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The Believer (2001)

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A young Jewish man develops a fiercely anti-Semitic philosophy. Based on the factual story of a K.K.K. member in the 1960s who was revealed to be Jewish by a New York Times reporter.



(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
6 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Meadows ...
O.L. (as Joel Garland)
Lina Moebius
Jack Drummond ...
Old Coot
Sig Libowitz ...
Rav Zingesser
James McCaffrey ...
Young Avi (as James G. McCaffrey)
Jacob Green ...
Frank Winters ...
Young Stuart
Danny's Father


"The Believer" explores a Jewish student's private journey to understand the meaning of Judaism in his life. Set in New York City, the Plot follows a morally confused young adult struggling with the conflict between his beliefs and his heritage. "The Believer" examines themes of religion, family, and self-loathing. It is a psychological examination into the forces of intolerance, both on the individual and society as a whole. Written by Joe Bloggs

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

23 August 2001 (Russia)  »

Also Known As:

Danny Balint  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$26,236 (USA) (17 May 2002)


$406,035 (USA) (27 September 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The article that broke the real-life story on which this movie was based was titled "State Klan Leader Hides Secret of Jewish Origin." It was written by (John) McCandlish Phillips and published on the front page of the New York Times on October 31, 1965. Jewish Klansman Daniel Burros threatened to kill Phillips for reporting his story, but instead, Burros committed suicide on the same day that the article was published, while Phillips died on April 9, 2013, at the age of 85, from complications of pneumonia. See more »


In the final synagogue segment, while the congregation is singing "Aveenu Malchenu," they keep changing keys from shot to shot, up a half-step and down a half-step and back up again again, indicating a string of takes edited together. See more »


Daniel Balint: Billings, if Hitler didn't kill six million, why is he your hero?... Concentration camps all over Europe, and he only gets rid of a measly two hundred thousand... He's a putz.
[Some surprise that a Nazi is arguing against a denier]
Ancient Jew: Hitler was not a putz. Hitler was real. God created him to punish the Jews for abandoning God.
[the other survivors are embarrassed by this, but the Ancient Jew ignores them]
Ancient Jew: It is you who are putzes. Little pishas with your dreams of hatred and killing...
See more »


References Strangers on a Train (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

Nazi-Jew Identity Crisis
27 September 2005 | by (Plymouth, MN) – See all my reviews

Like "Romper Stomper" and the intensely powerful "American History X," here we have another brilliant film which revolves around National Socialism and the fiercely racist ideals behind it. This movie, however, varies strongly from the two previously mentioned in that it seems to have been researched far more heavily, and, focuses on not a general Neo-Nazi or skinhead, but on a young Jewish man—who has turned to Neo-Nazis and fascism for strength.

This film revolves around a young man who was born and raised into Judaism only to become heavily fed up with the styles, rules, rituals, and apparent hypocrisies therein. Ever since his youth he'd been questioning the Jewish faith and the very meaning of being Jewish. The film follows him as he struggles with the faith he was raised with and the Nazi ideals he adopts against it. Through it all, he also struggles with his own identity and the hypnotic way that these two opposing ideologies have power over people. On top of that, he's later recruited by a group of neo-fascists, so to speak, looking to make fascism a reputable political movement, much like Communism has evolved into Democratic societies these days as Socialism.

Here's the breakdown:

The Good:

--The acting, for the most part is excellent.

--The amount of information about both Nazism and Judaism is staggeringly well researched. At least, that's how it seems.

--Nice cinematography and atmosphere.

--Interesting story.

Didn't Hurt It, Didn't Help:

--Decent music.

--This film focuses very little time on "Neo-Nazis versus everybody;" it's more about Nazism and Judaism butting heads.

The Bad:

--Often times with movies of this nature, Nazi Movies, there is strong violence used in part to hammer home the intensity of the subject matter. This film focuses on the ideologies more than the violence and as such, actually doesn't feel as powerful as, say, "American History X."

--During flashback sequences where we see the main character in his youth in school, the kid playing the part isn't exactly a great actor.

--Somewhat predictable ending.

The Ugly:

--With the ideologies, stories, and characters—there's an awful lot going on in this film. Unfortunately, when the movie ends, if feels like there was a lot left unanswered, or simply, not fully explored.

Memorable Scene:

--There were actually quite a few. For me, it was the first several times we get to know the girl who becomes the main character's love interest—and all the ways it seems she's just not right in the head.

Acting: 8/10 Story: 9/10 Atmosphere: 7/10 Cinematography: 8/10 Character Development: 9/10 Special Effects/Make-up: 0/10 (Movie didn't require any) Nudity/Sexuality: 3/10 Violence/Gore: 6/10 (Not as much violence as is common in films of this type) Dialogue: 9/10 (Some brilliant conversations and ideas throughout) Music: 7/10 Direction: 8/10

Cheesiness: 1/10 Crappiness: 0/10

Overall: 9/10

Be prepared to stomach a lot of harsh words and racism, but this is an intense film with a lot going on. Another one recommended to those with an interest in National Socialism, Judaism and their histories and ideologies. Full-fledged Nazis, ironically, will not like many of the directions this movie takes, and neither might serious Jews—the views expressed in this film are that strong. My final rating comes from the overall intelligence and strength of the film, despite is drawbacks.

35 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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