Are There Two Versions of American History X?

American History X is a 1998 movie that portrays the life of a former neo-Nazi, Derek Vinyard, who tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same path. The movie’s plot is not only intense but also thought-provoking, and it raises many questions about race relations and their impact on society.

However, some viewers have noticed that there appear to be two versions of the film in circulation: one with a runtime of 119 minutes and another with a runtime of 101 minutes. This has led to a lot of confusion and speculation as to why there are two versions of American History X.

The reason for this discrepancy is that the original director, Tony Kaye, was unhappy with the final cut of the movie edited by New Line Cinema. He claimed that he was not given enough creative control over the film and requested that his name be removed from the credits. As a result, New Line Cinema made changes to Kaye’s version without his approval, resulting in both versions being released.

The most significant difference between the two versions is that Kaye’s original cut includes several scenes that were removed from New Line Cinema’s version. These scenes provide additional background information about Derek’s character and his transformation from a white supremacist to an anti-racist activist.

Some of these deleted scenes include Derek reading Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in prison and sharing it with his fellow inmates. Another scene shows Derek spending time with Lamont (Guy Torry), an African-American man he met while doing community service. In this scene, Derek realizes that Lamont is more than just a stereotype and begins to see him as an individual rather than just as a member of a particular racial group.

Other differences between the two versions include changes in dialogue, music choices, and camera angles. For example, one scene in which Derek shaves his head was filmed using different camera angles in each version, resulting in slightly different shots.

Despite these differences, both versions of American History X share the same powerful message about the destructive nature of hate and prejudice. The film’s portrayal of Derek’s transformation from a racist to an anti-racist is a reminder that people can change and that it is never too late to make amends for past mistakes.

In conclusion, there are indeed two versions of American History X, and the reason for this is due to creative differences between director Tony Kaye and New Line Cinema. While there are some differences between the two versions, both films deliver a powerful message about the dangers of hate and prejudice. Whether you watch the 101-minute version or Kaye’s 119-minute original cut, American History X is a movie that will leave a lasting impact on its viewers.