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Apt Pupil

HD   R Closed Captioning

Bryan Singer

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About the Movie

Bryan Singer directed this Brandon Boyce adaptation of Stephen King's novella about teenager Todd Bowden (Brad Renfro), who discovers Nazi war criminal Kurt Dussander (Ian McKellen) living in his California hometown. Fascinated with Dussender's wartime atrocities, Bowden blackmails the former death-camp commandant by promising to keep his identity a secret in exchange for Holocaust horror tales, or, as Todd puts it, "everything they're afraid to show us in school." Dussander complies, and as the weeks pass, their tense confrontations become increasingly malevolent. This is the third film to derive from King's 1982 book of four novellas, Different Season. The others are Stand By Me (1986, from "The Body") and The Shawshank Redemption (1994, from Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, leaving only one remaining unfilmed tale in the book ("The Breathing Method"). Signet felt King's "Apt Pupil" to be so intense and horrifying that editors asked him to leave it out of the 1983 paperback. A 1987 attempt to film "Apt Pupil" (with Rick Schroder and Nicol Williamson) ended when funding ran out. Shown at numerous 1998 film festivals (Venice, Toronto, Chicago, Sitges, Tokyo).

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 55
  • Fresh: 29
  • Rotten: 26
  • Average Rating: 6.0/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: More disturbing than anything Keyser Soze could provide. – Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly, Jul 7, 2010

Fresh: A creepy, well-acted story of contagious evil! – Todd McCarthy, Variety, Jul 7, 2010

Rotten: Drama in distress! – Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post, Jun 24, 2010

Rotten: When bodies are buried in cellars and cats are thrown into lighted ovens, the film reveals itself as unworthy of its subject matter. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, Jul 7, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Worst ending ever


Apt pupil

There are no movies that even come close to King's books,Dreamcatcher was the best in my opinion,but although the ending of Apt Pupil was a let down I couldn't expect anyone to allow the original in a motion picture

by Virtue

The pain of the Holocaust is a long lasting one. No more is there tattooing of the jews community. As I see patients everyday; and hear their war stories and their personal affection. I come to believe the Aryan race was Nazi was to create a super race. I treated a former SS soldier who I sat with past my time, and listened to his version. Funny, he ended up marring a Jew.
The next day I treated a h. Jew with his numbers still on his skin. This world as we live it, needs to be taught more than just in books. Before these die off, we need to know their perspective.