• R, 1 hr. 58 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:    Tony Kaye
  • In Theaters:    Oct 30, 1998 Wide
  • On DVD:    Apr 6, 1999
  • New Line Cinema

American History X Reviews

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Manohla Dargis
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic
October 7, 2002

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.

Rob Gonsalves
July 23, 2007

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

Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
Charles Cassady
Common Sense Media
December 14, 2010

This dark drama is not for kids.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

The ending is a misfire.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

A confused, randomly compelling family melodrama.

| Original Score: 3/5
Steve Rhodes
Internet Reviews
January 1, 2000

Among the biggest deficiencies in the story is the lack of proper motivation for Derek's beliefs and actions.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Andrew Collins
Empire Magazine
January 1, 2000

The film's most incongruous and embarrassing scene is a black-on-white basketball game: shot like a Nike ad, it trivialises the subject.

Ross Anthony
Hollywood Report Card
January 1, 2000

if you've forgotten how to stay calm while somebody probes you with a pointed object such as racism -- stay home or make sure you watch this film to the end.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Gary Dauphin
Village Voice
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Having reduced racism to a kind of adolescent coping mechanism, X takes a mildly curious path to its foregone conclusion, writer-director Tony Kaye putting his leads through the somehow comforting 'hood-film paces.

Susan Stark
Detroit News
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

The tone is so muddled that there's a whiff of exploitation to this movie that's unsettling at best.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Paul Tatara
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

When Hollywood attacks a volatile issue, it inevitably spoon-feeds you the main components of the issue several times over.

David Hunter
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

This journey to unpleasantville is too often manipulative and strains to maintain tension.

Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
February 14, 2001

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

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Peter Keough
Boston Phoenix
March 24, 2002

Clumsy and exploitative.

Blake Howard
2UE That Movie Show
May 16, 2012

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
James Berardinelli
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

American History X may be flawed, but it's not easily forgotten.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
James Rocchi
November 7, 2002

Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Kevin Lally
Film Journal International
January 1, 2000

Wields undeniable power despite its shaky dramatic contrivances.

Garth Franklin
Dark Horizons
October 30, 2006

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Sam Adams
Philadelphia City Paper
January 1, 2000

Ray Pride
January 1, 2000

Matt Prigge
January 1, 2000

Irish Times
January 1, 2000

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