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American History X
Year:
1998
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama
IMDB rating:
8.5
Director:
Tony Kaye
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)
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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Reviews
Controversial, yet very amazing & moving film
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.
2000-04-19
I love this film for all the right reasons!!
I truly love this film for all its contents. From the way it is written and directed to the acting and storyline. I think it's a shame that some viewers this that it glorifies the racism side to the story, but this film is far from that completely. Just rewatched it in 2017 and still enjoyed it as much as when I originally watched it back in the 90's
2017-09-07
Good movie wish they added some things only shows one side of skins
This was a great movie that shows how people change how once you open your mind to feelings and listen to other people you realize that your not always right. the only problem that i had with the film is that they only show the Nazi skins which for people who don't have a clue about skinheads and believe that there are only racist skins is very bad because there are 3 types the racist are called boneheads the anti racist skins are called SHARPS and the third are called trad skins or traditional skins which is about helping the working class who ever they are. movies like this are great but because they are so great they have very persuasive powers and when there's only one side of certain things shown it can affects people greatly. I'm a trad skin and because of American history x several people have wanted to beat me up just because they don't know the whole truth. this is a good movie but doesn't show everything plus the fat Nazi in the movie has an ANTIHERO tattoo and antihero is an awesome band and the movie used there tattoo without permission which affects them cause there not racist.
2006-08-02
This is a fantastic movie....
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.
2006-01-07
Born of Edward Norton
Some people say that "Fight Club" is the born of Edward Norton but this means that they haven't seen this movie yet. Every time you watch the movie you take the same taste as the first time maybe even better. The first scene starts with a man making love with his girlfriend that makes you shocked at the first minutes but then the story takes you to a terrible prison, neo-nazi people defending the racialism so hardly, a family so close to fall into pieces and so on. The players are chosen very carefully and I think Norton fits to his character very very much. The friendship between Derek and the laundry man Lamont is so similar to the one between Andy Dufresne and Ellis "Red" Redding in Shawshank Redemption movie. This is a movie that everyone must put in his archives.
2006-12-25
Powerful film
I was looking forward to see this film as I missed it at the cinema and am a firm believer that Edward Norton is one of the most talented actors of his generation and is always worth seeing (even if some of his films have given less than he deserves). It was maybe better that I only saw it recently as I was able to enjoy it without all the hype and fighting over who did what to who, or all the comments from director Kaye as to his opinions of the film. Having seen the pompous fool interviewed several times, I find it quite self assuring that I don't agree with his opinions of it!

The plot is a mix of flashback into Derek's hate filled past (told in b&w) and the present (colour) where he is desperate to save his brother and family from suffering anymore from his 'sins'. As a basic narrative the film struggles at times to make a solid story and seems to be trying too hard to create confrontations to up the drama within the film. It still works mind you but this is not it's best asset.

The main thing the film does well is to be a very true representation of white male disillusionment. The film avoids painting these people as monsters straightaway (although makes no bones that they are confused, misled and wrong). The arguments and discussions they have in the film are not so far from reality that the characters seem fiction – the characters and the film's world seem very real. The film's message that hate is no way to live no matter who it is directed at may be a little simplistic but it is a valid point. One particular weakness which I felt was a little hamfisted was Derek's 'road to Damascus' experience in prison – it was OK but was far too easy given the character we had just seen brutally kill several black men.

The other main selling point the film has is a performance by Norton that simply ensures he steals nearly every scene he is in. In b&w flashback he is at his best – a larger than life character who is never allowed to just be seen as a thug. Norton acts out the various stages of his life well and makeup ensures that he looks younger when required. In the present he is less dominant but still is very good giving a different performance. Furlong is also very strong, although he only has a few scenes where he is able to be outside of Norton's shadow. Support from Balk, Gould, D'Angelo and Brooks is mixed – Gould's Jewish character is only in the film to allow for one scene to occur, while Brooks' righteous teacher is simply a 'morally upright teacher' with no meat on his character.
2017-08-04
powerful
I don't want to give too much away to reader's who may not have seen the film, so I won't say much...but if I had to use one word to sum up American History X, it would be "powerful". This is the kind of film that is missing in the current film environment that is usually based more around flash than substance, ie special effects and a physically attractive cast are commonly used to win over audiences as opposed to a solid plot containing powerful messages that actually might make you think. I saw this movie last night and it is a fascinating insight into the insecurity of young people and their desire to belong to something, to feel accepted. I believe this theme is equally as prevalent as the denunciation of racism throughout the film. Another thing I liked is that the cast is portrayed as being incredibly human... nobody in this film is "perfect", as we frequently see in other films. From the protagonist to his young brother to the wise English teacher, they have all had their share of problems in the past, as well as in the present. I think it is a testament to the director and cast that we actually end the film sympathising with a convicted murderer. The moral of the film is that hate is baggage, and we reap what we sew in life. We need to ask ourselves that one question when our lives are veering off course "Has anything I've done made my life better?". For the protagonist in American History X, this simple advice is enough to turn around his life from that point on... but it is too late to undo the consequences of his wide-reaching influences, hurting him in the most painful place he ever could have imagined. So once again, this film is sheer power. Certainly it is disturbing in parts, and probably not for young children or the overly sensitive. Nevertheless, it is a fantastic film, truly one of the best of all time. I give it 9 out of 10 stars.
2006-12-20
Cultural Agitprop X
As a Jew, I must say this production is seemingly straight out of the Frankfurt School of thought and should be revealed as the subversive Jewish Agitprop X that it is.

Sadly, this film has shortcomings that range from the acting, to the direction, and even the post editing. But most importantly, the film utterly fails in its attempt to escape the infantile, pedestrian stereotypes that mire the picture in a laughably obvious attempt to drive an anti-white political narrative, not make an entertaining movie with any integrity whatsoever.

This film goes out of its way to make the "groundbreaking" assertion that neo Nazis are misguided. Thanks, Hollywood Jews; I was wondering about that! But it makes no attempt to honestly investigate the legitimate (yes, legitimate) reasons behind white pride movements in general and uses epithetic, out-of-place "dialogue" to tacitly delegitimize a father's attempts to explain to his son what is justifiably wrong with liberal fascists trying to issue reparations for past injustices.

The more prominent motifs in this film are clearly disturbing: 1. Blacks have no autonomy or agency and thusly cannot be held accountable for their overtly disproportional criminality. "They are merely products of social injustice and poverty." Real racism in action, my goy friends. 2. Black racism against whites should be accepted while only white racism, which we are led to believe is rampant "just under the surface", should be detested. 3. Whites should feel guilty for transgressions they did not personally commit because after all...white privilege, institutional racism, microaggressions, and other incredibly nebulous "sociological contrivances." 4. While all non-Caucasian groups that celebrate a racial identity are to be exalted, any pride among people of European descent is to be viewed with moral pessimism, abhorrent disgust and outright social rejection without the benefit of a civil discussion.

I'm not technically "white"; but I can appreciate the innumerable gifts Caucasians have given the world. It's too bad so many of my fellow Jews in the movie industry take every opportunity to slander the descendants (especially males) of a group who produced a country that provides blacks the most hospitable environment to make something of themselves...or be their own worst enemy. That's freedom and I love the right not only to succeed, but also to fail. Failures make us who we are- for better or worse. This film hopefully makes someone better as it failed both technically and morally.
2015-06-04
Its amusing how one-dimensional this film is.
So Edward Norton is supposed to be a chameleon kind of actor, abode in the upper echelon of thespian professionalism with a distinctive character and absolutely a cut above the rest of the Hollywood illiterates. I've heard of this movie for so long but never intrigued by the signal-blazing poster and preaching-sound plot. But then I watched it by default and become so angry that compelled myself to rant out my rage. Its rub*ish, don't sully your eyes by it.

Honestly, every character is black and white. Long overdue prodigal son who used to be a loving a caring straight A student got lectured by his racist old man and SUDDENLY abandon all his DOUBLE PHD black teacher's words and starting to mutter extreme racist remarks on news report when his "honest hardworking" firefighter dad got shot and killed. Then unsurprisingly he was claimed to be brainwashed and apparently become the rabbis of his secret guild. And his uncontrollable ANGER(so symbolic and repetitively accentuated in the movie that you started doubting if the director thinks the audience are all eight year old) moved to his family, to defend his belief and stand out for his horrendous looking lady friend. he even stuffed a chunk of beef into his sister's mouth to shut her up. AND he killed the guys who tried to sneaked his car through the most thrilling way(I didn't know if you put mouth on curbs and kick it could kill a man). I'm flabbergasted how the storyline goes exactly as I predicted(I learned in primary school if you want to salute a kind of concept you first suppressed it and then through a heavenly epiphany you realized the folly of you and the mightiness of the concept, say the virtue of be punctual), I thought maybe deviated a little from the standard via but sadly, sadly it doesn't. the linchpin of the movie got his second life and love education behind bars by his fellow linen worker and a f*ck in the a*s.

Every character is either purely good or evil, all deprived of sanity and love and proper education. The fat bug killer is a racist for a reason, he simply is insolent and grumpy as hell about his life, he eats jelly beans with a bow; the mason-vision gangster are dramatized and demonized to present the very extremity of racism, which itself desensitize the audience and shift the concept of racism to terrorism. Apparently the director itself is undereducated but ridiculously bold to produce a film regarding racism without do much research about the itself. You'd startled by the level of superficiality and phoniness of the film. They even spent 3 mins on a black versus white basketball game.yeah.
2014-04-01
Excellent but curiously unmoving
A white supremacist Derek (Edward Norton) is sent to jail for brutally killing two black men who try to steal his car. Through some harrowing experiences in jail he realizes his way of thinking and living was wrong. He gets out and tries to prevent his young brother Danny (Edward Furlong) from becoming the same as him...but is it too late?

First off I'm giving the film an 8. I thought is was excellent but it does have problems--it's overlong (I was bored more than once); there's way too many slow-motion sequences; there's disjointed editing; a finale I saw coming from a mile away and an annoying tendency to cut from b&w to color constantly. Those issues aside the film is great.

The script and imagery is strong and graphic (as it should be) and there's some great acting here. Norton is just superb (he was Oscar-nominated); Furlong is subdued but good as Danny--a lot of his emotions come through in his eyes; Beverly D'Angelo was just great as their mother and Fairuza Balk is frightening as Norton's girlfriend. The only bad acting was by Avery Brooks--but he's not really a main character so it doesn't really hurt the film.

Some of the sequences in here were very difficult to watch (the attack on the store, the prison sequences and the finale) but they're meant to be that way. This movie hits you over the head with its message but it does work. It just didn't affect me that strongly. As I said, I saw the ending coming from a mile away so it didn't shock me at all. Still, it is a powerful film. Well worth catching.

Also there was a huge amount of controversy when this was released. It seems the director (Tony Kaye) accused New Line Studios of letting Edward Norton into the editing room and cut the film himself (this is no shock--Norton is known as a control freak). He requested his name be removed from the credits and replaced with Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. He didn't win his request. If Norton did indeed edit this film--he shouldn't quit his acting job. The editing here is herky-jerky and the film could easily lose those slomo sequences.
2003-05-17
See Also
Download Crime, Drama American History X movie USA with english subtitles DVD-rip mpeg4 avi & mp4, download American History X (1998) 1080p h264 mkv, iPhone xvid mov & mpeg4 mp4, Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly D'Angelo, Avery Brooks, Jennifer Lien, Ethan Suplee, Stacy Keach, Fairuza Balk, Elliott Gould, Guy Torry, William Russ, Joseph Cortese, Jason Bose Smith, Antonio David Lyons, Alex Sol.
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