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American History X [DVD] [1998]

  • SKU: 3617633
  • Release Date: 04/06/1999
  • Rating: R
This release of American History X is a testament to the fact that New Line devotes most of its time and efforts to its "platinum series," and while that particular line of releases is among the best to be found, it's an unfortunate side effect that other deserving films such as this one get neglected in the process. Subject matter so volatile and controversial could easily justify an entire second disc's worth of bonus material, yet the only supplements present here are a few deleted scenes (only one of which is truly worthwhile), the theatrical trailer, and cast and crew biographies. What is lacking in the extras department, however, is made up for in the quality of the video presentation. This is the widescreen version of the film, presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and although it hasn't been enhanced anamorphically, it's a beautiful transfer nevertheless. Interestingly, the film is shot on both black-and-white and color film stock, which is difficult to balance properly under any circumstances, but here the two styles are mixed perfectly: the colors are bright, vibrant, and sharply defined, while the black-and-white sections are beautifully shot, with deep, dark, grainless blacks. The quality does justice to the cinematography of Tony Kaye, who also directs. The disc's audio presentation isn't overwhelming due to the generally subdued tone of the film, but the digital 5.1 mix is very nicely balanced, making good use of the center channel to cleanly convey the dialogue while relegating the ambient sounds to the rear channels. Overall, this is another instance where a special edition release is probable at some point in the future, but until that time comes, this disc is a more than adequate presentation of an important, powerful film.

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    Ratings & Reviews

    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (124 out of 125)

    Special Features

    • Widescreen version
    • Deleted scenes
    • Original theatrical trailer
    • Cast and crew biographies and filmographies
    • Interactive menus


    American History X
    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

    Cast & Crew

    • Edward Norton
      Edward Norton - Derek Vinyard
    • Edward Furlong
      Edward Furlong - Danny Vinyard
    • Fairuza Balk
      Fairuza Balk - Stacey
    • Beverly D'Angelo
      Beverly D'Angelo - Doris Vinyard
    • Avery Brooks
      Avery Brooks - Bob Sweeney

    Customer rating

    Rating 4.9 out of 5 stars with 125 reviews

    would recommend to a friend

    Most relevant reviews

    See all customer reviews
    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      A must see for any race-conscious Americans

      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

      This film - driven by yet another breakout, disarming almost paralyzing performance by Ed Norton - forces the viewer to challenge their racial, social, socioeconomic and political views about the history of race, and hate, and prejudice, in the contemporary US. I cannot watch this film without crying at at least one of several climactic points. Ed Norton shatters all boundaries and exceeds even his own exceptionally high and well-earned, firmly set expectations of what it means to deliver oneself to a character in a role - and the director has done a seamless job of delivering a piece of cinema that should be shown in high schools throughout the US, without too much exposition, but very clear (shot in black and white, appropriately) mis en scene techniques - that will move, challenge, and change the viewer. A must-see for any young adult, period.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Amazingly Powerful Film!

      • Top 500 ContributorTop 500 Contributor

      This is a well made film.. It contains some intense dialog which is racial in subject matter, so be ready for that.. The Acting is a 10 out of 10. The final message is well conceived and thought provoking. The video has been formatted for a 16x9 flat screen at 1.85:1 ratio. The overall quality is above average with colors true to life and little to no grain present. Audio is presented in 5.1 TrueHD definition sound, with crystal clear dialog, using mainly the center and front channels, with the soundtrack being heard in the rear. Discrete sounds are limited but are occasionally heard during action sequences. A Dolby Digital 5.1 sound track is also included. History X is light on extra's with only some deleted scenes and the film trailer. I would recommend this films for adults but its definitely not for children due to its content.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Great Movie

      • Top 250 ContributorTop 250 Contributor

      Very good movie. Edward Norton plays a racist and gets put in jail for killing a man. He learned this from his father. Edward Furlong plays his little brother and while Ed Norton is in jail making changes in his life and seeing that a color of a man's skin is not something to hate his little brother is following in his footsteps in being a racist and getting involved in the wrong crowd just as he had. It is a great movie and story. It can be a little rough at times because of the racist remarks, language, and violence, but it is a very good movie.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      MUST SEE


      Seriously, one of the best movies I've ever seen. The realism behind this movie is so great, it's sad that stuff like this actually does happen. There's so many strong moments in this movie, and seeing the evolution of Norton's character is mindblowing. The themes and prejudices in this are awesome and leaves the watcher in disbelief at how their portrayed. Simply a remarkable film, and it's hard to say much of anything without giving anything away. But there are scenes from this movie you will not forget.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Forgotten masterpiece

      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      I watched this movie years ago on TV, with the language and violence toned down. It was ok. I recently spoke with a friend about it and decided to buy the DVD. WOW. What a great addition to my movie collection. This film is the perfect example of how racism and hate can destroy and corrupt young minds. It also shows how easy it is for sinister adults can take advantage of children who live in poverty and despair. Great performance from Edward Norton as well.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Incredible Film


      American History X is one of those movies that stays in your mind forever after seeing it. The storyline, cinematography, and acting are all top notch, and it really acts as a social commentary on race issues in America. Edward Norton's performance was brutally believable as a Racist, and sincerely touching as an older brother trying to steer his younger sibling from a dangerous path. I recommend this film to anyone who would like to watch an instant classic, or just anyone looking to be entertained.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Best Movie ever


      skinhead Derek Vinyard (Norton) gets put into jail for killing two black youths that were trying to steal his car. During his stay in the bighouse, his younger brother Danny (Furlong) follows his hateful ways and joins the nearest skinhead clan. While in jail, Derek goes through many changes, and comes out with a new outlook on life. Now, he wants to relay his newfound enlightenment to his impressionable brother, before it's too late.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      my favorite edward norton flick


      this is a great movie. great actors and great story. its touching. it focuses and racism and racist groups such as white supremacy groups and the problems and death that arise from the violence due to the racism. edward norton plays an astounding white supremacy leader and does a very good job and is such a loving character. it is a sad movie in the end but it is a 'lesson learned' movie. so good a must see. instant cult classic.

      I would recommend this to a friend

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