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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

Gross USA:

$8,863,193

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,863,193
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

Sir Ian McKellen later claimed that Dussander's accent was very difficult to master, since Dussander was supposed to have been living in California for decades speaking English, and trying to suppress his German accent. See more »

Goofs

Dussander is wearing glasses in the hospital as he falls asleep and Kramer goes and looks him in the face. Later, as he wakes up to find Weiskopf speaking in German, Weiskopf hands him his glasses. He then suddenly discovers Kramer's absence so it was obviously the first time he'd woken up since falling asleep with them on. See more »

Quotes

Victor Bowden: Arthur, I wonder if you'd mind if I asked you a personal question.
Kurt Dussander: Not at all.
Victor Bowden: What did you do during the war?
[Todd looks at Dussander]
Kurt Dussander: I was in the reserves, as were most young men, Victor. My poor eyesight kept me out of combat, thank God. No, I spent most of the war in a military hospital washing bed linens and nurses' uniforms.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Detention of the Dead (2012) 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

 
Apt Pupil: Evil comes in many forms
27 March 2018 | by PlatypuschowSee all my reviews

This critically acclaimed multi award winning Stephen King adaptation is a weird creature, a dark thriller tale which makes you question the definition of evil.

It tells the story of a boy who discovers that a neighbour is an infamous war criminal, a high ranking nazi responsible for the deaths of countless people. He decides to blackmail him, he is fascinated and wants to know more about the nazi history. But the more he learns the more he takes a turn for the worse and the mind games between the man and boy escalate.

Not only is Apt Pupil dark and highly thought provoking but its also oddly homoerotic, heavy undertones from several different sources and I cannot figure out for the life of me why these were included.

The cast is stellar and really helps the film, full of veterans like Ian McKellen, Bruce Davison, James Karen & Elias Koteas. Also along for the ride we have Joshua Jackson and Friends alumni David Schwimmer.

Despite this cast and despite it being a King adaptation I don't see the grand appeal. It's not a terrible movie it's just poorly executed and difficult viewing in places. As a psychological thriller it delivers and is very thought provoking. As nearly 2hrs of entertainment it kind of fails (For me anyway)

The Good:

Outstanding cast

Great concept

The Bad:

Deeply uncomfortable viewing

Unnecessarily homoerotic

Some of the movie defies logic somewhat

Many cast members are badly wasted as barely on screen

Things I Learnt From This Movie:

David Schwimmer with a moustache looks like someone who shouldn't be trusted alone with children, or animals, or even remotely sexy looking fruit

73yrs since they surrendered and 20yrs since this film and Nazi's are not only still a thing but going strong, this is a terrifying fact.


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