6.7/10
29,527
249 user 118 critic

Apt Pupil (1998)

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

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
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Joey
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Sociology Teacher
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Nightmare Victim
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Monica Bowden
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Richard Bowden
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Victor Bowden
Marjorie Lovett ...
Agnes Bowden
David Cooley ...
Gym Teacher
Blake Anthony Tibbetts ...
Teammate
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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:

Crime | 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Editor / composer John Ottman actually did two cameos in the film, but both were cut. The first was reading the lines of the off-screen teacher, but his voicing of lines was substituted at the last minute by Christopher McQuarrie. He also had a cameo as the music teacher conducting the high-school band in the graduation scene but this was eliminated from the final cut. See more »

Goofs

After Dussander comes down the steps in the Nazi uniform, he approaches Todd and his hat switches hands between shots. See more »

Quotes

[Todd is trying to forge his father's signature for a reply to a letter from school]
Kurt Dussander: You're messing things up with that carbon paper.
Todd Bowden: Yeah, what do you know about it?
Kurt Dussander: [slaps his hand down on Todd's shoulder, Todd gets up and Dussander takes his place] Here, out of the way. I was forging documents before your parents were born.
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Connections

Referenced in An Interview with John Ottman (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)
Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Performed by Ian McKellen
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User Reviews

 
A psychological thriller
22 November 2004 | by (Drexel Hill, PA (USA)) – See all my reviews

Directed by Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects and both X-Men features), Apt Pupil is a story of adolescent curiosity and evil intentions. Ian McKellen (X-Men) plays the role of an aged, former Nazi soldier living alone in a quiet town with Brad Renfro (Sleepers) as a young, high school teenager in the search of finding the truth about Nazi life in wartime Germany.

Adapted from the Stephen King novella of the same name, Apt Pupil is a psychological thriller with an Alfred Hitchcock-like presence, leaving quite a bit to the viewer's imagination. Much like a game of cards, the action moves back and forth between characters, each trying to take control of one another. While Kurt Dussander (McKellen) wants to keep his past in the past, Todd Bowden (Renfro) keeps probing (and sometimes threatening) to unleash the stories of the reign of Hitler and the torture of the Jews.

While this movie is much like other Stephen King-adapted novels in the sense that it doesn't always translate well to the big screen (with all of the little nuances that made King famous), the superb acting and directing makes Apt Pupil a worthwhile venture into the nature of mental wickedness. Both Singer's vision and McKellen's portrayal of Nazi war criminal bring excitement and intrigue to this movie making it a must-see.


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Message Boards

Recent Posts
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
Brief contrast of this with Shawshank Redepmtion and Stand by Me hcruzado
I couldn't finish watching it. storey_12
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