*Last updated 01/27/2010
Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds is perhaps his most deft handling of reference and homage yet. The video store nerds at Scarecrow Video would like to present to you an unofficial and in progress footnotes companion to Basterds. Some of these films are directly referenced in the film, others are only evoked, while others still are films we simply felt should go on the list. All titles will be available for rent in a special section except where noted.
Action in Arabia--Featured in Tarantino's list of top five WWII pictures, also stars George Sanders on whose film persona the Archie Hickox (Michael Fassbender) character seemed to be modeled.
The Alamo (Soundtrack refrence)
All The Colors of the Dark--A staff favorite starring Edwige Fenech who inspired the character name Ed Fenech (Mike Myers).
Allonsanfan (Soundtrack reference)
Army of Shadows--The ultimate French resistance film, directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. Melville's first name could also be the inspiration for the name of the Le Gamaar's original owner 'Jean-Pierre Mimieux.' Or maybe Tarantino was thinking of Jean-Pierre Leaud, star of 400 Blows, et al or both!
Au Revoir Les Enfants--Louis Malle's moving dramatization of his childhood experiences in Nazi-occupied France.
Bataille du Rail--One of the first French films made after the end of the war when the fighters of the resistance could finally be acknowledged and celebrated in the cinema.
Battle Cry--A classic war picture starring the great Aldo Ray who inspired the character name Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt).
Battle of Algiers (Soundtrack reference)
Battleship Potemkin--Eli Roth watched this for inspiration before making the 'Nation's Pride' film within the film, and the famous gunshot to the eye image appears recreated in 'Nation's Pride.'
Berlin Express--A multinational cast of characters search for a missing man in the hopes of his bringing an end to the war. Tense espionage.
The Big Gundown (Soundtrack reference)
The Big Red One--It can safely be assumed that Tarantino is a massive fan of Sam Fuller's many brilliant war pictures (note his involvement in the Sam Fuller documentary, "The Typewriter, the Rifle, and the Movie Camera."). This, one of Fuller's last feature films, is essentially an autobiographical look at his own experiences during WWII, and is often cited as one of the greatest war films ever made. Previous to this masterpiece, Fuller made several "men on a mission" war movies: Fixed Bayonets, China Gate, Merrill's Marauders, etc, as well as the classic Steel Helmet.
Black Book--Not referenced, per se, but about a Jewish woman covertly taking on the Nazis.
Blood for a Silver Dollar (Soundtrack reference)
The Blue Angel--Emil Jannings, who appears as a character in Basterds, is the star of this Weimar-era clasic. Starring opposite Jannings is Marlene Dietrich who is compared unfavorably to the fictional actress in Basterds by a drunken private.
The Blue Light--Another Riefenstahl mountain movie.
BRD Trilogy--The fiery conclusion of the Marriage of Maria Braun; the shot of Shosanna pulling down her veil is reminiscent of Veronika Voss; the titular Voss is an actress for UFA.
Bulldog Drummond--One of the names seen on a card in the guessing game at the La Louisianne bar.
Carrie--Cited by Tarantino as one of his favorite films of all time. There are many movies on this list with fiery conclusions, but none quite so blood drenched and full of cathartic vengeance as Carrie's.
Carve Her Name With Pride--The true life story of Allied secret agent Violette Szabo, one of the few female members of the SOE. Also known as the Baker Street Irregulars, the Special Operations Executive was tasked during the war with "setting Europe ablaze."
Cat People (Soundtrack reference)
Children of Paradise--Possibly the best and most famous film produced under the Vichy government, although it makes little to no reference to the war.
Cinderella--What is that English expression about shoes?
Cinema Paradiso--Another lesson on the safety hazards of nitrate film and theatrical exposition.
Codename: Wildgeese--War movie from the prolific Italian director with the musical name, Antonio Margheriti, whose name was assumed by Eli Roth's character during Operation Kino.
Confessions of a Nazi Spy*-- Possibly the first blatantly anti-Nazi film produced by a major Hollywood studio prior to World War II. Starring Edward G. Robinson and George Sanders. Cited by Tarantino here.
Le Corbeau--Shows at Shosanna's theater, Le Gamaar. A classic anti-collaborationist satire from director Clouzot. This film got Clouzot in trouble with the resistance and the Reich!
The Covered Wagons--Aldo the Apache claims to be descended from legendary mountain man Jim Bridger. This is the first of two films in which Tully Marshall played Bridger, the second being Fighting Caravans.
Cut-Throat Kommandos--An off-beat piece of fun men-on-a-mission exploitation filmmaking.
Cyclone--Starring actor Hugo Stiglitz who has a character named after him in Basterds.
The Dam Busters--"The Dam Busters represents that particularly British type of cinematic military endeavour one that isn't considered to be truly up to snuff unless it has shuffled us in and out of an endless series of stuffy boardrooms, past a chain-smoking array of lab-coated eggheads and through a rigorous testing process before allowing its audience to experience anything approaching excitement." (Adam Lee Davis, Time Out London) It's exactly this sort of stuffy boardroom scene that Tarantino is sending up in the sequence where Mike Myers and Churchill discuss Operation Kino with Archie Hicox.
Dark of the Sun (Soundtrack reference) The character surname Mimieux is probably a reference to Yvette Mimieux who appears in this film; Rod Taylor is the star of the picture and portrays Churchill in Basterds.
Death Rides A Horse (Soundtrack reference)
Decameron--This may be a stretch, but the framing device for this multi-chaptered film centers around a frustrated mural painter, played by director Pasolini himself. Pasolini's other films from the same cycle include one with a 'story within a story' structure (Arabian Nights) and another about extreme fascist cruelty (the infamous Salo: 120 Days of Sodom). In Basterds' second chapter, a story-within-a-story structure originates with a young soldier talking to Hitler while a muralist works in the background.
Desperate Journey--A light-hearted behind enemy lines romp with Errol Flynn and friends causing as much destruction as they can muster.
Devil's Angels (Soundtrack reference)
The Dirty Dozen--Another of QT's top five war films. A crucial inspiration point for the countless men-on-a-mission films (Inglorious Bastards for one) which followed in its wake, and some similarities could be drawn between the endings of Dozen and Basterds.
Disney Treasures: On The Front Lines--This collection of rarely seen WWII era Disney animation is absolutely incredible. Be sure to watch Der Fuehrer's Face (originally titled Donald Duck in Nutzi Land) where Donald has a nightmare about living under Nazi rule and Education For Death, possibly the darkest film ever produced by Disney.
Eagles Over London--The director of the original Bastards, Enzo Castellari, helmed this WWII action picture starring Van Johnson who is mentioned by name in Basterds. The film features some expertly photographed dogfight scenes.
Eastern Condors (Soundtrack reference)
Emmanuelle Collection--Referenced by character name Emmanuelle Mimieux. As a lover of sleaze cinema, there's no way Tarantino did not deliberately name his character as a reference.
Enemy at the Gates--The Frederick Zoller character is similar to the real life sniper portrayed in this movie.
The Entity (Soundtrack reference)
The Eternal Jew--Hateful yet influential Nazi propaganda addressing "the Jewish problem."
Fighting Caravans--Aldo the Apache claims to be descended from legendary mountain man Jim Bridger. This is the second of two films in which Tully Marshall played Bridger, the first being The Covered Wagon.
Five For Hell--A rip-roaring Italian men-on-a-mission picture featuring abundant trampoline jumping, deadly baseballs, and Klaus Kinski.
Five Graves To Cairo--Billy Wilder's exciting espionage picture appears on QT's list of top five WWII films.
Forbidden Games--René Clément is a director who returned to wartime France in his films again and again. This view of war through the eyes of children is one of his more carefully studied and deeply felt works which earned him an honorary Academy Award.
Force 10 From Navarone--Some more rollicking men-on-a-mission hokum. Not the equal of its predecessor Guns, but exemplary of post-Dirty Dozen war adventures.
Der Golem--The Bear Jew is rumored to be a golem. Not really a reference to this film, but this is a pretty accurate account of what golems are like.
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly Tarantino's "favorite movie of all time." Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef) arrival into the film, and an ensuing, uncomfortable conversation over food and drink are mirrored in the Leone-esque first chapter of Basterds.
The Great Dictator--Basterds occasionally shares the anarchic tone of Chaplin's satire of Nazi Germany.
The Great Escape--Another of QT's top five WWII films.
The Great Love--The most popular film of wartime Germany. Stars Swedish actress Zarah Leander, sometimes referred to as the Nazi Garbo. In truth she was a spy for the Soviets and a major inspiration in the creation of the Bridget von Hammersmark character in Basterds.
The Green Berets--Another war picture starring Aldo Ray who inspired the character name Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt).
The Guns of Navarone--A seminal men-on-a-mission classic.
Hang 'Em High--Possibly the inspiration source for the unexplained scar across Lt. Aldo Raine's neck? In this movie Eastwood is vengeance bent law officer marked by a hanging scar after an attempted lynching. [thanks Dierk!]
Hangmen Also Die --"When I was writing the script for Inglourious Basterds, I ended up looking at a different type of war film than I'd ever watched before. These were the propaganda movies made in the '40s, mostly directed by foreign directors living in Hollywood because the Nazis had occupied their home countries, like Fritz Lang with Hangmen Also Die. What's really interesting is that WWII was going on, the Nazis were an actual threat, not a theoretical threat, not just movie bad guys. Those directors, in most cases, had personal experience with the Nazis, and obviously they had to be worried about their loved ones back home. And yet those films are entertaining, they're thrilling adventure stories, and oftentimes they're quite funny, there's a lot of humor in them. And this goes against all the ponderous, anti-war, violin-music diatribes that we've seen in war movies since the '80s." - Quentin Tarantino
Henri Langlois: Phantom of the Cinematheque Langlois may not be as sexy or cunning as Shosanna Dreyfus, but he did manage to run a cinema throughout the Nazi occupation, save thousands of films, and inspire the generation that would become the French New Wave.
Hi Diddle Diddle--The soundtrack to Basterds features a song from this war-time comedy. Actress Pola Negri's name is seen on one of the cards during the name game sequence. Apparently in the original Inglourious Basterds screenplay there is a scene in which characters discuss how to properly "do" a double take, a direct reference to a scene in Hi Diddle Diddle.
Hitler's Madman--Cited by Tarantino in an interview with Cahiers du Cinema.
Hitler Sucks--Nazi porn?! We haven't actually watched this, although we've seen the box beckoning us from the shelf in our store many times.
The Holy Mountain Riefenstahl mountain movie. You Germans like climbing mountains don't you?
Hotel Terminus--Evoked by the deal Hans Landa makes at the end of Basterds, this chilling documentary about Klaus Barbie shows how by cooperating with American intelligence agents the "Butcher of Lyons" was allowed to begin a new life after the war.
Ilsa: She Wolf of the S.S.--Similar to Basterds in its exploitation approach to the real life horrors of the holocaust.
Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade--Takes place in a similarly fanciful, if less violent, cartoon version of history.
Inglorious Bastards--Tarantino's original point of reference before abandoning his initial story idea of disgraced criminal soldiers fighting their way to freedom in neutral Switzerland. The title stuck.
Is Paris Burning?--René Clément gives us an epic, episodic German night in Paris.
Jud Suss--"Now if one were to determine what attribute the German people share with a beast, it would be the cunning and the predatory instinct of a hawk. But if one were to determine what attributes the Jews share with a beast, it would be that of a rat." Anti-semitic propaganda.
Karl May Collection III--Winnetou in some of his greatest screen adventures. The fictional Apache chief is name dropped during the guessing game at La Louisianne.
Kelly's Heroes (Soundtrack reference) A WWII romp with Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, Carroll O'Connor, and Donald Sutherland as WWII's only hippy.
The Kid--Frederick Zoller tells Shosanna that he loves the chase at the end of this film.
King Kong--Featured in the name guessing game, and originally conceived by Edgar Wallace, himself a name featured in the guessing game. A Nazi jokes that Kong is a metaphor for the Negro experience in America.
Kolberg--German propaganda film about the successful defense of a sieged fortress town.
Lacombe Lucien--A French teen acts as a collaborator and informer to the Gestapo.
The Last Hunter--Another Antonio Margheriti war movie.
The Last Metro--Tarantino dismissed this movie as Nazis on Sesame Street, but it really is an extraordinary film about the struggles of a theater company under Vichy watch. We found the atmosphere of the Gamaar set in Basterds, both inside & out, to be evocative of this film.
Laugh With Max Linder--Linder is mentioned by name in the film. Zoller prefers Linder to Chaplin.
Liebelei--Stars Olga Chekhova, a German actress who was a spy for the Russians during the war, serving as inspiration for the Bridget von Hammersark character.
Life of Emile Zola--The most famous film depicting the Dreyfus Affair, a scandal involving the unjust persecution of a Jewish Frenchman, Alfred Dreyfus, and Zola's editorial campaign to free him.
Looney Tunes Gold Collection: Vol. 6--All the Warners wartime cartoons included on this set are worth watching repeatedly. A personal favorite is Russian Rhapsody in which some mischievous "gremlins from the Kremlin" sabotage Hitler's fighter plane and kill him dead.
Lucky Kids (Soundtrack reference) Shosanna shows a print of this film to the Nazis when they come to examine her theater. Someone voices an appreciation of (anti-fascist) actress Lillian Harvey and Goebbels screams never to mention her name again.
Man Hunt--The most dangerous game? Hitler.
Mask of Fu Manchu--Fu Manchu is mentioned during the La Louisianne guessing game.
Mata Hari--Another reference from the guessing game.
Men in War--A good Aldo Ray war movie.
Metropolis--Star Brigitte Helm's name appears on one of the cards in the guessing game.
MGM: When The Lion Roars--In Basterds, Churchill suggests that Goebbels is like the German Louis B. Mayer. Hickox replies that Goebbels is more like David O. Selznick. The implication being that Goebbels is very hands-on with the films he produces and egotistically fancies himself a key creative player in their production. This reference is enough to secure Churchill's trust in Hickox. It later turns out that movie trivia is not sufficient qualification for espionage.
Miller's Crossing--Basterds' final scene in the forest is very evocative of this film.
Ministry of Fear--This Fritz Lang wartime thriller is based on a novel by Graham Green from whom Tarantino claims to have loosely drawn inspiration for the film critic-soldier Hickox.
Mrs. Miniver--Goebbels was an enormous fan of this film and considered it to be the greatest piece of propaganda produced during the war. He was constantly striving to produce a German film of equivalent power.
Munchausen--Star Brigitte Horney is on one of the cards in the guessing game.
The Murderer Lives at Number 21--A poster for this Clouzot film is hanging on a wall in the Gamaar movie theater.
Mysterious Magician (Der Hexer)--Prolific British mystery author Edgar Wallace was and is more popular in Germany than he ever was here in the U.S. (he is also the most adapted author in the history of cinema). It would not be unlikely that a group of German soldiers playing a "name game" would refer to him. This film is a staff favorite adapted from one of Wallace's stories. [update: A German reader of Jim Emerson's Scanners blog, Dierk, had this to say: "[I] take exception to a minor point about German soldiers referencing Edgar Wallace during the war. While his novels had been very successful in Germany before the war [through the Goldmann Verlag], it is doubtful the decidedly British author was held in high esteem during the 1940s. It wasn't till 1959 and the following decade that Wallace's name become kind of legendary here through the still very, very successful movie series produced with his name [some of them rather good, almost none with any resemblance to the actual contents of the novels giving the film titles]. Clearly QT uses the post-war Edgar Wallace just like he uses the French Emmanuelle movies from the 1970s as a reference point." Thanks Dierk!] Nazi Agent Cited by Tarantino in an interview with Cahiers du Cinema.
Night Train to Munich--Director Carol Reed makes his contribution to WWII espionage cinema. From the writers of Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes (and featuring the cricket loving Charters and Caldicott characters from that film).
Olympia--In Basterds, Goebbels says that American Olympic gold can be measured in Negro sweat, a reference to Jesse Owens' win at the 1936 Olympic games depicted in this film.
Once Upon a Time in the West--Title & similarities in the opening chapter of Basterds: "Once Upon A Time... in Nazi Occupied France." There are lots of nice tips-of-the-hat to Leone throughout the film including some brilliantly prolonged character introductions.
Pandora's Box--The character of Hickox supposedly wrote a book called "24 Frame Da Vinci: A Subtextual Study of the Films of G.W. Pabst". Surely this Pabst film was discussed at length.
Paratroop Command--"This is a movie I'm a huge, huge fan of, directed by one of my favourite directors, William Witney, an American who quit the movie business to go into the army and made this after serving. You can tell it's directed by someone who's been there." (Quentin Tarantino)
Paris After Dark--Cited by Tarantino in an interview with Cahiers du Cinema.
Passage to Marseille--Bogart, the "hero" of the film, mercilessly kills helpless prisoners with a machine gun. A morally ambiguous treatment of an inglorious bastard.
Pierrot le Fou--Tarantino is often compared to Godard. Whether these comparisons are warranted or not, this list would not be complete without at least acknowledging the connection. In Basterds when Shosanna is in a cafe reading a book with a bright, primary colored paperback (faced so we can clearly read the title) we were reminded of Godard. Plus, there may be some similarities between the dynamite-laden, self immolating ending of le Fou and that of Basterds.
Play Dirty--One of the best, most exciting, witty and cynical mission movies to cash in on the Dirty Dozen's success.
Professional Gun (Soundtrack reference)
Queen Christina--During the guessing game, a soldier incorrectly guesses this to be the Greta Garbo character on his card.
Raiders of the Lost Ark--Another opportunity to see some movie-villain Nazis (as opposed to real life monsters) get their grisly comeuppance in a fantastically outlandish take on history.
Rage of Paris--Stars actress Danielle Darrieux. Upon seeing Shosanna all dressed up for Nazi night, Marcel exclaims, "Ooh la la, Danielle Darrieux!"
Django Reinhardt: King of Jazz Guitar--This is a stretch, but follow me on this: In the "German Night in Paris" chapter of Basterds Marcel mentions to Shosanna that he used some audio recording equipment to record a guitarist at a cafe. This line, to me, seemed to stick out as being at once more cryptic and more specific than it needed to be. Maybe it's nothing, but legendary jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt was living in Paris during this period (though, according to Wikipedia, the recording of jazz music was outlawed). Django also happens to be the name of one of the most popular recurring Spaghetti Western characters. Another Tarantino double reference, or a case of me reading too much into a line of dialogue?
Request Concert--Second most popular film of wartime Germany.
The Return of Ringo (Soundtrack reference)
Reunion in France--John Wayne gets help from French Patriot Joan Crawford as he tries to sneak his way back to Allied territory.
Revolver (Soundtrack reference)
Rise and Fall of the Third Reich--We're no experts but in our opinion Basterds may have gotten a few historical details incorrect. We'll have to do some further research...
Rolling Thunder--The character name Aldo Raine is also a reference to the character Charles Rane from this film, according to Tarantino.
S.S. Girls--More Nazi exploitation.
Sabotage--During narrator Sam Jackson's explanation of the flammable properties of nitrate film, a clip from this Hitchcock picture is briefly shown of a kid trying to board a bus with a film print. The conductor denies him entry for safety reasons. If you watch the film you will be aware of the fact that, unbeknownst to any of the characters, the kid is actually carrying a ticking time bomb.
Safe Conduct--Filmmakers under the Vichy government: collaborators, subversives or just people doing their jobs?
The Saint in New York--Shosanna is reading the book this "Saint" movie is based on while sitting in a café.
The Searchers--The shot near the beginning of Basterds taken through an open doorway from inside a dark house as Shosanna runs away and Landa steps outside is a clear visual reference to the iconic shot from this John Ford masterwork.
Sergeant York --Frederick Zoller says he is like the German Sergeant York.
Sherlock Holmes Collection--During his interrogation of a farmer who is sheltering Jews, Hans Landa smokes an enormous calabash pipe. This is the same pipe smoked by Sherlock Holmes.
Silence de la Mer--The opening chapter of Basterds is evocative of the relationship between Nazi soldiers and a simple French family as depicted in this, Jean-Pierre Melville's first film.
Slaughter (Soundtrack reference)
The Sorrow & The Pity--The definitive document of France under Vichy rule. Disassociate it from the jokes in Annie Hall and appreciate one of the most compelling documentary films ever produced.
Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh--Another favorite with Edwige Fenech, who it should be noted, does not resemble Mike Myers in the slightest.
The Stranger--Orson Welles plays a Nazi escaping his past to live a new life in New England. Edgar G. Robinson is the Nazi hunter hot on his trail.
Sullivan's Marauders--Lee Van Cleef stars in this macaroni combat movie.
Sundow --Another good George Sanders war picture.
Taxi Driver--The birds-eye shot of Shosanna walking through her theater into the lobby is reminiscent of similar birds-eye shot in this Scorsese film, turning corners and passing over walls.
The Terror--Edgar Wallace is a name on a card in the game scene. Another staff favorite.
13 Rue Madeleine--One of the first films made about the O.S.S. after the war (studios weren't allowed to mention the intelligence agency during the war due to secrecy).
This Land Is Mine--French ex-pat Jean Renoir's propaganda-tinged war film starring Charles Laughton as a reluctant member of the resistance.
Tiefland--Alluded to as being the only German film in production not under Goebbels' control. Reifenstahl and Goebbels despised each other, but because Reifenstahl was Hitler's darling she was allowed artistic freedom.
Tintorera--Another Hugo Stiglitz classic.
To Be or Not To Be--A theater full of Nazis is defeated by the power of art. This Lubitsch picture mines transcendent humor out of the grimmest of realities.
To Hell and Back--This film about Audie Murphy's experiences as the most highly decorated American solider in the war stars Audie Murphy as himself. Frederick Zoller's celebrity is modeled after Murphy.
Tonight We Raid Calais--On QT's list of top five WWII pictures. About an intense one-man sabotage mission in occupied France. Lots of pipe smoking and females getting revenge in this one!
Top Secret!--Inglourious Basterds is being referred to as a cartoon version of WWII. This Zucker brothers yuk-fest is one of the few films that's even more absurd.
Tornado--Antonio Margheriti war movie.
The Train--Burt Lancaster fights off the entire Third Reich to save a train full of priceless works of art. Triumphant!
The Triumph of the Will--The most enduring Nazi propaganda film, inspiration for the "Nation's Pride" film in Basterds.
True Romance--Eli Roth's character is supposed to be the father of Saul Rubinek's character in this movie, thereby connecting Basterds to the rest of the Tarantino universe.
Ulmer, Edgar G.: Archive--Referenced through the character name Omar Ulmer.
Unforgiven--The opening shots are almost exactly the same.
Les Vampires--Poster is seen hanging in Shosanna's office.
Where Eagles Dare--One of the best men-on-a-mission films we've ever seen. More double crosses than you can count.
White Hell of Pitz Palu--Another film by the frequently-mentioned Pabst. It plays at Shosanna's theater. Hickox, while pretending to be German, claims to have been born near Pitz Palu and says he and his brother appear in the ski torch scene of this film.
White Lightning (Soundtrack reference)
The Wizard of Oz --The 'giant face' projected on the smoke towards the end is reminiscent of the Wizard.
Zulu Dawn (Soundtrack reference)--Directed by Douglas Hickox, possibly the inspiration for the character name Archie Hickox.
Thanks for reading, and remember us the next time some asshat tells you independent, brick & mortar video stores that employee real people are outmoded and in need of extermination by mail based corporations.
List compiled by Thomas Swenson and Laird Jimenez, with the help of our co-workers, years of access to the collection at Scarecrow Video, and the internets at large.