6.7/10
29,525
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
...
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

Ian McKellen said that one of the things that convinced Bryan Singer to cast him as Dussander despite him being British, and considerably younger than the character, was when Singer raved to McKellen about about a performance by an actor he had recently seen in Cold Comfort Farm (1995), and McKellen informed him that he was the same actor he was talking about. 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. ...
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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

If you read the novella, don't bother
19 April 1999 | by (Victoria, BC) – See all my reviews

I read the novella in high school, and I found it scary, disturbing, and a real grabber - I couldn't put it down until I was done.

As for the movie version, I'm sorry to say it doesn't work. While there have been much worse Stephen King adaptations, this is still pretty weak. Someone else here said it's been sugarcoated, and I agree. It's been watered down so much, that character's actions that were easy to understand in the book become "Whaa - why did he do that?" here. The ending is the worst part - though I can understand why they may not have been able to recreate the novella's original ending onscreen, couldn't they have thought of a new ending that was better than the one they used here?

The acting is good, one of the few things that works here.

In short: if you have read the novella, do NOT watch this movie - you'll be horrified in a way the filmmakers didn't intend. The positive comments here seem to come from people who haven't read the novella. I still wouldn't recommend this movie even for non-readers, but if you must watch this movie, I strongly urge you to read the novella after you've seen the movie. It'll really open your eyes (in more ways than one), and you'll see how much better the movie could have been.


52 of 77 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
Brief contrast of this with Shawshank Redepmtion and Stand by Me hcruzado
I couldn't finish watching it. storey_12
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