6.7/10
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250 user 118 critic

Apt Pupil (1998)

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

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)

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ON DISC
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:

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$8,838,938 (USA) (1 January 1999)
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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

The main death camp in which Dussander is quoted as serving is stated to be "Patin", 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

At the end, the monitor shows a flat line and there's a solid tone, yet it still shows a bpm of 189 which then switches to and stays at 167. See more »

Quotes

Kurt Dussander: To have someone in your control. To have them know that they are alive only because you have not decided to the contrary. Do you have that power? Ask yourself. It's not an easy question, I think you know that.
Todd Bowden: You know this means we're through, don't you? You won't be seeing me around here anymore.
Kurt Dussander: No. I suppose I won't.
Todd Bowden: What are you doing?
[he's pouring two glasses of whiskey]
Kurt Dussander: This is the end. Here. A drink. To our lives together. The beginning and the end.
Todd Bowden: I think you should fuck yourself.
Kurt Dussander: Oh,...
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Tony's Analysis
Written by Van Alexander
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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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