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American History X

American History X is a 1998 film directed by Tony Kaye and written by David McKenna. It stars Edward Norton in the lead role, and co-stars Edward Furlong, Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Lien, Ethan Suplee, Fairuza Balk, Avery Brooks, Elliott Gould, and Stacy Keach. more...

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Norton was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance.


This film tells the story of Derek Vinyard (Norton), a white supremacist, who, after a hard prison sentence, learns the futility of hate and tries to save his younger brother from following in his footsteps. American History X touches on such controversial topics as racism, white privilege, affirmative action, illegal immigration, the continued existence of Neo-Nazi hate groups within American society, the exploitation of vulnerable youth of all races by gangs, intra- and inter-racial violence and other topics that still split American society down the middle.


The main controversy over the film centered on director Tony Kaye's attempts to try to remove his name from the credits, prefering instead to invoke the pseudonym Alan Smithee. Kaye alleged that his reasoning for this was Edward Norton's re-editing of the film to give himself more screen time. The Director's Guild of America ultimately denied Kaye the right to remove his name from the production, reasoning that Kaye had placed ads in Variety attacking the film, thus violating Guild rules regarding the right to invoke the pseudonym. Kaye proceeded to sue the Directors Guild and New Line Cinema, claiming they had violated his First Amendment rights.


  • An original scripted, but unfilmed, ending consisted of Derek shaving his head and reverting back to his skinhead ways after the death of his brother.
  • The word "fuck" is said 205 times throughout the film.
  • The quote Danny says at the end of the film is from Abraham Lincoln's Inaugural Address in 1861.
  • Edward Norton packed on 30 pounds (13.61 kilograms) of muscle for the role.


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