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American History X
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Derek Vinyard The Ace : Danny is good at many things, including basketball and school. The Atoner: After prison Badass : Edward Norton gained 30 pounds of muscle for the role. Bald of Evil: During his D.O.C. days Curb-Stomp Battle : The harrowing opener, wherein Derek kills two guys who are trying to break into his truck, . Disproportionate Retribution to the basketball game they lost earlier Dark Messiah: To the white gangs of Venice Beach Death Glare : When he's arrested, the grin on Derek's face will haunt your dreams. Freudian Excuse: The death of his father at the hands of afroamerican gangbangers Heel-Face Turn : It's arguable when exactly this happens. Possibly when he's raped by the other White Supremacist inmates; when he gets a visit from Sweeney who asks him the Armor-Piercing Question; or when he makes friends with a black inmate, who possibly saves him from further violence. Important Haircut: Played straight when he goes skinhead and inverted when he allows his hair to grow in prison. Zigzagged in the deleted ending when he shaves it again, after Danny is murdered by a black gangbanger. Knight Templar: Derek believes that he's cleaning up the worst elements of his neighbourhood and calling others to a cause, but he does so through racism and violence. Prison Rape: By the Aryan Brotherhood for denouncing their hypocrisy and playing basketball and trading drugs with black inmates. Rape as Drama: Part of his Heel-Face Turn. Straight Edge Evil: Derek is athletic and employed, gets good grades, and calls out one of his gang mates for smoking pot, because that's what "the enemy" does.
Doris Vinyard Played By: Beverly D'Angelo
Davina Vinyard Played By: Jennifer Lien
Seth Ryan Played By: Ethan Suplee
Stacey Ax-Crazy: Screaming for Seth to shoot Derek after the former pulls a gun. She also seems turned on by Derek's violent acts. Slasher Smile: Look at her whenever a violent act is about to happen.
Dr. Robert Sweeney
Dr. Robert Sweeney Played By: Avery Brooks
Murray Played By: Elliott Gould Informed Judaism : Gould (the actor) is Jewish, and the character is stated to be Jewish, but there's no real indication that he practices Judaism. Reasonable Authority Figure : Sees Derek's violence toward his family and tries to call him on it, and rather than suspend or fail Danny over the Hitler paper, sends him to talk to Sweeney.
Cameron Alexander Played By: Stacy Keach Big Bad: The closest one the film has. By the time Derek is out of prison he's organizing several white supremacist gangs throughout the west coast Evil Old Folks: Nazi old guy Evil Mentor: To the D.O.C. in general, to Derek in particular. Took up Danny under his wing as well. Faux Affably Evil: Even when threatening Derek he keeps the polite fašade. Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Stacy Keach wears some pretty bad tinted old-man glasses. Hypocrite: For For all his boasts of doing prison time and racial unity, he sold out some of his own gang to have reduced jail time Politically Incorrect Villain: He's a racist, a hypocrite, and it's implied he might be a paedophile.
Lamont Played By: Guy Torry Almight Janitor: He controls the underwear. Magical Negro: Unlike Sweeney, Lamont is more of a plot point to make Derek question his own racist, conservative views. He does, however, have some unstated hold over the other inmates who end up NOT kicking Derek's ass.