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American History X (1998) Poster

Trivia

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Edward Norton turned down Saving Private Ryan (1998) to do this film.
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Before filming began, Edward Norton and Edward Furlong shaved their heads for their roles. Edward Norton also gained 30 pounds of muscle.
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The character Derek Vinyard is based on real life skinhead Frank Meeink.
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Seth wears a shirt during the basketball game featuring the number 88. This is a Nazi skinhead code for HH, or "Heil Hitler," H being the 8th letter of the alphabet. It also refers to a set of 88 precepts written by the neo-nazi leader David Lane. The 88 precepts are rules and concepts that all White Supremacists lived by.
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Constant changes to the script by Edward Furlong and Edward Norton resulted in Tony Kaye being disappointed with the project and leaving him wanting to quit. Kaye claimed their tinkering with the script changed the script radically from his own vision of it. He was also reportedly so unsatisfied with Norton's performance that he still, to this day feels the movie is unfinished.
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During the party scene the swastika on the back of Seth's jacket is counter-clockwise. In the skinhead world the counter-clockwise swastika indicates that the person bearing it leads, not follows.
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The diner that Danny and Derek go to get breakfast at before Danny goes to school in the morning is the same diner that is used in The Big Lebowski (1998), during the infamous "toe" scene. It's located at Wilshire and Fairfax in Los Angeles and is called Johnie's Coffee Shop and is only open for filming.
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Marlon Brando was considered for the role of Cameron Alexander.
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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.
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Joaquin Phoenix was offered the role of Derek Vinyard but found the subject matter of the film distasteful and passed on the project.
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This film uses the word "fuck" 214 times.
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Edward Norton was said to have re-edited the film to lengthen his screen time. Director Tony Kaye then attempted to get his own name removed from the credits but violated a Directors' Guild of America rule that states that directors that use pseudonyms (such as "Alan Smithee") must not talk about why they had their name removed - which Tony Kaye had done in ads in Variety. According to Entertainment Weekly, he then wanted his credit to read "Humpty Dumpty". Eventually, Kaye sued the DGA and New Line Cinema for $200 million ($275 according to the book Cinematic Century) stating that the DGA rule violated his first amendment rights.
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Filmed early in 1997. The movie's release was delayed due to post-production and editing conflicts.
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The punk band Anti-Heroes sued New Line Cinema over a character's tattoo featuring the band. The band did not want to be associated with Nazis, even fictional ones, in any way. The band went on to record a song called "NLC" that debases the film studio.
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One of the T-shirts that Seth wears late in the film (when he is at the party at 57:33) has 'Skrewdriver Rising' printed on it. Skrewdriver was a British white power skinhead band which lasted from 1976 through 1979 and again from 1982 through 1993.
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In the midst of the dispute about the time he was taking to edit the film, director Tony Kaye attended a meeting with Michael De Luca (then New Line's senior product president). Kaye arranged for a Jewish Rabbi, a Catholic priest and a Buddhist monk to be present at the meeting to support his argument and "make the meeting a more spiritual one".
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The high school used in the film is Venice High School, located in Venice, California.
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The work-print is 18 minutes shorter than the theatrical version.
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According to the book Cinematic Century, Tony Kaye's lawsuit against the studio over the use of his name in the credits was for $275 million.
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There was a documentary called Humpty Dumpty that was created by Tony Kaye that as of 2015 was never released.
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All of the Vinyards have the same initials, except for Ally (the little girl).
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Paul Mazursky was considered for the role of Murray.
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Both William Russ (154 episodes) and Ethan Suplee (19 episodes) have appeared in _Boy Meets World_. Russ was a series regular from 1993-2000, while Suplee was a recurring guest star from 1994-1998.
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'Boyd Crowder' from the TV show Justified (2010) has a swastika in the same place (left part of the chest) that Derek has.
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Although he plays a white supremacist, Edward Furlong is actually half-Mexican.
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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). One of the original themes of Star Trek was a multicultural collection of cast and characters coming together to solve problems of intolerance and bigotry as a social commentary of the 1960s.
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The CD soundtrack was released November 3rd 1998 by Angel Records.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The original ending was of Derek standing in front of a mirror, shaving his head after Danny was shot. This was to make sense of the endless cycle of violence and tie the otherwise disjointed plot together but was removed after Edward Norton objected.
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The quotation that concludes Danny's paper is from the closing words of Abraham Lincoln's first Inaugural Address in 1861.
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After Derek comes home from prison and the family go in the back room to get away from Seth, Doris starts coughing into a tissue and shares a look with Derek as he looks at the opened tissue. It's never mentioned but it is a foreshadow of Doris having lung cancer, thus creating more issues for the Vinyards after the events of this movie.
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Body count: 3
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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