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American History X (1998)

R | | Drama | 20 November 1998 (USA)
2:25 | Trailer
A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did.


Tony Kaye


David McKenna
468 ( 95)
Top Rated Movies #39 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »





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


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

Plot Keywords:

neo nazi | prison | hatred | racism | jail | See All (322) »


Si usted sigue el camino del odio, tarde o temprano va a pagar el precio. (If you follow the path of hatred, sooner or later will pay the price.) (Spanish DVD) See more »



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 »

Did You Know?


The character Derek Vinyard is based on real life ex-skinhead Frank Meeink. See more »


When Seth is spitting out the jelly beans just before he and Derek are about to leave the Vinyard home, you can see assorted colors shoot out of Seths mouth. Although, just a second before, the bowl was filled with all white jelly beans and one black ones until Seth picks out the black one and tosses it. See more »


Murray: I'm so sorry Doris. I really am. He's gone.
Doris Vinyard: He's just a boy. Without a father.
Murray: Doris, you don't know the world your children are living in.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The following is the difference between the theatrical version and the work print:
  • The Theatrical Version has got a longer credits-sequence. First there is a black screen, then takes of the beach. The work print only shows some of these beach-shots.
  • The black guys are driving to the Vinyard's house longer. Also, Derek and Stacey were cut in between more frequently while having sex, like Danny after he had been awakened by the two others' noise.
  • The burglar who is running away from the car is being hit by Derek. In the work print, you see the bullet going through him and hitting the tree behind. In the Theatrical cut on the other hand you see him squirming on the ground for a longer time.
  • In the theatrical Version Derek shoots longer at the car that is backing away. In the work print, though, you see an additional take of terrified Danny.
  • In the work print, you see Derek walking to the second victim in extreme slow-motion for a bit longer, but otherwise it's identical to the theatrical Version.
  • The work print first shows a text box saying "Three years later" and then a short scene of Danny going to school early. Also, there are other takes of a couple kissing and the security checking a pupil.
  • The work print starts with an additional exterior shot of the school.
  • The discussion between Murray, the teacher Danny submitted the "My Mein Kampf"-essay, and principal Sweeney is identical in the beginning. The work print is a bit longer in the end though, because Sweeney there says that he is certainly on Murray's side, since he knows Danny's behavior and the friends he hangs out with, but he still wants to talk to Danny in person. When Danny takes the little US-flag from the secretary's desk in Sweeney's outer office, you see her reaction. The two have eye contact for a moment. this is missing in the work print edition.
  • The structure of the conversation between Danny and Sweeney differs. In the work print, Sweeney throws away Danny's essay right in the beginning and, especially by doing that, appears much more stressed. In the Theatrical Cut he starts off much more relaxed and first asks Danny how he is and even mentions that he had been teaching Danny's brother Derek in the past. Because of this, the whole tone of the dialog changes. In the work print, the comment about Derek is heard later and it's shorter, too.
  • In the work print, Danny is going through the school at the end of the scene. You hear Sweeney's voice over, threatening Danny to dispell him from school if he wouldn't finish the new essay the day after. In the Theatrical Cut, you hear this in the office.
  • When the three black pupils pounce the white boy, the work print appears less polished, almost overhasty - unfinished. The feigned helping and the kicking after that had only been shown in short cuts, just like Danny going to the leader. Real differences are being found in the dialogues, though. In the Theatrical Version, the black guy calls Danny a "Punk-ass white boy" and implies having a gun and Danny being scared, even though he's standing there very cool and blowing smoke into his face. In the Theatrical Cut, while going out, one of the other black pupils eventually suggests killing Danny. Both these things are missing in the work print. The work print features two more comments by Danny at the end. For one, he shouts "go back to Africa" to the black guy, and for two, after helping the boy on the floor and saying he shouldn't let himself get pushed around he calls him a "fag". In the theatrical Cut you don't see any of this malice from Danny at this point.
  • Sweeney's arrival at the station house is different. In the theatrical Version, you only see him go to the door, in the work print he's asking a policeman about the Captain and gets sent to the conference room.
  • The theatrical Version shows a few takes of local Neonazis, while some people in the room comment on this.
  • After the captain has introduced Sweeney to the other attendants, the work print shows the TV-interview with Derek after his father had been murdered. The Theatrical Version first deals with Cameron Alexander. In the work print, the reporter looks into the camera in a baffled way. The Theatrical Version cuts away before that happens.
  • After the video tape finishes playing, the work print also shows the part about Cameron Alexander. There are no relevant differences in content. Both versions end differently. While Sweeney says in the Theatrical Version that all hell's going to break lose, if something should happen to Derek after his dismissal, in the work print he says that Derek will probably cause no trouble, but should something happen with the Neonazis, Derek will probably be involved and it cannot be foreseen whether this would end good or bad. In the work print Sweeney and consequently the audience are not completely assured Derek moved on from his violent past.
  • Danny's voice over differs in the Venice Beach scene in which he is going to the boardwalk in Venice Beach and meets Henry, the black boy from the bathroom, although it's being shown with similar shots.
  • In the theatrical Version, Danny says that Venice Beach used to be a great neighborhood, even though the boardwalk had always been a dump. But since the gangs started spreading up like a plague, many white people do not dare to come back here.
  • You then see Henry, the black guy from the school's bathroom and his brother (you find out about this in the work print, in the Theatrical Version their relation is not clear). They notice Danny at the fence who is watching the two. Danny finishes his voice-over by mentioning that because of the gangs, Derek had founded the local DOC-branch. White people should not be scared in their own neighborhood. Under Derek's guidance, this seemed to work for a while.
  • In the work print, Danny first says that the former Venice Beach only seems like a dream to him any more, and how his father had brought him and Derek here to play Basketball. They cannot do this any more today - at least not without bodyguards and an AK-47 for protection. Danny then introduces the black boy. Henry Hastings and his brother Jerome, who is member of the Cribs. Henry notices Danny and exasperatedly and condescending asks him what he wants, without really being interested in an answer. Danny looks at him but does not react. Voice over of him saying that Henry is no Crib yet, but he is probably going to be soon. To be able to join the gang officially, he will probably have to kill someone before. Finally, Danny says that his father would not recognize this place today. The world he had known does not exist any more and it is probably better that he doesn't have to witness this any more.
  • The Basketball game passes off mostly identical, but in the theatrical version, Derek hesitates a bit longer before standing up and personally taking care of the issue. He also looks to Cameron Alexander first, as if he was looking for his agreement. The work print on the other hand shows, after Derek has set the new rules with the other team a small, partly unmotivated seeming scramble between black and white before the game continues. During the game, Seth's begging for the ball is missing, but you hear the black guy saying he's going to hook Derek's girlfriend, after he has driven away Derek from the court. The background music during the entire flashback differs. In the work print, there's drum-heavy music, which reminds of an African song being modernly edited. In the theatrical version though, there's dramatically classic music. The elbow-check appears more brutal in the work print, because there is a slow-motion shot of Derek lifting off. After the elbow-check, when Derek returns to the court, there is a voice over by Danny in the work print. Derek not starting a fight after this foul should show the others that you don't have to be afraid of black guys. Derek once explained it to Danny that contact with blacks is like educating of a dog. Show them you're not afraid and make clear you're the boss. The dog will grumble and show its teeth, but it will always be aware that you rule it and can hurt it anytime, if you want to. During this scene you see Derek go to the court in slow-motion as well as the black opponent who had hit him before. In the theatrical version you only see the pictures but hear nothing from Danny. Finally, Derek wins the game, the white pack rejoices and the black guys leave the court. Only in the theatrical version, one of them says that they will be back.
  • The theatrical version has an additional scene showing Derek being picked up from prison. First you see Danny running home after school and a voice over from him saying Derek didn't want to be visited in prison which is why he didn't see him for three years. In the work print, you can hear this in the next scene. Then there is a flashback to this morning, 7 a.m., when the family picks up Derek at the prison door. Subsequently, Derek sends Danny to school, even though he wanted to be with his brother at home.
  • Inside the flat, Danny meets Derek again after school and they hug each other. When Derek notices Danny's hair being shaved, he says in the work print that Danny still unsuccessfully tries to imitate him. The theatrical version though features a comment by Derek about the flat, which is apparently smaller than the living room of their former house.
  • In the theatrical cut, when Sweeney calls, Derek is seen longer at the phone and Danny struggles against his mother's snuggling a little.
  • In the work print, after Seth has sung through the racist song in the truck, he meets a couple of Jews on the street. He waves over to them and shouts "Goodbye Jews". They kindly wave back.
  • While Derek is still phoning in Danny's room, Seth goes to the bathroom. In the work print, you actually see him sitting down.
  • Subsequently, there is a rather long extension with Seth, who is still sitting on the toilet. Seth is filming the mirror and aims with his pistol at his reflection. He trains threatening a black guy who he had just surprised at a burglary. "Drop the TV, nigger, drop the TV, nigger. Ah, you broke it, you piece of shit. I'm gonna have to kill you." Then he stands up, goes outside and knocks on Derek's door. But he wants to be untroubled and bad-temperately rants at Seth.
  • After Danny makes fun about Seth's mother, Seth disses him in the theatrical version. In the work print he doesn't. Besides, in the theatrical cut, you see Derek again in the other room, still phoning to Sweeney. In the work print you see Derek standing at the door listening to Seth and Danny during their conversation.
  • When the mother starts panting, only in the theatrical version Derek prohibits Danny to smoke near her, then he pours water into a glass and goes together with Danny and Davina to their mother, who is still sitting on the bed gasping, having her youngest daughter with her. In the work print you only see her coughing shortly, then Derek who is angry, before they go to the mother. Only in the Theatrical version he tells her he yelled at Danny because of his smoking but she herself smokes even more. She puts away the cigarette.
  • In the theatrical version, Danny's voice over mentions that it didn't take Derek long to make a name for himself and that Cameron just knew how to use it. They talked to the kids, the frustrated ones who didn't want to get kicked around by the black and the Mexicans gangs any more. So they did exactly what Derek wanted them to do.
  • In the work print, there is another voice over. Danny says that their father's death didn't change Derek, but that it triggered something inside him and opened his eyes. After that, Derek keeps hanging around with Cameron and reads the books he got from him. There, he found out about the facts and statistics that fueled his rage and that made him convince others to follow him.
  • In the work print version. Derek doesn't yell at Curtis for smoking Marijuana in front of him.
  • The raid itself shows the single events mostly in a different order, and sometimes different in small details (e.g. Seth gets the plastic burger from another shelf). When the cashier gets spilled all over with milk, one of the attackers says in the work print "This color suits you well". But there is an entirely new scene in the work print, too. Seth plays with the baseball bat when the owner runs past. He grasps her, rips her blouse open and makes faces at her. The woman screams in panic.At the end of the scene, there is another voice over by Danny: "Derek showed us the ropes. He was our inspiration. He always found the right words to make us mad." (The final part is also in Danny's essay).
  • A short scene of Danny sitting in front of the computer and thinking about his essay. In the work print, this scene is between the game of basketball and the raid on the supermarket. Since, in the theatrical version, the flashback to the game of basketball took place before Derek's return, thus before Danny rewrites the essay, this scene is shown after the raid in the theatrical version.
  • The dinner with Murray, who is going out with Danny's mother, starts off with a voice over. In the theatrical version, Danny says: "Dad was gone, but things were almost normal again. Derek had a good job. Mum was starting to live a little. Everyone was feeling so good that we just didn't see it coming. Maybe we should have." In the work print you first see Danny writing the essay, then the flashback to the dinner. His voice over: "For a while, I thought we we're having a normal life again, just without a father. We still had our house and people came to visit us. They thought we were still an average family. But Derek changed so quickly. The family and the home couldn't hold him back any more." The following discussion proceeds, except for the usually alternative angles, practically identical in both versions. Just the moment Doris interrupts the discussion, there is a little difference. In the theatrical version, the break is much longer before Murray says that they are having a discussion. Derek is much faster and more energetically discussing again in the theatrical cut. The little adjournment is much more urgent in the theatrical version. After Doris has gone to the kitchen, only in the theatrical version Derek keeps conjecturing a moment longer with a low voice, what would have happened if "that fucking monkey Rodney King" actually did run over somebody. Then everybody would talk about Rodney King, not the cops. But he had only attacked a few police officers, so he is the victim and the policemen the bad guys. When Davina asks to leave the table, Derek interrupts her immediately in the work print. In the theatrical version you first see the mother who nods to her daughter. Outside the house, Doris futilely tries to justify the behavior of her son. After all, he is just a boy who has lost his father.
  • After Murray left and Doris kneels down on the sidewalk, the flashback ends in the work print. The theatrical version shows an additional scene in the house. Derek asks obviously disturbed Danny if everything is alright before Davina suddenly comes from behind with a baseball bat and beats Derek with it. Derek repels the attack and holds Davina tight. He apologizes for freaking out earlier and assures her and also Danny multiple times that he would never hurt his family - even though, of course, he just did. Everything that had happened that day at the dinner was his fault, not Davina's. That, they would have to believe him. Davina is standing terrified in front of him and tries to push him away from her in the beginning, but Derek keeps talking to her insistently, almost in a hypnotic way. She then stands dead still and shocked in front of him and says she doesn't believe Derek. She isn't sure that he would never do something to her. Danny on the other hand trusts him and Davina looks at him horrifiedly when he says that. Then their mother comes back into the house.
  • Danny is sitting on the bed, looking at the Nazi-memorabilia he keeps in a small casket. In the work print, there is a voice over of him saying he felt cheated. He needed something that reasonably explained him his world and that would last in the future, too. But he didn't get anything like that. A drug dealer had killed his father and within one second Danny's life wasn't as before any more. The murderers were never caught, they never had to justify themselves for their action. They took everything from Danny and his family. The father, the organized life and their home. Somebody had to do something against that. The night after the argument at the dinner, Derek got the chance to do justice when the three black guys wanted to steal his car. In the theatrical version, Danny's voice over only tells that he keeps remembering the incident, and that he tries to prevent the murders in his memories. Danny always imagines what would have happened, if he hadn't gone into Derek's room to warn him that night.
  • The theatrical version continues the final extension after the dinner. Doris throws Derek out of the house. Derek is stone cold and says that he will be gone in the morning. In an arrogant tone, Derek's girlfriend says that he can move in with her.
  • The curb-scene proceeds identically. But there are grave differences in the music. The theatrical version just has the minimalistic long tones, before the choirs begin at the arrest. The work print on the other hand has got drums and heavy breathing the whole time, which together result in a threatening music. Also, the work print misses the muffled sound when Derek kicks the back of the skull. But that might be because the work print wasn't that far into the post-production yet.
  • In the work print, you find out that Derek had been convicted to state prison arrest for seven years. Also, only in the work print you see Danny with tears in his eyes after he has written that it would have been a lifetime sentence if he had testified. In the theatrical version, the scene with Danny is seen later in the film.
  • In the work print version, there is a scene showing Derek and Seth arriving at the party. Derek is surprised that the event is so big and says coming here was no good idea.
  • During the concert, there is often alternative material. Also, the song "Sieg Heil" is missing in the work print. The work print shows a scene of a skinhead pressing his face into the naked breasts of a woman. The theatrical cut on the other hand has got an exclusive scene showing a little boy wearing a Nazi-uniform, sitting on his fathers' shoulders and raising his hand to do the Hitler-salute.
  • The conversation between Cameron and Danny about Sweeney is the same in the beginning. In the work print, the conversation goes on longer. Cameron tells Danny that Sweeney follows his own plans. He encourages black people to achieve more in life at the expense of the white working class. The worst though is that he makes young people like Danny look like racists and even makes themselves believe they are, even though they actually are only proud of their white origin. Cameron cannot let that happen.
  • In the work print, Seth is standing on the stage singing his own version of "Glory Glory, Hallelujah". Stacey is also part of the audience, just like a couple having sex in the middle of the crowd.
  • Only in the theatrical version, Seth notices Derek coming in to Cameron. All the scenes inside Cameron's rooms with Danny and the first parts of the conversation between Derek and Cameron are identical.
  • In the theatrical version you see the party for a short time. Seth is singing his song and Danny is kissing his girlfriend.
  • After Derek blames Cameron about not knowing anything about the joint, only in the theatrical version he mentions that Cameron had only been in for two months and got out because he had betrayed two other inmates to the prosecution. Also, in the theatrical cut, Stacey later brands Derek a "Nigger, Nigger, Nigger", when he tries escaping from the party together with Danny. Generally, the theatrical version is always cut a bit longer during these scenes.
  • In the prison, in the beginning, Derek gets shouted at longer through the bars by the guard in the theatrical cut. Derek's short voice over is different, too. In the work print, he says that he had thought he could leave the joint early because of good conduct after three years.
  • When Derek joins his Nazi-fellows to get their protection in the joint, the theatrical cut shows everything a little more detailed. Because of that, the scene on the roof appears more threatening when Derek shows the swastika on his chest directly in front of some black guys and then starts lifting weights. The big leader of the black guys observes the scene longer with sinister eyes before deciding to leave. Later during the meal the work print misses many reaction shots of other inmates. In return, the work print has another voice over of Derek, in which he explains that he had already heard of one of the leading Nazis here in the joint, who is part of the Aryan Nations from Portland and who is familiar with Derek, which, of course, eases his integration.
  • The transition to the laundry after that is different. The work print, again, shows the bars in front of the cells and a guard making loud noises with the bars and his club. The theatrical version starts with an extended introduction by Lawrence, who is making himself look like the most important man in the joint, since he is the one rummaging and distributing the underwear. There is a bigger difference when they sort the underwear, though. For one, Lawrence mentions in the work print that he believes that even in prison the black guys get disadvantaged because Derek, as a white man, got such a nice job at the laundry right in the beginning. Subsequently he asks Derek what he was convicted of and starts wildcatting when Derek doesn't answer right away. In the theatrical version, he only asks whether Derek has robbed an old woman. Derek hardly moves his face and remains silent - until the end of the scene. But it's easy to see that Lawrence's talking is getting on his nerves. In the work print, the scene is different. Lawrence asks about the reason for Derek's stay in prison, too. But first, he assumes that Derek might have evaded taxes, then here too, that he might have robbed an old lady. After a short break though, he is certain to know the reason. Derek surely had sex with his own sister. Derek grins - not the friendly kind of way - and then says, in a very aggressive tone, that the reason for him being in prison might be that he had shot two black guys when they had tried to steal his car. Lawrence's own smirk gets wiped off his face. Derek continues that, if it was up to him, he wouldn't work next to a black guy for five minutes. He tells Lawrence to only calmly do the laundry and not to be concerned about what Derek would do to him if the two had met outside in freedom. But then, Lawrence grins again and says in both versions confidently that inside the joint the white guys are the blacks.
  • Derek watching Mitch doing business with the Latinos, getting angry about it but having to realize that the other Neo Nazis are not so serious about their ideology and find Derek's ramblings to be partway annoying is identical in both versions. The theatrical cut only tells it a bit more generously.
  • A part of the conversation with Derek's mother is different. In the theatrical version, Doris first tells about Davina getting straight As in school and about her youngest who can already walk. In the work print though, she talks about Danny longer, about how proud he is of Derek but still hangs out with Cameron. In the work print, Derek also ends the talk much quicker and without any emotion and ostentatiously puts away the phone while looking his mother straight into the eyes. In the theatrical cut, though, he gets loud, because he cannot do anything for Danny from here and he only wants to peacefully serve his sentence in prison. He doesn't want to see his family, otherwise, he cannot endure this.
  • The theatrical version takes up a little more time during the piling of the bed clothes and at the end, after Derek has calmed himself, Lawrence says that ignoring each other actually is a good solution.
  • Derek watches Mitch dealing a bit longer in the theatrical version. Mitch tells a dirty joke respectively the end of it before going to the Mexicans. Then he sells the drugs to somebody else, which you cannot see in the work print. Additionally, the theatrical version features a voice over of Derek explaining just this and finalizes by saying Mitch doesn't believe in anything, just like the others. Derek dissociates himself more and more from the effeminate Neo Nazis in prison.
  • Derek and Lawrence piling up the underwear and Lawrence actually managing to make Derek laugh with his lecture about the smell of women is basically identical in both versions, even though in the theatrical cut it is a bit longer again. The work print has got a voice over, though. Derek mentions that there is no reason for Lawrence to like Derek and the only reason he talks so much is probably because it is the only way he can manage the isolation in prison.
  • In return, the scene in which Derek ostentatiously walks past Mitch is longer in the work print. The theatrical version concentrates on Mitch and Derek. The work print shows other inmates, including Lawrence, noticing this behavior of Derek.
  • In return, the scene in which Derek ostentatiously walks past Mitch is longer in the work print. The theatrical version concentrates on Mitch and Derek. The work print shows other inmates, including Lawrence, noticing this behavior of Derek.
  • When Derek and Lawrence again pile up laundry, this time bedding again, there is a longer, new discussion in the theatrical version about the Lakers and the Celtics, respectively which one is the better team. Derek and Lawrence already get along here extremely well and obviously have a lot of fun with their conversations.
  • Then, the work print shows a small scene showing the inmates getting lead away. Mitch is watching Derek from his cell.
  • The theatrical version features a scene on the roof showing Derek playing basketball with other black guys. The Aryan Brotherhood observes this scenery and is not very happy.
  • The rape in the shower begins in both versions differently. In the theatrical version you see other inmates taking a shower and leaving before the Aryan Brotherhood comes in, whereas Derek carelessly stays behind by himself. In the theatrical version, the guard only leaves after the others already had overwhelmed Derek and pressed him against the wall. In the work print he goes before that happens and there are no other inmates to be seen at all. Derek seems to be alone in the shower. The rape itself proceeds similarly. Subsequently, Derek lies on the ground bleeding. The work print is a little more explicit here. Both versions also have a take of blood flowing from below his belly. Later, you see a long shot of some blood next to this spot. You can guess where the blood comes from. The work print though makes it clear that the blood here is coming from Derek's Anus, possibly with other expulsions of more solid texture, also swimming in the blood.
  • Subsequently, the work print features a scene showing Lawrence finding Derek and carrying him out of the shower room.
  • The discussion with Sweeney is content-wise identical. In the work print, Sweeney deepens single points a little. Here, he says for example, that Derek's hatred turns off his intelligence.
  • The cafeteria-scene is identical. The work print, though, features a voice over of Derek saying that he is back where he had started with the only difference being that more time has passed.
  • The conversation with Lawrence is identical. Subsequently, when Derek waits getting killed by the black guys, there are rather big differences. The work print is shorter and only shows different inmates looking to Derek while there is the voice over addressed to Danny. Here, he tells, that Sweeney had been right. Derek doesn't want Danny to go the same way. In the theatrical version there are takes of Derek in the shower or at the training, while there is a voice over of him saying he only waits for his death. The theatrical cut even intentionally builds up an intimidation scene, in which a couple of big black guys go toward him while he goes away from the training spot.
  • The conversation between Danny and Derek at home is alike. But in the theatrical version you see them run home whereas in the work print you only see the tenement.
  • The theatrical version shows Derek waking his mother and asking, if she wants to sleep in Danny's room. Then everybody wishes each other a good night.
  • The theatrical cut shows Derek putting the Teddy to the youngest sister in her bed, which, in the work print, you only see after they have tidied Danny's room. Both scenes are basically identical, but the work print has a voice over by Danny. He says that a part of him believed Derek would be proud when he sees what Danny had learned while Derek was away.
  • The theatrical version now shows Henry driving past Danny's apartment with his brother. The work print now shows the youngest daughter. The drive-by-scene is almost identical. But in the theatrical cut Jerome acts like he would fire a gun at the house. That's missing in the work print.
  • The subsequent shower scene can now be seen in the work print, in the theatrical version only after the following flashback.
  • In the theatrical version of the scene with dinner with their father, Danny's tapping fingers and his voice over introduce to the flashback to the dinner with the father. But in the work print to the finishing of the essay in the morning. In the work print, you could see that flashback in the first act, after Danny comes back from school and before Sweeney goes to the police station.
  • In the theatrical cut, there is a voice over by Danny, respectively he writes into his essay: "It's hard to look back and see the truth about people you love. I think, if you asked Derek why it went the way it did and when it all started, he'd still say it started when our father was murdered. The truth is it started earlier." The flashback begins and you see the whole family sitting at the table and Derek's father decrying Sweeny very subtly, even though Derek is obviously very delighted by the teacher. In the work print, Derek says very early that he is black, which makes his father wary. Also, Derek slips a "shit" and his mother asks him to watch his language. But in the theatrical version, the father says that he is reading too, after not knowing what book "Native Son" is. Doris answers that they don't teach Tom Clancy literature in school. Everyone smiles. At the end, when the father says that Sweeney's views are "Nigger-bullshit", this statement is being emphasized longer in the theatrical cut. The flashback in the theatrical version closes with Danny wiping off his tears.
  • Danny's voice over in the morning is a little longer in the work print and parts of it can be heard later on the way to school. See below.
  • The theatrical version has got a completely new sequence, though. Before they go to school, Derek and Danny enter a Diner to get some breakfast. Suddenly Sweeney and a policeman run in frantically. Seth and Cameron got assaulted and injured badly. They need Derek's help. He is supposed to calm his former friends from the Neo Nazi-scene. But Derek wants to stay out of that and doesn't believe he has got much influence on them any more anyways. He only wants to take care of his family and leave his past behind himself. Sweeney tries to persuade him that he cannot talk his way out this easily. He is responsible for the Nazi movement here, too. So he has to help with its shattering and do everything within his might to prevent an escalation between the gangs. This is what Sweeney had been talking about in prison, when he visited Derek after the rape.
  • The scene of elevating Derek's responsibility for his previous actions to the future - missing in the work print is a real flaw. The whereabouts of Cameron and Seth remain unexplained, too. They just drop out in the middle of the film.
  • The rest of the way to school is identical, but in the theatrical version there is a dialog about Seth and Cameron. Derek asks, among other things, if they will go visit the two in hospital. But Derek doesn't want that at all. Then, Derek mentions a car he had seen the night before. He wants Danny to take care when going home in the evening. Maybe someone is after Derek. Danny worries about his brother, but he is confident about the future. Whoever can withstand prison will also get through this. In the work print, there is a voice over by Danny that was in the theatrical version earlier, and some new stuff. He tells that Derek means they have to guide the family now and start all over again. If they withstand the following days, they're going to make it.
  • The scene in the school is very similar. Danny goes to the bathroom. During this, the theatrical version shows Derek more often, going, obviously nervous, back to the diner. Then, only in the theatrical cut he recognizes the car he had seen the day before in front of his apartment, and of which he thought that it could be people who are after him. He is getting queasy, because the car is coming from the school's direction. The work print misses all this. In the work print, you see Henry going into the bathroom quietly and unnoticed and standing behind Danny who zips and turns around. In the theatrical version, his appearance is surprising for the audience, too. Henry shoots at Danny three times. In the theatrical cut, you only see two hits, in the work print you see all three of them - additionally one bullet coming out of the back.
  • In the work print you see Derek turning around outside and looking back after the three shots have been fired. This take has been used in the theatrical cut when he notices the car. So, in the work print you get the impression he heard the shots and runs back because of that. Thus, there is a little flaw, because when Derek arrives at the bathroom, the police already cordon off the area. In the theatrical version there is the possibility of some time having passed (and Derek finding out about the murder some other way). The theatrical version shows Sweeney more often when Derek arrives. The work print shows other pupils. Sweeney can only be seen for a brief moment. This character drops off in the work print too easily, too. In the work print, Derek runs into the bathroom immediately. In the theatrical version, Sweeney and the policeman first try to stop him before they eventually let him pass. The final moments of the film with Derek and Danny alone in the bathroom as well as the Lincoln-quote are the same.
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Spoofed in American History X-Men (2014) See more »


The White Man Marches On
by Johnny Rebel
[To the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic.]
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User Reviews

This is a fantastic movie....
7 January 2006 | by jmchnwthSee all my reviews

This is a fantastic movie because no matter what side you're on in life, this movie shows them all, good and bad, right or wrong. I also agree with the point in the movie that proves that people can change for the better and straighten things out in their head to do the right things in life. Yes, things in our world have changed, some for the good, some for the bad, but just because you might not agree with some of it, doesn't mean you can play God and try to make things "your way" and this shows exactly what happens when you try. This movie talks about all walks of life and the struggles we all have in what beliefs are right and wrong. Yes this movie is brutal and violent, but also truthful to the past and unfortunately still sometimes the present. This movie is about race, but not only 1 race is singled out and fed to the dogs, they all are. So, go into this movie with an open mind and your mind will come out full.

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

20 November 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American History X See more »


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$156,076, 1 November 1998

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (workprint)

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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