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American History X (1998)

R | | Drama | 20 November 1998 (USA)
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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
604 ( 14)
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's, Danny Vineyard, 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:

Deux frères unis par la haine, dechires par la verite. (Two brothers united by hatred, torn by the truth.) (French DVD) 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

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

The character of Cameron Alexander is based on Tom Metzger, leader of the White Aryan Resistance (WAR), an extremist white supremacy group based in southern California. See more »

Goofs

Camera operator reflected in the coffeehouse window. See more »

Quotes

Derek Vinyard: See this?
[Pulls down shirt to reveal a huge swastika tattoo on his chest]
Derek Vinyard: That means "Not welcome".
See more »

Alternate Versions

The version released with the certificate 'A' (Certificate #CFL/3/81/1999-MUM) in the city of Mumbai, India, the following was deleted:
  • During the sex scene between Derek and Stacey, Stacy's bare breasts were deleted.
  • Every instance of the word 'Motherfucker' was deleted.
  • The closeup of Derek forcing Lawrence to put his mouth on the curb was cut.
  • The nudity was cut and 50% of the rape of Derek was cut.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hatred (2015) 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

Not perfect but still very strong
8 November 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Years have past since Danny saw his neo-nazi brother, kill several black males who were robbing his car. Since he has been in prison, Derek's legacy has grown among the white gangs of the area and Danny has followed in his brother's footsteps. When he writes a racist paper for school, his teacher makes his write a new paper, focusing on recent history – that of his brother and how he influenced him. Meanwhile Derek leaves prison a reformed man with only the desire to repair the damage he once did to his family with his beliefs and his hate.

I was looking forward to see this film as I missed it at the cinema and am a firm believer that Edward Norton is one of the most talented actors of his generation and is always worth seeing (even if some of his films have given less than he deserves). It was maybe better that I only saw it recently as I was able to enjoy it without all the hype and fighting over who did what to who, or all the comments from director Kaye as to his opinions of the film. Having seen the pompous fool interviewed several times, I find it quite self assuring that I don't agree with his opinions of it!

The plot is a mix of flashback into Derek's hate filled past (told in b&w) and the present (colour) where he is desperate to save his brother and family from suffering anymore from his `sins'. As a basic narrative the film struggles at times to make a solid story and seems to be trying too hard to create confrontations to up the drama within the film. It still works mind you but this is not it's best asset.

The main thing the film does well is to be a very true representation of white male disillusionment. The film avoids painting these people as monsters straightaway (although makes no bones that they are confused, misled and wrong). The arguments and discussions they have in the film are not so far from reality that the characters seem fiction – the characters and the film's world seem very real. The film's message that hate is no way to live no matter who it is directed at may be a little simplistic but it is a valid point. One particular weakness which I felt was a little hamfisted was Derek's `road to Damascus' experience in prison – it was OK but was far too easy given the character we had just seen brutally kill several black men.

The other main selling point the film has is a performance by Norton that simply ensures he steals nearly every scene he is in. In b&w flashback he is at his best – a larger than life character who is never allowed to just be seen as a thug. Norton acts out the various stages of his life well and makeup ensures that he looks younger when required. In the present he is less dominant but still is very good giving a different performance. Furlong is also very strong, although he only has a few scenes where he is able to be outside of Norton's shadow. Support from Balk, Gould, D'Angelo and Brooks is mixed – Gould's Jewish character is only in the film to allow for one scene to occur, while Brooks' righteous teacher is simply a `morally upright teacher' with no meat on his character.

Overall this is a good film, which occasionally struggles when it forces the issue in the `present' scenes. However for the most part it is a powerful film which owes a lot to well captured themes and an excellent performance from Norton.


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