarthy .... costumer
Elizabeth Shelton .... associate costume designer (uncredited)
Jack Taggart .... costume ager/dyer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Mo Henry .... negative cutter
David Orr .... color timer
Gregory Plotkin .... first assistant editor
Siobhan Prior .... second assistant editor
Richmond Riedel .... first assistant editor
Music Department
Bill Bernstein .... music editor
Jordan Corngold .... assistant music editor
Joel Iwataki .... music scoring mixer
Norman Ludwin .... musician : uncredited
Thomas Pasatieri .... orchestrator
G. Marq Roswell .... music supervisor
George Doering .... musician (uncredited)
Jim Dunbar .... music consultant (uncredited)
k.d. lang .... musician (uncredited)
Yvonne McDonald .... music coordinator (uncredited)
Christopher S. Parker .... music clearances (uncredited)
Jane Siberry .... musician (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Lee Garibaldi .... transportation captain
Tommy Tancharoen .... transportation coordinator
Gil Amaral .... driver (uncredited)
Karen K. Chang .... transportation office coordinator (uncredited)
Everett Everett .... driver (uncredited)
Buddy Hunter .... driver (uncredited)
Thomas O'Donnell .... driver: production van (uncredited)
Jerry Sidwell .... driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Donna Armstrong .... first aid: Las Vegas
Herach Arzounian .... first aid: Las Vegas
Stacey Berns .... assistant: Ms. Hunt (as Stacy Berns)
Jenifer Bonisteel .... staff assistant
Judith M. Brown .... studio teacher (as Judith Brown)
Kayce Brown .... staff assistant
Dana Brunetti .... assistant: Mr. Spacey
Candice D. Campos .... assistant production coordinator
Lois Carl .... studio teacher
Amy Carrelli .... production secretary: Las Vegas crew (as Amy Carelli)
Richard Cody .... craft service (as Rich Cody)
Brett Doogan .... craft service: Las Vegas crew
Michelle Fitch .... staff assistant
Michael Garrity .... assistant: Ms. Leder
Nancy Haecker .... assistant location manager: Las Vegas crew
Denise Heinrich .... production coordinator
Dori Kancher .... assistant: Ms. McLaglen
Troy Kramer .... craft service: Las Vegas crew
Kevin LaRosa .... pilot
Adria Later .... studio teacher
David R. Lawson .... first aid
Stevie Lazo .... production accountant
Cary 'C.P.' Levine .... production secretary
Maggie Mancuso .... location manager: Las Vegas crew
Todd A. Marks .... display graphics supervisor
Shaun M. McGovern .... assistant accountant
Jeanmarie Murphy-Burke .... unit publicist
Elaine Patarini .... assistant location manager
Michelle Pinkney .... assistant: Mr. Abrams
Julie Pitkanen .... script supervisor
Angie Popko .... staff assistant
Ferguson Reid .... first aid
Brigette Roux-Lough .... assistant: Mr. Reuther
Nicholas Savalas .... location assistant: Las Vegas crew
Jeffrey Schwartz .... staff assistant
Hallie Sirota .... assistant: Mr. Levy
Sara Burton .... location scout (uncredited)
Wil E. Cano .... executive assistant (uncredited)
Sean Carville .... second assistant accountant (uncredited)
Ricky Cuevas .... assistant accountant (uncredited)
Michael Fine .... set medic (uncredited)
Lisa Hatch .... production assistant (uncredited)
Joyce Heftel .... script supervisor: pre-timing (uncredited)
Cody Jarrett .... stand-in: Jon Bon Jovi (uncredited)
Ryan Keating .... photo double: Kevin Spacey (uncredited)
Ryan Keating .... stand-in: Kevin Spacey (uncredited)
John Kirby .... acting coach: Mr. Caviezel (uncredited)
Brie Larson .... adr loop group (uncredited)
Logan Newell .... stand-in (uncredited)
Ronald M. Ortiz .... production assistant (uncredited)
Liz Probst .... payroll accountant (uncredited)
Scott Rorie .... set production assistant (uncredited)
Dan Talbott .... production assistant: Portland second unit (uncredited)
Chris Winn .... craft service (uncredited)
J.P. Guerin .... special thanks
Roberta Holton .... special thanks (as Dr. Roberta Holton)
Kristi Kolunda .... special thanks
Carol Leavitt .... special thanks
Frank Lucero .... special thanks
Timothy A. Miller .... special thanks (as Dr. Timothy A. Miller)
Andrew Panay .... special thanks
Crew believed to be complete

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements including substance abuse/recovery, some sexual situations, language and brief violence
123 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

At one moment, a poster on the wall in Trevor's bedroom can be seen. It displays Goldberg, a famous professional wrestler, at the time wrestling in WCW.See more »
Crew or equipment visible: Just before Eugene reveals his childhood story to Arlene, Eugene steps out of his car. The camera man and the light from his camera is reflected in the window and door of the car.See more »
Trevor McKenney:Are you saying you'll flunk us if we don't change the world?
Eugene:Well, no. But you might just scrape by with a C.
See more »
Movie Connections:
You Gotta MoveSee more »


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38 out of 49 people found the following review useful.
A topnotch message heads a topnotch film, 3 October 2003
Author: JohnnyPhoenix ( from Ottawa, Canada

Pay It Forward

Everyone says they want to make the world a better place and young Trevor McKinney is no exception. Only he isn't just using words, he is using an idea. What would happen if three people were given a favor and, instead of paying it back, they paid it forward?

Trevor is an intelligent and caring young boy who has seen first hand that the world can be a very unkind place. When his mother, Arlene, isn't out working long hours she is home drinking her sorrows away. Trevor's father is an even worse drunk who has only taught Trevor the value of neglect and abuse. School is no picnic either, as the school bully sees little Trevor as a particularly good mark. Just when things couldn't look any worse for Trevor, something happens. While in class one day, Trevor's new teacher, Mr. Simonet, asks the class to involve themselves in a project, to find something that each of them can do to make the world a better place. While most children come up with heart felt but mostly implausible ideas, Trevor comes up with something special. What if he gave out three random favors to three individuals in need, and instead of paying him back they passed on three favors to someone else, and then those people did the same? Would it change people's lives or would the chain break shortly down the line? Eager to see his idea blossom, Trevor begins his project and thus starts a train of events with such impact that no one, not even Trevor, could have imagined its results.

Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment star in the big screen adaptation of the Catherine Ryan Hyde novel, Pay it Forward. Spacey is his usual golden self as the horribly disfigured but highly intellectual schoolteacher, Eugene Simonet. Although not a tremendous character actor, Spacey does have great screen presence and is one of the kings of emotional acting, as everyone has most likely already seen in such films as Seven and The Usual Suspects. In this film his acting is so real and emotional that for a while I was calling Mr. Spacey Eugene. Helen Hunt once again graces filmgoers with her role as Trevor's troubled mom, Arlene. I don't have enough time to go over how talented Ms. Hunt is, so, as to not get caught up in repetition, I will just say that her quality acting and perfect delivery are once again displayed in this film as she plays a very real woman with very real problems. Now I usually really can't stand seeing young children in movies as lead characters because I can't stand the fact of Hollywood constantly exploiting them for their "cuteness", but this Haley Joel Osment continues to baffle me. I can't understand how, at his age, Osment can be an emotional acting genius. He surprised me in Sixth Sense but in Pay it Forward he blew me away. He understands the concepts of timing and emotion, and is not used to cuten up this film but to actually take charge of it, which he does just as well as any actor far ahead of him in years. Of special mention to fans of quality acting, Frequency's Jim Caviezel turns in another brilliant performance as a homeless drug addict who is taken care of by Trevor as part of the his Pay it Forward project.

To compliment the talented cast is talented director Mimi Leder, whose earlier works include the George Clooney and Nicole Kidman thriller The Peacemaker, and Morgan Freeman's Deep Impact. In Pay it Forward Leder does a near perfect job of directing a story with a lot of depth and realism. Leder keeps the flow of the film interesting and doesn't let the film get caught up in boring or uninspired dialogue, but that could be because the material and ideas she had to work with were so captivating, either way I won't complain. Leslie Dixon should also be thanked because her screenplay was intelligent and really holds your interest and won't let go. The only two gripes I had with this film were that I didn't find enough attention was paid to the actual Pay it Forward idea, and a few minutes near the film's end really downed me and threw off kilter the film's feel good aspect.

My final observation on Pay it Forward is that not only is it a more than worthwhile film, it also promotes a truly inspiring and powerful message that really reminds you about the good in the world and the changes just one individual can make. Seeing this kind of message is really something everyone can enjoy so, as can be told, I would certainly recommend this film to anyone. In my humble opinion, watching this great piece of film work truly seems a favor and anyone that takes my recommendation and agrees, please don't pay me back by thanking me for telling you about it, when your done viewing just tell three friends about it and Pay it Forward.

Overall Rating: 8 out of 10

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Pay It Forward (2000)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Did anyone ever have 7th grade teacher like that? MBasler89
Arlene`s mother got it all wrong. mistershankly
This movie was only... forestier3
a better ending rutica
filmed at my school Taylorrr04
CRUCIAL questions about the ending CorleoneFan
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