Derek Vineyard is paroled after serving 3 years in prison for killing two thugs 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.
|Title||:||American History X|
|Release Date||:||October 30, 1998|
|Production Co.||:||New Line Cinema, The Turman-Morrissey Company, Savoy Pictures|
|Production Countries||:||United States of America|
|Director||:||Tony Kaye, David Larson, Mark Cotone, Ira Hurvitz|
|Writers||:||David McKenna, David McKenna|
|Casts||:||Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly D'Angelo, Avery Brooks, Jennifer Lien, Ethan Suplee, Stacy Keach, Fairuza Balk, Elliott Gould, Guy Torry, William Russ, Joe Cortese, Jason Bose Smith, Antonio David Lyons, Alex Sol, Giuseppe Andrews, Keram Malicki-Sánchez, Michelle Christine White, Jonathan Fowler Jr., Christopher Masterson, Jordan Marder, Nicholas R. Oleson, Paul Le Mat, Thomas L. Bellissimo, Cherish Lee, Sam Vlahos, Tara Blanchard, Anne Lambton, Steve Wolford, Richard Noyce, Danso Gordon, David Basulto, Alexis Rose Coen, Kiante Elam, Paul Hopkins, Keith Odett, Jim Norton, Paul E. Short, Nigel Miguel, Darrell Britt, Robert 'Duckie' Carpenter, Sydney 'Big Dawg' Colston, Hans Cozzens, John Embry, Maximillian Kesmodel, Barbie Marie, Allie Moss, Louis E. Rosas, Sam Sarpong, Jeremy Sweet, Selwyn Ward, Denney Pierce, Glendon Rich|
|Plot Keywords||:||usa, neo-nazi, prison, skinhead, brother brother relationship, rape, fascism, brother, basketball, jail, school, swastika, los angeles, family, hate, neo nazism, xenophobia, interracial friendship, nazism, prison rape|
American History X Reviews
- This was probably the best movie I've ever seenby 9 December 1998on
565 out of 863 people found the following review useful:
I honestly don't think I have ever seen a better movie than American History X in my entire life! I may only be 14, but I have seen a lot of movies. I am an avid fan of them, and this one just takes the cake. Edward Norton is just unbelievable. He is the most talented actor I've ever laid eyes on. His performance in the movie is phenomenal. He delves so deep into his character that he can convince the whole audience easily of his neo-nazi role. The look on his face as he walks back from killing one man in the first seen is purely horrifying. The entire move was dramatic, intriguing, and powerful. It really is moving and emotional as well as scary. It is so true to life, and provides the viewer with such insight into the life and events that create a monster such as Derek Vinyard. It answers many questions I have long awaited an answer to such as what could possibly make someone act as Derek did in this movie, yet left open-ended many others that people such as myself may have. Almost every single scene in the movie was extremely captivating. I can't even go on to say more about the acting, other than if Edward Norton does not win best actor this year, I will go absolutely nuts. It's bad enough he lost it to Cuba Gooding Jr. when he was in Primal Fear, which was yet another incredible performance by him. Edward Furlong, the little kid from T2 is astounding as the confused brother of Derek. I was stunned walking out of the theater after seeing American History X, and I don't think I will ever have the benefit of seeing another movie as good as this one as long as I live. I recommend anyone with a good tolerance for violent and graphic depictions go see this movie. I am bewildered as to why director Tony Kaye would ever want out of this success. If I were to rate this movie, as I often do for others in reviewing them for school, I would give it an A+ with all of my heart.
- An amazing filmby 2 April 2000on
432 out of 602 people found the following review useful:
A good friend of mine suggested this film, and I really didnt know what to expect going in, but after this film was over, I sat in stunned silence. I knew that racism was horrible, but I found through this film that it does not come without a terrible price..the loss of love, friends, family...and the realization that everything that you believed to be true isnt always the way things are. Edward Norton's performance takes the viewer through this journey, and its not a pretty one. He goes from an bright young man, to a vengeful bigot, to a remorseful excon with a brothers life in jeopardy, and you feel as though you are looking in on someones life in the course of 2 hrs. All of the acting in this film is first rate, and the ending wasnt quite as predictable as others might have you believe...it is quite shocking, as is much of the film. It causes quite a debate on the way people view others whos skin color is not the same. As Dr. King said, judge me not on the color of my skin, but on the content of my character. I live with racism, because I am a black man living in America...it exists, but if we educate ourselves like the main character in AHX, it wont stay around for much longer. Hopefully it wont be too late, as it was for him. Peace and Love, JB33 Rating 5 stars
- One of the most powerful movies I have ever seen.by 19 July 2005on
324 out of 412 people found the following review useful:
I was expecting a kind of a moralistic movie with an overly present, almost preaching like message. The movie however turned out to be extremely powerful mainly due to the professionalism it was made with.
The movie its story is told 'beautifuly' in black & white and color. The quite original directing from Tony Kaye gives the movie a nice visual style and certain atmosphere. The story itself isn't that complicated or extremely original on its own and perhaps at most points even predictable but the way the story is told is phenomenal. This is not a movie with an happy ending or a movie that provides a solution to the racial discrimination problems. It shows what is NOT the solution to the problems and that everything that is occurring is like a vicious circle. The movie does not give a hopeful message but instead shows the dangers and pain you're causing to yourself and your close environment when you're thinking as a white supremacist.
As an anti Neo-Nazi movie this movie works really powerful. I think that its a really good and important thing that this movie is often shown in classrooms.
Edward Norton is truly fantastic in his role. He is very well believable as a Neo-Nazi as well as the reformed person he later turns into in the movie. It's almost like he's playing 2 different characters and he does that so extremely well. Also really good was Edward Furlong who we all long had not seen in a big production. Furlong and Norton are both acting well together in their scene's are highly believable as two brothers.
Also surprising good was the musical score by Anne Dudley who had already won an Oscar for "The Full Monty", the year before.
This was a movie that surprisingly impressed me. As a movie its extremely powerful and important.
- Edward Norton delivers a staggering performance as an extremely intelligent white supremacist who realizes the wrongness of his views and must then try to prevent his younger brother form going down the sameby 28 August 2000on
274 out of 394 people found the following review useful:
American History X is one of the most powerful movies released in years. Not since Schindler's List has the subject of racism been so potently presented. The use of black and white cinematography to portray painful flashbacks is amazing, and the settings, while not necessarily pretty, fit the story flawlessly.
Derek Vineyard's (Edward Norton) transition from a white supremacy leader's protege to a gang leader himself to a changed man is shown mainly through a series of flashbacks to the time before he was sent to prison. The character development and story are amazingly well done, and this is largely a factor of the high quality of the acting. Edward Norton especially, but also Edward Furlong, Beverly D'Angelo, and all of the rest of the cast down to Avery Brooks as Bob Sweeney, the African American high school teacher who comes up with the term American History X, and Stacy Keach as the wonderfully hateable Cameron Alexander. Keach, by the way, would have been the perfect choice to play Francis Dolarhyde in Manhunter, the film the precedes The Silence of the Lambs, but oh well.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that American History X is one of the best films in years, it is horribly underrated. Much like Norton's last film, Primal Fear, which was also a great movie, this movie did not get nearly the recognition that it deserves.
- Best movie of 1998by 1 March 1999on
350 out of 547 people found the following review useful:
Powerful portrayal of Neo-Nazi movement in America. Told in series of flashbacks. Flawless acting by Edward Norton. Does its best to make the point that no one is ever right aand no one is ever wrong. I have a friend who was a Nazi and a racist. But upon walking out of the theater after this movie he hung his head in shame. This is why the film industry began.
- A masterpiece! Truly one of the best film I have ever seenby 26 January 2006on
172 out of 200 people found the following review useful:
I have been wanting to see this movie for a long time, since my English teacher mentioned it in our class in grade ten. Gosh I wished I wouldn't have waited all this time to finally watch it, although maybe it's a good thing cause I would have probably been a little bit more traumatized at 14... This movie is exceptional!!! Makes u think, makes you frustrated, makes you wanna scream and even makes you cry! Edward Norton is just phenomenal playing the role of a freak skin head and even more so playing this skin head who finally realizes how stupid he was and tries to protect his younger brother. Edward Furlong also does an amazing job!!! This film is moving in so many ways...I can't even describe how real and heartfelt it felt. I definitely think Edward Norton should have won the Oscar for his performance, cause he was absolutely terrific! I can't get why they didn't gave it to him... This movie will surely stay on my mind for a while now... just thinking that some place in the world things like that still happen...it crushes my heart. This is a wonderful movie that every single person should see at least once in his life... Watch American History X, it totally worth it!
- This is a fantastic movie....by 7 January 2006on
151 out of 169 people found the following review useful:
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.
- Controversial, yet very amazing & moving filmby 19 April 2000on
189 out of 297 people found the following review useful:
When I first heard of "American History X," I thought it was going to be "just another movie." Man, was I wrong! The first time I watched it, I sat there as it ended, and I was just completely in a state of shock. This movie, more than any other movie I had seen on the subject of racism, really made me think twice about how I treated people of a different race. The way that Derek Vinyard's family was almost completely split apart and destroyed due to his racist beliefs should be a wake-up call to those people who have any racist beliefs whatsoever. I believe that this movie was a whole lot more than just a ground-breaking, controversial drama; it was a portrayal of exactly how much damage can be done to a family and a nation simply because of the hate for a person or people of a different color, for almost no reason at all. The Bible says that "God created man in his own image." It also says to, "Love your neighbor as yourself," which, right there, implies that racism is not something people should even consider. I wouldn't recommend that anyone under the age of 16 see this movie due to its graphic content and language; however, I believe that everyone who is over the age of 16, should see this movie at least once. This way, more people will get a chance to see the true consequences of racism, and how it can easily tear apart a family.
- American Neo-Nazi gets a wake-up callby 7 November 2001on
168 out of 260 people found the following review useful:
Edward Norton plays Derek Vinyard, a violent but also intelligent neo-nazi. After brutally killing two black people who tried to break into his car, Derek is sent down for a couple of years. Meanwhile, his younger brother Danny (Edward Furlong) is busy following in his brother's footsteps. After certain incidents in prison gives him time to thing, Derek decides to reform on his way out. Once out, he realises how quickly in number his old gang of nazi thugs has grown and wonders if he can save his brother.
This is a brilliant film. Perhaps what disturbs me the most is the way that Edward Norton looks so brutal, yet sounds so intellectual throughout the film.
Although the film contains a constant strong theme of violence, it is always justified in portraying a picture of racial tension. Neither black nor white people are "judged" in the film, it's primary focus being to outline that it's people's brutality that causes a racial divide, not race itself.
- The Most Dangerous Person To Us Is Ourselvesby 1 February 2009on
57 out of 67 people found the following review useful:
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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