• Release Date:
Metascore
62

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

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 369 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
    80
    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
    70
    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
    60
    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. Negative: 3 out of 104
  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. C.K.
    Jul 10, 2008
    10
    One of the greatest movies ever made. Norton's performance was inspiring.
  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. Oct 3, 2011
    10
    62??? really???? This is one of the greatest movies ever made. Edward Norton hit a home run on this film, his acting was amazing. The story62??? really???? This is one of the greatest movies ever made. Edward Norton hit a home run on this film, his acting was amazing. The story was great also. I am still trying to figure out who the heck these 'experts' are. Expand
  5. Mr.Hankey
    Apr 23, 2006
    9
    I enjoyed American History X because it dealt with racism well, maybe not as well as To Kill A Mockingbird but it does a fine job anyways. I I enjoyed American History X because it dealt with racism well, maybe not as well as To Kill A Mockingbird but it does a fine job anyways. I saw American History X after watching many classics the previous week before. It stood out to me for some reason I feel that it was misunderstood by some critics. It is an underrated film. But as I watched it for the first time I realized that this film was a monument in movies. [***SPOILERS***] As the final seen rolled and you see Edward Norton crying over Edward Furlong, I thought it was the best movie I had ever seen. But as I moved on in the history of movies my knowledge grew and I realized that this film was superb but good never be the best film I have ever seen because i was young and had no knowledge of Kurosawa yet. As I watched it for the second time I felt it was old and not as gripping as the first time around. So was a great film? Yes, But is it a movie that should be considered the best ever? I do not think so. Expand
  6. Nov 19, 2014
    9
    American History X is one of the most shocking, brutal, disturbing and evil spirited films I've ever seen. Edward Norton gives an absoluteAmerican History X is one of the most shocking, brutal, disturbing and evil spirited films I've ever seen. Edward Norton gives an absolute masterclass and the two performances he gives either side of his characters transition are both incredibly captivating. There's no doubting how manipulative and pretentious this film can be. And at times the propaganda can even feel persuasively targeted at the audience. But to the films credit that's what makes it so compelling. And ultimately you cannot believe such evil, destructive & irrational people like this actually exist. Tony Kaye's overall direction is impressive and the black and white sequences in particular look stunning. American History X is certainly a tough film to enjoy but personally I think it's essential viewing and an incredibly bold piece of filmmaking. 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 104 User Reviews

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