American History X

1998 film directed by Tony Kaye

American History X is a 1998 film which tells the story of a white supremacist neo-Nazi skinhead who questions his beliefs while in prison, and tries to save his younger brother from following in his footsteps.

United by hate, divided by truth
I am not disputing that the child is confused, and harbors some sick ideas, but I am not ready to give up on him yet.
Directed by Tony Kaye and written by David McKenna.
Some Legacies Must End. (taglines)

Derek Vinyard

  • Hey! I got a bet, I come in this game right now, same score, but we play black guys against the white guys. [Black guys laugh] "Name your price, cracker" No money, no money, for these courts and not just today, for good. If you win, we will walk away, but if we win, no bitching, no fighting, right here in front of everybody, you pack up your shit and get your black asses outta here.
  • Alright, listen up. We need to open our eyes. There's over 2 million illegal immigrants bedding down in this state tonight! The state spent $3 billion last year, on services for those people who have no right to be here in the first place! $3 billion! $400 million just to lock up a bunch of illegal immigrant criminals, who only got into this country because the fuckin' INS decided, "It's not worth the effort to screen for convicted felons!" Who gives a shit? Our government doesn't give a shit. Our border policy's a joke. So, is anybody surprised that south of the border, they're laughing at us? Laughing at our laws? Every night, thousands of these parasites stream across the border like some fucking piñata exploded. [The skinheads laugh] Don't laugh! [The skinheads immediately quiet down] There's nothin' funny goin' on here! This is about your life and mine; it's about decent, hardworking Americans falling through the cracks and getting the shaft because their government cares more about the constitutional rights of a bunch of people who aren't even citizens of this country! On the Statue of Liberty, it says "give me your tired, your hungry, your poor..." Well, it's Americans who are tired and hungry and poor, and I say until you take care of that, close the fucking book! 'Cause we're losing, we're losing our right to pursue our destiny, we're losing our freedom, so that a bunch of fucking foreigners can come in here and exploit our country! And this isn't something that's going on far away, this isn't something that's happening places we can't do anything about it, it's happening right here, right in our neighborhood, right in that building behind you. Archie Miller ran that grocery store since we were kids here. Dave worked there, Mike worked there. He went under and now some fuckin' Korean owns it who fired these guys and is making a killing 'cause he hired 40 fuckin' border jumpers. I see this shit going on and I don't see anyone doing anything about it, and it fuckin' pisses me off! So look around you, this isn't our fuckin' neighborhood, it's a battlefield! We're on a battlefield tonight. Make a decision: are we gonna stand by the sidelines, quietly standing while our country gets raped? "(Skinheads:) Fuck no!" Are we gonna ante up and do something about it? "(Skinheads:) FUCK YEAH!" You're goddamn right we are!
  • [Charges at and grabs the supermarket owner by pinning him to a wall] Don't you know it's against the law to hire fucking border jumpers, you nip bastard?!
  • Look at the statistics, for Christ's sake! One in every three black males is in some phase of the correctional system. Is that a coincidence or do these people have, you know, like a racial commitment to crime?
  • We're so hung up on this notion that we have some obligation to help the struggling black man, you know. Cut him some slack until he can overcome these historical injustices. It's crap. I mean, Christ, Lincoln freed the slaves, like, what? 130 years ago. How long does it take to get your act together?
  • Oh, it doesn't? You don't think I see what you're trying to do here? You think I'm gonna sit here and smile while some fuckin' kike tries to fuck my mother? It's never gonna happen Murray! Fuckin' forget it! Not on my watch, not while I'm still in this family. I will fuckin' cut your Shylock nose off and stick it up your ass before I let that happen. Coming here and poison my family's dinner with your Jewish, nigger-lovin', hippie bullshit. Fuck you! Fuck you! Yeah, walk out, asshole, fuckin' Kabbalah reading motherfucker. Get the fuck out of my house. [Showing his tattoo of a swastika] DO YOU SEE THIS!? THAT MEANS NOT WELCOME!
  • I came in here to tell you one thing, I am out! OUT! And Danny's out too! And if you come near my family again, I'm gonna fucking kill you!

Danny Vinyard

  • I believe in death, destruction, chaos, filth, and greed. [Trying to make fun of Seth while Seth is trying to video tape him]
  • I hate the fact that it's cool to be black these days, I hate this hip-hop fucking influence in white fucking suburbia and I hate Tabitha Soren and all her Zionist MTV fucking pigs telling us we should get along. Save the rhetorical bullshit Hillary Rodham Clinton, 'cause it ain't gonna fucking happen.
  • [Writing the beginning of the essay] People look at me and see my brother.
  • So I guess this is where I tell you what I learned - my conclusion, right? Well, my conclusion is: Hate is baggage. Life's too short to be pissed off all the time. It's just not worth it. Derek says it's always good to end a paper with a quote. He says someone else has already said it best. So if you can't top it, steal from them and go out strong. So I picked a guy I thought you'd like. 'We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.' [Quoting Abraham Lincoln]

Prison Inmate

  • Wanna be a nigger, sweet boy? We gonna treat you like one.
  • That was real sweet.


  • Doris Vinyard: You think you're the only one doin' time, Derek? You think you're here all alone? You think I'm not in here with you?
  • Murray: Derek, what are you trying to prove?!
  • Lamont: [In the prison laundry] Don't fuck with me, a'ight? I'm the most dangerous man in this prison. You know why? 'Cause I control the underwear.
  • Lamont: Okay, I know your kind, right...bad ass peckerwood with an attitude. Well, let me tell you something: you better watch your ass, 'cause in the joint, you the nigger, not me.
  • Seth: My eyes have seen the glory of the trampling at the zoo
    We have washed ourselves in niggers' blood and all the mongrels too
    We're taking down the ZOG machine, Jew by Jew by Jew
    The white man marches on! ~ white supremacist lyrics for "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
  • Bob Sweeney: [Arguing with Danny Vinyard about his "Mein Kampf" paper] I think the street would kill you. Your rhetoric and your propaganda aren't gonna save you out there.


Murray: [About Danny] I don't have a personal problem with him!
Bob Sweeney: Don't insult my intelligence, Murray! You hate this child, and I think I know why.
Murray: [Closes the door] So I went out with his mother a few times. That was three years ago... it was nothing.
Bob Sweeney: Nothing. Really?
Murray: That paper, Bob--it's a travesty. Arguing for Hitler as a civil rights hero? You've got to draw the line.
Bob Sweeney: You know, Murray, you actually brought this upon yourself. You said the paper could be on any book that related to the struggle for human plain English. I am not disputing that the child is confused, and harbors some sick ideas, but I am not ready to give up on him yet.
Murray: His brother probably put him up to it.
Bob Sweeney: I guarantee you 100% his brother did not put him up to this.
Murray: Whatever...I find that hard to believe.

Danny Vinyard: [Arguing about his "Mein Kampf" paper] Look Sweeney, did you bring me here to talk about Derek? Because what happened to him has nothing to do with me.
Bob Sweeney: Everything you do right now has something to do with Derek.

Reporter: Earlier today, L.A. County firefighter Dennis Vinyard was shot and killed battling a blaze at a suspected Compton drug den. We're at the Vinyard home now, and Lieutenant Vinyard's oldest son Derek has agreed to talk with us for a moment. Derek, if you could come down here, please, for a second. Look, I know this is tough, but how do you feel right now?
Derek Vineyard: [Younger, wearing a Venice Beach High Basketball jersey] How do you think I feel? I think it's typical.
Reporter: Typical how?
Derek Vinyard: Well, this country's becoming a haven for criminals, so what do you expect? Decent hard-working Americans like my dad are getting rubbed out by social parasites.
Reporter: Parasites?
Derek Vinyard: Blacks, browns, yellow, whatever.
Reporter: I don't understand. You think maybe your father's murder was race-related?
Derek Vinyard: Yeah, it's race-related! Every problem in this country is race-related! Not just's immigration, AIDS, welfare! Those are problems of the black community, the Hispanic community, the Asian community! They're not white problems!
Reporter: Aren't those really issues that deal more with poverty?
Derek Vinyard: No! They're not products of their environments! That's crap! Minorities don't give two shits about this country! They come here to exploit it, not to embrace it!
Reporter: What does this have to do with the--
Derek Vinyard: Millions of white Europeans came here and flourished within a generation! What the fuck is the matter with these people? They have to go around...shooting at firemen!
Reporter: What does this have to do with the murder of your father?
Derek Vinyard: Because my father was murdered doing his job! Putting out a fire in a fucking nigger neighborhood he shouldn't have given a shit about! He got shot by a fucking drug dealer who probably still collects a welfare check!
Doris Vinyard: [Approaching Derek] Honey, that's enough.

[Lawrence has just blocked Seth's shot for the basket]
Lawrence: Who are you calling a boy, motherfucker, huh?!
Seth: Lucky motherfucker! I'm through monkeying around with your fuckin' ass!
Lawrence: Pale, pasty, pastrami eating cracker motherfucker! A hundred bucks say I make you my bitch.
Seth: [Chuckles] Hear that? He's trying to make ends meet for his cut in welfare. You're fucking on!
Danny Vinyard: It's 8-6, Seth.
Seth: Danny, when I want your fucking opinion, I'll ask for it!

Seth: Who do you hate, Danny?
Danny Vinyard: I hate anyone that isn't white Protestant.
Seth: Why?
Danny Vinyard: They're a burden to the advancement of the white race. Some of them are all right, I guess...
Seth: None of 'em are fucking all right, Danny, OK?

Derek Vinyard: We, as society, grant cops a certain amount of authority to make those calls, because we acknowledge that their job is difficult and dangerous! Very few people respect that and respect that authority.
Davina: Look who's talking about respect here, Mr. Junior KKK.
Derek Vinyard: What? I didn't say I respect the laws. I acknowledge a cop's authority.

Derek Vinyard: If he had, though? Come on, think about it. If that fucking monkey had run some kid over, everybody would have a very different opinion of this whole matter! They'd be focused on Rodney King and not on these officers. But instead, he just attacked a few cops. And so suddenly, it's Hands Across America for this fucking total son of a bitch. I mean, it blows my mind. We're so hung up on this notion that we have some obligation to help this struggling black man, cut him some slack until he can overcome these historical injustices. It's crap. This stuff just perpetuates it and all this liberal nonsense. Everyone's looking the other way while our country rots from the inside out. I mean, Christ, Lincoln freed the slaves, in like; 130 years ago. How long does it take to get your act together?
Murray: Well, Jews have been persecuted for over 5,000 years. Are you saying it's wrong to feel sensitive about anti-Semitism?
Stacey: Oh, forget that. I'm with you. I'm with you all the way, baby. I'm so sick of these liberal hypocrites.
Davina: Oh, here we go again. I love this part. This is great.
Stacey: Well, look at the way how they scapegoated Chief Gates. You tell me to think they would've come down that hard on black Willie Williams? No way. That videotape was a set-up to get rid of Gates!
Davina: [To Doris, illuminatingly] Can I please be excused?
Doris Vinyard: Yes…
Derek Vinyard: No! No, you cannot. Don't interrupt.
Stacey: Excuse me, I was talking. I listened to you.
Derek Vinyard: Don't interrupt her!
Davina: Who the hell do you think you are?
Derek Vinyard: She's right in the middle of making the point!
Davina: [Storms up out of her chair] Who the hell do you think you are? [This makes Derek very furious.]
Derek Vinyard: [Storms up too] Hey! Davina, sit down. No, sit down!
[As they argue furiously just as Murray tries to explain…]
Derek Vinyard: [Just as Davina tries to push him] No, sit your ass down! No, sit down. Shut your mouth. No. Sit down, shut your mouth and give my girlfriend some respect!
Murray: [Annoyed] Derek, what are you trying to prove?
Derek Vinyard: Murray, stay out of it! [Pulls Davina's hair to stop her from leaving] Come here! Hey, what do you think you're going?
Doris Vinyard: No!!!!
Murray: [As Derek grabs a piece of ham off the plate] Derek, let her go! Derek, let her go!
Derek Vinyard: [Angrily shoves a piece of ham on Davina's mouth] You need to learn some fucking manners, Davina! Shut your fucking mouth!
Danny Vinyard: Derek! Stop! [Davina chokes on the meat, and tries to muffle with no words.]
Murray: She can't breathe!
Doris Vinyard: [Pulls Derek's shoulder] Let… her… GO!!!
Derek Vinyard: Are you gonna apologize? Are you?!?
Davina: You're a fucking asshole!
Doris Vinyard: I hate you!
Murray: What are you doing Derek? This is your family.
Derek Vinyard: Right, my family, my family, so you know what? I don't give two shits about you or anybody else or what they think. You're not a part of it and you never will be.
Murray: That has nothing to do with it!
Derek Vinyard: Oh it doesn't? You don't think I see what you're trying to do here? You think I'm gonna sit here and smile while some fucking kike tries to fuck my mother? It's never gonna happen Murray! Fucking forget it! Not on my watch, not while I'm still in this family. I will fucking cut your Shylock nose off and stick it up your ass before I let that happen. Coming here and poison my family's dinner with your Jewish, Nigger-loving, hippie bullshit. Fuck you! Fuck you! Yeah, walk out, asshole, fucking Kabbalah reading motherfucker. Get the fuck out of my house.[Flashes swastika tattoo] DO YOU SEE THIS!? THAT MEANS NOT WELCOME!

Derek Vinyard: You disgust me! Bring him to our table! How could you bring him to my father's table? How could you go from Dad to that? Aren't you ashamed?
Doris Vinyard: I'm ashamed that you came out of my body!!!!

Derek Vinyard: Nigger, you just fucked with the wrong bull. C'MERE! [Drags Lawrence out onto the street]
Lawrence: Get off!
Derek Vinyard: You should've learned your place on the fuckin' basketball court! But you fuckin' monkeys never get the message! My father gave me that truck, you motherfucker! You ever shoot at fireman?! You come here and shoot at my family?! I'm gonna teach you a real lesson now, motherfucker. Put your fuckin' mouth on the curb!
Lawrence: Come on, man...
Derek Vinyard: Put it on the curb right now! [Lawrence bites down on the curb] That's it.
Danny Vinyard: Derek, no! [Starts running towards Derek] NOOO!!!
Derek Vinyard: Now say goodnight!
[Derek stomps Lawrence's head into the curb]
Derek: Fucker! [Spits on Lawrence]

Bob Sweeney: There was a moment... like this, when I used to blame everything and everyone... for all the pain and suffering and vile things that happened to me, that I saw happen to my people. Used to blame everybody. Blamed white people, blamed society, blamed God. I didn't get no answers 'cause I was asking the wrong questions. You have to ask the right questions.
Derek Vinyard: Like what?
Bob Sweeney: Has anything you've done made your life better?

Lamont: [As Derek is leaving prison] 'Sup, man? You getting outta here? Well, c'mon man! What the fuck you waiting on?
Derek Vinyard: Yeah, you know, I got this funny feeling.
Lamont: Oh yeah? What's that?
Derek Vinyard: I'm thinking the only reason I'm getting outta here in one piece is you.
Lamont: C'mon man! Get the fuck outta here, man! You think I'm gonna put my neck on the line for some crazy-ass peckerwood?
Derek Vinyard: Yeah, right. Stupid.
[A moment of silence passes and Lamont looks away]
Derek Vinyard: That's what I thought. I owe you, man.
Lamont: Man, you owe me shit, a'ight?
Derek Vinyard: Yes, I do.
[Derek offers his hand and Lamont takes it]
Derek Vinyard: You'll be outta here in no time.
Lamont: C'mon man, it's a piece of cake, a'ight? You just take it easy on the brothers, a'ight? The brothers!

Danny Vinyard: [Referring to Dr. Sweeney] He's one of those proud-to-be-nigger people, I hate those guys.
Cameron: Now wait a minute Danny, he's not proud, no he's a manipulative self-righteous Uncle Tom. He's trying to make you feel guilty about writing about Adolf Hitler. Some nigger, some spic writes about Martin Luther King, or fuckin Caesar commie Chavez gets a pat on the head.

Cameron: You know, you made the fat kid a little nervous. He thinks the joint messed with your mind.
Derek Vinyard: It did.

Cameron: I understand how you feel. I mean, you've just done some hard time and...
Derek Vineyard: Don't you fuckin' talk to me about hard time! you don't know a thing about it!
Cameron: Hey, I've done mine.
Derek Vineyard: You didn't do shit! I found out about your little prison story. You did two months and then you rolled over on two kids and let them go down for you, so don't feed me your fucking lies, Cameron.
Cameron: Alright, this is stupid. I'm done. You go cool off, get laid, do something. Get your head on straight, then I'll talk to you.
Derek Vinyard: Yeah, but it doesn't even really matter if I don't, does it? 'Cause you got the next crop all lined up and ready to go, you fuckin' chicken hawk!
Cameron: Excuse me?
Derek Vinyard: You prey on people, Cam! You use 'em! I lost three years of my life for your fuckin' phony cause, but I am onto you now, you fuckin' snake!
Cameron: Hey, Derek, watch it. Be careful. Remember where you are. This is not some fuckin' country club where you can waltz in and outta here as you choose...
Derek Vinyard: Shut up! Shut the fuck up! I came in here to tell you one thing, I am out! OUT! And Danny is out, too. And if you come near my family again, I'm gonna fucking kill you!
Cameron: Well, excuse me, but fuck you, Derek. You can't come barking threats at *me*. Look, you can do whatever you want, but Danny is a good kid. He's not some whiny pussy like you. He needs my help and I'm going to give it to him.
Derek Vinyard: If you come near Danny again, I will feed you your fucking heart, Cameron.
Cameron: I won't have to. He'll come to me. I'm more important to him now than you'll ever be.
[Derek slugs Cameron in the face; Cameron falls to the floor]
Derek Vinyard: Shit!
Cameron: You're a fucking dead man, Vinyard.

Danny Vinyard: [On Derek's change in prison] I'm sorry, Derek. I'm sorry that happened to you.
Derek Vinyard: I'm not. I'm lucky. I feel lucky because it's wrong, Danny. It's wrong and it was eating me up, it was going to kill me. And I kept asking myself all the time, how did I buy into this shit? It was because I was pissed off, and nothing I ever did ever took that feeling away. I killed two guys, Danny, I killed them. And it didn't make me feel any different. It just got me more lost and I'm tired of being pissed off, Danny. I'm just tired of it.

Dennis Vinyard: So what is this "Native Son" ?
Derek Vinyard: It's this book about this black guy. We're doing this whole black literature unit.
Dennis Vinyard: What, is it Black History Month?
Derek Vinyard: No, it's just this guy Sweeney, you know? It's part of the course now.
Dennis Vinyard: Yeah... whatever. It's everywhere I look now.
Derek Vinyard: What?
Dennis Vinyard: This "affirmative blaction."
Doris Vinyard: Honey, a few new books doesn't qualify as affirmative black action.
Dennis Vinyard: Read the book, ace the guy's test...just don't swallow everything he feeds you whole. Just because you see it on the evening news...
Derek Vinyard: I know, but what?
Dennis Vinyard: All this stuff about making everything "equal..." it's not that simple. Now you've got this book "Native Son." What happened to the other books in the course? They're not good anymore because Mr. Two Ph.Ds says so? Now you got to trade great books for black books? Does that make sense? You gotta question these things, Der. You gotta look at the whole picture. We're talking about books...but we're also talking about my job. I've got two black guys on my squad now who got their job over a couple of white guys who actually scored higher on the test. Does that make sense? Yeah sure, everything's "equal" now, but I've got two guys watching my back...responsible for my life...who aren't as good. They only got the job because they were black, not because they were the best.
Derek Vinyard: That sucks.
Dennis Vinyard: Yeah, is that what America's about? No, America's about the best man for the job. You do your best, you get the job. This affirmative action crap--I don't know what that's about. There's like some hidden agenda or something going on. You see what I'm saying?
Derek Vinyard: Yeah, I do. I didn't think about it like that...This Sweeney guy though, he just comes on so strong. It's hard not to listen to him. I guess some of what he says though, it's kind of--
Dennis Vinyard: It's bullshit.
Derek Vinyard: Yeah...yeah, maybe.
Dennis Vinyard: No. It's nigger bullshit. You see that, don't you?
Derek Vinyard: Yeah.
Dennis Vinyard: You got to watch out for that.
Derek Vinyard: Yeah. No, I get what you're saying. I will.
Dennis Vinyard: [Pats Derek on the back] Good boy. I'm proud of you.


  • Some Legacies Must End.
  • Violence as a way of life.
  • United by hate, divided by truth
  • See reality in your eyes when hate makes you blind


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