American History X Ending Explained: What Caused Danny to Pass Away?

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Tony Kaye and David McKenna collaborated on the 1998 American crime drama film American History X. Two brothers from Los Angeles who are active in the white power skinhead and neo-Nazi groups are portrayed in the movie by Edward Norton and Edward Furlong.

The older brother (Norton) attempts to stop his younger brother (Furlong) from becoming further brainwashed after serving three years in jail for voluntary manslaughter and receiving rehabilitation during that period.

Fairuza Balk, Stacy Keach, Elliott Gould, Avery Brooks, Ethan Suplee, and Beverly D’Angelo make up the supporting cast. Based on his own upbringing and experiences growing up in San Diego, McKenna penned the script.

Beginning of the Movie American History X

Danny Vinyard, a high school student, offends Murray, his Jewish history instructor, by selecting to write a civil rights essay on Mein Kampf. Danny is warned by their class’s African-American principal and outreach worker Dr. Bob Sweeney that he must learn history through current events or risk being expelled.

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Danny’s first task is to write a report about his elder brother Derek, a former Sweeney student and ex-No-Nazi leader who was just freed from prison. Danny observes three African-American kids abusing a white student in the school toilet.

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Danny disrespects the bully by blowing cigarette smoke in his face. Dr. Sweeney meets with the police officers who have been informed of Derek’s discharge in the interim.

Years prior, while putting out a fire at their house, Danny and Derek’s father, a fireman, was shot and killed by a black drug dealer. In a live television interview right after he passes away, Derek explodes in a racial rant.

Danny Has Changed After the Prison Experience

Danny is found by Derek to be imitating him, getting a D.O.C. tattoo, and turning into a skinhead. Danny feels deceived despite Derek’s efforts to get him to break away from the group.

While Cameron carefully supervises Seth and Danny, Derek’s best buddy Seth, a fellow D.O.C. member, routinely disrespects Derek’s mother and sister while molding Danny into a gang member.

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At a neo-Nazi gathering, Derek confronts Cameron about his cunning ways, accusing him of enlisting people in his racist cause only to desert them once they were no longer useful. Derek attacks Cameron after he gloats, unrepentantly, that Danny has fallen under his sway and will choose him for Derek; Seth and the others, including Derek’s ex-girlfriend Stacey, turn against Derek.

Seth attempts to detain Derek at gunpoint, but Derek quickly disarms him; he then commands Seth, Stacy, and the others to disarm and departs. Following that, Derek shares with Danny his prison experience, which appears to cause Danny to alter.

When they get back home, they take down offensive posters from their bedroom. The next morning, Danny finishes his essay, pondering on the justifications for and shortcomings of his white supremacist beliefs.

What Happened to American History X?

After Danny (Edward Furlong) is shot by a black student (whose brother was murdered by Derek (Edward Norton) earlier in the movie), the original movie comes to an end. Following this, in Kaye’s version, we see the investigators attempting to console Danny’s heartbroken mother and sister in the family apartment.

What Caused Danny to Pass Away in American History X?

As retaliation for Derek’s killing and curb-stomping his brother, Henry murdered Danny.

Why Did Edward Norton Change So Much After Seeing American History X?

But American History X challenged him in a way that none of his previous performances had. In an interview with Dan Rather, Norton said that “doing American History X was incredibly challenging.” It was described as “a guerrilla-style event.” This was partly due to the significant bodily change Norton had to undergo.

The Purpose of Derek’s Imprisonment in American History X

Derek Vinyard, a vicious Neo-Nazi skinhead, was found guilty of killing two black men who tried to steal his truck and was sentenced to three years in jail. His younger brother Daniel Vinyard, who looks up to him, is on the verge of becoming a Neo-Nazi when he leaves jail having changed.

At the End of American History X, What Happened to the Young Black Boy?

What the heck happened at the end? A black child shoots and kills Danny shortly after he abandons his white supremacist views. The filmmaker practically appeared to be trolling us all by declaring, “Welp, the white nationalists were correct all along.”

How was Derek Saved by Lamont?

Lamont, the prison’s laundry worker, “saves” Derek by instilling in him the values of acceptance and tolerance.

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Neo-Nazi Derek had intense animosity for anyone who was different from him, but after being imprisoned, Lamont’s relentless bombardment of humor, wit, and wisdom caused Derek to undergo a psychological transformation.

What Caused Derek Vinyard to Evolve?

In an early version of the movie, Derek shaves his head once more following the passing of his brother, hinting that he has once more turned into a Neo-Nazi. The main concept of the movie, according to Edward Norton, is that hatred doesn’t work as a solution. Hence, his persona didn’t rejoin the Neo-Nazis.

How Many Frames Does Derek Take at the Start of the Movie?

In the first scene, Derek uses a Ruger P94 that could only contain 10 rounds in the magazine and one cartridge in the chamber to fire 24 shots without stopping.

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Bob Sweeney: There was a time when I used to hold everyone and everything accountable for the terrible things that had occurred to me and that I had witnessed happening to my people.

The Scary “American History X” Curb Stomp Scene

It’s a scenario that makes you feel like a dental drill is going through your head and is just as unwatchable as a Snapchat tale from the previous evening.

Millions of clichéd movie sequences have attempted to achieve the near-impossible goal of being seen through protecting fingers, but very few, if any, have ever succeeded in evoking the same visceral, whole-body response as the shriek-inducing curb stomp in American History X.

The frank discourse alone in the tough racial picture has already taken the squeamish shudders off the radar, but the curb stomp itself appears to be the visual representation of all that needless animosity.

This scene had a lasting impression on spectators, who undoubtedly consider it to be one of the most powerful depictions of racism in American film history. Therefore, it might come as a surprise that director Tony Kaye requested that he be given an anonymous credit as Humpty Dumpty by the studio.

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