Can Kids Watch American History X?

American History X is a powerful and thought-provoking movie that has sparked a lot of debates about whether or not it is appropriate for kids to watch. The movie deals with heavy themes such as racism, violence, and white supremacy, which makes it important for parents to consider their child’s maturity level before allowing them to watch the movie.

What is American History X?

American History X is a 1998 drama film directed by Tony Kaye and starring Edward Norton and Edward Furlong. The movie tells the story of Derek Vinyard (played by Norton), a former neo-Nazi skinhead who tries to prevent his younger brother Danny (played by Furlong) from going down the same path of hate and violence that he did.

Is American History X Appropriate for Kids?

The answer to this question depends on several factors such as the age and maturity level of the child, their ability to handle heavy themes, and whether they have prior knowledge or experience with racism and prejudice.

  • Age: American History X is rated R for strong brutal violence including rape, pervasive language, sexual content, and drug use. This means that children below 17 years old should not be permitted to watch the movie without adult supervision.
  • Maturity Level: The movie depicts extreme violence, hate speech, and prejudiced behavior that can be distressing or triggering for some viewers.

    Parents should consider their child’s ability to handle these themes before deciding whether or not they can watch the movie.

  • Prior Knowledge or Experience: Children who have no prior knowledge or experience with racism may find it difficult to understand some of the themes portrayed in the movie. Parents should take time to discuss these issues with their children before allowing them to watch the film.

How to Prepare Kids for Watching American History X?

Before allowing their kids to watch American History X, parents should take time to discuss the themes of the movie with them. This will help the child understand the context of the movie and prepare them for some of the heavy themes that they will encounter.

Some topics that parents can discuss with their children before watching American History X include:


Discuss what racism is, how it affects people, and why it is wrong. Use real-life examples to help your child understand these concepts.

The Consequences of Violence:

Talk about the impact of violence on individuals and communities. Discuss the long-term consequences of violent behavior and why it should be avoided.

The Importance of Acceptance:

Teach your child about the importance of accepting people from different backgrounds and cultures. Encourage them to embrace diversity and treat everyone with respect.


In conclusion, American History X is a powerful movie that deals with important themes such as racism, violence, and acceptance. While it may not be appropriate for all children, parents can use this movie as an opportunity to start important conversations about these issues with their kids. By discussing these themes beforehand, parents can help prepare their children for some of the heavy content in the movie and make it a more meaningful experience.