Quentin Tarantino was considering abandoning the film while the casting search for someone to play Colonel Hans Landa took place, fearing he'd written a role that was unplayable. After Christoph Waltz auditioned however, both Tarantino and Producer Lawrence Bender agreed they had found the perfect actor for the role.
Roughly only thirty percent of the film is spoken in English, the language which dominates the film is either French or German, with a little Italian. This is highly unusual for a Hollywood production.
In a roundtable discussion with Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino, Tarantino said that Til Schweiger, being born and raised in Germany, had always refused to put on a Nazi uniform for a film role. The only reason he agreed to for this film, was because he got to kill Nazis.
This is the first Quentin Tarantino film to win an Oscar for acting: Christoph Waltz for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Waltz won another Oscar for Tarantino's Django Unchained (2012).
Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) speaks the most different languages in the movie: Four (English, French, German, and Italian).
At the end of each take, actors would face the camera and say "Hello Sally", referring to Sally Menke, the film's editor. This practice has occurred since Quentin Tarantino's previous movies (such as Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), Death Proof (2007)). Inglourious Basterds was the last film by Tarantino to be edited by Menke, whose work was honored in 2010 with her final Academy Award nomination for Best Editing, prior to her death later that year.
Michael Fassbender's performance as Lieutenant Archie Hilcox is layered with irony, due to his real-life. Fassbender was born in Germany to German and Irish parents, and raised in Ireland. Now residing in London with fluency in German as his first language, and English as his second, and a mastery of English accents and dialects. Here he plays an Englishman who goes undercover as a German, and who can speak German fluently, but has difficulty hiding his accent.
Ironically, because Diane Kruger's best known performances were in English speaking films, Quentin Tarantino thought she was an American, and doubted whether she could master the German dialogue and accent. Upon audition, she quickly proved to him that she was a native speaking German.
Quentin Tarantino intended for this to be as much a war film as a spaghetti western, and considered titling the movie "Once Upon a Time in Nazi-Occupied France". He gave that title instead to the first chapter of the film.
In an interview with Top Gear (2002), Michael Fassbender claims that to this day, passersby on the street address him by simply holding up "The German 3".
Leonardo DiCaprio was the first choice for Colonel Hans Landa, but Quentin Tarantino then decided that a German-speaking actor should play the part. DiCaprio played the primary antagonist in Tarantino's next film, Django Unchained (2012).
To prepare for her role, Mélanie Laurent worked as a film projectionist for a few weeks at New Beverly Cinema, projecting mostly cartoons and trailers before shows. The real test set by Quentin Tarantino was for her to screen Reservoir Dogs (1992).
When Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) pretends to be an Italian actor near the end of the movie, he uses the name "Enzo Gorlomi", which is the birth name of the director of The Inglorious Bastards (1978), Enzo G. Castellari.
When asked about the misspelled title, Writer and Director Quentin Tarantino gave the following answer: "Here's the thing. I'm never going to explain that. You do an artistic flourish like that, and to explain it would just take the piss out of it, and invalidate the whole stroke in the first place."
DIRECTOR CAMEO (Quentin Tarantino): In the German propaganda film-within-a-film, "Nation's Pride", directed by Eli Roth, Tarantino voiced an American soldier, who says, "I implore you, we must destroy that tower!" A Tarantino dummy also appeared as the first scalped German in the film.
The role of Shosanna Dreyfus' father, Jakob (briefly seen hiding beneath the floorboards in Perrier LaPadite's farmhouse), was played by Patrick Elias, whose father, Buddy Elias, was a first cousin of Anne Frank.
The role of Colonel Hans Landa is that of a notorious and merciless "Jew Hunter". In real-life, Christoph Waltz has a son who is a rabbi.
As of 2010, this is Quentin Tarantino's film with the most Academy Award nominations (eight).
Simon Pegg was originally set to play Lieutenant Archie Hicox, but was forced to pull out of the project because of scheduling conflicts with The Adventures of Tintin (2011). Michael Fassbender replaced him.
When Francesca (Julie Dreyfus) mentions former UFA actress Lilian Harvey, Joseph Goebbels (Sylvester Groth) throws a tantrum and screams never to mention that name in his presence. Lilian Harvey had to flee Nazi Germany in 1939 after helping Jewish choreographer Jens Keith to escape to Switzerland.
B.J. Novak had to take leave from appearing on The Office (2005) in order to play Private First Class Utivich. His absence on the show was explained by his character going to "Thailand with friends from high school".
Eli Roth directed the film-within-the-film, "Nation's Pride". Quentin Tarantino asked Roth to direct the short, and Roth requested his brother Gabriel Roth join him to direct behind a second camera, to which Tarantino agreed. In two days, the brothers got one hundred thirty camera set-ups, and Tarantino was so pleased, he gave Roth a third day that he was originally planning to shoot with Daniel Brühl. Roth got fifty more set-ups the third day, much to Tarantino's delight. The total running time of the short is five minutes and thirty seconds, and was always intended to feel like pieces of a longer film, not a coherent short.
When asked how he got into the violent, baseball bat-wielding mindset of "The Bear Jew", Eli Roth partially attributed his performance to the historically accurate costumes: "Being in wool underwear will make you want to kill anything." He also stated (in a separate interview) that his girlfriend had secretly added some Hannah Montana (2006) music onto his iPod; when he listened to it, it inexplicably made him able to tap into the violent nature of The Bear Jew.
Quentin Tarantino started writing this movie before Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), but could not decide on a good ending, and decided to put it on hold to do "Kill Bill" with Uma Thurman, a project he had been mentally preparing since Pulp Fiction (1994).
The mock-up posters for the propaganda film "Stolz der Nation" are historically accurate, including a German censor approval stamp, and they are rendered in the style of the film posters of that era, according to the book "Film Posters of the Third Reich".
When Major Hellstrom (August Diehl) is questioning Hicox's (Michael Fassbender's) accent, he refers to Corporal Wilhelm Wicki (Gedeon Burkhard) as "Lieutenant Munich" and Sergeant Hugo Stiglitz (Til Schweiger) as "Lieutenant Frankfurt", based on their dialects. Burkhard (Wicki) and Schweiger (Stiglitz) are from Munich and the Frankfurt area, respectively, in real-life.
In "Quentin Tarantino's Universe", the character of Lieutenant Aldo Raine is Floyd's (the pothead on the couch from True Romance (1993)) great-grandfather.
DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (Quentin Tarantino): (threesome): Tarantino typically has a trio of identical background characters moving together in unison. In this film, it is three German school girls in identical uniforms passing Colonel Hans Landa as he goes down the staircase in the theater.
On German advertisement materials, all swastikas were removed or covered up, as it was unclear to the distributor if the swastikas violated German law (which prohibits the exhibition of Nazi symbols except for purposes such as historical accuracy).
The three girls getting an autograph from Zoller, in the theater, wear the distinctive brown jackets of the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM), the girls branch of the Hitler Youth.
Colonel Hans Landa addressed all Germans of lower rank as "Hermann", a colloquialism for "soldier" or "army man".
When Major Hellstrom reasons out that his card says King Kong (1933), he is giving Quentin Tarantino's analysis of the movie as an allegory of the American slave trade. He explained this analysis in an interview on National Public Radio with Terry Gross.
The dialogue is in English for approximately forty-two percent of the running time, in German for twenty-eight percent, in French for twenty-two percent, and in Italian for one percent. There is a fifty-four-minute stretch, in which less than nine minutes of dialogue are in English, including twenty-five straight minutes in which no English is spoken.
The film displayed in the second marquee is Le Corbeau (1943), a film produced during the Nazis' occupation of France, and it features hidden anti-Nazi messages that slipped past the censors.
Stiglitz's knife has written on it "Meine Ehre heisst Treue", which means "Loyalty is my honor" (literally "My honor is named loyalty").
In a scene in the movie theater, Sergeant Donny Donowitz (Eli Roth) used the alias "Antonio Margheriti". This alias is named after cult Italian Director Antonio Margheriti (director of such films as Cannibal Apocalypse (1980)), one of Roth's and Quentin Tarantino's favorite directors.
The peculiar glove guns Donny (Eli Roth) and Omar (Omar Doom) use to breach Hitler's box, are known as Sedgley OSS .38s. They were originally designed as a last-resort weapon for U.S. Navy construction crews in the South Pacific.
Quentin Tarantino met with Brad Pitt at Chateau Miraval in France, where he lived with Angelina Jolie. They talked about Brad playing the role of Aldo Raine over the course of a night and five bottles of the estate's own Pink Floyd rosé when he accepted the role.
Sergeant Donny Donowitz "The Bear Jew" (Eli Roth) talks about "Teddy Ballgame" in Chapter Two. This is one of the many nicknames for Ted Williams, who was a war hero, who interrupted his baseball career twice to serve in World War II and the Korean War.
The name of Brad Pitt's character, Lieutenant Aldo Raine, is an homage to actor and World War II veteran Aldo Ray, and a character from Rolling Thunder (1977), Charles Rane (William Devane). One of the casting directors, Johanna Ray, is Aldo Ray's ex-wife.
"Kino", the name of the British operation to kill the German officers, is the German word for "movie theater".
The final cut of the film ran three hours and ten minutes. Before its first public showing, Quentin Tarantino and Sally Menke cut it down to its final length of two hours and thirty-three minutes, in two days.
During the final card game at the LaLouisiane tavern, the card that Major Hellstrom has to identify is King Kong. King Kong (1933) was one of Adolf Hitler's favorite movies.
Rod Taylor's last film. He had already retired from acting, but agreed to play Winston Churchill in one scene.
At his audition in Berlin, Michael Fassbender inquired about playing Colonel Hans Landa. Quentin Tarantino replied, "Look, man, any guy that gets cast as Heathcliff is not fucking German enough to play my Landa, all right?"
Director Enzo G. Castellari of The Inglorious Bastards (1978) allowed Quentin Tarantino to use the title "Inglourious Basterds" in exchange for a cameo as a General yelling "Fire!" (as Castellari appears in his own film). Tarantino filmed Castellari as a General in the theater pointing out the burning screen, but the scene did not make the theatrical cut.
Eli Roth put on thirty-five pounds of muscle to play Sergeant Donny Donowitz "The Bear Jew". Roth also learned to cut hair for the role from Producer Pilar Savone's father Umberto at his salon in Beverly Hills, California.
DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (Quentin Tarantino): (deliberate errors): As with all of his films, there are blatant mistakes and errors inserted on purpose. One example of this can be found in the English subtitles of characters speaking in a foreign language. Occasionally, the foreign word is inserted into the subtitle. For example, when Colonel Landa (Christoph Waltz) is speaking to the French farmer, he says "Oui" which is French for "Yes". Instead of the word "Yes" appearing in the subtitle, the word "Oui" appears, despite the fact that the rest of the French dialogue is translated to English.
In the film, a group of German soldiers are playing a game where one has to guess what famous name is written on one's forehead. The note on the soldier played by Ken Duken reads Mata Hari, a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who became known for being a double agent for Germany during World War I. This mirrors the role played by Diane Kruger: a famous actress turned double agent for the Allies during World War II.
Quentin Tarantino called Rod Taylor personally to offer him the role of Sir Winston Churchill. When Taylor learned the movie was going to be shot in Germany, he pointed out that Albert Finney lived in England, and had played Churchill to great acclaim in The Gathering Storm (2002). Tarantino replied, "If Rod Taylor turns me down, I'll call Albert Finney." Taylor accepted the part.
Quentin Tarantino approached Adam Sandler to play Sergeant Donny Donowitz, but Sandler had to turn it down because the schedule conflicted with the filming of Funny People (2009).
The title, "Inglourious Basterds", was inspired by "The Inglorious Bastards", the English title of Enzo G. Castellari's The Inglorious Bastards (1978), which is also about a group of American G.I.s wreaking havoc behind enemy lines, although the stories are wholly different in all other respects. (English Title: "The Inglorious Bastards". The Italian title literally translates as "That Cursed Armored Train".) Castellari returned the favor by calling his new movie Caribbean Basterds (2010).
When Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) is introduced, he is shown wearing the insignia for the "Black Devils", the 1st Special Service Force, composed of Canadian and American soldiers.
Daniel Brühl was offered the roles of Major Dieter Hellstrom or Staff Seargent Wilhelm Wicki before being cast as Private First Class Fredrick Zoller.
Despite being described as the one who "speaks the least Italian", of the three Basterds to enter the movie theater impersonating Italian filmmakers, it is Private First Class Omar Ulmer (Omar Doom) who has the most believable Italian accent.
At the movie premiere, Joseph Goebbels introduces Frederick Zoller to Emil Jannings (Hilmar Eichhorn), whom Goebbels calls "the world's greatest actor". Emil Jannings was a German-born star of silent movies. During the 1920s, he starred in several silent classics of German cinema directed by F.W. Murnau, including The Last Laugh (1922) and Faust (1926). In 1927, Jannings moved to Hollywood to star in American movies. In 1928, he became the first winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor (and the first person to ever receive an Academy Award) for his work in The Way of All Flesh (1927) and The Last Command (1928). But his Hollywood career ended when talkies came in, as Jannings' thick German accent made him difficult to understand. Jannings returned to Germany, where he co-starred with Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel (1930). During the Third Reich era, Jannings starred in numerous films intended to promote Nazism, including Der Herrscher (1937), Uncle Kruger (1941), and Bismarck's Dismissal (1942). Minister of Propoaganda Joseph Goebbels named Jannings as "Artist of the State". (In this movie, Goebbels has Jannings show Zoller the ring given for this award, which Goebbels calls "the highest artistic honor that I give".) After the war, Jannings' film career was ended, due to his association with the Nazis. He retired to a farm in Austria, where he died in 1950.
There was a real unit known as "Masters' Bastards" in World War II. Apart from the obvious rhyming, they earned the name due in part to their fearsome reputation against the Japanese, much like the fictional "Basterds" in Europe.
The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2008 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year.
Cloris Leachman originally appeared in the film as Mrs. Himmelstein, an elderly Jewish woman living in Boston. Although filmed, the scenes featuring Mrs. Himmelstein drinking tea with Donny Donowitz (and signing his trademark baseball bat afterward) were cut from the final film. Quentin Tarantino says that he might use the footage in the prequel instead.
The large Nazi eagle displayed in the theater lobby is based on a bronze eagle that was in the Reichs Chancellery in Berlin, by Kurt Schmid-Ehmen. The original Berlin eagle is now in the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.
The name of Til Schweiger's character, Sergeant Hugo Stiglitz, is an homage to Mexican B-movie actor Hugo Stiglitz.
The character of Kliest is only present as a telephone voice, spoken by Christian Brückner. Similarly, the character of the OSS Commander is only heard as a voice on the radio, played by Harvey Keitel. Christian Brückner provided the German dubbing voice for Keitel in Pulp Fiction (1994).
One of the movie posters shows a bloody German helmet dangling from an equally bloody baseball bat. Typically, one would see the logo "Hillerich and Bradsby Louisville, Kentucky" branded on a bat. However, the city reads "Knoxville, TN", which is Quentin Tarantino's hometown.
DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (Quentin Tarantino): (copyright under title): As with almost all of Tarantino's directed and produced films, the Roman numerated copyright appears during the opening credits, directly under the title of the film. Displaying the copyright info in the opening credits is an homage to films produced in the 1960s and 1970s.
DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (Quentin Tarantino): (bare foot fetish): Shoshanna is barefoot during the end of the opening scene when she escapes from Colonel Hans Landa, and during the final scenes in the projection room.
In Legends of the Fall (1994), Brad Pitt played a man who scalped two German soldiers, and got involved with bootlegging. In this film, he played the leader of a group that scalps German soldiers, and mentions a past involvement in bootlegging.
Til Schweiger was given a choice of roles, either Sergeant Hugo Stiglitz or Corporal Wilhelm Wicki. He chose the former.
For his performance in this film, Christoph Waltz became one of six performers to win an Oscar playing a character that mostly spoke in a foreign language (German, French, and Italian). The others are Sophia Loren, Robert De Niro, Roberto Benigni, Benicio Del Toro, and Marion Cotillard.
Michael Madsen was originally announced to star as a character named Babe Buchinsky. This character was named for Charles Buchinsky, better known by his screen name Charles Bronson, who starred in The Dirty Dozen (1967), an inspiration for this movie.
The word "inglorious" is never said throughout the film. It is, however, scratched into the stock of Lieutenant Raine's (Brad Pitt's) gun.
The role of Francesca Mondino was written especially for Julie Dreyfus, who played a similar character in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003).
Rumor had it that Harvey Weinstein was trying to force Quentin Tarantino to cut forty minutes of the movie (which ran two hours and twenty-eight minutes) after getting feedback from the Cannes Film Festival. However, Harvey denied this rumor, stating that Tarantino was reorganizing some scenes since he didn't have enough time to completely finish editing the film before sending it to Cannes, since he was given only six weeks to edit, whereas other directors are given normally six months to a year. In fact, the theatrical cut runs five minutes longer than the cut that was premiered at Cannes.
DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (Quentin Tarantino): (Mexican standoff): Twice during the scene in LaLouisiane. Once between Archie Hicox, Dieter Hellstrom, and Hugo Stiglitz, and just a few minutes later between Aldo Raine and Sergeant Wilhelm. Raine and Wilhelm also discuss the requirements for a "Mexican standoff".
The paperback book Shoshanna is reading in the café before Zoller comes in, is apparently a French edition of Leslie Charteris' "The Saint in New York" (first published in 1934). This novel is remarkable in the Saint canon for being extremely grim and violent: the debonair crime-fighter shows a cold and ruthless side as he executes numerous gangland killers in revenge for a murder, something like the mission which Lieutenant Raine explains at the start of the film.
Shosanna Dreyfus is named after actress Julie Dreyfus, who appears in the film as Francesca Mondino.
Ennio Morricone was attached to score the film, before pulling out, due to a scheduling conflict with Baarìa (2009). Several of Morricone's songs from other films were sampled in the film instead. He also felt that he would be unable to work efficiently within the amount of time given.
DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (Quentin Tarantino): (name): Sergeant Donny Donowitz, is part of the "Quentin Tarantino Universe", sharing the last name of the film producer character, Lee Donowitz, in the Tarantino-written True Romance (1993), where Lee Donowitz produced a war film "Comin' Home in a Body Bag". According to an interview Tarantino conducted with Ron Bennington, Donny is Lee's father.
Universal Pictures adjusted the film's German publicity website to the German penal law, as the display of Nazi iconography is restricted in Germany. The title has the swastika removed and the steel helmet has a bullet hole instead of the Nazi symbol. The German site's download section was revised to exclude wallpaper downloads that openly feature the swastika. Though the advertisement posters and wallpapers may not show Nazi iconography, this does not apply to "works of art" according to German law, so the film itself is not censored in Germany.
Mike Myers (as General Ed Fenech), a fan of Quentin Tarantino, had inquired about being in the film since Myers' parents had been in the British Armed Forces. In terms of the character's dialect, Myers felt that it was a version of Received Pronunciation meeting the officer class, but mostly an attitude of "I'm fed up with this war and if this dude can end it, great, because my country is in ruins."
In late 2009, Sir Michael Caine praised Christoph Waltz's performance as Hans Landa, saying it was "the best performance of a villain I've seen in years." Caine even correctly predicted that Waltz would win Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the 2010 Academy Awards.
Although the movie is fictional, it was partially inspired by "Operation Greenup", a real-life mission by the Office of Strategic Services. In February, 1945, three O.S.S. Agents, Frederick Mayer (a German-born American spy), Hans Wijnberg (a Dutch-born Agent, who, like Mayer, was Jewish), and Franz Weber (a former Austrian Wehrmacht Officer), were parachuted into Austria. For several months, Mayer gathered intelligence on the Germans' "Alpine Fortress", by posing as a Nazi Officer and as a French electrician. While staying with Weber's family in Innsbruck, Wijnberg and Weber radioed the intelligence back to O.S.S. operatives in Bari, Italy. When Mayer's cover was blown by a black marketer, he was captured and tortured by the Gestapo, but refused to give up the other two agents. However, General Franz Hofer, commander of the Nazi forces in western Austria, realized the war was lost, and was looking for a way to surrender his forces to the Allies, instead of to the Red Army. He had Mayer brought to his house, and offered to send a message for him to the O.S.S. offices in Bern, Switzerland, through a German Agent. Mayer helped negotiate the surrender of Germany's Austria forces, which took place in Innsbruck on May 3, 1945. Afterwards, Mayer and Wijnberg returned to America. In 2012, they were reunited via a webcam interview for the History Channel documentary, "The Real Inglourious Basterds". Wijnberg died the day after the webcam interview. Weber died in April 2016.
During his recruiting monologue near the beginning of the movie, Lieutenant Aldo Raine states that he's a descendant of "the mountain man Jim Bridger", who really did have Native American wives. Consequently, his nickname is "Aldo the Apache". In reality, none of Bridger's three Indian wives were Apache (they were, in order, Flathead, Ute, and Shoshone).
Quentin Tarantino met Mélanie Laurent in three rounds and played all of the characters on the first. On the second one, he shared the lines with her, and the third one, it was dinner face-to-face. During the dinner, he told Laurent, "Do you know something? There's just something I don't like. It's that you're famous in your country, and I'm really wanting to discover somebody." Laurent replied "No, no, no. ... I'm not so famous", and after four days he called and finalized her for the role of Shosanna.
None of the weapons used by the Basterds are American, befitting their status as a clandestine group of military assassins in occupied enemy territory. B.J. Novak discussed in an interview how he and the rest of the cast received training in handling German weapons from a company in Berlin that specialized in technical presentation of German military hardware. The backstory was that the Basterds seized the guns and other armaments from every Nazi they killed and would be able to handle them flawlessly.
The character of Frederick Zoller was largely based on Audie Murphy. After casting, Daniel Brühl was brought in for audition sessions for French actresses vying for the role of Shosanna.
WILHELM SCREAM: The scream appears during two deaths in the film. The first half-second of the sound clip appears about ninety minutes into the movie, and the remainder of the scream appears about twenty minutes later. In the film-within-the-film, "Nation's Pride", the Wilhelm scream can be heard when a soldier is shot and falls from an upper window.
Names on the cards from the game played in the bar include: Winnetou, Genghis Khan, Mata Hari, Beethoven, Pola Negri, Edgar Wallace, G.W. Pabst, King Kong, Marco Polo, Brigitte Horney, and Brigitte Helm.
Although Quentin Tarantino wanted the film to be shown exclusively in 35mm, it ended up being shown in some digital locations.
The literary character Sherlock Holmes is referred to at least twice in the film. The first reference is Landa's smoking pipe, which is a Calabash Meerschaum, the exact same one that Holmes used. The other is Landa's line, "A damn good detective. Finding people is my specialty."
Nastassja Kinski was in talks for the role of Bridget Von Hammersmark. Quentin Tarantino even flew to Germany to meet the actress, but a deal wasn't reached.
The French village of Nadine depicted in the film doesn't really exist. However, on the map shown to Lieutenant Hicox, its location largely corresponds to the real-life town of Nanteuil-le-Haudouin. Also, the word "Haudouin" is still visible on the map, suggesting that it was accidentally left there, while the first part of the town name has been removed and replaced by "Nadine".
Despite playing father and daughter in this movie, Denis Ménochet is only nine years older than Léa Seydoux.
Lieutenant Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender) wears the insignia of the British Combined Operations Command, which included forces from all the British services as well as other allied forces as well as the famous Commandos.
This was Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino's first time working together, although Brad Pitt had co-starred in True Romance (1993), which was written by Tarantino.
At the end of the movie, Lieutenant Raine shoots Landa's driver, Hermann, in the stomach, as evidenced by the angle of his pistol when he fires. When he falls, he orders Utivich to scalp him. Since it can take several minutes, up to a few hours, as evidenced in past Quentin Tarantino movies, to die from a gunshot wound to the stomach, it's entirely possible that Hermann was still alive while being scalped.
According to Eddie Murphy, he was in talks with Quentin Tarantino for a role in the film.
The name Wilhelm Wicki (Gedeon Burkhard) is an homage to Directors Georg Wilhelm Pabst and Bernhard Wicki.
In the basement bar scene, one of the enlisted men refers to Karl May and says his character is Winnetou. This is a reference to the western themed adventure books by Karl May (1842-1912). Winnetou was a Native American hero in several of the books. May was one of Adolf Hitler's favorite authors. However, the gesture of touching the heart, and greeting with three fingers, that the man makes, is an anachronism, as it was a signature gesture of Winnetou in the movies from the sixties.
The name of Dieter Hellstrom is a reference to the Marvel Comics character Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan (also known as Hellstorm).
Eli Roth, B.J. Novak, Til Schweiger, Paul Rust, and Michael Bacall, all actors playing Basterds, are all screenwriters as well as actors.
DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (Quentin Tarantino): (feet): Close-ups of characters' feet are seen throughout the movie.
In preparation for playing Sir Winston Churchill, Rod Taylor watched dozens of DVDs with footage of Churchill in order to get his posture, body language, and voice, including a lisp, correct.
Before Sergeant Donny Donowitz "The Bear Jew" appears from under the bridge, he taps the bat against the walls of the tunnel a total of twenty-seven times.
An early iteration of the project, when Quentin Tarantino first conceived the idea, was rumored to include Sylvester Stallone as Aldo Raine, Bruce Willis as Donny Donowitz, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Hugo Stiglitz.
In the scene where Hicox is talking to Stiglitz, who is sharpening his knife on a belt, the theme from Dark of the Sun (1968) is playing. Rod Taylor, who portrayed Sir Winston Churchill in this film, played the lead in Dark of the Sun (1968).
At the premiere, Colonel Landa is wearing a golden medal around his neck which covers his tie. This is the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross, in gold with swords, to recognize non-combat contributions to the Third Reich war effort. Only nine awards were made during the war, and it was actually instituted in October 1944, so it was impossible for Landa to be a recipient. Although, since this movie is a fictional story, set against the backdrop of World War II, the point is rendered moot, considering Tarantino's storytelling capabilities.
Shosanna's theater was modelled after a few theaters in California, but it was the Vista Cinema Silverlake, and Los Angeles Theater, that were the main influences in its design.
The film in which Fredrick Zoller appeared as himself is hardly a novel concept. Karl von Müller, a Navy Captain aboard the S.M.S. Emden in World War I, starred as himself in a 1932 feature film about his wartime exploits.
Bridget von Hammersmark, the German film star and double agent, was partially based on Marlene Dietrich. Although she never served as an overseas agent, Dietrich did work with the Office of Strategic Services in World War II. In 1944, Dietrich made recordings for the O.S.S.'s Morale Operations Branch, as part of the Musak project, a series of musical propaganda broadcasts designed to demoralize enemy soldiers. Dietrich recorded several songs in German, including "Lili Marlene", and made German-language recordings reporting Allied victories and German defeats. For her efforts, Dietrich received the thanks of O.S.S. commander William J. Donovan, and the American Medal of Freedom. Also, during the war, Dietrich's sister and her husband were still in Germany, where they ran a cinema in Belsen that was frequented by German officers. Dietrich and her sister were reunited after the war.
The second time Sylvester Groth has played Joseph Goebbels (the first being My Führer (2007)). Martin Wuttke, who played Adolf Hitler, previously played Goebbels in Rosenstrasse (2003).
In 2005, Quentin Tarantino was quoted as saying that he had written the script, a World War II story, but that he needed to convert it to a shooting script. He said that writing the script and preparing a shooting script were two different things.
Isabelle Huppert was the first choice for Madame Mimieux. But scheduling conflicts got in the way, so Quentin Tarantino cast Maggie Cheung in the role. The role wound up being cut out of the finished film.
Christoph Waltz (Colonel Hans Landa) and Léa Seydoux (Charlotte LaPadite, one of the sisters in the beginning) appeared in Spectre (2015).
Due to scheduling conflicts, David Krumholtz was not able to play the role of Private First Class Hirschberg. He was replaced by Samm Levine, who played his brother on Freaks and Geeks (1999).
General Ed Fenech (Mike Myers) is named after Giallo scream queen Edwige Fenech. She quit acting, but last appeared in Hostel: Part II (2007), directed by Eli Roth, who played Sergeant Donny Donowitz "The Bear Jew".
The opening theme is taken from the pseudo-folk ballad "The Green Leaves of Summer", which was composed by Dimitri Tiomkin and Paul Francis Webster for the opening of The Alamo (1960).
Archie Hicox's (Michael Fassbender's) uniform: He wears the Commando Green Beret, the Combined Operations badge on his left arm, "No.4 COMMANDO" flashes on his shoulders, and an Intelligence Corps cap badge on his beret. This means he was an Intelligence Corps Officer who passed the Commando Course at Achnacarry and was serving at the time as part of No.4 COMMANDO (A Commando means both a commando trained individual and a battalion sized formation of commando troops). His medals are the Military Cross (an award for bravery in the face of the enemy) and the Africa Star. This means he was in Africa from 1942 to 1943, during which time his conduct earned him the Military Cross.
When the script's final draft was finished, it was leaked on the Internet, and several Quentin Tarantino fan sites began posting reviews and excerpts from the script.
The opening scene in the farmer's cottage has been parodied into a "Grammar Nazi" sketch, where Colonel Hans Landa corrects M. LaPadite's grammatical mistakes to his increasing frustration, while searching for Shosanna Dreyfus.
Christoph Waltz's Academy Award win in 2009 started a four-year run of the Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar going to an actor whose name begins with "Chris". Christian Bale won in 2010 for The Fighter (2010), Christopher Plummer took home the statuette in 2011 for Beginners (2010), and Waltz won again in 2012 for Django Unchained (2012).
Quentin Tarantino originally cast Nick Shumaker as the member of the Basterds, later played by Assistant Director Carlos Fidel. Shumaker could not commit to the film, due to his own film being green-lit.
In the scene where Lieutenant Aldo Raine is being interrogated by Colonel Hans Landa. Brad Pitt mentions that prior to the war, while home in Tennessee, he had partaken in bootlegging. In Legends Of The Fall (1994), Pitt's character of Tristan Ludlow made a profit as a small time bootlegger.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
August Diehl, who plays Burger, a Jew in The Counterfeiters (2007), says the line "I would never put myself in the place of an S.S. criminal". He played Major Hellstrom, the S.S. officer in the bar.
The surname of Omar Ulmer is a reference to German Expressionist filmmaker Edgar G. Ulmer.
General Ed Fenech's (Mike Myers') uniform: He wears the "No. 2" dress of the British Army, an Officer's Sam Browne belt, the red collar Georgettes of a General. However, the view of his buttons is not clear enough to discern his regiment or corps. His medal ribbons include: either an OBE, CBE or KBE (you cannot tell from the ribbon), Transport Medal 1903 (South Africa or China), 1914 Star (with mention in dispatches), The British War Medal (World War I), the Victory Medal (World War I, with mention in dispatches), The General Service Medal (cannot tell which campaign) and then four more medals that I am unable to trace.
This marks the fourth time Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson collaborated in a Director and actor relationship.
Released theatrically in the U.S. on the same day as Shorts (2009) by Robert Rodriguez. Quentin Tarantino and Rodriguez's last film was their collaboration Grindhouse (2007).
Hugo Stiglitz is characterized as being known throughout the German military and high command as such, the Gestapo officer in the French tavern would and should have recognized him. However, he was known by his reputation. Therefore, it's possible that not many people knew what he looked like.
A very fine, but very accurate historic detail in the script, lost to most, occurs whenever German Army (Heer) or Nazi Party Schutzstaffel (S.S.) characters speaks to or of S.S. personnel. The S.S. were not members of the Heer or German Military (Wehrmacht), and used different rank titles, but often wore Wehrmacht rank insignia on their uniforms. Hicox, Wicki, and Stiglitz (when meeting in the basement tavern) and Landa and Hellstrom wore Schutzstaffel (S.S.) uniforms. The Heer and S.S. characters use the actual S.S. rank titles such as Standartenführer, Sturmbannführer, Hauptsturmführer, and Obersturmführer. However, French, German civilian (von Hammersmark) and American and Brit (except when acting as Germans) characters refer to the S.S. characters by the Heer rank equivalents of Colonel/Oberst, Major, Captain/Hauptmann, Senior Lieutenant/Oberleutnant. Regardless of the title spoken, the subtitles always use Heer ranks in English.
In the basement bar scene German born Fassbender, who speaks German fluently, did affect an unusual accent. The affectation included mispronouncing certain sounds and not speaking in the proper rhythm.
While hiding under the floor of the LaPadite house, she could not understand the conversation between the French dairy farmer and S.S. Colonel Landa had in English. Shosanna filmed her speech to the soon to be incinerated German political elite in fluent English. Many of the German theater audience, including Hitler, would not have understood what she said.
Colonel Hans Landa's speach to LaPadite, which relates Jewish people to rats, is influenced by a real German film, The Eternal Jew (1940), made by the S.S. propaganda team in Poland during World War II. The film was made with the intention of lower the image of Jews troughout Europe, and depicts rats and other animals spreading diseases, that would contaminate the Arian people, if the Jewish Question wouldn't be resolved by their extermination. This horrific concept and aesthetics is a central theme in present days, and was duly criticized by Tarantino in this movie.
Til Schweiger and Brad Pitt acted alongside Shia LaBeouf in Fury (2015) and Charlie Countryman (2013).
Til Schweiger (Sergeant Hugo Stiglitz) and Johannes Heesters (better known as the favorite actor of Adolph Hitler) appeared in 1½ Knights - In Search of the Ravishing Princess Herzelinde (2008).
Well known German actor Moritz Bleibtreu was originally cast as a part for the bar scene, but had to cancel, because of time scheduling problems.
Although the script referred to all Germans in uniform as Nazis, only a small percentage of those in the Heer (Army), Kreigsmarine (Navy), and Luftwaffe (Air Force) were members. However, only Nazis were allowed to become Gestapo and Waffen S.S. members.
The music playing in the background when Zoller goes to the projection room to see Shosanna is the same that is played in Kelly's Heroes (1970) during the climatic scene in the town when Kelly (Clint Eastwood) and his men attack the tanks protecting the bank.
When Major Hellstrom (August Diehl) rolls up outside of Shosanna's (Melanie Laurent) movie theater, the exact same music plays as when Beatrix Kiddo's (Uma Thurman) sword gets stuck in one of the Crazy 88s in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003). The music appears to suggest impending danger.
Although Michael Fassbender is fluent in German, he admitted that he normally speaks German with a mid-atlantic accent and had to work with a voice coach to sound right as an undercover English officer passing as German.
In the scene where Shosanna films her part in "Nation's Pride", Marcel films her at an angle upwards towards the top of a stairway. The same filming style was used in the saxophone solo for the music video for "One Step Beyond" by Madness.
If you were to research the "Iroquois Theatre Fire", then you would find many similarities to the film in terms of where the fire started in the theatre, and what it really is that seals the audience's fate. Though, of course, the film adds its own little kicks in there.
Christoph Waltz's Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar winning performance was the only one in the category in a Best Picture nominee that year.
Reinforcing Bridget von Hammersmark's (Diane Kruger's) snide comment asking "can you Americans speak any other language besides English?", none of the American (or Canadian) actors speak a foreign language except Brad Pitt, Eli Roth, and Omar Doom, who speak Italian with, as von Hammersmark also stated, an atrocious accent.
Christoph Waltz previously played in a World War II-related film as an Auschwitz survivor in the biographical film, Life for Life: Maximilian Kolbe (1991).
Although not spoken by any of the American or British characters, and not appearing in the subtitles, Tarantino does include in this film, as in all of his others, the gratuitous use of a racial slur. During the bar scene, Sturmbannführer Hellstrom uses the slur while playing a game with the "Basterds" and von Hammersmark.
Christoph Waltz admitted that he is not fluent in Italian, and learned his Italian dialogue strictly for the movie.
In a 2017 interview, Vincent Lindon said that he declined an offer by Quentin Tarantino to play in the movie. The role went to Denis Ménochet.
Bela B.: The drummer of the German punk band Die Ärzte (The Doctors) appears as an usher at the movie premiere. He is known to be a huge fan of horror and Quentin Tarantino movies.
Harvey Keitel: The voice of the American officer negotiating on the wireless radio with Raine and Landa.
Samm Levine: One of the Basterds also played the painter in the background of Adolf Hitler's introductory scene. (Levine admitted this, by posting a picture of himself as the character on his Twitter account at 4:03 p.m. on August 21, 2009.)
Bo Svenson: Small cameo as an American Colonel. Svenson was the star of The Inglorious Bastards (1978).
Sönke Möhring: Besides playing Private Butz, Möhring also appeared as Gestapo Officer Walter Frazer, with the French girlfriend at the bistro, with Fredrick and Shosanna.
Quentin Tarantino: [victim's viewpoint] Tarantino's trademark shot of actors from a trunk or engine compartment is replaced by shots from the viewpoint of post swastika-scarred victims.