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American History X



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10

MPAA Rating: R

Edward Norton is a former skinhead whose racist and violent acts land him in jail and also influence his brother (Edward Furlong) to adopt the same lifestyle. When the reformed Norton is released, he tries to teach Furlong the error of his ways. Elliott Gould, Stacy Keach, Avery Brooks, Beverly D'Angelo and Fairuza Balk co-star.

SEX/NUDITY 7- Sexual innuendo. A man and woman move rhythmically, covered by a sheet; we see her bare breast. A man pretends to be a woman engaged in intercourse and makes noises. We see full-frontal male nudity, as well as a few men's bare buttocks.

VIOLENCE/GORE 10 - A man is murdered off-screen. A man shoots and kills a man and shoots and injures another (we see their bloody wounds). The victim is forced to lie face-down, mouth-open on a curb strip; the man then steps on his head and kills him. A boy shoots and kills another, and we see lots of blood. We see and hear a man raping another man; the rapist then beats the man's head against a wall until he's unconscious (we see his bloody head). A man shoots and breaks the back window of a car. A group ransacks a market and kicks, punches and terrorizes the employees. A man grabs a woman by her hair and shoves food into her mouth; she then tries to hit him with a bat. Several scuffles (we see a little blood during some). A man is threatened with a gun but takes it away, threatens others, and fires it in the air.

PROFANITY 10 - More than 200 F-words, lots of anatomical and scatological references, lots of obscenities and lots of racial slurs. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Skinheads and white supremacists, racially-motivated violence and hatred, prison life, family relationships.

MESSAGE - Hatred is learned . . . and it can also be unlearned.

Special Keywords: S7 - V10 - P10 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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