6.7/10
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253 user 126 critic

Apt Pupil (1998)

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

Director:

Bryan Singer

Writers:

Stephen King (novel), Brandon Boyce (screenplay)
6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brad Renfro ... Todd Bowden
Ian McKellen ... Kurt Dussander
Joshua Jackson ... Joey
Mickey Cottrell ... Sociology Teacher
Michael Reid MacKay ... Nightmare Victim
Ann Dowd ... Monica Bowden
Bruce Davison ... Richard Bowden
James Karen ... Victor Bowden
Marjorie Lovett ... Agnes Bowden
David Cooley David Cooley ... Gym Teacher
Blake Anthony Tibbetts Blake Anthony Tibbetts ... Teammate
Heather McComb ... Becky Trask
Katherine Malone Katherine Malone ... Student
Grace Sinden Grace Sinden ... Secretary
David Schwimmer ... Edward French
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Storyline

Neighborhood boy Todd Bowden (Brad Renfro) discovers that an old man living on his block named Arthur Denker (Sir Ian Mackellan) is a 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 World War II. 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | France

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

23 October 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El aprendiz See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,583,151, 25 October 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$8,838,938, 3 January 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS (8 channels)| Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

Throughout the entire movie, Danker/Dussander's kitchen window is always closed. Except for the exact moment "Timmy" the orange cat needs to escape from being stuffed in the oven, then it's suddenly open. Magic cat anyone? See more »

Quotes

[Todd has brought Dussander a gift - a replica SS uniform]
Todd Bowden: Well, try it on.
Kurt Dussander: Have you completely lost your mind? What on Earth makes you think I'd put something like that on?
Todd Bowden: I thought you would like it.
Kurt Dussander: Like it? You are a bigger fool than I thought. Maybe I'll put it on and do a little shopping, is that what you thought? The indignities I've suffered with you, I should smash you.
Todd Bowden: What you've suffered with me is nothing compared to what the Israelis would do to you. You forget that. And I'll ...
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Connections

Referenced in Special Collector's Edition: Sospechosos habituales (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Tristan Und Isolde
Written by Richard Wagner
Performed by Carlos Kleiber and The Bayeurth Festival Orchestra
Courtesy of Koch International by arrangement with Source/Q
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not a Very Good Effort
21 May 2002 | by gbheronSee all my reviews

With a few notable non-scary exceptions ("Stand By Me" and "The Shawshank Redemption"), Stephen King hasn't had much luck having his written work translated to the silver (or small) screen. And as one of today's most prolific and popular novelists, much of his work has been adapted. Not that I've seen all of it, far from it. But most of what I've seen has disappointed. Add to the list of disappoints, "Apt Pupil".

The horror in this film is not supernatural, but psychological. It chronicles the improbable story of a young teen who discovers that an elderly neighbor is an ex-Nazi death camp commander. Instead of dropping a dime on the old butcher, he blackmails him! And not for money, but for his insight, insight into the nature of evil. And this from a 14-year old? The story didn't wash.

The movie is created well, with decent acting, but the direction seemed to wander. At times I felt that the movie was taking a creepy, dark turn to plumb the depths of human depravity, then it would skip off into something more akin to a murder mystery. Sort of schizophrenic, as if the director wasn't quite sure of the type of movie he was making. I wouldn't recommend this movie.


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