7.5/10
61,877
440 user 117 critic

A Simple Plan (1998)

Three blue-collar acquaintances come across millions of dollars in lost cash and make a plan to keep their find from the authorities, but it isn't long before complications and mistrust weave their way into the plan.

Director:

Sam Raimi

Writers:

Scott B. Smith (novel), Scott B. Smith (screenplay)
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Popularity
4,790 ( 1,052)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Paxton ... Hank
Bridget Fonda ... Sarah
Billy Bob Thornton ... Jacob
Brent Briscoe ... Lou
Jack Walsh Jack Walsh ... Tom Butler
Chelcie Ross ... Carl
Becky Ann Baker ... Nancy Chambers
Gary Cole ... Baxter
Bob Davis ... FBI Agent Renkins
Peter Syvertsen ... FBI Agent Freemont
Tom Carey Tom Carey ... Dwight Stephanson
John Paxton ... Mr. Schmitt
Marie Mathay Marie Mathay ... News Reporter
Paul Magers Paul Magers ... Anchorman
Joan Steffand Joan Steffand ... Anchorwoman
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Storyline

Three diverse characters, for the most part intellectually challenged, find a deserted plane with a bag full of millions of dollars inside. They devise a simple plan to keep the money if no-one claims it. Ofcourse, nothing turns out simple... Written by Filmtwob <webmaster@filmfreak.co.za>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They've worked hard all their lives, but they still can't afford the American Dream. Stealing it is even better. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Laura Dern and Embeth Davidtz were both in contention for the part later taken by Bridget Fonda. See more »

Goofs

In an early scene, the Mitchells appear to look straight out their bedroom window to watch Jacob's pickup coming up the driveway, but a later outdoor shot of the house shows no front window that would provide quite that same view; further, the front windows are a different style. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Hank Mitchell: [narrating] When I was still just a kid, I remember my father telling me what he thought that it took for a man to be happy. Simple things, really. A wife he loves, a decent job, friends and neighbors who like and respect him. And for a while there, without hardly even realizing it, I had all that. I was a happy man.
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Connections

Referenced in Nostalgia Critic: Top 11 Dumbest Spiderman Moments (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
Traditional Scottish tune
Lyrics by Robert Burns
Arranged by Edrich Siebert
Courtesy of Associated Production Music
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User Reviews

 
Twisted, but exceptionally crafted.
4 January 1999 | by lordrobSee all my reviews

This is not the film to see if you're looking for a feel-good Hollywood anesthetic to cope with the end of the holiday season. If, however, you wish to experience a great film, then I highly recommend *A Simple Plan*. Its disturbing twist on the American dream may be too difficult for some--especially the very dark ending--but that is part of what makes the film such quality fare. Scott B. Smith's screenplay is tight and flawless. Sam Raimi's inspired direction may finally reveal to the rest of the film industry what fans of the Evil Dead trilogy have known for years: that, though his tongue is often firmly in his cheek, Raimi is a fine and grossly underrated filmmaker. Especially impressive is the way he and cinematographer Alar Kivilo approach the snow-covered landscapes. There is an immensity to the frozen wastelands of the film's crucial scenes that is almost worthy of David Lean. Also commendable is Raimi's skillful use of animals (among them crows and foxes) for symbolic purposes.

But the cast, not to be outdone by their crew, is equally notable. Billy Bob Thornton gives his best performance to date, surpassing even his award-winning role in *Sling Blade*. Bill Paxton is phenomenal as a straight-laced-family-man- turned sociopath, and Bridget Fonda's convincing portrayal of Paxton's determined wife complements him well.

Audiences at the screening I saw were commenting on the film's similarities to *Fargo* as they exited the theater, and seemed to belittle *A Simple Plan* for its lack of "originality." Granted, *A Simple Plan* is not entirely original. There are indeed vague shadows of *Fargo*, as well as *Macbeth* and Robert Frost, among others. But there is no such thing as an entirely original work, as great art is made by standing on the shoulders of giants. Make no mistake, this is NOT a cheap replay of *Fargo*. The differences are too numerous to note here, but suffice it to say that *A Simple Plan* is a great work in its own right, and deserves to be appreciated as such.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | Germany | France | USA | Japan

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 January 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Thousand Miles See more »

Filming Locations:

Ashland, Wisconsin, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$390,563, 13 December 1998

Gross USA:

$16,316,273

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,316,273
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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