What Was the Point of American History X Ending?

American History X is a powerful film that tells the story of a former neo-Nazi skinhead named Derek Vinyard, played by Edward Norton. The movie explores the themes of racism, hate, redemption, and forgiveness.

The ending of the film has been discussed and debated by audiences and critics alike. So, what was the point of American History X ending?

The Plot

Before we dive into the ending of the film, let’s recap the plot.

Derek Vinyard is a former neo-Nazi skinhead who spends three years in prison for killing two African-American men who tried to steal his truck. While in prison, Derek realizes the error of his ways and begins to change his views on race and hate.

After being released from prison, Derek tries to prevent his younger brother Danny from following in his footsteps by teaching him about tolerance and acceptance. Unfortunately, Danny is already deeply involved in the white supremacist movement and ends up being killed by an African-American student at school.

The film ends with Derek breaking down in tears upon realizing that his actions have led to his brother’s death.

The Point of The Ending

The ending of American History X serves as a powerful reminder that hate begets hate and violence only leads to more violence. By showing Derek’s emotional breakdown at the end of the film, director Tony Kaye highlights the destructive nature of racism and how it can have devastating consequences.

The ending also serves as a message about redemption and forgiveness. Throughout the film, we see Derek struggling with his past actions as a neo-Nazi skinhead. However, it is only through accepting responsibility for his actions that he is able to begin to change.

Ultimately, Derek’s transformation shows that people can change if they are willing to confront their beliefs and accept responsibility for their actions. This message is particularly relevant today when racial tensions continue to divide communities across America.


In conclusion, the ending of American History X is a powerful and emotional reminder of the destructive nature of hate and racism. It serves as a message about redemption and forgiveness and highlights the importance of taking responsibility for our actions. The film’s message is as relevant today as it was when it was first released, and it is a film that should be seen by everyone.