Who Is Danny in American History X?

American History X is a thought-provoking and intense movie that explores themes of racism, hate, and redemption. At the center of the movie is the character of Danny Vinyard, played by Edward Furlong.

Danny is a young man who is caught up in the world of white supremacy, but over time he begins to question his beliefs. In this article, we will take a closer look at who Danny is and how his character evolves throughout the course of the film.

The Character of Danny Vinyard

Danny Vinyard is a teenage boy who lives in Venice Beach, California. He comes from a broken family and has been deeply influenced by his older brother Derek, who is a leader in the local white supremacist movement. As we see in flashbacks throughout the movie, Danny has grown up idolizing his brother and absorbing his racist beliefs.

The Turning Point

The turning point for Danny comes when he witnesses his brother commit a brutal act of violence against two black men. This experience shakes him to his core and makes him question everything he has been taught about race relations. He begins to see that there are good people on both sides of the racial divide and that violence only begets more violence.

Danny’s Redemption

Over time, Danny begins to distance himself from his brother’s ideology and starts to see the world in a different way. He befriends a black student named Lamont and starts to see him as an individual rather than just a representative of his race. He also begins to write an essay for school about Hitler’s Mein Kampf but soon realizes that it only serves to perpetuate hate.

The Legacy of Danny Vinyard

Unfortunately, Danny’s journey towards redemption is cut short when he is killed by a former member of Derek’s gang. However, even in death, Danny’s legacy lives on.

In the final scene of the movie, we see Derek holding a copy of the essay that Danny wrote before he died. In it, Danny renounces his former beliefs and encourages others to do the same. This essay serves as a powerful reminder that even those who have been deeply entrenched in hate can change and that redemption is possible.


Danny Vinyard is a complex character who undergoes a profound transformation throughout the course of American History X. His journey towards redemption serves as a powerful reminder that even those who have been steeped in hate can change and that it’s never too late to start seeing the world in a different way. Through his character, we are reminded of the power of empathy and understanding and the importance of challenging our own beliefs.