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American History X (1998)

R | | Drama | 20 November 1998 (USA)
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2:25 | Trailer

On TV

Airs Mon. Feb. 25, 7:45 AM on IFC

ON DISC
A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did.

Director:

Tony Kaye

Writer:

David McKenna
Popularity
532 ( 88)
Top Rated Movies #34 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Norton ... Derek Vinyard
Edward Furlong ... Danny Vinyard
Beverly D'Angelo ... Doris Vinyard
Jennifer Lien ... Davina Vinyard
Ethan Suplee ... Seth Ryan
Fairuza Balk ... Stacey
Avery Brooks ... Dr. Bob Sweeney
Elliott Gould ... Murray
Stacy Keach ... Cameron Alexander
William Russ ... Dennis Vinyard
Guy Torry ... Lamont
Joe Cortese ... Rasmussen
Jason Bose Smith Jason Bose Smith ... Little Henry (as Jason Bose-Smith)
Antonio David Lyons ... Lawrence
Alex Sol ... Mitch McCormick
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Storyline

Derek Vineyard is paroled after serving 3 years in prison for brutally killing two black men who tried to break into/steal his truck. Through his brother, Danny Vineyard's narration, we learn that before going to prison, Derek was a skinhead and the leader of a violent white supremacist gang that committed acts of racial crime throughout L.A. and his actions greatly influenced Danny. Reformed and fresh out of prison, Derek severs contact with the gang and becomes determined to keep Danny from going down the same violent path as he did. Written by Nitesh D.(nmxpa7@msn.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

His father taught him to hate. His friends taught him rage. His enemies gave him hope. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic brutal violence including rape, pervasive language, strong sexuality and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 November 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American History X See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$156,076, 1 November 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,719,864

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$23,875,127
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (workprint)

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both Avery Brooks and Jennifer Lien are part of the Star Trek franchise. Avery played Captain Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) and Lien played Kes on Star Trek: Voyager (1995). See more »

Goofs

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. See more »

Quotes

[On Derek's change in prison]
Danny Vinyard: I'm sorry, Derek. I'm sorry that happened to you.
Derek Vinyard: I'm not. I'm lucky. I feel lucky because it's wrong, Danny. It's wrong and it was eating me up, it was going to kill me. And I kept asking myself all the time, how did I buy into this shit? It was because I was pissed off, and nothing I ever did ever took that feeling away. I killed two guys, Danny, I killed them. And it didn't make me feel any different. It just got me more lost and I'm tired of being pissed off, ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The New Line Cinema DVD features 3 scenes deleted from the original theatrical version:
  • A scene in which an elderly black woman is harassed and made to cry on the boardwalk by a bunch of teenage skinheads.
  • A scene after the "party", in which Cameron and Seth go to a café and discuss Derek's change. They then harass a black guy/white girl couple, and then leave. A car is waiting outside, in which several black men watch them leave, before going after them. One black man inside the car remarks "Somebody's gonna get their ass whipped." The aftermath is not shown, but we later learn that Cameron and Seth were attacked.
  • A brief scene in the café near the end in which Derek winks at a little black girl and asks her if he looks okay.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Late Night with Conan O'Brien: Episode #6.90 (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

The White Man Marches On
by Johnny Rebel
[To the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic.]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Most Dangerous Person To Us Is Ourselves
1 February 2009 | by alexkolokotronisSee all my reviews

American History X is a movie of its own. It has a little bit of everything in the way it touches you. This of course making it a very though provoking film. There isn't a genre you can place this film in because it is a not a crime story, action or even a simple drama instead it is a humanistic thriller. What it is about, is the battle over ourselves.

Who better than to display these wild but common complexities within people than Edward Norton. The range he shows here is astounding in only his fifth movie. Norton plays Derek Vinyard, a skin head that realizes through cruel yet necessary events in his life that he has gone down the wrong path. When he comes out of jail he attempts to stop his brother played Edward Furlong from going down the same road he had done. Through all his efforts though some things just prove to be inevitable. Avery Brooks also gives a great performance as Derek Vinyard's former teacher and now principal of his former school. His words may not be of the most inspiring but his actions and messages sent across are subtle yet strong and to the point.

Norton's performance though wasn't just about range but exploring different dimensions of life. Whether it proved to be psychological, social or even political on a certain level. It is a transforming performance revealing something mind blowing and eye opening. That we, and this includes anyone, can take a devastating turn in life no matter how intelligent we are or thoughtful. That the person that determines the outcome of your life is yourself whether it is good or bad. Norton's realizations aren't through teachings such as the ones that got him in jail but they are through the events in the time he spent in jail. He saw the truth for himself realizing then what is false and what is real.

The screenplay written by David McKenna is about as versatile as the performance Norton gives. Not only because of the Derek Vinyard character but because of the characters involved in his life. For example the root of his evil did not come from the murder of his father but rather his father himself. Through just a conversation at breakfast did his negative thoughts get really embedded eventually then leading to them dramatically taking over his mind and way of life. Only when his father got killed did these negative thoughts seem justified. The way this screenplay and direction was able to display this message in just a plethora of other underlying tones was spectacular.

What makes this movie great though is that you can truly find yourself in the messages delivered. As much as the main character might not seem relevant or connected to many people it his emotions and functioning of his mind that all of us are able to connect with. Yet what makes a movie great is not simply the message or messages sent across but how powerfully they are delivered. American History X delivers its multiple and intertwining messages about as powerfully as I've seen from a film.


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