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American History X (1998)

tomatometer

83

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 82
Fresh: 68 | Rotten: 14

A compelling and provocative story led by an excellent performance by Edward Norton.

67

Average Rating: 6.3/10
Critic Reviews: 24
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 8

A compelling and provocative story led by an excellent performance by Edward Norton.

audience

96

liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 473,455

My Rating

Movie Info

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

R,

Drama

David McKenna

Apr 6, 1999

New Line Cinema - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (85) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (68) | Rotten (14) | DVD (20)

Norton is an amazing actor, a hot-dog whose delight in transformation is infectious.

August 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Slate | Comment (1)
Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Two things hold the interest: Norton's astounding performance, and a feeling for the male reality of reactionary working class environments.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The problem is that Kaye, who's used to selling cars on TV, shoots Derek the Hater as lovingly as he would a new Volkswagen.

October 7, 2002 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly | Comments (8)
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What partly redeems American History X from its most preachy excesses -- and makes it worth seeing -- is a brilliant, career-high performance by actor Edward Norton.

April 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though well-intentioned, turns out to be a simplistic and unconvincing look at a serious problem.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Comment (1)
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film is always interesting and sometimes compelling, and it contains more actual provocative thought than any American film on race since Do the Right Thing.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (2)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

American History X advocates that "those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it"? It's a powerful social document and should be part of your film watching curriculum.

May 16, 2012 Full Review Source: 2UE That Movie Show
2UE That Movie Show

A well-made, well-acted and often violent film that offers a compelling portrait of redemption and the destructive nature of racism.

August 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

This dark drama is not for kids.

December 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comments (22)
Common Sense Media

If didactic and overwrought at times, it's also powerful and persuasive. [Blu-ray]

May 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

...a violent film on a weighty topic...frank and honest, its characters, actions, and ideas compelling the viewer to look further and become involved.

April 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Any idiot can make us wince at the ugliness of beatings and shootings.

July 23, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com | Comments (30)
eFilmCritic.com

Well-intentioned and well-acted but unconvicning, this saga provides an instructive example to the simplistic approach taken by movies when tackling the social problem of racism.

February 26, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Comments (2)
EmanuelLevy.Com

American History X is flawed, yes, but is a worthwhile film that covers territories not dealt with in recent years.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Pesado e incômodo, discute o racismo com inteligência e conta com uma interpretação absolutamente impecável de Edward Norton.

August 29, 2004
Cinema em Cena

Derrick's journey to hell and the one back are portrayed organically and gradually.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

If the message of the film gets a bit didatic, or the storyline balance is a little off ... it hardly matters in the end. American History X is unrelenting.

November 16, 2002 Full Review Source: CinemaBlend.com
CinemaBlend.com

It is Edward Norton's riveting performance as a smart kid seduced by horrible ideas that makes the story real.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

The film stars the electrifying Edward Norton in his best performance to date.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal
Montreal Film Journal

Clumsy and exploitative.

March 24, 2002 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

A work of impressive scale and craft and not a movie that's easy to dismiss in the end.

March 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

The film works because Norton's performance is so rivetting and uncompromising.

January 15, 2002
Jam! Movies

Audience Reviews for American History X

Powerful and gripping from beginning to end. American History X provides a great performance from Edward Norton and a graphic tale involving the influences of society in the household and relationships. Very explicit, destructive and compelling, the film makes a strong mark that's as challenging as its direction. 4.5/5
April 17, 2014
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
February 28, 2014
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Review coming soon.
August 20, 2013
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

As intense as its message is inspiring, American History X is a movie that gets into your brain and wont leave. Ed Norton gives a very powerful performance as the hate spewing neo-nazi Derek Vinyard that goes through major changes when faced with doing three years in a jail cell. A film that is as shocking as it is outstanding. Once you watch American History X, it sticks with you. I highly recommend it.
July 25, 2013
Dr114
Chris Miele

Super Reviewer

    1. Danny Vinyard: Hate is baggage. Life's too short to be pissed off all the time. It's just not worth it.
    – Submitted by Ker Malkin G (23 days ago)
    1. Davina Vinyard: When was the last time you were actually able to see your feet?
    – Submitted by Jesse C (6 months ago)
    1. Danny Vinyard: So I guess this is where I tell you what I learned - my conclusion, right? Well, my conclusion is: Hate is baggage. Life's too short to be pissed off all the time. It's just not worth it. Derek says it's always good to end a paper with a quote. He says someone else has already said it best. So if you can't top it, steal from them and go out strong. So I picked a guy I thought you'd like. 'We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.'
    – Submitted by Samira O (21 months ago)
    1. Danny Vinyard: I'm sorry, Derek. I'm sorry that happened to you.
    2. Derek Vinyard: I'm not. I'm lucky. I feel lucky because it's wrong, Danny. It's wrong and it was eating me up, it was going to kill me. And I kept asking myself all the time, how did I buy into this shit? It was because I was pissed off, and nothing I ever did ever took that feeling away. I killed two guys, Danny, I killed them. And it didn't make me feel any different. It just got me more lost and I'm tired of being pissed off, Danny. I'm just tired of it.
    – Submitted by Samira O (21 months ago)
    1. Danny Vinyard: Hate is baggage. Life's too short to be pissed off all the time.
    – Submitted by Samira O (21 months ago)
    1. Bob Sweeney: There was a moment, when I used to blame everything and everyone for all the pain and suffering and vile things that happened to me, that I saw happen to my people. Used to blame everybody. Blamed white people, blamed society, blamed God. I didn't get no answers 'cause I was asking the wrong questions. You have to ask the right questions.
    2. Derek Vinyard: Like what?
    3. Bob Sweeney: Has anything you've done made your life better?
    – Submitted by Samira O (21 months ago)
View all quotes (18)

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  • Historia americana X (ES)
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