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Simon Birch is a 1998 comedy-drama film loosely based on the novel A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. It was directed and written for the screen by Mark Steven Johnson. The film stars Ian Michael Smith, Joseph Mazzello, Ashley Judd, Oliver Platt and Jim Carrey. It omitted much of the latter half of the novel and altered the ending. The movie does not share the book's title at Irving's request; he did not believe that this novel could successfully be made into a film. The name "Simon Birch" was suggested by him to replace that of Owen Meany. The main plot centers around 12-year old Joe Wenteworth and his best friend Simon Birch.


  • Ian Michael Smith as Simon Birch: This was Ian Michael Smith's first and to-date-only role in film. He was chosen due to his small height caused by Morquio syndrome. His role in this film was suggested by a hospital worker in Chicagomarker. After his parents read through the novel (A Prayer for Owen Meany) they agreed to let him work on the film.
  • Joseph Mazzello as Joe Wenteworth
  • Ashley Judd as Rebecca Wenteworth: Originally, Sandra Bullock was considered to take the role.
  • Oliver Platt as Ben Goodrich
  • David Strathairn as Reverend Russell
  • Jim Carrey as Joe Wenteworth (Adult): Jim Carrey plays Joe as an adult at the beginning and end of the film.


Behind the scenes
The bus crash scene was filmed near Ontario's French River. The film's quarry scenes were shot at Elora, Ontariomarker. The church featured in many parts of the film is in Lunenburg, Nova Scotiamarker. Its black borders were painted white for the film. At the end of the film when it switches to the future, the borders are black.

Home media release

The film was released on VHS on November 2, 1999 and on DVD in 2002 (Region 1). The region 1 DVD contains a theatrical trailer.


Simon Birch features many songs from the 50s and 60s era. Babyface had written "You Were There" for the film. It was used in the ending credits and a music video was produced. There were also four score cues by Marc Shaiman. Not all score cues are available on the soundtrack, however.

The film's OST was released with the following songs (available on CD and cassette):
  1. "You Were There" - Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds
  2. "Bread and Butter" - The Newbeats
  3. "A Walkin' Miracle" - The Essex*
  4. "Mickey's Monkey" - Smokey Robinson / The Miracles
  5. "Can I Get a Witness" - Marvin Gaye
  6. "Fever" - Peggy Lee
  7. "Up on the Roof" - The Drifters
  8. "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag " - James Brown
  9. "The Nitty Gritty" - Shirley Ellis*
  10. "Nowhere to Run" - Martha and the Vandellas
  11. "It's All Right" - The Impressions
  12. "(Your Love Keeps Me) Higher And Higher" - Jackie Wilson*
  13. "Simon's Theme" - Marc Shaiman
  14. "Friends Forever" - Marc Shaiman
  15. "Simon's Birth" - Marc Shaiman
  16. "Life Goes On" - Marc Shaiman

*This song was not featured in the film.

Other songs featured in the film but not on the soundtrack are listed below:


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