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American History X (1998) Poster

Goofs

Errors in geography 

In the flashback to Dennis Vinyard's death, it is stated that he was an LA County Firefighter. In the flashback scene with Danny at the breakfast table, Dennis Vinyard has an eagle on the badge. The Los Angeles County Fire Department has a bear on the badge. The Los Angeles (city) Fire Department has an eagle.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

In the black vs. white basketball game, Derek makes a shot and then Seth says, "Should've passed it to me I was wide open." His mouth doesn't match these words.
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When Danny is printing his essay, the ink-jet printer makes a dot-matrix sound.
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When the two brothers are sitting in the bedroom and Danny gets up off the bed, you hear him talking to Derek but his mouth is not moving.
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Boom mic visible 

When Dr. Sweeney is telling Danny to do a report on Derek, the reflection of the boom mic is clearly visible in the glass window of a cabinet behind Sweeney's head.
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When Derek is confronting Cameron in his office at the party, the shadow of the boom mic is clearly visible on the wall and on the floor on the right side of the screen, following the actors as they talk.
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Continuity 

When Seth is spitting out the jelly beans just before he and Derek are about to leave the Vinyard home, you can see assorted colors shoot out of Seths mouth. Although, just a second before, the bowl was filled with all white jelly beans and one black ones until Seth picks out the black one and tosses it.
When the family is fighting around the dinner table and it gets so bad that everybody is standing and yelling at each other, Derek's mom pulls on his shirt, opening up several snaps or buttons. When the scene is ending, Derek opens up his shirt by pulling it open quickly, but all of the buttons or snaps are closed again for this effect.
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As Derek and Danny are leaving the coffee shop, Daniel's hands are empty when he tells Sweeney he'll have the paper ready, however a moment later, Danny has a bag and a drink in his hands.
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When the police officer is pulling Derek off the ground after the shooting, he has his right arm over Derek's chest. In the next shot, he has his left arm, and then in the next shot his right arm again. (This is the second flashback to this incident, occurring about 1 hour into the film.)
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When Derek and Danny are in the dining room, after Derek mades Seth leave the room, Danny's cigarette length changes from long to short, then to long again when Derek makes him put it out.
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Derek forces the victim to bite the curb before smashing his head. After this incident, you can see the victim in an all together different position in the background as Derek walks away.
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The first time when Derek was stacking the sheets, he threw a stack of sheets onto the shelf behind him, where they lay all disorganized. In the next few seconds, the sheets that had been thrown keep changing positions, and the piles of sheets on the table change positions between shots.
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When Derek and Murray are arguing at the dinner table, Stacy's hand is on the table. As the camera cuts back and forth from other characters back to Derek, her arms are folded.
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As Danny and Derek get ready to leave the coffee shop we see 4 guys outside. A guy in a blue jacket, a guy in a black and white checkered shirt, a guy in a black coat and a guy in a brown coat. Once the shot changes to show Danny and Derek being outside the position of all of them suddenly changes, and a 5th guy appears out of nowhere.
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When Danny is hanging around the basketball courts, his backpack slides off his shoulder onto the ground. In the next shot, it is back on his shoulder.
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While Sweeney is at the prison infirmary, he is playing with his beard in the close-ups, but not in the wider shots.
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Derek has his top button buttoned when the doors open to exit is cell. Once out of the cell, the button is unbuttoned.
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Position of Dr. Sweeney's hands during conversation with Derek after the attack in the shower.
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When Murray leaves Dr. Sweeney's office, the clock in the lobby jumps from 8:10 to 8:20.
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When Murray is eating at the Vineyards and says, "Its an expression of rage by people who feel neglected...etc" Derek drops his fork on the plate, but in the next shot he is holding it again.
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During the basketball game, a member of the crowd is present and then is not there between shots.
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Near the end of the film, when Derek and Danny are outside of the school, there is a man in the background with a green handkerchief on his head sitting. As shots alternate, he is standing speaking with a group of people, and then sitting alone again.
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Crew or equipment visible 

Camera operator reflected in the coffeehouse window.
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Shadow of camera visible on Seth when he and Derek walk together during Malcolm's party.
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The shadow of the handheld camera falls several on the basketball players.
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When Derek tells Cameron he and his brother are out, the reflection of the cameraman is clearly visible.
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While the group is walking to the supermarket after Derek's speech, you can see a shadow of the Steadicam on the road.
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When Derek tells Cameron he and his brother are out, the reflection of the cameraman is visible.
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When Derek comforts Danny in the bathroom after he has been shot, we see a shot of the detective. If you look closely behind him, you can make out the pole of a boom mic. The background is slightly blurry, but it's there.
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Factual errors 

In the opening scene, Derek fires 24 shots without reloading from a Ruger P94, which could hold no more than 10 rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber.
One of the first two inmates to exit the shower before Derek is attacked has a nipple ring. Inmates would not be allowed to wear jewelry of any kind.
During the siege on the Korean grocery store, Derek calls the owner a "nip". "Nip" is a derogatory slur against Japanese people (from the Japanese name for their country, "Nippon") and does not apply to Korean people.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Derek Vinyard would have been found guilty of the supermarket robbery once his fingerprints were in the system for the murder. Derek wore no gloves when he threw the register through the window. He clearly gave them a good palm print with fingertips.

(added) This may be true, perhaps in a TV crime/drama series. While it is possible latent hand and finger prints may be lifted from the cash register, it is not guaranteed. That is to say the texture of the register may not allow usable latent prints, or a lifted print would be of high enough quality for an electronic comparison. Most latent finger and hand prints are not conclusive, in any case.
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During the riot at the mini-mart, someone throws a cash-register through an office window. In the shot before the throw, the glass is reinforced. When the register goes through the window, it is not.

(added) The glass merely appears to be reinforced. The matrix appearance on the glass is actually from the pegboard on the wall inside the room. It is not reinforced glass.
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Revealing mistakes 

When we see a close-up of Danny's hands while he is typing his final draft, he never hits the space bar.
In the beginning of the film, when Derek runs out of the house and finishes shooting at the thief stealing his truck, in slow motion he turns around facing the camera, with the gun still in the same hand he was using to fire it. Later on in the movie, when this scene is replayed from a different shot, he turns around and puts the gun in his other hand.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

When Danny is shot he drops his "American History X" essay, but a few shots later he's lying on the ground holding it. When Derek enters, it's back on the floor again.
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After Danny is shot, we see his essay "fly" out from his hand and to the right of his body. When Derek goes into the bathroom there's a close-up of the paper on the same side of his body, but after we see Dr. Sweeney and then go back to Derek and Danny, the essay moves to the left of Danny's body.
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Crew or equipment visible 

In the closing scene in the bathroom, when the camera looks up from the floor at Derek holding his brother, some kind of equipment can be seen disappearing off the top right corner of the screen.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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