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

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 332 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. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jolting, superbly acted film.
  3. 80
    American History X is a crash course on how to make a message movie that resonates with crackling power.
  4. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    It's a testament to Norton's utter immersion in the role that he can even halfway connect the dots between this fundamentally sweet, brainy kid and the magnetic, white trash monster who'll haunt our minds long after the movie's liberal pieties fade into static.
  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: Richard Corliss
    It's hard to know whom to blame for the film's choppiness, its mixture of rage and sentimentality, the stridency of some of the acting.
  7. A mousy little nothing of a picture.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 95 out of 99
  2. Negative: 3 out of 99
  1. Nov 23, 2010
    One 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. May 29, 2013
    I think that this movie MUST take 10/10, because of it's thoughts about racism and Nazism. The end is curt, but still amazing... If you haven't seen it, you should. It's changed my feelings about Nazism positively and that's wonderful. Finally don't see it half. You'll dislike it. Expand
  3. Jan 11, 2011
    I've lost track of how many times I've seen this, but it still makes me tear up in the end, Norton really proves himself to be a powerhouse actor, his passion and raw emotion could scare anyone. One of better movies of 98 Expand
  4. Aug 27, 2012
    Very rough and intense but fantastically acted and written! Music is also awesome and so is the whole movie. Absolutely great with a tragical story but so is life. A masterpiece! Expand
  5. May 24, 2014
    A fantastic movie. This movie is tough to get through in the sense that there were many brutal violent or rape scenes that were really disturbing, but they were really well shot. The acting by Norton was phenomenal and the best performance of his career. I didn't think I was going to like this movie as much as I did but it was great. I love the style of the movie on how it was shot with some scenes being black and white and the rest in colour a great job. Expand
  6. Oct 23, 2013
    I watched this for Edward Norton and he did not disappoint me. The movie alternates between his character's past and the present. He is a haunted man who just wants to be left alone, and to set his family affairs in order. But the movie failed to inspire me. Its attempts to evoke feelings of racial equality were mediocre at best. I feel that if they had done away with all pretence and concentrated solely on the transformation of Norton's character, this could have been something special. Expand
  7. Aug 25, 2011
    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 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 99 User Reviews


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