Quentin Tarantino made Inglourious Basterds with the intention of making it his definitive work – his masterpiece. While it didn’t quite turn out to be his masterpiece, it is one of his best movies. He wrote and directed a World War II movie in the style of a spaghetti western, and the result was a weird, unconventional, ultraviolent movie with a novelistic approach.
The ensemble cast and intertwining storylines make the narrative structure a delicate tapestry – it’s Pulp Fiction set in the Second World War, just what Tarantino fans would want. Anyway, here are the 10 Most Memorable Quotes From Inglourious Basterds.
10 "So, you’re 'the Jew Hunter.'"
“A detective. A damn good detective. Finding people is my specialty, so naturally, I work for the Nazis finding people, and yes, some of them were Jews. But ‘Jew Hunter?’ It’s just a name that stuck.”
Pretty much every character in Inglourious Basterds has a nickname. Aldo Raine is “Aldo the Apache,” Donny Donowitz is “the Bear Jew,” and Hans Landa is “the Jew Hunter.” However, while the former two embrace their nicknames, Landa rejects his. Instead, he believes he is a detective whose work involves tracking down Jews, simply due to the demands of the time.
9 "Teddy f***in’ Williams knocks it out of the park!"
“Fenway Park on its feet for Teddy f***in’ Ballgame! He went yardo on that one, out to f***in’ Lansdowne Street!”
Quentin Tarantino’s original choice to play Donny “the Bear Jew” Donowitz was Adam Sandler, which certainly would’ve been interesting. It would’ve forced us to see the typically family-friendly comic in a new light – a violent one.
In the end, Sandler decided to do Funny People with his old roommate Judd Apatow instead and Tarantino cast fellow director Eli Roth in the role, and he played the character as a loudmouthed Bostonian.
8 "Each and every man under my command owes me one hundred Nazi scalps."
“And I want my scalps. And all y’all will git me one hundred Nazi scalps, taken from the heads of one hundred dead Nazis. Or you will die tryin’.”
Brad Pitt’s opening monologue as Lt. Aldo Raine, explaining the mission to the Basterds, is one of the best Tarantino has ever written. It ends with his demand that all of the men bring him the severed scalps of one hundred dead Nazis, which establishes his attack method as an Apache one, as that’s what the Native American warriors used to do.
7 "My name is Shosanna Dreyfus,"
“and this is the face of Jewish vengeance!”
Revenge is a common theme in Quentin Tarantino’s work. But it’s not revenge in the sense of Charles Bronson in Death Wish, which is to say revenge against some fictional person for some fictional wrongdoing. It’s historical revenge fantasy.
He’ll have a bunch of Jewish American soldiers and one Jewish refugee killing Hitler or he’ll have African slaves in the Deep South killing white slavers. It was a bold move by the writer-director to actually change the course of history and literally kill off Hitler, but it’s one that the audience goes along with.
6 "Oooh, that’s a bingo!"
One of the character traits that makes Hans Landa a human character and not just an evil, soulless, heartless Nazi is the fact that he’s only vaguely familiar with English expressions. He can’t remember the phrase “Looks like the shoe’s on the other foot,” so he just asks Aldo Raine, “What’s that English saying about shoes and feet?”
And when he’s celebrating the fact that he’s captured Aldo and he’s able to cut a deal with him to go down in the history books as a hero, he doesn’t know that it’s just “Bingo!” and says, “Oooh, that’s a bingo!”
5 "Say 'auf Wiedersehen' to your Nazi balls!"
Inglourious Basterds is easily one of the most rock ‘n’ roll war movies ever made. Usually, war movies are dark and gritty and treat the subject of war very seriously and delicately. But Inglourious Basterds has electric guitar on the soundtrack, it has freeze frames and cutaways, and every character in the cast is super cool.
Hugo Stiglitz is an example of one of those cool characters, as he made himself infamous among the Nazi community for slaying a bunch of them. As far as sign-offs during assassinations go, this one is pretty badass.
4 "You know, fightin’ in a basement offers a lot of difficulties."
“Number one being, you’re fightin’ in a basement!”
According to Quentin Tarantino, the basement scene in Inglourious Basterds was only supposed to be a couple of pages long. However, he started writing the “Who Am I?” game that the officers all play together in the basement and it ballooned to about twenty pages. What’s effective about that is that it’s so long that you’ve forgotten there’s any danger by the time someone pulls out a gun and a firefight breaks out. The longer you wait you devolve into violence, the higher the tension.
3 "What a tremendously hostile world that a rat must endure."
“Yet, not only does he survive, he thrives. Because our little foe has an instinct for survival and preservation second to none. And that, Monsieur, is what a Jew shares with a rat.”
The whole opening sequence of Inglourious Basterds is one of the most intense scenes ever filmed. Although it’s just a couple of guys talking over a glass of milk, we know that one of them is a vicious, cold-hearted Nazi officer and there are Jewish refugees hiding under the floorboards, so a layer of tension is added.
2 "You get that for killin’ Jews?" “Bravery.”
Quentin Tarantino understands that everyone is the good guy in their own opinion. A lesser writer would write S.S. officers as if they’re aware of their own evil, but not Tarantino. He writes S.S. officers who believe they are nobly fighting for their country in a just war, because that’s what they’ve been told.
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That’s exemplified perfectly when the Bear Jew asks Sgt. Werner Rachtman if he got his Iron Cross medal for “killin’ Jews,” and he counters that he got it for “bravery” – right before the Bear Jew caves his head in with a baseball bat.
1 "You know somethin’, Utivich?"
“I think this just might be my masterpiece.”
There are a couple of meta, self-aware lines in Inglourious Basterds that point to Quentin Tarantino’s intentions with the film. He thought it was going to be his masterpiece, and so he threw in a few not-so-subtle hints. During the screening of the film-within-a-film Nation’s Pride, Hitler leans over to tell director Joseph Goebbels, “Extraordinary, my dear. Simply extraordinary. This is your finest film yet.”
But the most obvious suggestion is the final line of the film, uttered by Brad Pitt’s Aldo Raine after carving one last swastika into Hans Landa’s forehead: “You know somethin’, Utivich? I think this just might be my masterpiece.”