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Crime, Drama
IMDB rating:
Tony Kaye


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Edward Norton as Derek Vinyard
Edward Furlong as Danny Vinyard
Beverly D'Angelo as Doris Vinyard
Avery Brooks as Dr. Bob Sweeney
Jennifer Lien as Davina Vinyard
Ethan Suplee as Seth Ryan
Stacy Keach as Cameron Alexander
Fairuza Balk as Stacey
Elliott Gould as Murray
Guy Torry as Lamont
William Russ as Dennis Vinyard
Joseph Cortese as Rasmussen (as Joe Cortese)
Jason Bose Smith as Little Henry (as Jason Bose-Smith)
American History X Storyline: 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.
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Abrupt ending somewhat ruins it for me
Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton) is a neo-Nazi skinhead who gets sent to prison after he brutally murders the black hooligans that try to steal his car. The movie jumps between timelines following his and his younger brother's lives both before, during and after the prison sentence, as Derek learns to question his commitments to the white supremacy cause.

It's a skillful movie, no doubt about it. The non-linear chronology allows us to slowly learn about Derek and see what caused him to change. His younger brother Danny (Edward Furlong) also functions as an important character and a message about the cyclic nature of hate. Derek learned to hate from his father and in time taught Danny to hate. Now it's up to him to teach Danny to accept.

The movie is also shot really well. The cinematography is brisk and clean, and the numerous black-n-white scenes give the film a style of its own. The non-linearity is handled well and the story is easy to follow. However, the movie does end a bit abruptly in my mind. And on a note I'm still not quite sure whether I like or not. On the surface it seems to undermine the whole message of the film, but on the other hand you could also see it as a final test. Nevertheless, I do think there could have been a better way to end the film, but I'm sure I'm on the minority in this.

It's still a great film to check out. Personally, if I wanted to recommend a film about a neo-Nazi redeeming himself, I'd go with Dome Karukoski's Heart of a Lion. But that's a much more obscure film.
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 same
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.
great movie
this is probably the best film i have ever seen Edward Norton was wonderful.

everything was wonderful the production the acting the story

i advise everyone to watch this great work i can say that it will enter your favorite list
Tremendous performance ... dangerous ending
This film has always bothered me as deeply as any I've seen, and I've seen thousands. I'm a film buff, and have been from the time I was a youngster watching old films with my mother. Many films have impacted my life, much the way they have a lot of people, and that's why it's important that filmmakers (real filmmakers) put deep thought into what they put on the big screen.

I saw AHX when it was first released. I saw it again a number of times since, mainly because I have tried to come to terms with the ending. Had it been a lesser film, I would have just labeled the ending thoughtless racism, as is in a lot of films, and moved on. But this film is so thoughtful in other ways that I have to believe that the filmmakers thought as deeply about the ending - often considered the most important part of a movie - of their film.

I've accepted that the white characters in the film were deep and layered characters, and the black characters, for the most part, were one dimensional stereotypes because the film is from the point of view of Edward Norton's character, and his family are the supporting characters. The black characters are secondary. That is until the end.

When the black kid shoots Daniel in the end, it makes him a much more important character to the story. And, we haven't seen enough of this character to understand his motivation. So, he just becomes some black kid who overreacted and killed a white main character who the audience loved and who was changing for the better. To me, that would go to make some in the white audience despise this kid, and be more sympathetic to Derek's point of view.

The filmmakers can't even argue that they were just giving a look at real life in this situation, as the scene does not at all fit what we know, or knew about violence among youth. (Excuse me for the upcoming generalizations, but race is the topic of the film, and I'm simplifying for time's sake.) We know we've had the school shootings by the outcast white kids, and we've had a number of inner city shootings by underprivileged black kids. The white kids have, in general, gone after the kids who made them feel like outcasts, and the inner city shootings have been part of gangs or the drug trade, where the intended victims are involved in the same. The issue of a black kid shooting a white kid because of some racist spat is just not reality.

So, we have a one dimensional black kid shooting a audience favorite character in an unrealistic scene. This is at the end of an otherwise well made film containing a thought provoking discussion dominated by a very intelligent and convincing skinhead character (played by the dynamic Edward Norton).

We've all heard that this film is praised by racists as well as "non-racists". So, I can't help but to wonder what the intentions of the filmmakers were.

Some might say that you can't dismiss the rest of this well made film because of the end. And I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, it's the poignancy and quality of the rest of the film that gives the ending such power. The ending of a film often brings together the themes and point of view of the film. So again, what were the intentions? I find the ending of this film to be out of place. Otherwise, this film is well made, well acted and so well respected across the board, and that may make it dangerous.
American history x
Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton) returns from prison to discover that his younger brother, Danny (Edward Furlong), has been following in his footsteps, living the neo-Nazi life of racism and violence that landed Derek in prison. However upon Dereks return from prison, his fellow Hitler-worshippers notice a change in his behaviour and realise that Derek is free from the hatred he harboured for the people 'invading' his neighbourhood. The task that lies before Derek is to convince Danny to see the errors of his ways before it is too late. An awesome movie delivered by an excellent cast, a definite classic. There is quite a lot of violence... a lot of people object to the curb scene, but it is not particularly shocking, and not a film to miss because of it. This movie has one of the best endings you will ever see, it will bring you close to tears!
A microcosm of racism prevalent everywhere in the USA
I watched this movie for the first time this year (2006) when a friend of mine lent me this,. I had heard about it and wondered but had no idea of what to expect. It is the most powerful movie I have ever seen in my forty nine years. I had recently returned from Los Angeles and the beach area after having experienced real life gangs there and was working on a novel following up on these experiences. I don't know if we can ever really solve the underlying racial attitudes that prevail in this country. I also saw much of the 'white backlash' recently when I was out there and saw all of the characters as believable (both white and black) portraying the different gangs and why they hate each other and are ready to take it to the death. I feel this movie will help young people try and realize the consequences of racial escalation. I unfortunately feel that this country will never solve this and understandably the movie leads us to believe this also. The best lesson is it takes the consequence of violence to either change or manipulate behavior. As shown, it can go from one extreme to the other without resolve. Be prepared with this movie as it leaves no judgement with either white nor black...
Norton's acting delivers the sheer loss that racism can truly bring
Probably one of the most powerful films I have ever seen, with a subject matter that is so delicate and easily could have been mishandled – this film delivers a performance of a lifetime from Edward Norton and a superb story shaping the influences around him.

The film is told in two tales; one in black and white, conveying the wrongful doings of Derek Vinyard (Norton) and about how his racial crusades slowly infiltrate the mind of his little brother. After a brutal racially motivated murder of three individuals for breaking into his car, Derek is sent to jail where he soon learns the errors of his ways and comes to realise the pain and suffering he has caused.

The second story told in colour, runs parallel to that of the past of Derek. This story focuses more on Danny Vinyard, and about the effect his brother has on him. After handing in a paper on Mein Kampf, the school's headmaster orders Danny to write a paper about his brother. This is where we hear the vocal expressions of the effects that he has had on him through a well delivered voice-over. On the same day when Danny is reunited with his brother, Danny sets about trying to impress his brother by taking up where he left off – the tattoos, the haircut, the attitude – aspiring to him.

But as Derek's story develops from his time in prison, you begin to realise that he cannot let his brother take the same path as he did. He disowns all his friends and connections in the neo-Nazi party in a ditch attempt to save his brother from a similar life of destruction and mayhem.

The relationship between the two brothers is what drives the plot of the film; the acting between them is impeccable and emotionally driven. As Danny finally realises what his brother is trying to teach him, he is shot by a gang member that he encountered before his brother showed him the right path. Derek holding his dead brother in his arms is the greatest lesson of all. Norton conveys with such passion, the pain, the guilt and true regret the character is feeling –his brother's death was his entire fault.

Without a doubt one of the most powerful films you will see, and I can't help but feel that under all this there is a powerful message that mankind is twisted and troubled in today's society over such petty issues as race and equality which could so easily be dealt with by the governments in place.
Best movie of 1998
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.
Half American History X
Brazilian's synopsis made me have a wrong idea about this film. Based on that, one expects it to be a deeply analysis of a prisoner's life. Sadly, this film is situated in jail for only some few minutes, I believe less than half an hour, which frustrated me. The whole concept is very interesting, a neo-nazi skinhead realizes all the prejudices he believed in are completely junk. I thought Derek (Edward Norton) would become good friends with some black guys and understand they're all the same, but he just shares a laugh or two with one black guy and that's it, no big thing. Also, I found Norton's acting to be kinda weak, specially when he's "crying" in the last minutes. He "cries" and not a single tear falls from his eyes.

All in all, I believe this is a good concept with a not so rich execution. If you want to see a strong film about prejudice and racism, watch "A Time To Kill".
One of the best movies of all time
This may contain spoilers! I saw this film for the first time about 6 years ago when I was at the beach with my family. My cousin decided to rent the film, and told me that he watched it when he was in drug rehab.

The movie is about a neo Nazi Derek Vinyard(Norton) who goes to jail for killing two African American men outside his house. He younger brother Danny Vinyard (Furlong) saw this, but did not testify, saving his brother from a life sentence. Derek gets out of jail 3 years later when his sentence is up, and finds out that his younger brother is on the same path of destruction. Derek tells Danny about changing his ways, and explains to what happened to him in jail in hopes that Danny does not go to jail either.

This is a very powerful movie that is central theme is about anti-racism. The plot is a fairly generic one, someone telling someone close to them to change their ways so that they do not follow a similar fate.

The acting is well done for all of the characters and you can see the emotion that Edward Norton has the end of the movie. The movie also has a unique way of tell the story. For any evens that have occurs in the past, black and white film is used, and when it's for the present color film is used.

This film is NOT for everyone. If you are offended by racial slurs, acts of violence and hate against minorities, strong profanity (mainly the F word), rape, and or nudity, then do NOT watch this film. This film has all I have listed in the previous sentence in it, and then some. This is the one of the best films that I have ever seen, and I don't think any of the films that were made in the last 6 years even come close to the greatness this film has.

So if you are not offended by any of the stuff I have listed above, then buy this film and watch it. It's one of th best films of the 90's.
See Also
Coin Heist
Coin Heist
USA ‘2017
The Crash
The Crash
USA ‘2017
USA ‘2017
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