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

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)

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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:

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

When Dussander is arrested in the hospital, the film displays a newspaper article which reveals that Dussander was independently wealthy and lived off of a "small personal fortune", seemingly to explain how Dussander was able to live by himself with no outward source of income. In Stephen King's original written story, Dussander's wealth is explained one step further: mainly that in the 1950s he had bribed a banker in Maine to purchase several stocks and bonds under an assumed name. Dussander would later tell Tod Bowden that the banker's name was Andy and was later sent to jail for killing his wife. The banker was in fact Andy Dufresne, the main character of The Shawshank Redemption (1994) which Stephen King also wrote. See more »

Goofs

When Todd gives Danker(Dussander) the uniform, he is wearing a blue sweater over a red shirt. Minutes later when Danker comes down stairs wearing the uniform, Todd's sweater is missing and he's just in the red polo. See more »

Quotes

Kurt Dussander: [seeing the SS uniform Todd has bought for him] Mary, Mother of God!
See more »


Soundtracks

Prelude And Liebestod
from Tristan Und Isolde
Written by Richard Wagner
Performed by Charles Münch (as Charles Munch) and The Boston Symphony Orchestra
Courtesy of BMG Classics/RCA Victor
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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.


41 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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
I couldn't finish watching it. storey_12
Would Todd have gone nuts if he hadn't met Kurt Dussander? Frisky_Kitty2025
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