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American History X Details


Tony Kaye made his feature directorial debut with this dramatic exploration into the roots of race hatred in America. In a shocking opening scene, teen Danny Vinyard (Edward Furlong) races to tell his older brother, neo-Nazi Derek (Edward Norton), about the young blacks breaking into his car in front of the house, whereupon Derek gets his gun and with no forethought shoots the youths in their tracks. Tried and convicted, Derek is sent away for three years in prison, where he acquires a different outlook as he contrasts white-power prisoners with black Lamont (Guy Torry), his prison laundry co-worker and eventual pal. Meanwhile, Danny, with a shaved head and a rebellious attitude, seems destined to follow in his big brother's footsteps. After Danny writes a favorable review of Hitler's Mein Kampf, black high-school principal Sweeney (Avery Brooks) puts Danny in his private "American History X" course and assigns him to do a paper about his older brother, who was a former student of Sweeney's. This serves to introduce flashbacks, with the film backtracking to illustrate Danny's account of Derek's life prior to the night of the shooting. Monochrome sequences of Derek leading a Venice, California gang are intercut with color footage of the mature Derek ending his past neo-Nazi associations and attempting to detour Danny away from the group led by white supremacist, Cameron (Stacy Keach), who once influenced Derek. Director Tony Kaye, with a background in TV commercials and music videos, filmed in L.A. beach communities. Rated R "for graphic brutal violence including rape, pervasive language, strong sexuality and nudity." ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

  • Release date:October 28, 1998


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Edward Norton Best Actor 1998 Nominee


Edward Norton
as Derek Vinyard
Edward Furlong
as Danny Vinyard
Fairuza Balk
as Stacey
Beverly D'Angelo
as Doris Vinyard
Avery Brooks
as Bob Sweeney
Stacy Keach
as Cameron Alexander
Jennifer Lien
as Davina Vinyard
Elliott Gould
as Murray
William Russ
as Dennis Vinyard
Ethan Suplee
as Seth
Joe Cortese
as Rasmussen
Guy Torry
as Lamont
Giuseppe Andrews
as Jason
Keram Malicki-Sanchez
as Chris
Jordan Marder
as Curtis
Anne Lambton
as Cassandra
Alex Sol
as Mitch McCormick
Paul Le Mat
as McMahon


Tony Kaye
John Morrissey
David McKenna
Tony Kaye
Anne Dudley
Composer (Music Score)
Jerry Greenberg
Alan Heim
Dan Olexiewicz
Art Director
David McKenna
Jon D. Hess
Brian Witten
Executive Producer
Bill Carraro
Executive Producer
Michael De Luca
Executive Producer
Steve Tisch
Executive Producer
Kearie Peak
Executive Producer
Lawrence Turman
Executive Producer
Tessa Posnansky
Set Designer
Doug Hall
Costume Designer
Steve Nelson
Sound/Sound Designer
Mark Cotone
First Assistant Director
Valerie McCaffrey