A Simple Plan is a 1998 neo-noir crime thriller film directed by Sam Raimi and written by Scott B. Smith, based on Smith's 1993 novel of the same name. The film stars Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, and Bridget Fonda. Set in rural Minnesota, the story follows brothers Hank (Paxton) and Jacob Mitchell (Thornton), who, along with Jacob's friend Lou (Brent Briscoe), discover a crashed plane containing $4.4 million in cash. The three men and Hank's wife Sarah (Fonda) go to great lengths to keep the money a secret but begin to doubt each other's trust, resulting in lies, deceit and murder.
Development of the film began in 1993 before the novel was published. Mike Nichols purchased the film rights, and the project was picked up by Savoy Pictures. After Nichols stepped down, the film adaptation became mired in development hell, with Ben Stiller and John Dahl turning down opportunities to direct it. After Savoy closed in November 1997, the project was sold to Paramount Pictures. John Boorman was hired to direct, but scheduling conflicts led to his replacement by Raimi. An international co-production between the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan, the film was financed by Mutual Film Company, its investors and Newmarket Capital Group, which allocated a budget of $17 million. Principal photography began in January 1998 and concluded in March after 55 days of filming in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The score was produced and composed by Danny Elfman.
A Simple Plan premiered at the 1998 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was met with critical acclaim. The film's appearance at the festival preceded a limited release in the United States on December 11, 1998, followed by a general release in North America on January 22, 1999. It underperformed at the North American box office, grossing $16.3 million. Reviewers praised various aspects of the film's production, including the storytelling, performances and Raimi's direction. A Simple Plan earned multiple awards and nominations, among them two Academy Award nominations, one for Best Supporting Actor (Thornton) and one for Best Adapted Screenplay (Smith).