American History X is a 1998 American crime drama film directed by Tony Kaye and written by David McKenna. The film stars Edward Norton and Edward Furlong as two brothers from Los Angeles who are involved in the white power skinhead and neo-Nazi movements. The older brother (Norton) serves three years in prison for voluntary manslaughter, and is rehabilitated during this time, and then tries to prevent his brother (Furlong) from being indoctrinated further. The supporting cast includes Fairuza Balk, Stacy Keach, Elliott Gould, Avery Brooks, Ethan Suplee and Beverly D'Angelo.
McKenna wrote the script based on his own childhood and experiences of growing up in San Diego. He then sold the script to New Line Cinema, which was impressed by the writing. American History X was Kaye's first directorial role in a feature film. Budgeted at $20 million, filming took place in 1997. Before the film's release, Kaye and the film studio were in disagreements about the final cut of the film. The final version was longer than Kaye intended, which resulted in him publicly disowning the film; this negatively affected his directing career.
The film was released in the United States on October 30, 1998, and distributed by New Line Cinema. The film grossed $23.9 million, against a $20 million budget. American History X was critically praised, with Norton's performance and the film's message drawing acclaim; Norton received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. The film has also been used for educational purposes in the United States and in other countries. A follow-up, African History Y, with Kaye returning as director and starring Djimon Hounsou, is in active development as of 2020.