American History X

American History X

Director: Tony Kaye Cast: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Fairuza Balk
4.6 61


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American History X

Tony Kaye made his feature directorial debut with this dramatic exploration into the roots of race hatred in America. In a shocking opening scene, teen Danny Vinyard (Edward Furlong) races to tell his older brother, neo-Nazi Derek (Edward Norton), about the young blacks breaking into his car in front of the house, whereupon Derek gets his gun and with no forethought shoots the youths in their tracks. Tried and convicted, Derek is sent away for three years in prison, where he acquires a different outlook as he contrasts white-power prisoners with black Lamont (Guy Torry), his prison laundry co-worker and eventual pal. Meanwhile, Danny, with a shaved head and a rebellious attitude, seems destined to follow in his big brother's footsteps. After Danny writes a favorable review of Hitler's Mein Kampf, black high-school principal Sweeney (Avery Brooks) puts Danny in his private "American History X" course and assigns him to do a paper about his older brother, who was a former student of Sweeney's. This serves to introduce flashbacks, with the film backtracking to illustrate Danny's account of Derek's life prior to the night of the shooting. Monochrome sequences of Derek leading a Venice, California gang are intercut with color footage of the mature Derek ending his past neo-Nazi associations and attempting to detour Danny away from the group led by white supremacist, Cameron (Stacy Keach), who once influenced Derek. Director Tony Kaye, with a background in TV commercials and music videos, filmed in L.A. beach communities. Rated R "for graphic brutal violence including rape, pervasive language, strong sexuality and nudity."

Product Details

Release Date: 08/24/1999
UPC: 0794043471537
Original Release: 1998
Rating: R
Source: New Line Home Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Edward Norton Derek Vinyard
Edward Furlong Danny Vinyard
Fairuza Balk Stacey
Beverly D'Angelo Doris Vinyard
Avery Brooks Bob Sweeney
Stacy Keach Cameron Alexander
Jennifer Lien Davina Vinyard
Elliott Gould Murray
William Russ Dennis Vinyard
Ethan Suplee Seth
Joe Cortese Rasmussen
Guy Torry Lamont
Giuseppe Andrews Jason
Antonio David Lyons Lawrence
Keram Malicki-Sanchez Chris
Jordan Marder Curtis
Nicholas R. Oleson Huge Aryan
Anne Lambton Cassandra
Alex Sol Mitch McCormick
Paul Le Mat McMahon

Technical Credits
Tony Kaye Director,Cinematographer
James Kyler Black Art Director
Bill Carraro Executive Producer
Mark Cotone Asst. Director
Michael De Luca Executive Producer
Anne Dudley Score Composer
Jerry Greenberg Editor
Doug Hall Costumes/Costume Designer
Alan Heim Editor
Jon D. Hess Co-producer
Valerie McCaffrey Casting
David McKenna Co-producer,Screenwriter
John Morrissey Producer
John Morrissey Producer
Steve Nelson Sound/Sound Designer
Dan Olexiewicz Art Director
Kearie Peak Executive Producer
Tessa Posnansky Set Decoration/Design
Jon Gary Steele Production Designer
Steve Tisch Executive Producer
Lawrence Turman Executive Producer
Brian Witten Executive Producer

Customer Reviews

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American History X 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The most incredible movie made. It completely shocked me, but at the same time was intrigued. I really never expected the series of event it just really made me think. Unfortunately life and people are really like this and uneducated I thank God I am open minded and it just goes to show that some people may be terrible but don't judge all for their actions! Give people of all race, creed and religion a chance before you miss out on incredible people! My fiance is in prison right now and never expected my life would go this way, but everything happens for a reason and I wouldn't change a thing! I love him and he has made some incredible friends and he has taught me so much. It is only to each his own for those who have no ability to be one for all and all for one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Films about social issues are usually either really good or really bad. Great directors can lead you to a certain conclusion about the issue without explicitly telling you what to think. When you are told what to believe, then the director has thrown objectivity out the window and started lecturing. A good director should be able to tell a story about racists impartially, and the viewer will draw his own conclusion that it's bad. The audience is usually already predisposed to that point of view. But Tony Kaye either doesn't trust your intelligence or his own abilities, so he inserts a series of long, preachy monologues to make sure he has convinced you. Problem is.. when you go this route, all notions of drama are out the window and you have a sermon. Whatever his reasons, it makes a really bad film. Even if you can get past the fact that you are being lectured rather than entertained, it's still hard to swallow the fact that American History X is a bad movie. For instance, the actors in this film are utterly hollow. Are we to believe that anyone with an I.Q. above 60 is subject to the simple persuasion we see here? There are several scenes where someone suggests to the main characters that "racism is the root of all your problems". Without blinking an eye, they blankly respond by saying, "Yeah, that makes sense to me." COME ON PEOPLE!! Take Edward Furlong's character for instance. The last time I saw such a simpleminded dunce who was this susceptible to the power of suggestion, it was that stormtrooper in Star Wars - "These are not the droids you are looking for" - "Duh, Ok.. Move along. Move along." This insults the audience's intelligence. If a person's sense of prejudice was this easy to sway, then we could eradicate racism altogether. In reality, we know the roots of racism are much deeper than this. Rent this film only if you have the intelligence of Furlong's character and you need further convincing that racism is a bad thing.
beyer More than 1 year ago
Here's the rundown. Derrick Vinyard(Edward Norton), is a racist bastard. His brother Danny(Edward Furlong) wants to follow his ways, but after Derrick goes to jail he get's raped then he's no longer a racist, magically.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it was a very great movie. i recommend that everyone sees it!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this movie because of the racial tension that builds up and then released in two differnt ways. It teaches the way things are really seen and what the prison system is really like. If you want to teach kids about the way things are and the that racial hated isn't going to get you anywhere I recommend this movie to you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great movie, period. It shows the trials and tribulations of a white family in a neighborhood being over run by the black community. After serving jail time for defending his family and shooting two black men who tried to steal his car, Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton), washes himself clean of his ties with the local White power groups, but is it too late for his brother Danny?. Vinyard recalls his life, his father, a firefighter murder while responding to a prank call in a black neighborhood, and how society used to be. Definetly one of the top 10 films of the 90's, bearing it oscar nominations.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this movie 2 weeks ago and i was dying to see it again. I finally saw it again last night, my friend said that she didn't want to watch it since it had bad language, but i still like it a lot. It's about this family and racism and they finally give it up after 3 years in prison. It's THE best movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This by far the most stinging indictment of racism in our culture today. Nonetheless, it shows that our racial conflicts today involves everybody and nobody is totally innocent. Although very violent, it makes its point in contemporary America.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very good, Edward Norton sholud've won best actor. Also has a good lesson/
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! I wish I would have seen it earlier. The most amazing story that has been unraveled about our nations racism. One of those films that jumps out of no where and makes you think of what really goes on in America. A must see and a must buy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is amazing, Edward Norton and Edward Furlong make this story so incredible. The truth of this movie is so shocking and mind blowing. This is definitely my new favorite movie. I am speechless from this movie, it's something I can't stop thinking about. Definitely a must-see.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just like there are two sides to every story this film has a few sides as well. Some people enjoy this film for bringing the issues to light and trying to deal with them. Others enjoy the films message about change and over coming a particular life style. The last and ugliest of all views is people who take this movie as truth. It is sad to say that those people are still living among us today and a re-education of what is right is the only way to correct that behavior. There will always violance in our society because that is human nature but I would love for the violance to be over things of value and not physical apperance or skin color. Edward Norton showed this entire hot button conflict in one performance and it was beautiful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well-acted, surprisingly accurate portrayal of naive but dangerous Neo-Nazi youths in the USA. The films primary fault lies in the unrealistically easy enlightenment of Derek, the films primary protagonist.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've saw this movie more than a few times. because the curby in it is great...the violence and anger was uplifting, the only sad thing/s to me in this movie would be that they gave the win of race to the blacks. but atleast they got the portrayal of them down at the end of the movie...and im not supposed to tell u the end so go watch it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The most intense and gripping of all full-length films ever. It captures the essence of race related crimes and hate within contemporary America. A wonderful movie for everyone who needs to see the life behind the curtain.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is so good, it teaches a great lesson in life without being boring. the cast was great, i mean Edward Norton was awesome as Derek. and Edward Furlong super! This is altogether a great movie. everyone should see it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this movie actually brings a reality that there are indeed neo nazis in this county. american hist. x also deeply describes the daily life, agression, and hatred, of Dererk and Danny,two angry brothers that recover from neo nazi gang leader and folllower to becoming antinazis. wonderful plot and both edwards were extremly talented and supper hot!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this movie twice; it was very good. Edward Norton is great, as always. It's a very sad movie, not only because of what happens in it, but also because it shows the realities of racism. The ending is sad, but the messages throughout are good. It just proves how terrible hatred is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i liked this movie because it is happening in the real world today as we speak and its going to keep going on because on my part i was raised around people like that
Guest More than 1 year ago
i thought this movie was great from begining to end. It tells how even today how strong people feel about blacks, hispanics, and asians.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a film of extremely intense and disturbing violence, yet the message it contains is one that grows more and more important every day. This is a movie that will change your life if you pay attention and watch it with sincerity and thoughtfullness. Edward Norton gives an unforgettable perfomance as a sinister and evil skinhead. This is one of the most important movies of our time and should be viewed by everyone who can handle the brutal violence, rivaled only by films like elephant and saving private ryan.