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American History X [Blu-ray] [1998] [Region Free]

204 customer reviews

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  • American History X [Blu-ray] [1998] [Region Free]
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Product details

  • Actors: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Stacy Keach, Avery Brooks, Beverly D'Angelo
  • Directors: Tony Kaye
  • Format: PAL, Subtitled
  • Language: English, German, Latin Spanish, Portuguese Brazilian, Castilian
  • Subtitles: Finnish, Swedish, Danish
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Nov. 2012
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (204 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004S6E25Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,381 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

This controversial film stars Edward Norton as Derek Vinyard, an angry young man seeking retribution for the murder of his father. Derek becomes the leader of a skinhead white-power movement, espousing racist views to his peers and using his intelligence to stir up as much race-hate as possible. Derek's actions culminate in murder and he is jailed. Three years later his girlfriend (Fairuza Balk) and brother Danny (Edward Furlong) await his release, but discover that Derek is a changed man, ashamed of his past and no longer driven by hatred. However, the consequences of his actions still haunt Derek's family and the threat of a return to violence is never far away.


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, --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By james peter wootton on 1 Dec. 2001
Format: DVD
This is the only film i have seen which really tackles racism in a realistic and intelligent way. The Ed Norton character is an intelligent and articulate individual who convincingly preaches the twisted logic of racism. The film manages to convey most psychological explanations of racism - the authoritarian personality,the scapegoat hypothesis, in-group out-group bias, transference, etc, without feeling preachy. I can't think of a more socially important or responsible film than this. Derek's emotional oddessy is both moving and disturbing, with all points of view given equal airing, no matter how extreme. Personally I found the question asked of Derek 'Has anything you have done made your life better?' a stark and penetrating wake up call for anyone who is unhappy. The ending has been criticised for being overly emotional but I thought it was appropriate, Derek gets hurt by former chosen enemies who have not yet learnt the lesson he has. This makes us question whether Derek was wrong in the first place. This is a complicated film about a difficult subject which should be required viewing in all schools. The ultimate message is to do your best and try to get along with other people. Its not just about racism, its about personal choice, do we live to hate or do we try to make life better for ourselves and others. The director walked away from the film, my question is if he was unhappy with this cut, what would his version be like? This version is a technical, artistic and emotional triumph.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark Barton on 27 Feb. 2004
Format: DVD
American History X is a brilliant film. The subject matter is fascinating, and the film really gets under the skin of the racists. As I watched the film for the first time I found that my opinions were fluctuating exactly as the film intended. The film contains many interesting characters, which bring it to life, it certainly does not glamorise violence but conveys a very strong opinion opposed to racism. Although much of the film is in black and white the scenes are very vivid and create a totally absorbing world around which the story is based. It presents both sides of the racist issue in many different forms, from the down to earth dinner table discussions and opinions voiced by the main characters to dramatic scenes of violence and hatred. The structure of the film allows for the many fantastically orchestrated set pieces, being half told by Edward Furlong's character's flashbacks. There is much narration in the film and this works very well to help convey the characters feelings. All the performances are top notch especially Edward Norton pulling off a totally convincing Derek Vinyard.
Graphically it is a beautiful and stylish film using black and white to great effect. Accompanying the visuals, the music is an atmospheric classical soundtrack, which seems distant from the events at first, but as the film progresses, reinforces the feelings.
My only complaint is that Derek's transformation in prison could have been made more seamless as you may have to suspend disbelief for a moment.
The extras on the DVD are sparse but do contain three excellent deleted scenes, which really should have been included. In conclusion this is an unmissable film that I believe everyone should see, it is moving and will have you pondering the events and subject for days afterwards. It is only unfortunate that this is the director's only film.
Five stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Angel Eyes on 24 April 2006
Format: DVD
This film represents a huge leap forward from the sickly, prescriptive preaching of "the world would be lovely if it wasn't for the bad people" into an aknowledgement that there are fallible human beings on both sides of the racial divide, some of whom mistake personal bitterness for a moral justification of hatred. Hearteningly, the more recent "Crash" also takes this approach, though from a wider perspective than American History X's specific focus on racially motivated violence.

I take the point of the previous reviewer that this film reduces some of the neo-nazis to cardboard cut-outs, but to be fair its approach was ambitious enough already. (To fully develop all the characters in such a complex subject might require a stage tragedy rather than a general release movie.) Similarly, the handful of liberals were probably necessary, sadly, to prevent idiots taking the film as a vindication of their so-called beliefs, and also to avoid alienating much of the target audience. For a film released in 1999 this was a very brave production.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Atomic Rooster on 4 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD
American History X is a story based on extremist, racial violence in modern day America.
Norton plays buffed up, neo-nazi skinhead, Derek Vinyard. After his father is gunned down while tackling a fire in a black neighbourhood, Vinyard turns into a black hearted, agressive foot soldier, fighting for white supremacy, and starts seeing his country as plagued by illegal immigrants.

This film has one of the best casts in cinema history. Although youll see films with star after star, such as Pulp Fiction, Sin City and The Departed, the acting ranks among the best performances you will ever see. Besides Ed Norton, the next biggest name in this is Edward Furlong. In this film you will see how he has evolved and matured from Terminator 2's John Connor. Aside these is a great supporting cast consisting of Beverly D'Angelo, Ethan Suplee and Avery Brooks. Standing out is Ethan Suplee, who plays Dereks overweight, brute of a friend, Seth. The reason this performance sticks out is because of the performance he puts on in Remember the Titans. Although American History X was released first, those fortunate enough to have seen both films will appreciate what an under-rated, versitile actor Suplee is. Every actor is this film puts on a performance so unique, that the film could revolve around any of them actually being the main character.

Although this film is very violent, and at one point will leave you cringing and maybe even looking away, it is not glorified with over the top gore, like so many films these days are. It doesnt need gore to shock people into the brutality that is being shown. The acting takes care of that.
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