American History X

October 30th, 1998

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American History X

Still of Edward Norton in American History XStill of Edward Norton in American History XStill of Edward Furlong in American History XStill of Edward Furlong and Edward Norton in American History XStill of Edward Norton in American History XStill of Fairuza Balk and Edward Norton in American History X

A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did.

Release Year: 1998

Rating: 8.6/10 (329,034 voted)

Critic's Score: 62/100

Director: Tony Kaye

Stars: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly D'Angelo

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.

Edward Norton - Derek Vinyard
Edward Furlong - Danny Vinyard
Beverly D'Angelo - Doris Vinyard
Jennifer Lien - Davina Vinyard
Ethan Suplee - Seth Ryan
Fairuza Balk - Stacey
Avery Brooks - Dr. Bob Sweeney
Elliott Gould - Murray
Stacy Keach - Cameron Alexander
William Russ - Dennis Vinyard
Guy Torry - Lamont
Joe Cortese - Rasmussen
Jason Bose Smith - Little Henry (as Jason Bose-Smith)
Antonio David Lyons - Lawrence
Alex Sol - Mitch McCormick

Taglines: His father taught him to hate. His friends taught him rage. His enemies gave him hope.


Official Website: New Line |

Release Date: 30 October 1998

Filming Locations: Johnie's Coffee Shop - 6101 Wilshire Boulevard, Fairfax, Los Angeles, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $156,076 (USA) (1 November 1998) (17 Screens)

Gross: $23,875,127 (Worldwide) (17 July 2011)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The quotation that concludes Danny's paper is from the closing words of Abraham Lincoln's first Inaugural Address in 1861.

Continuity: In the first flashback where Derek has fired at the car and is returning to the guy he shot, he leans down with the pistol in his hand, as if to pistol-whip the guy. In the second flashback, it shows the same scene with Derek approaching but this time, when he gets to the guy, he just drags him into the street.

Bob Sweeney: This racist propaganda, this "Mein Kampf" psychobabble; he learned this nonsense, Murray, and he can unlearn it too. I will not give up on this child yet.

User Review

Based on a true story

Rating: 9/10

Not many people know this, but Ed Norton's character, Derek, is based on an actual person -- a guy that went to my high school a few years before I did. He comes to speak every year at an anti-hate assembly. They show us clips of the movie (in my case, my English teacher let us watch the whole thing) and then he comes out and speaks. It's bizarre, to see him because he sounds exactly like Derek does after he gets out of prison. He's genuinely remorseful and what most people don't realize, is what a life-change that really is. Most Neo-Nazis and extreme racists are practically brainwashed in their points of view. It can take years, even lifetimes before they can be broken out of these harmful, violent mindsets. The movie seems slightly unrealistic in that way, that someone as intelligent and seemingly brainwashed as Norton's character, could make such a change from a short stint in prison. Well as I can firsthand tell you, it is possible, and the transformation did really happen. I can't remember the guy's name to save my life, but having that knowledge of the film and the people it's based on has made me appreciate this movie even more.

On a whole other side level, yet another amazing performance by Ed Norton. This man never ceases to shock and amaze me with his range and ability to adapt physically to any role thrown at him. I'm sure he wasn't the first choice for this role, I can think of plenty of other All-American looking actors that would seemingly fit better, even Furlong seems better fit to the Neo-Nazi role than the Norton we all know. However with a beefed-up physique and a well-written film to back him up, Norton shines in this role.

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