American History X (1998)
Is a powerful movie on racial tensions in America.
In the middle of the night, Danny, a white teenager,
is kept awake by his brother Derek (a skinhead who has
a nazi swastika tattooed on his chest) making love to
his punkette girlfriend.
Danny hears someone break into Derek's car and calls
Derek. Derek grabs a gun, walks outside, and kills two
of them. While Derek is in jail, his younger brother
Danny becomes fascinated with Hitler. It turns out
Derek is the leader of the local suprematists.
At school, the (black) principal, Sweeney, is
determined to save Danny from his brother's bad
A flashback shows how their father was killed by a
black gangster, and Danny blamed all minorities for
the murder. Danny became the charismatic leader of the
neighborhood after he challenged the blacks to a
basketball game and beat them: the prize was the
basketball court, so the blacks left.
Derek is released from jail (after three years) and
comes back home. Their mother is getting sicker by the
day, their sister Davina is worried about Danny. Derek
hears from Sweeney that Danny is falling under the
influence of the suprematist Cameron. Derek is
actually much more reasonable and doesn't like it at
A black and white flashback shows that, before prison,
Derek was working for Cameron: they attacked a Korean
shop, beat the owner and vandalize the place And how
Derek abused his own mother and sister, and insulted
the Jewish teacher who was trying to date his mother.
His mother asked Derek to move out. That very night
the blacks tried to steal his truck and he killed them
(the flashback shows the brutal slaying of the second
one, with Danny trying in vain to stop Derek)..
Back to the present (color), Danny is working on the
paper that Sweeney assigned him: it is the movie told
in the black and white flashbacks. Derek tells his
girlfriend he wants to leave town. His girlfriend
tells him that he is a hero for killing those blacks,
but Derek doesn't want to have any part in it.. But
she tells him that they got organized and doesn't
understand how he may want to leave now that his
actions galvanized the community (including his own
brother). Derek simply dumps her and then confronts
the very guru, Cameron. Derek beats Cameron and
threatens to kill him if he continues brainwashing his
brother. But everything turns against him: his
girlfriend even ask them to kill him, his brother
Danny attacks him.
A black and white flashback shows what happened to
Derek in jail that changed his mind.
He socialized with the black convict who worked with
him at the prison's laundry and began to realize how
unfair society is to black people. He was then
sodomized by the whites (under the eyes of a white
guard) who did not appreciate his friendship with a
black man. He got help only from the principal,
Sweeney, a black man, and from his coworker, another
Back to the present (color), Derek is telling Danny
all of this. Derek is heartbroken that his family
lives in such poor conditions after the death of their
father and his own imprisonment. But now the family
seems to have found a new harmony.
Another flashback shows what happened before their
father was killed. It was their father who started
the racial thing. (All the flashbacks are told through
Back to the present (color), Derek is asked by Sweeney
and the police chief to help defeat the suprematists
for good. Derek takes Danny to school and leaves.
Danny walks into the restrooms and is shot dead by a
black kid that he offended days before. Derek runs
back only to hold his dead brother's head in his arms.
The dead Danny continues talking to the audience and
draws his conclusion: that hate is baggage. That is
the end of his homework.