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Film Review of American History X

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The film American History X is rated by the users of (Internet Movie DataBase) as one of the 50 best films ever made. It is a crime/drama, a very violent film; not for the faint-hearted. American History X was released in 1998, and it is directed by Tony Kaye.


-Edward Norton (Derek Vinyard)

-Edward Furlong (Daniel Vinyard)

-Avery Brooks (Dr. Bob Sweeney)

-Stacy Keach (Cameron Alexander)

-Beverly D'Angelo (Doris Vinyard)

-Jennifer Lien (Davina Vinyard)


The setting is in Venice Beach, USA, and tells the story about Derek Vinyard, taking place in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Derek Vinyard is a very bright and charismatic student, who is drawn in to the neo-Nazi gangs when his father gets killed at work (a fire-fighter) by a black drug-dealer. Derek believes that blacks are the reason of every problem in the USA; Crime, poverty, etc., and when his father is killed by a black drug-dealer, a “social parasite” in his opinion, his hatred against blacks gets even stronger.

He becomes second in command in the Venice Beach neo-Nazi gang DOC, The Disciples of Christ, and they do what they can to take Venice Beach “back”, currently it is dominated by black and Mexican gangs. Cameron Alexander, the number one DOC, uses Derek to recruit young whites, and as soon as they are numerous enough they start attacking the Mexicans and the blacks, it almost develops into a race-war.

Derek's hatred becomes a crucial breaking factor at home in his family life as well. When his mother Doris invites a Jewish man to dinner after the death of Derek's father, he becomes more and more obsessed with white supremacy, and over an argument at dinner, his anti-Semitic ideologies gets obvious. He loses control, attacks his family and throws out the Jewish man, who leaves the house shocked and offended.

The same night some black guys try to break in to Derek's car. He kills them, and gets sentenced to three years in prison, charged with voluntary manslaughter. The life in prison changes Derek's life. He joins a white gang for protection, only to discover that they do drug-trades with the Mexican gangs. Shocked and furious by this, Derek stops talking to the white-gang. They decide to teach him a lesson, and rapes him in the shower. Derek is now alone, he has no friends.

Dr. Sweeney, his black, former principal, visits Derek, and has therapy sessions with him. During those sessions Derek's neo-Nazi ideologies and hatred against black, disappears. He is no longer a racist.

After a while he makes friends with a black inmate, Lamont, whom he works together with in the prison laundry. Derek discovers later that his friendship with Lamont is the only reason Derek gets out of prison alive.

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