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Paycheck (2003)

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What seemed like a breezy idea for an engineer to net him millions of dollars, leaves him on the run for his life and piecing together why he's being chased.



(short story), (screenplay)
4,182 ( 509)
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rita Dunne
Christopher Kennedy ...
Agent Fuman
Agent Mitchell
Jude - Guard


Michael Jennings is a reverse engineer and what he does is technical jobs for certain companies and as soon as he is done, his memory of the work he has done is wiped out. Now the longest he has been contracted is 2 months. But now billionaire, James Rethrick offers him a job that would last 2 years, maybe 3, and he promises that he will probably earn 8 figures. Michael agrees. Before beginning he turns in all of his personal effects. And when the job is done, his memory is erased and he learns he made over 90 million dollars over the three years. When he goes to claim it and his personal effects, he discovers that prior to the erasure of his memory he waived his rights to the money he earned and that the items that were given to him were not the ones he gave when he began. Later he is arrested by the FBI who say that he committed some act of treason and murder. It's while he is in custody that he escapes using some the items that he was given. He later meets with a friend who gives ... Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The future depends on a past he was paid to forget. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense action violence and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 December 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El pago  »

Box Office


$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,462,374 (USA) (26 December 2003)


$53,789,313 (USA) (26 March 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Just before Michael starts his second project he comments on the Red Sox making the World Series. Although this film was released in 2003 - it is set in 2004 and accurately predicts the Red Sox making the World Series, although it incorrectly predicts that they would lose. See more »


The "checkpoint" from where Michael's memory was supposed to be erased after finishing his first job is shown in a monitor as him walking with the box under his arm. However, he wouldn't have this image in his brain, but instead one from his own point of view. See more »


[first lines]
Holographic Woman: It's time to wake up... and get a life. We live in a 3-dimensional world. Until now, the world of computing has been a flat world, consisting of 2-dimensional imagery. Now, through the use of exclusive breakthrough technology, ARC has made it possible for you to get a life. A-Life, where we can work and play in a lifelike world of 3-dimensional reality. A-Life, the living monitor.
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Featured in Retrofitting 'Paycheck' (2004) See more »


Minute Waltz in D Flat Major Op. 64 No. 1
by Frédéric Chopin
Performed by Lincoln Mayorga
Courtesy of Townhall Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Better than I thought
1 January 2004 | by (Wisconsin) – See all my reviews

I went in to this film with relatively low expectations. Other reviews I had read led me to believe that this was a cookie cutter, run of the mill, made for tv-esque amnesia story. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The main plot of most amnesia types is trying to find out who they are and why someone erased their memory. With Paycheck, however, our protagonist already knows why his memory was erased, and since it's only been three years, he of course knows who he is.

The plot device is that at the end of this little memory wipe he's supposed to be 92 million dollars plus richer. Imagine his surprise when he finds out he's forfeit the money, and instead mailed himself some apparently worthless junk. Oh, and the company that hired him is trying to kill him.

This is what a Sci Fi movie should be, relying on an interesting premise, with future predictions based on current technology. Sci Fi is not space with explosions every five minutes.

Although there are a few minor plot holes, I found the movie very engaging, and thought the acting was competent, to say the least. Those who enjoyed Minority Report might also like Paycheck. It's worth a look.


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