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Apt Pupil (1998)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  23 October 1998 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 27,249 users   Metascore: 51/100
Reviews: 249 user | 111 critic | 21 from Metacritic.com

A boy blackmails his neighbour after suspecting him to be a Nazi war criminal.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: Apt Pupil (1998)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Joey
...
Sociology Teacher
...
Nightmare Victim
...
Monica Bowden
...
Richard Bowden
...
Victor Bowden
Marjorie Lovett ...
Agnes Bowden
David Cooley ...
Gym Teacher
Blake Anthony Tibbetts ...
Teammate
...
Becky Trask
Katherine Malone ...
Student
Grace Sinden ...
Secretary
...
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Storyline

Neighborhood boy Todd Bowden (Renfro) discovers that an old man living on his block named Arthur Denker (Mackellan) is Nazi war criminal. Bowden confronts Denker and offers him a deal: Bowden will not go to the authorities if Denker tells him stories of the concentration camps in WWII. Denker agrees and Bowden starts visiting him regularly. The more stories Bowden hears, the more it affects his personality. Written by Casey Ward <ward@citizen.infi.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If you don't believe in the existence of evil, you've got a lot to learn.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for scenes of strong violence, language and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

23 October 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El aprendiz  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,583,151 (USA) (23 October 1998)

Gross:

$8,838,938 (USA) (1 January 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(8 channels)|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ironically, Ian McKellen would go on to play Erik "Magneto" Lehnsherr in Bryan Singer's next film X-Men (2000), a Jewish character who was persecuted during the holocaust. See more »

Goofs

At the dinner scene the man points at a deer head on the wall and says, "that's a white tail buck". The deer head is in fact a mule deer and not a white tail deer. See more »

Quotes

Todd Bowden: All great achievements arose from dissatisfaction. It is the desire to do better, to dig deeper that propels a civilization to greatness. All of us have heard the story of Icarus, the young boy who took the wings his father built for him. Wings that were meant to carry him over the ocean to freedom and used them instead for a joyride. For a brief moment Icarus felt what it was like to live like a god, to touch the sun, to soar above the common man. And for doing so he payed the ultimate price. ...
See more »

Connections

Features The Jeffersons (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Tristan Und Isolde
Written by Richard Wagner
Performed by Carlos Kleiber and The Bayeurth Festival Orchestra
Courtesy of Koch International by arrangement with Source/Q
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User Reviews

 
Original, Intriguing
19 November 2006 | by (Manitoba, Canada) – See all my reviews

A teenage boy befriends an elderly man. During countless discussions over many a night, they form a special friendship that manages to bridge their considerable age gap. It would sound like a sweet character study if the old man wasn't a Nazi war criminal and the teen wasn't a Holocaust-obsessed recluse blackmailing his new pal for all the gory details.

APT PUPIL scores the highest marks for originality. Nothing ever quite like this has been done before, and it's all quite intriguing. In the beginning, we come close to feeling sorry for the old man despite his past misdeeds. Here is he living out his golden years in peace and seclusion when all of a sudden a pushy teenager threatens to blow his cover. As the tale progresses, we see that the elder is just as conniving as the boy, threatening simply to expose their friendship, forever linking the young man with unimaginable notoriety. What starts out as a bizarre acquaintance escalates into a duel of manipulation.

It's not surprising that APT PUPIL is based on a novella by Stephen King. The film bears many of the hallmarks of King's works. And while it's never actually scary, it is thrilling at a psychological level that King reaches best. It's not perfect, but with the skilled direction of Bryan Singer and solid performances by leads Brad Renfro and Ian McKellen, it generally accomplishes what it sets out to do.

You don't have to be a horror person or a teenager at a late night party to enjoy APT PUPIL. The film has a unique appeal beyond what its target audience may have been. If you missed it when it was released in 1998 (as many did, based on its limited commercial success), it's certainly worth a look.


15 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Who else felt really bad for the homeless man? arkayenether
A terrible film. jeremy3
For all the people that worry a real cat was harmed in this film... krasnyoktyabr
How much like the book? Gorgeous_Mistake
Is this just a short story or is a novel? jesy-1
I couldn't finish watching it. storey_12
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