American History X

  • Release Date: Oct 30, 1998
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 527 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 16 out of 527

Where To Watch

Stream On
Stream On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling

User Reviews

  1. Jul 25, 2016
    6
    American history X has a comic book quality with its iconic picture of Edward Norton(playing Derek Vinyard) topless with a shaved head, circle beard and a swastika prominent on his chest.
    He looks like a meanie.
    And he is. For the opening scene of the movie has him massacring a group of black Americans(can I write Negroes?) single handed. He is smart kid, we are told by Bob Sweeney, a
    American history X has a comic book quality with its iconic picture of Edward Norton(playing Derek Vinyard) topless with a shaved head, circle beard and a swastika prominent on his chest.
    He looks like a meanie.
    And he is.
    For the opening scene of the movie has him massacring a group of black Americans(can I write Negroes?) single handed.
    He is smart kid, we are told by Bob Sweeney, a black teacher who doesn't want to give up on the smart kids.
    Sweeney is wrong, of course.
    'Smart 'doesn't describe it: the white dude is positively gifted.
    That is why he has that swastika on his chest.
    And can go Rambo on them gangsters.
    And shame them Negros by whipping their asses on their own turf: basketball.
    And is best in his class, reading Native Son.
    Stuff his dad disapproves of.
    It is negro shyte, dad tells son Derek.
    Yeah dad, he says even though he sounds somewhat unconvinced.
    Cause dad is right.
    And likely racist.
    Cause some black dudes got the jobs meant for the 'better' white men.
    But it all went to shyte when dad, a fireman, got killed by them brothers.
    So Norton shaves his head, grows a beard, tattoos his body, hangs up Nazi stuff in his room, and becomes a violent white power supremacist.
    Cause that is how it works.
    And it works the other way too..
    Meet a good black man in jail that saves your butt: anti-violent, equal rights-for-all supporter.
    Flip switch one way: violent white racist bloke. Flip switch other way: negro loving correct dude.
    Jew hating fascist - liberal cheery guy.
    Gay bashing hater - tolerant respectful LGBT man.
    Racist redneck Klansman - multicultural equality hero.
    What was that again: false dichotomy?
    The tossed up eye candy - using things like black and white shots- can not hide that underneath all the visuals and emotionally laden scenes, well played as they are - Norton is marvelous - there is shockingly superficial story indeed.
    For what is American History X but the glib tale of white guy who goes bad for wrong reasons, repents and tries to redeem himself by rejecting his white supremacist past with a gesture that makes it look like it is as easy as taking of your coat? You just need to meet a good black man to see that black men can be good. As if the racists glasses come off that easily. As if racism is just being pissed at black men because a black man killed your father.
    But wait. In the end? Will Derek don that white supremacist coat again?
    The switch trembles.

    Bottom line.
    The cast is great, the cinematography well done, but the movie sucks. Like biting in a burger to find out that the dog stole the meat. (It was the cat, of course. Cause them are smart buggers and frame the dogs.)

    Note: do not to forget to shave your head once you become a white supremacist. It is a thing. As a man of course: women stock up on combat boots, piercings and short hairstyles. And tattoos for all. At least there is some equality there.
    Expand
  2. Nov 8, 2014
    6
    Pese la interpretación de Norton y alguna escena interesante, la película dista de ser una obra maestra en mi opinión. Se sigue sin demasiado interés y acaba en un tramo final demasiado llano. Lo mejor es su fotografía y Norton, el resto es mejorable en mi opinión.
  3. Jan 7, 2011
    6
    It's not an impressing movie. It is nothing great or big in it. It is not any light or teaching as the movie is expecting to give. The Norton is a good actor. The american life style and habit is not something to great to see. And this movie is pretty much about it.
  4. MattC.
    May 6, 2007
    6
    The basketball scene was horrible. Were we expected to stand up and cheer "Go white racists, go!"? I think this movie really failed to address what lies beneath these subgroups. Not every one of those hundreds of kids had a fireman-dad-get-shot-by-crackguy story - how did they get caught up in this B.S.? The movie doesn't say. There are a lot of strong performances but a lot of stuff The basketball scene was horrible. Were we expected to stand up and cheer "Go white racists, go!"? I think this movie really failed to address what lies beneath these subgroups. Not every one of those hundreds of kids had a fireman-dad-get-shot-by-crackguy story - how did they get caught up in this B.S.? The movie doesn't say. There are a lot of strong performances but a lot of stuff that just doesn't add up. Expand
  5. DaveC.
    Sep 8, 2003
    6
    One dumbass film saved by it's brilliant ending.
  6. JamesM
    Dec 20, 2005
    4
    A mess of a film that attempts some kind of message but fails dismally. Just like "The Green Mile" and "Once Were Warriors" before it, the film tries so hard to get a reaction from the audience that it ends up feeling forced and exhausting.
Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 32
  2. Negative: 3 out of 32
  1. The movie can't explain as much as it wants to about what makes (and unmakes) a skinhead, but it carries us a fair distance.
  2. For all its surface verisimilitude and for all its focus on a problem that couldn't be more current, this film can't manage to feel more than sporadically real.
  3. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    91
    Feels as true as a documentary, as painful as a blow to the heart.