American History X (1998)
His father taught him to hate. His friends taught him rage. His enemies gave him hope.
IMDb Rating 8.6 (168,994 votes) Top 250: #40
Front Cover Actor Back Cover
Edward Norton Derek Vinyard
Edward Furlong Danny Vinyard
Beverly D'Angelo Doris Vinyard
Avery Brooks Dr. Bob Sweeney
Jennifer Lien Davina Vinyard
Ethan Suplee Seth Ryan
Stacy Keach Cameron Alexander
Fairuza Balk Stacey
Elliott Gould Murray
Guy Torry Lamont
James Furlong
Perhaps the highest compliment you can pay to Edward Norton is that his Oscar-nominated performance in American History X nearly convinces you that there is a shred of logic in the tenets of white supremacy. If that statement doesn't horrify you, it should; Norton is so fully immersed in his role as a neo-Nazi skinhead that his character's eloquent defense of racism is disturbingly persuasive--at least on the surface. Looking lean and mean with a swastika tattoo and a mind full of hate, Derek Vinyard (Norton) has inherited racism from his father, and that learning has been intensified through his service to Cameron (Stacy Keach), a grown-up thug playing tyrant and teacher to a growing band of disenfranchised teens from Venice Beach, California, all hungry for an ideology that fuels their brooding alienation.

The film's basic message--that hate is learned and can be unlearned--is expressed through Derek's kid brother, Danny (Edward Furlong), whose sibling hero-worship increases after Derek is imprisoned (or, in Danny's mind, martyred) for the killing of two black men. Lacking Derek's gift of rebel rhetoric, Danny is easily swayed into the violent, hateful lifestyle that Derek disowns during his thoughtful time in prison. Once released, Derek struggles to save his brother from a violent fate, and American History X partially suffers from a mix of intense emotions, awkward sentiment, and predictably inevitable plotting. And yet British director Tony Kaye (who would later protest against Norton's creative intervention during post-production) manages to juggle these qualities--and a compelling clash of visual styles--to considerable effect. No matter how strained their collaboration may have been, both Kaye and Norton can be proud to have created a film that addresses the issue of racism with dramatically forceful impact. --Jeff Shannon

Movie Details
Genre Drama
New Line Home Entertainment
Movie Release Date 10/30/1998
Country   USA
Language English
Audience Rating R (Restricted)
User Text 1 Graphic brutal violence including rape, pervasive language, strong sexuality and nudity.
Running Time 119 mins
Color Color
Features Interactive Menus
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Director Tony Kaye
Writer David McKenna
Cinematography Tony Kaye
User Credit 2 Douglas Hall; Doug Hall
Producer John Morrissey; Bill Carraro; Michael De Luca
User Credit 1 Gerald B. Greenberg; Alan Heim
Musician Anne Dudley
Edition Details
Region 1
Screen Ratio 1.85:1
Format DVD
Layers Single Side, Single Layer
Barcode 794043473920
Chapters 36
Release Date 4/6/1999
Subtitles English
Packaging Snap Case
Audio Tracks English Dolby Digital 5.1
Nr of Disks/Tapes 1
Personal Details
Seen It Yes
Index 31
Collection Status In Collection
Tags Right Wing, Kiss On The Cheek, Crying, Extreme Violence, Eldest Child
Filming Locations:
Johnie's Coffee Shop - 6101 Wilshire Boulevard, Fairfax, Los Angeles, California, USA (more)

According to the book Cinematic Century, Tony Kaye's lawsuit against the studio over the use of his name in the credits was for $275 million. (more)

Continuity: During the basketball game, a member of the crowd is present and then is not there between shots. (more)

Cameron: You made the fat kid a little nervous. He thinks the joint messed with your mind.
Derek Vinyard: It did.

Nominated for Oscar. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations (more)

Movie Connections:
Referenced in Garotas do ABC (2003) (more)

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