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National Lampoon's Vacation


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The Last Starfighter

American History X


  • Theatrical Cut
  • Workprint
Release: Aug 20, 2009 - Author: Doc Idaho - Translator: Gladion - external link: IMDB

The Workprint of the movie American History X has been compared to the Theatrical Cut, represented by the German DVD.

What stage of the post-production this workprint originated from, is, unfortunately, not possible to designate with 100% certainty. Surely though, it is none of the very early versions being made by a cutter in which all of the scenes shot are to be seen in one part. So it was only neccessary to clear out whether this workprint is a version Tony Kaye had worked with or one that was allegedly later supervised by Edward Norton.

Post Production

The following text tries to comprehend the development of the different pre-release-versions. Due to some contradictory statements, this isn't always possible, but when details differ, both sides of the story will be told.

It surely is unquestioned that Tony Kaye was the first to manufacture a version and that the test screenings for this cut had gone well. So New Line was certainly satisfied and only saw little reason to drastically change things.

But still, Tony Kaye got some suggestions from New Line which he should adapt to the current version. It's common for producers and labels to play a part in the films with own proposals. Also, even from a mainly positive test screening, there are certainly some minor things to improve. Besides, Kaye never wanted to make a merely good movie, but a fantastic one.

Apparently, Tony Kaye did manufacture this new version, but according to producer De Luca, Kaye shortened it heavily compared to the previous version. It was not what New Line wanted to see. Kayes second version was not acceptable and apparently, it had little to do with the first cut.

After that, De Luca brought in experienced cutter Jerry Greenberg, who cut a new version together with Edwart Norton in spring '98. Norton was brought in by De Luca because he knew the characters very well. Kaye on the other hand says Norton imposed himself to give himself more scenes in the movie. De Luca is in between and says he asked Norton for support for the cut after he had made clear that he couldn't possibly advertise a movie he doesn't completely agree with. Obviously, he wasn't satisfied with Kayes second version.

Partly, there is nothing to be read in articles about the second, seemingly worse version of Kaye, and one might get the impression that Norton had made an own version directly after the first test screening. Due to the positive reactions of the first version this seems rather unlikely, though. Besides, Norton was busy with the shooting of Rounders after the first test screening.

According to Edward Norton, he worked together with Greenberg and Kaye in the cutting room only in March/April 1998. As per Norton, Kaye was fine with his presence. After all, the post-production already went for a year and his collaboration was a real relief for Kaye. When Norton had to cancel his assistance for Fight Club, Greenberg and Kaye continued working with the movie, the actor said.

Other reports say Kaye was very displeased by Nortons collaboration and often got angry because Norton interfered too much in his film. It probably didn't help the situation that - even though Kaye thinks of Norton to be a good actor and that he is convinced to be able to bring out an academy award-worthy performance out of him - Kaye sees Norton as a miscast for the character Derek Vinyard. Partly, there is to be read that Norton had worked on an own version completely independently from Kaye, but this is not very likely. As was the ideal world Norton suggested during the press-tour later.

In June, New Line showed the new version - the one Norton had assisted on - again to a test audience, and again, the feedback was outstandingly positive. That's why De Luca wanted to convince Kaye for this to be the final Theatrical Cut. Kaye was angry, but he got 2 months to work on the film, possibly because he had threatened to dissociate from the movie. 10 weeks later he hadn't finished a new version of the film but appeared to a meeting with New Line together with a rabbi, a monk, a priest and a camera crew. There, he informed them that he most definetly would not be able to finish the movie the same year, and that he wanted to redesign it completely with the help of the poet Derek Walcott. Walcott should rewrite the script to do justice to Kayes visions. After all, Kaye never thought of David McKennas screenplay to be that good. New Line did not accept another delay of so many months, in which Kaye wanted to back out to the carribean together with Walcott.

One can assume that the version from June is pretty identical to the final Theatrical Version. The workprint that is at hand for this cut report is most probably the second version of Tony Kaye, the one which was rejected from De Luca. For one, Kaye himself stated that Nortons Version was about 18 minutes longer (which is the actual difference of the versions that are at hand) and for two, it was written back then that cruxes, among others, were the length of two scenes (dinner with Murray, speech before the raid) and the positioning of the flashback to the dinner with Derek's father. Since the differences are exactly there, this workprint can certainly be assigned to Kaye. Also, to be precisely, it is probably Kaye's second version, since De Luca had criticized the strong compression of some scenes here, and exactly this is obvious in certain parts of this workprint. More about that in the report itself.

Tony Kayes strident, yet also creative mudslinging against New Line is less interesting here, just like his lawsuit against the director's union, who did not allow him to withdraw his name from the project and replace it with "Humpty Dumpty". Many years later though, Kaye commented on his own actions very self-deprecating. A lot about that is documented on the internet.

The original screenplay

It has already been mentioned further above that Tony Kaye didn't really like David McKennas screenplay, so it might be rather interesting to go into this a little more deeply and to explain the differences, which could hardly be any more drastic. Even though McKennas first screenplay does roughly follow the main plot of the finished movie and deals with the father's death, Dereks rise in the Neonazi-scene, the two black men's murder, his detention, the reformation of Danny and finally also Danny's death, but strangely, the film does not concentrate on that, but brings in a drug story.

Cameron, who is one of the leading Neonazis of Los Angeles in the film is still a Neonazi in the first screenplay, though no leader, but primarily a drug dealer, and both Derek and Seth his legmen. Furthermore, in the original version, Cameron is the one who hired the black guys to break in Dereks car to steal two pounds of Heroin, which Derek had gotten from Cameron earlier to sell.
Also, the person sitting in the car and managing to excape after Derek had shot at him is no unknown third, but Seth, Derek's best friend. Derek finds out about Camerons betrayal from one of the thieves, but he goes to jail without telling anybody and only confronts Cameron with this three years later at the party. There, he beats him almost to death and runs away with Danny. In the original version, Seth and Cameron get killed by another gang before being able to take revenge on Derek.

Also, the end of Dereks relationship with Stacey is less sudden and it's not even ending in a fight, while Danny regularly uses hard drugs together with some friends. Dannys off-screen analysis of all the things happening has less screentime and he even tries to convince his sister to write the essay for him.

Furthermore, Dereks reformation in jail is much shorter. The prisoner Lawrence, who he makes friends with during the movie, doesn't exist. The affiliation to the local Neonazi-group and finally the break with them are not shown. In the original version, the rape is completely without any motivation. In the screenplay you see Derek renouncing racism, but why he does is never really explained. One could assume that he seperated himself from Cameron and his henchmen only because of his betrayal.

Generally, this ordinary drug story in the original version of American History X plays a big role in the plot, whereas the Neonazi-topic steps behind. It is due to Tony Kaye and his changes that the movie concentrates only on the racist setting and the resulting conflicts and fully shows its strengths. This makes the movie something unique - even if, in the end, Kaye isn't happy with the final product himself.

The differences

The Theatrical Cut is approx. 18 minutes longer than the workprint that is at hand. With one exception there are no real differences in the plot, and Edward Norton's screentime did not increase so much that one could get the impression he had faciliated himself out of egoistic reasons, like Tony Kaye has stated. Nevertheless there are scenes in the movie that are traceable to the influence of Edward Norton even before Tony Kaye had left. For example Derek's speech before the gang raids the supermarket. Also, Edward Norton wanted the flashback to the dinner with Dereks father to be at the end of the film, not, like Kaye, in the first act.
In Norton's version, the scene is the final piece of the puzzle which explains Derek's development to a Neo-Nazi. Before the audience is being confronted with the consequences of Derek's actions, you see how calm and seemingly harmless the first racist thoughts have been planted into his brain by his father.

One big difference between both versions is that only in the Theatrical Cut you find out about Seth and Cameron getting beaten up by another gang, and Sweeney asks Derek to keep his old gang calm. In the workprint, Derek only comes to terms with his own past. The message of the Theatrical Version is that this is not enough. Derek also has to take responsibility for others, the ones whose lives he had shaped with his words and actions. This is why there is a new scene in a diner in the Theatrical Cut before Derek brings Danny to school.

The numerous, other differences are more subtle. The racist comments of Danny and Derek are much harsher in the workprint and especially Danny is depicted much less likeable solely by the scene in the school's bathroom, when he insults the other boy. Also, in the workprint, for a long time it's very unclear as to how Derek will really act when he leaves prison. If you know the Theatrical Cut and already could form an opinion about the characters and the story, it's not apparent when watching the film superficially. But if Kayes second version had come out into theaters, it would have been a different film altogether due to these changes. The actual Theatrical Version is better.

So much about the content-related differences. On the technical side, there has to be said that the cut of the Theatrical Version and the Workprint are unidentical to about 99%. This means that there are virtually no two shots in succession that are exactly the same in both versions. During the entire movie. That's why a cut report you are used to from us is not sensible. The film has been demounted in several dozen parts and the contentual differences are being explained scene after scene.
For guidance, there is a specification of the runtime in each part. Furthermore, the structure of the film has been reassigned, especially in the beginning. Subsequently, there is a seperate summary concerning this.
The succession of the scenes in the cut report itself is the same as the Theatrical Version's.

Cut report


The Theatrical Version has got a longer credits-sequence. First blackscreen, then takes of the beach. The workprint only shows some of these beach-shots.

Theatrical Cut 2:33 minutes
Workprint 0:31 minutes

Raid during the night

The black guys are driving to the Vinyards' house longer. Also, Derek and Stacey were cut in between more frequently while having sex, like Danny after he had been awakened by the two others' noise.

Theatrical Cut 0:45 minutes

Workprint 1:13 minutes

Pictures only from the workprint

The procedure of the break-in is identical.

Theatrical Cut 1:26 minutes

Workprint 1:26 minutes

We will show how the takes in the film differ by the scene in which Derek shoots the first car thief at the door.

Theatrical CutWorkprint

The burglar who is running away from the car is being hit by Derek. In the Workprint, you see the bullet going through him and hitting the tree behind. In the Theatrical cut on the other hand you see him squirming on the ground for a longer time.

Theatrical CutWorkprint

In the Theatrical Version Derek shoots longer at the car that is backing away. In the workprint, though, you see an additional take of terrified Danny.

Both versions show a different shot of the dead man at the steps when Danny looks at him in shock.

Theatrical CutWorkprint

In the workprint, you see Derek walking to the second victim in extreme slow-motion for a bit longer, but otherwise it's identical to the Theatrical Version.

Theatrical Cut 1:28 minutes

Workprint 1:31 minutes


The workprint first shows a text box saying "Three years later" and then a short scene of Danny going to school early. Also, there are other takes of a couple kissing and the security checking a pupil.

Workprint 0:20 minutes

The workprint starts with an additional outside-take of the school.

Workprint 0:02 minutes

The discussion between Murray, the teacher Danny submitted the "My Mein Kampf"-essay, and principal Sweeney is identical in the beginning. The workprint is a bit longer in the end though, because Sweeney there says that he is certainly on Murray's side, since he knows Danny's behavior and the friends he hangs out with, but he still wants to talk to Danny in person.

When Danny takes the little US-flag from the secretary's desk in Sweeney's outer office, you see her reaction. The two have eye contact for a moment. That's missing in the workprint.

Theatrical Cut 1:40 minutes

Workprint 2:00 minutes

The structure of the conversation between Danny and Sweeney differs. In the workprint, Sweeney throws away Danny's essay right in the beginning and, especially by doing that, appears much more stressed. In the Theatrical Cut he starts off much more relaxed and first asks Danny how he is and even mentions that he had been teaching Danny's brother Derek in the past. Because of this, the whole tone of the dialog changes. In the workprint, the comment about Derek is heard later and it's shorter, too.

Theatrical Cut 2:40 minutes

Workprint 2:00 minutes

In the workprint, Danny is going through the school at the end of the scene. You hear Sweeney's voiceover, threatening Danny to dispell him from school if he wouldn't finish the new essay the day after. In the Theatrical Cut, you hear this in the office.

Workprint 0:12 minutes

When the three black pupils pounce the white boy, the workprint appears less polished, almost overhasty - unfinished. The feigned helping and the kicking after that had only been shown in short cuts, just like Danny going to the leader. Real differences are being found in the dialogs, though. In the Theatrical Version, the black guy calls Danny a "Punk-ass white boy" and implies having a gun and Danny being scared, even though he's standing there very cool and blowing smoke into his face. In the Theatrical Cut, while going out, one of the other black pupils eventually suggests killing Danny. Both these things are missing in the workprint.

On the other hand, the workprint features two more comments by Danny at the end. For one, he shouts "go back to Africa" to the black guy, and for two, after helping the boy on the floor and saying he shouldn't let himself get pushed around he calls him a "fag". In the Theatrical Cut you don't see any of this malice from Danny at this point.

Theatrical Cut 1:04 minutes

Workprint 0:52 minutes

The station house

Sweeney's arrival is different. In the Theatrical Version, you only see him go to the door, in the workprint he's asking a policeman about the Captain and gets sent to the conference room.

Theatrical Cut 0:15 minutes

Workprint 0:16 minutes

The Theatrical Version shows a few takes of local Neonazis, while some people in the room comment on this.

Theatrical Cut 0:14 minutes

After the captain has introduced Sweeney to the other attendants, the workprint shows the TV-interview with Derek after his father had been murdered. The Theatrical Version first deals with Cameron Alexander. In the workprint, the reporter looks into the camera in a baffled way. The Theatrical Version cuts away before that happens.

After the video, the workprint also shows the part about Cameron Alexander. There are no relevant differences in content.

Both versions end differently. While Sweeney says in the Theatrical Version that all hell's going to break lose, if something should happen to Derek after his dismissal, in the workprint he says that Derek will probably cause no trouble, but should something happen with the Neonazis, Derek will probably be involved and it cannot be forseen whether this would end good or bad.

So, in the workprint Sweeney and consequently the audience are not completely assured Derek moved on from his violent past.

Theatrical Cut 3:16 minutes

Workprint 2:37 minutes

Venice Beach

Danny's voiceover differs in the scene in which he is going to the boardwalk in Venice Beach and meets Henry, the black boy from the bathroom, although it's being shown with similar shots.

In the Theatrical Version, Danny says that Venice Beach used to be a great neighborhood, even though the boardwalk had always been a dump. But since the gangs started spreading up like a plague, many white people do not dare to come back here.

Then you see Henry, the black guy from the school's bathroom and his brother (you find out about this in the workprint, in the Theatrical Version their relation is not clear). They notice Danny at the fence who is watching the two. Danny finishes his voice-over by mentioning that because of the gangs, Derek had founded the local DOC-branch. White people should not be scared in their own neighborhood. Under Dereks guidance, this seemed to work for a while.

In the workprint though, he first says that the former Venice Beach only seems like a dream to him any more, and how his father had brought him and Derek here to play Basketball. They cannot do this any more today - at least not without bodyguards and an AK-47 for protection.

Then he introduces the black boy. Henry Hastings and his brother Jerome, who is member of the Cribs. Henry notices Danny and exasperatedly and condescending asks him what he wants, without really being interested in an answer. Danny looks at him but does not react. Voiceover of him saying that Henry is no Crib yet, but he is probably going to be soon. To be able to join the gang officially, he will probably have to kill someone before.

Finally, Danny says that his father would not recognize this place today. The world he had known does not exist any more and it is probably better that he doesn't have to witness this any more.

Theatrical Cut 1:14 minutes

Workprint 1:34 minutes

The game of Basketball

The game passes off mostly identical, but in the Theatrical Cut, Derek hesitates a bit longer before standing up and personally taking care of the issue. He also looks to Cameron Alexander first, as if he was looking for his agreement.

The workprint on the other hand shows, after Derek has set the new rules with the other team a small, partly unmotivated seeming scramble between black and white before the game continues. During the game, Seth's begging for the ball is missing, but you hear the black guy saying he's going to hook Derek's girlfriend, after he has driven away Derek from the court.

The background music during the entire flashback differs. In the workprint, there's drum-heavy music, which reminds of an african song being modernly edited. In the theatrical version though, there's dramatical classic music.

The elbow-check appears more brutal in the workprint, because there is a slow-motion shot of Derek lifting off. But it seems a little unrealistic, too.

After the ellbow-check, when Derek returns to the court, there is a voiceover by Danny in the workprint. Derek not starting a fight after this foul should show the others that you don't have to be afraid of black guys. Derek once explained it to Danny that contact with blacks is like educating of a dog. Show them you're not afraid and make clear you're the boss. The dog will grumble and show its teeth, but it will always be aware that you rule it and can hurt it anytime, if you want to. During this scene you see Derek go to the court in slow-motion as well as the black opponent who had hit him before. In the theatrical version you only see the pictures but hear nothing from Danny.

Finally, Derek wins the game, the white pack rejoices and the black guys leave the court. Only in the theatrical version, one of them says that they will be back.

Theatrical Cut 4:46 minutes

Workprint 4:57 minutes

In front of the prison

The theatrical version has an additional scene showing Derek being picked up from prison. First you see Danny running home after school and a voiceover from him saying Derek didn't want to be visited in prison which is why he didn't see him for three years. In the workprint, you can hear this in the next scene. Then there is a flashback to this morning, 7 a.m., when the family picks up Derek at the prison door. Subsequently, Derek sends Danny to school, even though he wanted to be with his brother at home.

Theatrical Cut 0:30 minutes


Inside the flat, Danny meets Derek again after school and they hug each other. When Derek notices Danny's hair being shorn, he says in the workprint that Danny still unsuccessfully tries to imitate him. The theatrical version though features a comment by Derek about the flat, which is apparently smaller than the living room of their former house.

In the theatrical cut, when Sweeney calls, Derek is seen longer at the phone and Danny struggles against his mother's snuggling a little.

In the workprint, after Seth has sung through the racist song in the truck, he meets a couple of jews on the street. He waves over to them and shouts "Goodbye Jews". They kindly wave back.

While Derek is still phoning in Danny's room, Seth goes to the bathroom. In the workprint, you actually see him sitting down.

Theatrical Cut 3:26 minutes

Workprint 2:51 minutes

Subsequently, there is a rather long extension with Seth, who is still sitting on the toilet. Seth is filming the mirror and aims with his pistol at his reflexion. He trains threatening a black guy who he had just surprised at a burglary. "Drop the TV, nigger -- drop the TV, nigger. -- Ah, you broke it, you piece of shit. I'm gonna have to kill you." Then he stands up, goes outside and knocks on Dereks door. But he wants to be untroubled and bad-temperedly rants at Seth.

Workprint 0:28 minutes

After Danny makes fun about Seths mother, Seth disses him in the theatrical version. In the workprint he doesn't. Besides, in the theatrical cut, you see Derek again in the other room, still phoning to Sweeney. In the workprint you see Derek standing at the door listening to Seth and Danny during their conversation.

When the mother starts panting, only in the theatrical version Derek prohibits Danny to smoke near her, then he pours water into a glass and goes together with Danny and Davina to their mother, who is still sitting on the bed gasping, having her youngest daughter with her. In the workprint you only see her coughing shortly, then Derek who is angry, before they go to the mother. Only in the Theatrical version he tells her he yelled at Danny because of his smoking but she herself smokes even more. She puts away the cigarette.

Theatrical Cut 6:36 minutes

Workprint 5:04 minutes

There are no contentual differences in how Danny starts writing his essay.

Theatrical Cut 1:02 minutes

Workprint 1:06 minutes

The raid

In the theatrical version, Danny's voiceover mentions that it didn't take Derek long to make a name for himself and that Cameron just knew how to use it. They talked to the kids, the frustrated ones who didn't want to get kicked around by the black and the Mexicans gangs any more. So they did exactly what Derek wanted them to do.

In the workprint, there is another voiceover. Danny says that their father's death didn't change Derek, but that it triggered something inside him and opened his eyes. After that, Derek keeps hanging around with Cameron and reads the books he got from him. There, he found out about the facts and statistics that fueled his rage and that made him convince others to follow him.

Only in the theatrical version, he yells at Curtis for smoking pot in front of his eyes. In Derek's world weed is for niggers.

The raid itself shows the single events mostly in a different order, and sometimes different in small details (e.g. Seth gets the plastic burger from another shelf). When the cashier gets spilled all over with milk, one of the attackers says in the workprint "This color suits you well".

But there is an entirely new scene in the workprint, too. Seth plays with the baseballbat when the owner runs past. He grasps her, rips her blouse open and makes faces at her. The woman screams in panic.

At the end of the scene, there is another voiceover by Danny: "Derek showed us the ropes. He was our inspiration. He always found the right words to make us mad." (The final part is also in Danny's essay).

Theatrical Cut 5:39 minutes

Workprint 5:24 minutes


A short scene of Danny sitting in front of the computer and thinking about his essay. In the workprint, this scene is between the game of basketball and the raid on the supermarket. Since, in the theatrical version, the flashback to the game of basketball took place before Dereks return, thus before Danny rewrites the essay, this scene is shown after the raid in the theatrical version.

Theatrical Cut 0:14 minutes

Workprint 0:10 minutes

Argument at the dinner

The dinner with Murray, who is going out with Danny's mother, starts off with a voiceover. In the theatrical version, Danny says: "Dad was gone, but things were almost normal again. Derek had a good job. Mum was starting to live a little. Everyone was feeling so good that we just didn't see it coming. Maybe we should have."

In the workprint you first see Danny writing the essay, then the flashback to the dinner. His voiceover: "For a while, I thought we we're having a normal life again, just without a father. We still had our house and people came to visit us. They thought we were still an average family. But Derek changed so quickly. The family and the home couldn't hold him back any more."

The following discussion proceeds, except for the usually alternative angles, practically identical in both versions. Just the moment Doris interrupts the discussion, there is a little difference. In the theatrical version, the break is much longer before Murray says that they are having a discussion. Derek is much faster and more energeticly discussing again in the theatrical cut. The little adjournment is much more urgent in the theatrical version.

After Doris has gone to the kitchen, only in the theatrical version Derek keeps conjecturing a moment longer with a low voice, what would have happened if "that fucking monkey Rodney King" actually did run over somebody. Then everybody would talk about Rodney King, not the cops. But he had only attacked a few police officers, so he is the victim and the policemen the bad guys.

When Davina asks to leave the table, Derek interrupts her immediately in the workprint. In the theatrical version you first see the mother who nods to her daughter.

Outside the house, Doris futilely tries to justify the behavior of her son. After all, he is just a boy who has lost his father.

Theatrical Cut 9:00 minutes

Workprint 8:29 minutes

After Murray left and Doris kneels down on the sidewalk, the flashback ends in the workprint. The theatrical version shows an additional scene in the house. Derek asks obviously disturbed Danny if everything is alright before Davina suddenly comes from behind with a baseball bat and beats Derek with it. Derek repels the attack and holds Davina tight. He apologizes for freaking out earlier and assures her and also Danny multiple times that he would never hurt his family - even though, of course, he just did. Everything that had happened that day at the dinner was his fault, not Davina's. That, they would have to believe him. Davina is standing terrified in front of him and tries to push him away from her in the beginning, but Derek keeps talking to her insistently, almost in a hypnotic way. She then stands dead still and shocked in front of him and says she doesn't believe Derek. She isn't sure that he would never do something to her. Danny on the other hand trusts him and Davina looks at him horrifiedly when he says that. Then their mother comes back into the house.

Theatrical Cut 0:47 minutes

Family love

There are no contentual differences when Danny plays airplane with his little sister and then talks to his mother.

Theatrical Cut 1:32 minutes

Workprint 1:40 minutes

Second flashback to the night of the murder

Danny is sitting on the bed, looking at the nazi-memorabilia he keeps in a small casket. In the workprint, there is a voiceover of him saying he felt cheated. He needed something that reasonably explained him his world and that would last in the future, too. But he didn't get anything like that. A drugdealer had killed his father and within one second Danny's life wasn't as before any more. The murderers were never caught, they never had to justify themselves for their action. They took everything from Danny and his family. The father, the organized life and their home. Somebody had to do something against that. The night after the argument at the dinner, Derek got the chance to do justice when the three black guys wanted to steal his car.

In the theatrical version, Danny's voiceover only tells that he keeps remembering the incident, and that he tries to prevent the murders in his memories. Danny always imagines what would have happened, if he hadn't gone into Derek's room to warn him that night.

You can hear both voiceovers during the following scenes

Theatrical cut 0:34 minutes

Workprint 0:35 minutes

The theatrical version continues the final extension after the dinner. Doris throws Derek out of the house. Derek is stone cold and says that he will be gone in the morning. In an arrogant tone, Derek's girlfriend says that he can move in with her.

Theatrical Cut 0:14 minutes

Basically, the curb-scene proceeds identically. But there are grave differences in the music. The theatrical version just has the minimalistic long tones, before the choirs begin at the arrest. The workprint on the other hand has got drums and heavy breathing the whole time, which together result in a threatening music. Also, the workprint misses the muffled sound when Derek kicks the back of the skull. But that might be because the workprint wasn't that far into the post-production yet.

Theatrical Cut 2:51 minutes

Workprint 2:49 minutes

In the workprint, you find out that Derek had been convicted to state prison arrest for seven years. Also, only in the workprint you see Danny with tears in his eyes after he has written that it would have been a lifetime sentence if he had testified. In the theatrical version, the scene with Danny is seen later in the film.

Theatrical CutWorkprint

Theatrical Cut 0:36 minutes

Workprint 0:44 minutes

The party

In the workprint, there is a scene showing Derek and Seth arriving at the party. Derek is surprised that the event is so big and says coming here was no good idea

Workprint 0:28 minutes

During the concert, there is often alternative material. Also, the song "Sieg Heil" is missing in the workprint.

The workprint shows a scene of a skinhead pressing his face into the naked breasts of a woman. The theatrical cut on the other hand has got an exclusive scene showing a little boy wearing a nazi-uniform, sitting on his fathers' shoulders and raising his hand to do the Hitler-salute.

Theatrical CutWorkprint

Theatrical Cut 1:25 minutes

Workprint 1:37 minutes

The conversation between Cameron and Danny about Sweeney is the same in the beginning.

Theatrical Cut 0:48 minutes

Workprint 0:48 minutes

In the workprint, it goes on longer, though. Cameron tells Danny that Sweeney follows his own plans. He encourages black people to achieve more in life at the expense of the white working class. The worst though is that he makes young people like Danny look like racists and even makes themselves believe they are, even though they actually are only proud of their white origin. Cameron cannot let that happen.

Workprint 0:34 minutes

The discussion with Stacey is identical.

Theatrical Cut 1:53 minutes
Workprint 2:06 minutes

In the workprint, Seth is standing on the stage singing his own version of "Glory Glory, Hallelujah". Stacey is also part of the audience, just like a couple having sex in the middle of the crowd.

Workprint 0:42 minutes

Only in the theatrical version, Seth notices Derek coming in to Cameron. All the scenes inside Cameron's rooms with Danny and the first parts of the conversation between Derek and Cameron are identical.

Theatrical Cut 1:50 minutes

Workprint 1:50 minutes

In the theatrical version you see the party for a short time. Seth is singing his song and Danny is kissing his girlfriend.

Theatrical Cut 0:12 minutes

After Derek blames Cameron about not knowing anything about the joint, only in the theatrical version he mentions that Cameron had only been in for two months and got out because he had betrayed two other inmates to the prosecution. Also, in the theatrical cut, Stacey later brands Derek a "Nigger, Nigger, Nigger", when he tries escaping from the party together with Danny. Generally, the theatrical version is always cut a bit longer during these scenes.

Theatrical Cut 5:23 minutes

Workprint 4:28 minutes

In the prison

Right in the beginning, Derek gets shouted at longer through the bars by the guard in the theatrical cut. Derek's short voiceover is different, too. In the workprint, he says that he had thought he could leave the joint early because of good conduct after three years.

Theatrical Cut 1:11 minutes

Workprint 0:45 minutes

When Derek joins his nazi-fellows to get their protection in the joint, the theatrical cut shows everything a little more detailed. Because of that, the scene on the roof appears more threatening when Derek shows the swastika on his chest directly in front of some black guys and then starts lifting weights. The big leader of the black guys observes the scene longer with sinister eyes before deciding to leave. Later during the meal the workprint misses many reaction shots of other inmates. In return, the workprint has another voiceover of Derek, in which he explains that he had already heard of one of the leading nazis here in the joint, who is part of the Aryan Nations from Portland and who is familiar with Derek, which, of course, eases his integration.

Theatrical Cut 1:42 minutes

Workprint 1:16 minutes

The transition to the laundry after that is different. The workprint, again, shows the bars in front of the cells and a guard making loud noises with the bars and his club. The theatrical version starts with an extended introduction by Lawrence, who is making himself look like the most important man in the joint, since he is the one rummaging and distributing the underwear.

There is a bigger difference when they sort the underwear, though. For one, Lawrence mentions in the workprint that he believes that even in prison the black guys get disadvantaged because Derek, as a white man, got such a nice job at the laundry right in the beginning. Subsequently he asks Derek what he was convicted of and starts wildcatting when Derek doesn't answer right away. In the theatrical version, he only asks whether Derek has robbed an old woman. Derek hardly moves his face and remains silent - until the end of the scene. But it's easy to see that Lawrence's talking is getting on his nerves.

In the workprint, the scene is different. Lawrence asks about the reason for Dereks stay in prison, too. But first, he assumes that Derek might have evaded taxes, then here too, that he might have robbed an old lady. After a short break though, he is certain to know the reason. Derek surely had sex with his own sister. Derek grins - not the friendly kind of way - and then says, in a very aggressive tone, that the reason for him being in prison might be that he had shot two black guys when they had tried to steal his car. Lawrence's own smirk gets wiped off his face. Derek continues that, if it was up to him, he wouldn't work next to a black guy for five minutes. He tells Lawrence to only calmly do the laundy and not to be concerned about what Derek would do to him if the two had met outside in freedom. But then, Lawrence grins again and says in both versions confidently that inside the joint the white guys are the niggers.

Theatrical Cut 1:28 minutes

Workprint 1:32 minutes

Derek watching Mitch doing business with the Latinos, getting angry about it but having to realize that the other neonazis are not so serious about their ideology and find Dereks ramblings to be partway annoying is identical in both versions. The theatrical cut only tells it a bit more generously.

Theatrical Cut 1:32 minutes

Workprint 1:13 minutes

The other scenes in the joint up until the rape in the shower are arranged differently and get treated in the order of the theatrical version here.

A part of the conversation with Derek's mother is different. In the theatrical version, Doris first tells about Davina getting straight As in school and about her youngest who can already walk. In the workprint though, she talks about Danny longer, about how proud he is of Derek but still hangs out with Cameron. In the workprint, Derek also ends the talk much quicker and without any emotion and ostentatiously puts away the phone while looking his mother straight into the eyes. In the theatrical cut, though, he gets loud, because he cannot do anything for Danny from here and he only wants to peacefully serve his sentence in prison. He doesn't want to see his family, otherwise, he cannot endure this.

Theatrical Cut 2:13 minutes

Workprint 1:34 minutes

The theatrical version takes up a little more time during the piling of the bed clothes and at the end, after Derek has calmed himself, Lawrence says that ignoring each other actually is a good solution.

Theatrical Cut 1.36 minutes

Workprint 1:01 minutes

Derek watches Mitch dealing a bit longer in the theatrical version. Mitch tells a dirty joke respectively the end of it before going to the Mexicans. Then he sells the drugs to somebody else, which you cannot see in the workprint. Additionaly, the theatrical version features a voiceover of Derek explaining just this and finalizes by saying Mitch doesn't belive in anything, just like the others. Derek dissociates himself more and more from the effeminate neonazis in prison.

Theatrical Cut 0:58 minutes

Workprint 0:50 minutes

Derek and Lawrence piling up the underwear and Lawrence actually managing to make Derek laugh with his lecture about the smell of women is basically identical in both versions, even though in the theatrical cut it is a bit longer again. The workprint has got a voiceover, though. Derek mentions that there is no reason for Lawrence to like Derek and the only reason he talks so much is probably because it is the only way he can manage the isolation in prison.

Theatrical Cut 1:52 minutes

Workprint 1:40 minutes

In return, the scene in which Derek ostentatiously walks past Mitch is longer in the workprint. The theatrical version concentrates on Mitch and Derek. The workprint shows other inmates, including Lawrence, noticing this behavior of Derek.

Theatrical Cut 0:14 minutes

Workprint 0:26 minutes

When Derek and Lawrence - again - pile up laundry, this time bedding again, there is a longer, new discussion in the theatrical version about the Lakers and the Celtics, respectively which one is the better team. Derek and Lawrence already get along here extremely well and obviously have a lot of fun with their conversations.

Theatrical Cut 0:50 minutes

Subsequently, when Lawrence tells why he is in prison, both versions are alike again.

Theatrical Cut 1:23 minutes

Workprint 1:20 minutes

Then, the workprint shows a small scene showing the inmates getting lead away. Mitch is watching Derek from his cell.

Workprint 0:11 minutes

But the theatrical version features a scene on the roof showing Derek playing basketball with other black guys. The Aryan Brotherhood observes this scenery and is not very happy.

Theatrical Cut 0:16 minutes

The rape in the shower begins in both versions differently. In the theatrical version you see other inmates taking a shower and leaving before the Aryan Brotherhood comes in, whereas Derek carelessly stays behind by himself. In the theatrical version, the guard only leaves after the others already had overwhelmed Derek and pressed him against the wall. In the workprint he goes before that happens and there are no other inmates to be seen at all. Derek seems to be alone in the shower. The rape itself proceeds similarly. Subsequently, Derek lies on the ground bleeding. The workprint is a little more explicit here. Both versions also have a take of blood flowing from below his belly. Later, you see a long shot of some blood next to this spot. You can guess where the blood comes from. The workprint though makes it clear that the blood here is coming from Derek's Anus, possibly with other expulsions of more solid texture, also swimming in the blood.

Theatrical Cut 1:30 minutes

Workprint 1:29 minutes

Theatrical CutWorkprint


Subsequently, the workprint features a scene showing Lawrence finding Derek and carrying him out of the shower room.

Workprint 0:14 minutes

The discussion with Sweeney is content-wise identical. In the workprint, Sweeney deepens single points a little. Here, he says for example, that Dereks hatred turns off his intelligence.

Theatrical Cut 3:50 minutes

Workprint 4:10 minutes

The cafeteria-scene is identical. The workprint, though, features a voiceover of Derek saying that he is back where he had started with the only difference being that more time has passed.

Theatrical Cut 0:27 minutes

Workprint 0:28 minutes

The conversation with Lawrence is identical. Subsequently, when Derek waits getting killed by the black guys, there are rather big differences. The workprint is shorter and only shows different inmates looking to Derek while there is the voiceover addressed to Danny. Here, he tells, that Sweeney had been right.
We aren't born evil into this world. Our experiences make us bad people. Derek doesn't want Danny to go the same way. In the theatrical version there are takes of Derek in the shower or at the training, while there is a voiceover of him saying he only waits for his death. The theatrical cut even intentionally builds up an intimidation scene, in which a couple of big black guys go toward him while he goes away from the trainingspot.

Theatrical Cut 2:00 minutes
Workprint 1:31 minutes

The final talk with Lawrence is identical.

Theatrical Cut 1:28 minutes

Workprint 1:28 minutes


The conversation between Danny and Derek is alike. But in the theatrical version you see them run home whereas in the workprint you only see the tenement.

Theatrical Cut 1:28 minutes

Workprint 1:43 minutes

Subsequently, the theatrical version shows Derek waking his mother and asking, if she wants to sleep in Danny's room. Then everybody wishes each other a good night.

Theatrical Cut 0:27 minutes

Additionally, the theatrical cut shows Derek putting the Teddy to the youngest sister in her bed, which, in the workprint, you only see after they have tidied Danny's room. Both scenes are basically identical, but the workprint has a voiceover by Danny. He says that a part of him believed Derek would be proud when he sees what Danny had learned while Derek was away. But now, this feeling is far away.

Theatrical Cut 1:30 minutes

Workprint 1:10 minutes

The theatrical version now shows Henry driving past Danny's apartment with his brother. The workprint now shows the youngest daughter. The drive-by-scene is almost identical. But in the theatrical cut Jerome acts like he would fire a gun at the house. That's missing in the workprint.

The subsequent showerscene can now be seen in the workprint, in the theatrical version only after the following flashback.

Theatrical Cut 0:25 minutes

Workprint 0:28 minutes

Flashback to the dinner with the father.

In the theatrical version, Danny's tapping fingers and his voiceover introduce to the flashback to the dinner with the father. But in the workprint to the finishing of the essay in the morning. In the workprint, you could see that flashback in the first act, after Danny comes back from school and before Sweeney goes to the police station.

In the theatrical cut, there is a voiceover by Danny, respectively he writes into his essay: "It's hard to look back and see the truth about people you love. I think, if you asked Derek why it went the way it did and when it all started, he'd still say it started when our father was murdered. The truth is it started earlier." The flashback begins and you see the whole family sitting at the table and Dereks father decrying Sweeny very subtly, even though Derek is obviously very delighted by the teacher. In the workprint, Derek says very early that he is black, which makes his father wary. Also, Derek slips a "shit" and his mother asks him to watch his language. But in the theatrical version, the father says that he is reading too, after not knowing what book "Native Son" is. Doris answers that they don't teach Tom Clancy literature in school. Everyone smiles. At the end, when the father says that Sweeney's views are "Nigger-bullshit", this statement is being emphasized longer in the theatrical cut. The flashback in the theatrical version closes with Danny wiping off his tears.

Theatrical Cut 3:50 minutes

Workprint 2:33 minutes

The next morning

Derek taking a shower is identical in both versions.

Theatrical Cut 1:43 minutes

Workprint 1:31 minutes

Danny's voiceover in the morning is a little longer in the workprint and parts of it can be heard later on the way to school. See below.

Theatrical Cut 2:00 minutes

Workprint 2:19 minutes

The theatrical version has got a completely new sequence, though. Before they go to school, Derek and Danny enter a Diner to get some breakfast. Suddenly Sweeney and a policeman run in frantically. Seth and Cameron got assaulted and injured badly. They need Derek's help. He is supposed to calm his former friends from the neonazi-scene. But Derek wants to stay out of that and doesn't believe he has got much influence on them any more anyways. He only wants to take care of his family and leave his past behind himself. Sweeney tries to persuade him that he cannot talk his way out this easily. He is responsible for the nazi movement here, too. So he has to help with its shattering and do everything within his might to prevent an escalation between the gangs. This is what Sweeney had been talking about in prison, when he visited Derek after the rape.

This important scene - elevating Dereks responsibility for his previous actions to the future - missing in the workprint is a real flaw. The whereabouts of Cameron and Seth remain unexplained, too. They just drop out in the middle of the film.

Theatrical Cut 2:00 minutes

The rest of the way to school is identical, but in the theatrical version there is a dialog about Seth and Cameron. Derek asks, among other things, if they will go visit the two in hospital. But Derek doesn't want that at all. Then, Derek mentions a car he had seen the night before. He wants Danny to take care when going home in the evening. Maybe someone is after Derek. Danny worries about his brother, but he is confident about the future. Whoever can withstand prison will also get through this.

In the workprint, there is a voiceover by Danny that was in the theatrical version earlier, and some new stuff. He tells that Derek means they have to guide the family now and start all over again. If they withstand the following days, they're going to make it. Everything's going to be alright.

Theatrical Cut 1:50 minutes

Workprint 1:13 minutes


The scene in the school is very similar. Danny goes to the bathroom. During this, the theatrical version shows Derek more often, going, obviously nervous, back to the diner. Then, only in the theatrical cut he recognizes the car he had seen the day before in front of his apartment, and of which he thought that it could be people who are after him. He is getting queasy, because the car is coming from the school's direction. The workprint misses all this.

In the workprint, you see Henry going into the bathroom quietly and unnoticed and standing behind Danny who zips and turns around. In the theatrical version, his appearence is surprising for the audience, too.

Henry shoots at Danny three times. In the theatrical cut, you only see two hits, in the workprint you see all three of them - additionaly one bullet coming out of the back.

In the workprint you see Derek turning around outside and looking back after the three shots have been fired. This take has been used in the theatrical cut when he notices the car. So, in the workprint you get the impression he heard the shots and runs back because of that. Thus, there is a little flaw, because when Derek arrives at the bathroom, the police already cordon off the area. In the theatrical version there is the possibility of some time having passed (and Derek finding out about the murder some other way).

The theatrical version shows Sweeney more often when Derek arrives. The workprint shows other pupils. Sweeney can only be seen for a brief moment. This character drops off in the workprint too easily, too.

In the workprint, Derek runs into the bathroom immediately. In the theatrical version, Sweeney and the policeman first try to stop him before they eventually let him pass.

The final moments of the film with Derek and Danny alone in the bathroom as well as the Lincoln-quote are the same.

Theatrical Cut 3:54 minutes

Workprint 3:43 minutes


Just for the sake of completeness and to scotch a rumor that pops up regularly on the internet, the following:

The curbscene is not more explicit in the workprint, even though people often claim that the movie had to be cut here.