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Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 383 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: A groundbreaking controversial drama about the tragic consequences of racism in a family. (New Line Cinema)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 32
  2. Negative: 3 out of 32
  1. 100
    A shockingly powerful screed against racism that also manages to be so well performed and directed that it is entertaining as well. [30 October 1998, Friday, p.A]
  2. 80
    American History X is a crash course on how to make a message movie that resonates with crackling power.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    Jolting, superbly acted film.
  4. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    70
    Norton's performance, which is every bit as varied as his Oscar-nominated work in Primal Fear, once more demonstrates that he's one of the most remarkable chameleons working in film.
  5. Excellent in flashes, unintentionally absurd and lead-footed at other moments, the movie stumbles under the weight of its own grandiose intentions.
  6. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    60
    This material is charged enough without piling on the melodrama and the lip-smacking violence. The movie too often sacrifices reportage for razzle-dazzle.
  7. A mousy little nothing of a picture.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 3 out of 106
  1. Nov 23, 2010
    10
    One of the greatest movies I've ever seen, with an amazing, captivating performance by Edward Norton. This film sheds light on issues thatOne of the greatest movies I've ever seen, with an amazing, captivating performance by Edward Norton. This film sheds light on issues that many people in society are afraid to discuss or take seriously. A beautifully composed film, a must see. Expand
  2. DavidB.
    Oct 14, 2008
    10
    Some of the best acting I have ever seen.
  3. MattS.
    Sep 17, 2005
    10
    Superb directing and acting. Tony Kaye takes us on a dramatic journey that leaves us on the edge of our seat.
  4. Apr 7, 2013
    10
    One of the greatest films I've ever seen. Edward Norton is such a fantastic actor and Edward Furlong is such a underrated actor. It's aOne of the greatest films I've ever seen. Edward Norton is such a fantastic actor and Edward Furlong is such a underrated actor. It's a definite must watch. Expand
  5. RodG.
    Feb 21, 2007
    9
    Way too good of a movie for the critics to come up with a 62 rating. Well acted. I think it gave a realistic insight to why some people Way too good of a movie for the critics to come up with a 62 rating. Well acted. I think it gave a realistic insight to why some people believe what they believe. I don't think anybody would argue that racism is ugly and terrible. I compare this movie to "Crash" as far as attempting to show small unseen factors that effect people. Expand
  6. Dec 21, 2014
    9
    American History X is purely brilliant. It dispels and breaks down racism and prejudice without bashing it. Finally, a film that can convey aAmerican History X is purely brilliant. It dispels and breaks down racism and prejudice without bashing it. Finally, a film that can convey a willingness to open oneself to new ideas, without writing off certain beliefs as taboo or evil. I can't say it doesn't take any side, but it certainly doesn't force any side on the viewer, and instead forces us to assert the situation as a whole. It's just an excellently directed and acted film in every way, and I think everyone should get the chance to witness what it has to offer. Expand
  7. Aug 25, 2011
    3
    What we have here is a message picture determined to undo itself, with simple ideas (see: I think racism is a tad more complicated than NortonWhat we have here is a message picture determined to undo itself, with simple ideas (see: I think racism is a tad more complicated than Norton and his black friend) needlessly histrionic dialogue (see: interactions with family), and manipulating moments of over-drama with the force of a chainsaw rising out of a volcano (see: every scene in which racial atrocities are committed, which are all in black and white, slow-motion and have a choir singing the music of hell in the foreground). Expand

See all 106 User Reviews

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