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The Young Poisoner's Handbook (1995)

This film is based on a true story about a British teenager who allegedly poisoned family, friends, and co-workers. Graham is highly intelligent, but completely amoral. He becomes ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tobias Arnold ...
Young Graham
Norman Caro ...
Mr. Goez
Dorothea Alexander ...
Mrs. Goez
Paul Stacey ...
Samantha Edmonds ...
Robert Demeger ...
Mr. Dexter
Peter Pacey ...
Dickie Boone
Joost Siedhoff ...
Dr. Scott
Vilma Hollingbery ...
Aunty Panty
Uncle Jack


This film is based on a true story about a British teenager who allegedly poisoned family, friends, and co-workers. Graham is highly intelligent, but completely amoral. He becomes interested in science, especially chemistry, and begins to read avidly. Something of a social misfit, he is fascinated by morbid subjects such as poisons and murder. His family environment is intolerable to him and, in particular, his stepmother torments him. He decides to poison those who annoy him, first with antimony and later with thallium. He smugly thinks himself cleverer than all those around him, but nevertheless he is caught and sentenced to 'rehabilitation' at a psychiatric institution. Once there, he undertakes to deceive the new eminent psychiatrist sent there to 'cure' him, thereby securing his release. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Meet Graham. He's not your ordinary teenager. See more »


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for murders by poisoning, language and some nude photos | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

23 February 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Handbuch des jungen Giftmischers  »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


The story is based on the story of Graham Young, known locally as The Bovingdon Poisoner. See more »


When Dr. Zeigler visits the institution for mentally unstable criminals in which Graham is hospitalized, the director of the institution says, referred to another patient: "Vulpes pilum mutat, non mores", saying it means "The leopard never changes his spots". Graham corrects him, saying it means instead: "The wolf changes its fur, but not its nature". Actually, "vulpes" means "fox". See more »


Graham Young: I want to be the greatest poisoner the world has ever seen.
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Swedish Rhapsody
Composed by Hugo Alfvén
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User Reviews

A funny, witty, and creepy glimpse inside genius gone horribly wrong.
23 May 1999 | by See all my reviews

Director Benjamin Ross has done a terrific job creating a humorously warped view of life through the eyes of Graham Young, alienated boy genius and serial poisoner. Hugh O'Conor perfectly portrays Graham's carefully studied innocent appearance, which Graham constantly feigns lest anyone find out what he is really thinking in his twisted, calculating mind. O'Conor manages the tricky job of looking innocent enough to fool the other characters, but maniacal enough that the audience always knows what is going on.

Through Graham's eccentric (to say the least) point-of-view, we witness the painfully mundane Young family, the pitifully easy to fool psychiatric and medical community, and the pathetically simple-minded middle-class. Ross captures the comic disdain with which Graham sees his surroundings without disposing of the distance necessary to be horrified at Graham's "experiments" and the fate of his unwitting subjects.

Because of Ross' careful tightrope walking between distance from and intimacy with Graham, the audience can't fully fall under Graham's spell and sympathize completely with him. There are some gruesome scenes of people reacting to poison, but these are necessary to heighten the audience's horror at Graham's incapability to assess his own actions and to recognize his own evil. Ross gives us an entertaining, yet twisted, glimpse into genius gone wrong, without sensationalizing Graham as a hero.

It is also very hard to go out for drinks or coffee after seeing this movie.

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