160 user 85 critic

The Believer (2001)

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 »

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6 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Meadows ...
O.L. (as Joel Garland)
Lina Moebius
Jack Drummond ...
Old Coot
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  »

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
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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 »


A copy of The New York Times is shown with an article about Danny. However, the article is not printed in the font the Times uses. See more »


Mrs. Frankel: What do you think you would have done if you had been there?
Daniel Balint: Not what he did. Just stand there and watch?
Mrs. Frankel: How do you know? You've never been tested like he has. Here in this rich, safe, stupid country it is so easy to imagine oneself a hero. But, you have no idea what it was like. You can't conceive of it. Everything, all of Europe, was designed to break one's will. Millions went to camps many stronger, braver than you. They did nothing. Just as you would have done nothing.
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References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliantly disturbing performance
16 August 2014 | by See all my reviews

Danny Balint (Ryan Gosling) is angry. He questions his Jewish heritage and challenges his faith. The movie starts with him bullying a Jewish boy on the subway in New York. He joins a small group of fascists led by Curtis Zampf (Billy Zane) and Lina Moebius (Theresa Russell). Danny pushes for the group to start killing Jews. Carla Moebius (Summer Phoenix) finds him fascinating. Curtis doesn't want to go down that road again while Lina finds it appealing for their cause even if she doesn't believe in it. Reporter Guy Danielsen is writing about the right wing movement. Danny joins up with others as his star rises in the movement.

This is a character study of anger and self-hatred. Ryan Gosling is brilliantly unbalanced as he challenges religious authority. He's also superficially very convincing in his insane rants. More than anything, he's very charismatic. It is a bone chilling performance.

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