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American History X (1999)

Edward Norton , Edward Furlong , Tony Kaye  |  R |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (884 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Fairuza Balk, Beverly D'Angelo, Avery Brooks
  • Directors: Tony Kaye
  • Writers: David McKenna
  • Producers: John Morrissey, Steve Tisch, Kearie Peak, Lawrence Turman, Bill Carraro
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Anamorphic, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 6, 1999
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (884 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305313687
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,514 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "American History X" on IMDb

Special Features

Biographies: Cast and crew biographies Filmographies: Cast and crew filmographiesBiographies: Cast and crew biographies Filmographies: Cast and crew filmographiesBiographies: Cast and crew biographies Filmographies: Cast and crew filmographiesBiographies: Cast and crew biographies Filmographies: Cast and crew filmographiesBiographies: Cast and crew biographies Filmographies: Cast and crew filmographiesBiographies: Cast and crew biographies Filmographies: Cast and crew filmographiesBiographies: Cast and crew biographies Filmographies: Cast and crew filmographies

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

American History X (DVD)

Perhaps the highest compliment you can pay to Edward Norton is that his Oscar-nominated performance in American History X nearly convinces you that there is a shred of logic in the tenets of white supremacy. If that statement doesn't horrify you, it should; Norton is so fully immersed in his role as a neo-Nazi skinhead that his character's eloquent defense of racism is disturbingly persuasive--at least on the surface. Looking lean and mean with a swastika tattoo and a mind full of hate, Derek Vinyard (Norton) has inherited racism from his father, and that learning has been intensified through his service to Cameron (Stacy Keach), a grown-up thug playing tyrant and teacher to a growing band of disenfranchised teens from Venice Beach, California, all hungry for an ideology that fuels their brooding alienation.

The film's basic message--that hate is learned and can be unlearned--is expressed through Derek's kid brother, Danny (Edward Furlong), whose sibling hero-worship increases after Derek is imprisoned (or, in Danny's mind, martyred) for the killing of two black men. Lacking Derek's gift of rebel rhetoric, Danny is easily swayed into the violent, hateful lifestyle that Derek disowns during his thoughtful time in prison. Once released, Derek struggles to save his brother from a violent fate, and American History X partially suffers from a mix of intense emotions, awkward sentiment, and predictably inevitable plotting. And yet British director Tony Kaye (who would later protest against Norton's creative intervention during post-production) manages to juggle these qualities--and a compelling clash of visual styles--to considerable effect. No matter how strained their collaboration may have been, both Kaye and Norton can be proud to have created a film that addresses the issue of racism with dramatically forceful impact. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
151 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American History X June 14, 2004
How terrifying is it while listening to some of Edward Norton's rants in this movie....that you actually begin to understand his point of view on things? That's a very important aspect of this film. The hatred spewing from his mouth along with statistical evidence and insightful rhetoric places the viewer amist what seems to be an actual white supremicist rally. It becomes easy to see how so many fall into crowds like this with characters like the fictional Derrick Vinyard preaching to the masses. Many people don't like the way the world around them is. They're looking for a change. People like Vinyard offer a path to that change.
But this story is mainly about redemption. The redemption of the character in question, Derrick Vinyard. Only after he loses everything can he begin to see the horrible path that he has beaten for his younger brother who is speedily chasing after him. The unlikely friendship with a black prison inmate and the tutalage of his former principle are what helps him return to his humanity. The simple yet distanced solution to all the hatred and anger that he's felt most of his life comes like an epiphany: "It's just not worth it." A point that he vehemently drives into those around him.
Be forwarned, this is not a happy story. The ending is tragic yet depressingly real. Hatred becomes a vicious circle.
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101 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies I have ever seen. February 7, 2000
This is one of the movies that touched me more than any others have in quite a long time. It puts a human face on skinheads, not glorifying them yet showing how a young person can be warped by a racist father and what racism can do to a family. Derek Vinyard had to learn the truth about racism the hard way by being betrayed in prison and he began to question his beliefs after a black man is the only person who befriends him. He begins to understand how futile and destructive hatred is only to pay for his mistakes in the end. At times this movies is difficult to watch but I think it is important for everyone to see. Ed Norton definitely deserved the oscar for this film and was cheated. Anyone who watches this will see how racism only destroys families, hurts others and destroys one's self in the end. It is brutal yet honest and it is what good filmmaking is all about it. I would give it ten stars if I could. Simply brilliant.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...From the better angels of our nature... September 1, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Stunningly powerful movie which left me and my friends in a state of quiet and thoughtful contemplation even as the titles were concluding. A cautionary tale I guess set in Venice Beach,California about hate and prejudice.Two common human traits of which none of us are innocent.
A talented cast led by those two Edwardians,Norton and Furlong of a story about a young neo nazi who is jailed for three years after the cold blooded killing of a black man attempting to steal his car.This flashback scene is not for the faint-hearted.He is unremorseful at first but eventually finds his epiphany within the stark reality of the prison walls.Enough said.
Despite the controversial nature of the film it does cut to the core hard and fast.I especially liked the flashbacks in black&white.An often used device which works well here,as does the quote by Abraham Lincoln towards the end,"...we must not be enemies but friends..." Many critics have been scathing of the one dimensional supporting characters and they may be right in that respect,Nortons exceptional performance not withstanding but this still does not devalue it from being one of the most critical and memorable films to come out of hollywood for a long time.One of my top ten for this last decade of the millenium and well deserved.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fight the real enemy: hate. February 2, 2000
Wow...I wasn't too keen on watching this film based on its premise, but it is truly one of the best films I've ever seen. Not many films would dare to peer into the cancer that is white supremacy, yet show that there can be a redemption of sorts. The most thought-provoking scenes occur during Derek's (Edward Norton) transformation in prison. Here, he finds that everything is not as he thought it was, and that some injustices are very real. He eventually befriends a black inmate who unconditionally treats him as an equal (despite clearly knowing Derek's racist views), and soon learns that his friend is serving 6 years for a mere theft that has been trumped up to "assault of a police officer", while his own sentence for murdering two black men is lesser. And yet this does not come off as some preachy statement on the injustices faced by blacks who commit crimes versus whites. The film levels the playing field quite admirably. Avery Brooks does a fine job as the Sweeney, a black teacher who recognizes the blind hatred in Derek and consequently in his younger brother Daniel (Edward Furlong), who is swiftly following in his brothers footsteps. Sweeney, reflecting on his own youth, sheds light on reverse-racism in growing up black. Both Edwards (Norton and Furlong) deliver intensely real performances.
This film, like no other I have seen in recent years, so well conveys the concept that the only real enemy is not to be found in another person, but in the blind, untempered hatred within us fueled by our fears, insecurities and misunderstandings.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding performance by Edward Norton
Saw this movie in the theater when it first came out and nearly got up and left 10 minutes into the story, like several people did. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Vicki of CA
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 4 days ago by CHRISTINA HIGGINS
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
EN at his best!
Published 7 days ago by ohiomichigangal
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Edward Norton's acting
I love Edward Norton's acting. He puts his all into a movie. I've loved all his movies especially the one with RIchard Gere that I cant think of the name now.
Published 12 days ago by Genny Wenger
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Crazy movie, very interesting.
Published 13 days ago by Jaw Breaker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
GREAT product, as described. FAST shipping, very satisfied. A +++
Published 16 days ago by Stivens
5.0 out of 5 stars Stands the Test of Time - Still Powerful and Thought Provoking
A very thoughtful and well-acted movie that makes you think about the nature of hate. We screened it for our teenagers. They discussed for a few days afterwards. Read more
Published 18 days ago by A Gamer at Heart
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly my favorite movie.
One of the most underrated movies of all time. Possibly my favorite movie.
Published 19 days ago by Richard Rodriguez
5.0 out of 5 stars dont miss this one!
love this movie! Everyone needs to have this for their collection.
Published 21 days ago by sarahp
1.0 out of 5 stars scratched
Great movie too bad it was sold as new and was totally scatched. Did not work at all.
Published 23 days ago by Jessica M Fehrn
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Best movie of all time
You are a liberal for liking this movie!!!

/end sarcasm

I can't believe some of the garbage a few reviews are spewing. Probably the same ones that voted Bush into the White House. Good job!

Anyways, agreed. This movie is incredible. One of my all time favorites.
Jun 24, 2008 by D. J. Cook |  See all 8 posts
Worth Upgrading From Standard DVD Version?
no new features but for 15.00 worth the upgrade
Apr 19, 2009 by D. Burke |  See all 3 posts
DVD format Be the first to reply
IT was not an over rated film, this type , of hate continues even with a... Be the first to reply
Edward Norton gave us an Oscar worthy performance,but did you see his... Be the first to reply
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