10 Best Inglourious Basterds Scenes That We Still Think Of Today
After making three crime movies, a carsploitation slasher, and a two-part martial arts epic, Quentin Tarantino turned his sights to the war genre for his next movie, Inglourious Basterds. Tarantino worked on the script for years. At one point, the story was so densely packed that he considered turning it into a TV miniseries. He eventually got the script down to a shootable length and turned it into one of his best movies.
From the intense opening standoff on the LaPadite dairy farm to the climactic deviation from historical accuracy, Inglourious Basterds has plenty of unforgettable scenes that fans are still talking about today.
10 The LaPadite Dairy Farm
Tarantino has said that the opening scene of Inglourious Basterds is the greatest scene he’s ever written – a title that previously belonged to the Sicilian scene from True Romance.
In the movie’s opening minutes, a peaceful dairy farm in Nazi-occupied France is intruded by a sinister S.S. colonel – Hans Landa, played by an Oscar-winning Christoph Waltz – on the hunt for Jewish refugees. The scene is a masterclass in building tension.
9 Lt. Aldo Raine Assembles The Basterds
After the opening credits of Inglourious Basterds, Lt. Aldo Raine lines up the titular goon squad and outlines their mission: to go behind enemy lines disguised as civilians and kill as many German soldiers as possible as the war winds down.
Brad Pitt’s charismatic performance as Aldo gets off to a great start in this scene, introducing his Southern charms as well as his penchant for bending the rules.
8 The Bear Jew’s Introduction
When the Basterds capture a German soldier and he refuses to give them the information they want, Aldo invites Sgt. Donny “the Bear Jew” Donowitz out to play. Ennio Morricone’s “The Surrender (La Resa)” sets the stage for the character’s gruesome debut beautifully.
Donny clatters his baseball bat along the wall of a dark tunnel as he slowly approaches the German soldier with the intention of beating him to death.
7 Shoshanna Has Lunch With Landa
When Shoshanna is invited to a lunch with some of the top German brass, she can’t turn it down. So, she has to sit at a table and enjoy small-talk and eat with a bunch of fascist leaders who want her dead.
The lunch goes okay until they’re joined by another guest: Col. Hans Landa, the man who had her entire family killed. Like the audience, Shoshanna is on the edge of her seat, fearing that Landa will recognize her.
6 The Name Game
There’s a long dialogue-driven stretch in Inglourious Basterds that works brilliantly because of the ticking bomb under the table. For all intents and purposes, it’s just a few rounds of “The Name Game” in a basement tavern.
But a couple of them are Allied spies and there’s a German movie star undercover with them. Audiences spend this scene on the edge of their seats, worried that their cover will be blown.
5 Shoshanna Shoots Zoller (& Vice Versa)
Fredrick Zoller, the focus of the propaganda film Nation’s Pride, takes a liking to Shoshanna Dreyfus in Inglourious Basterds. As a Jewish refugee whose entire family was slaughtered around her by the S.S., she’s not exactly infatuated with a man described as “the German Sergeant York.”
During the premiere of Nation’s Pride, Zoller loses his patience with Shoshanna and she shoots him in the back. When she checks to see if he’s okay, he suddenly turns around and shoots her. She falls back with a burst of blood in slow-motion.
The Basterds go undercover as Italians to the Nation’s Pride premiere, except their Italian isn’t great and their accents are even worse. Aldo doesn’t even do an accent — he just says, “Gorlami,” over and over again in his thick Southern drawl.
The absurdist hilarity of this sequence is an unexpected turn given that it’s about two concurrent assassination attempts on Adolf Hitler. In this scene, a World War II caper briefly becomes a Marx Brothers screwball comedy.
3 “The Face Of Jewish Vengeance”
Unbeknownst to the Basterds, while they’re plotting to blow up the theater, Shoshanna has her own plan to burn it to the ground. Right before the fire is lit, Shoshanna appears on the screen.
She tells the Nazis she’s about to kill, “This is the face of Jewish vengeance.” As the fire engulfs the screen, Shoshanna laughs hysterically.
2 The Alternate Death Of Adolf Hitler
In the years since Inglourious Basterds hit theaters, alternate history has become one of the defining hallmarks of Tarantino’s filmmaking, just like nonlinear storytelling and graphic violence.
Tarantino’s revisionist version of World War II changes the way Hitler died. Instead of taking his own life in a bunker, he was shot in the face by a couple of Jewish American soldiers.
1 “I Think This Just Might Be My Masterpiece.”
Just when it looks as though Landa is going to get off scot-free and emerge erroneously as the hero of the Second World War, Aldo double-crosses him, killing his associate and carving a swastika into Landa’s head so he can never escape from his sadistic past.
Tarantino uses Aldo as a mouthpiece to declare Inglourious Basterds his masterpiece. When Aldo is done carving in Landa’s forehead, he says, “You know something, Utivich? I think this just might be my masterpiece.”
NEXT: Inglourious Basterds: 10 Best Movie References, Ranked