MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 1,427 this week

Apt Pupil (1998)

 -  Drama | Thriller  -  23 October 1998 (USA)
6.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.7/10 from 26,811 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)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: March

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in March.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 42 titles
created 13 Dec 2012
 
a list of 35 titles
created 02 Apr 2013
 
a list of 27 titles
created 02 Apr 2013
 
a list of 46 titles
created 8 months ago
 
a list of 27 titles
created 3 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Apt Pupil" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Apt Pupil (1998)

Apt Pupil (1998) on IMDb 6.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Apt Pupil.

User Polls

6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Public Access (1993)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Brewster seems to be an almost too perfect example of idyllic small-town America, with everyone living in peace and harmony. So when newcomer Whiley Pritcher starts up his own local cable ... See full summary »

Director: Bryan Singer
Stars: Ron Marquette, Bert Williams, Leigh Hunt
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The last days of Frankenstein director James Whale are explored.

Director: Bill Condon
Stars: Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser, Lynn Redgrave
Collector (2008)
Short | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Justin Sayer suffers from a mental illness which causes vivid hallucinations. The voices in his head have caused him to isolate himself from the world and from his two year old son. After ... See full summary »

Director: Dempsey Tillman
Stars: Matthew Boylan, Brad Renfro
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A big-city reporter travels to the small town where her mother has been arrested for the murder of an elderly woman that she works for as a maid.

Director: Taylor Hackford
Stars: Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Plummer
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A widowed mother and her son change when a mysterious stranger enters their lives.

Director: Scott Hicks
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Anton Yelchin, Hope Davis
Crime | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A mysterious new shop opens in a small town which always seems to stock the deepest desires of each shopper, with a price far heavier than expected.

Director: Fraser Clarke Heston
Stars: Max von Sydow, Ed Harris, Bonnie Bedelia
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A reporter is on the trail of a vampiric murderer who travels by plane.

Director: Mark Pavia
Stars: Miguel Ferrer, Julie Entwisle, Dan Monahan
Bully (2001)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Based on a true story. Naive teenagers plot to murder one of their own, who has been too much of a bully to them.

Director: Larry Clark
Stars: Brad Renfro, Nick Stahl, Bijou Phillips
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

When a man finds out his mother is dying and tries to hitchike his way to the hospital, he is picked up by a stranger with a deadly secret.

Director: Mick Garris
Stars: Jonathan Jackson, David Arquette, Barbara Hershey
Thinner (1996)
Comedy | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A lawyer is cursed by a gypsy to lose weight...and lose weight...and lose weight...

Director: Tom Holland
Stars: Joe Mantegna, Robert John Burke, Lucinda Jenney
Emile (2003)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In a story weaving the past and present together, Emile seeks redemption from the family he abandoned.

Director: Carl Bessai
Stars: Ian McKellen, Deborah Kara Unger, Theo Crane
Apt Pupil (1987)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Director: Alan Bridges
Stars: Ricky Schroder, Nicol Williamson
Edit

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
...
Edit

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:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The main death camp in which Dussander is quoted as serving is stated to be "Paton", which was not an actual extermination camp used by the Nazis. Based on Dussander's descriptions, the camp most closing matching his narrative is "Maly Trostenets", located near Minsk and mainly used to kill Russian Jews as well as Jews deported from Germany. See more »

Goofs

A 3-point line is visible on the school's basketball court. The setting of the movie is 1984 and the 3-point line wasn't introduced to the high school game until 1987. See more »

Quotes

Kurt Dussander: [seeing his SS uniform purchased by Todd] Mary, Mother of God!
See more »

Connections

Features The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Das Ist Berlin
Music by Leo Leux & Matthias Perl (as Matthias Perl)
Lyrics by Hans Hannes & Bruno Balz
Performed by Liane Augustin (as Liane) & The Boheme Bar Trio
Courtesy of Omega Record Group, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Learning to be evil
5 February 2009 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

Stephen King's Apt Pupil, which is part of the novella collection Different Seasons (alongside the stories that inspired The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me), is a valid example of how you don't need things to be openly supernatural to have a good scary tale: a "human" incarnation of pure evil will do just as fine, and few images are more effective than those of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis during WWII.

Okay, minor correction: WWII has virtually nothing to do with this story, given it takes place in 1984. There is a Nazi involved, though: his name is Kurt Dussander (Ian McKellen), but he's been living quite peacefully in your average American neighborhood under the name Arthur Denker. However, a young boy named Todd Bowden (Brad Renfro from the Grisham-inspired The Client) manages to uncover the old man's real identity thanks to some thorough research and tells him about the discovery. The unexpected thing is, Todd doesn't want to report Dussander to the police. What he really wants is to learn everything - and he repeatedly emphasizes the word "everything" - about the former Nazi's work under Hitler's regime. Soon enough, the perverse bond between the two starts affecting the boy's grades and behavior, and Dussander isn't unaffected either: somewhere deep inside lies the old Nazi, and that part of his personality would like to come out and play.

The film's screenplay sticks quite faithfully to the basic idea of King's story and reproduces some of the most famous scenes verbatim (except for one moment of animal cruelty, which had to be softened), although a few subplots are excised, presumably for the sake of length and pace. The downside of that is an occasional lack of detail, especially when it comes to the development of Renfro's character. Director Bryan Singer, who obviously found himself in an uncomfortable position to begin with, having to live up to the success of The Usual Suspects, makes up for this flaw by constructing a genuinely tense and unnerving atmosphere, adding to the moral ambiguity by highlighting the homosexual subtext already present in the book (when Todd tells Dussander to f*ck himself, the latter replies: "My dear boy, can't you see? We're f*cking each other.").

Acting-wise, the limelight is inevitably placed on the leading duo, even if the supporting cast, which includes fine character actors like Bruce Davison and Elias Koteas, is quite strong (with the exception of David "Ross" Schwimmer, who isn't entirely at ease in a serious role). Renfro's performance is solid and captivating enough, but like his character he is completely overshadowed by the superb, unsettling McKellen, who inhabits the role of Dussander with his usual Shakespearean grandeur. Case in point: the unforgettable moment when the old man is forced to wear an old SS uniform Todd got his hands on. McKellen carries out the assignment with the dignity of a great tragic thespian, nailing the scene as one of the essential samples of his film career.

Apt Pupil distances itself from The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me in that it isn't as accomplished, most notably when it comes to the inevitable book/film comparison. Then again, it tells a much darker story, which asks the audience to root for a psychotic teenager and an aging Nazi. Flawed it may be, but it certainly is interesting (not to mention carried by an astounding McKellen). It is indeed a different season.


18 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
A terrible film. jeremy3
Who else felt really bad for the homeless man? arkayenether
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
Discuss Apt Pupil (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?