INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS Fits Perfectly into Quentin Tarantino’s Movie Universe and Influences His Entire Filmography?

     May 30, 2012


By now, most Quentin Tarantino fans are aware of the connections interlaced throughout all of his films.  John Travolta’s Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction is the brother of Michael Madsen’s Vic Vega in Reservoir Dogs, Harvey Keitel’s Mr. White worked with Alabama from True Romance, the plot basis for Kill Bill is described as the synopsis for a TV series in Pulp Fiction, etc.

Now the epiphany that Eli Roth’s character of Donny Donowitz aka “The Bear Jew” in Inglourious Basterds is the father of the movie producer Lee Donowitz in True Romance has inspired a truly mind-blowing theory that the rest of the films (chronologically speaking) in Tarantino’s filmography take place in a world where [Inglorious Basterds spoiler] World War II came to an end when Adolf Hitler was brutally murdered in a movie theater by the Basterds.  Hit the jump for more.

eli-roth-inglourious-basterds-posterThis initial connection was brought up in an article on Cracked, but a poster on Reddit (via David Chen’s Twitter) has more eloquently summed up what this means for Tarantino’s movieverse:

As it turns out, Donny Donowitz, ‘The Bear Jew’, is the father of movie producer Lee Donowitz from True Romance – which means that, in Tarantino’s universe, everybody grew up learning about how a bunch of commando Jews machine gunned Hitler to death in a burning movie theater, as opposed to quietly killing himself in a bunker.

Because World War 2 ended in a movie theater, everybody lends greater significance to pop culture, hence why seemingly everybody has Abed-level knowledge of movies and TV. Likewise, because America won World War 2 in one concentrated act of hyperviolent slaughter, Americans as a whole are more desensitized to that sort of thing. Hence why Butch is unfazed by killing two people, Mr. White and Mr. Pink take a pragmatic approach to killing in their line of work, Esmerelda the cab driver is obsessed with death, etc.

You can extrapolate this further when you realize that Tarantino’s movies are technically two universes – he’s gone on record as saying that Kill Bill and From Dusk ‘Til Dawn take place in a ‘movie movie universe’; that is, they’re movies that characters from the Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, and Death Proof universe would go to see in theaters. (Kill Bill, after all, is basically Fox Force Five, right on down to Mia Wallace playing the title role.)

What immediately springs to mind about Kill Bill and From Dusk ‘Til Dawn? That they’re crazy violent, even by Tarantino standards. These are the movies produced in a world where America’s crowning victory was locking a bunch of people in a movie theater and blowing it to bits – and keep in mind, Lee Donowitz, son of one of the people on the suicide mission to kill Hitler, is a very successful movie producer.

Basically, it turns every Tarantino movie into alternate reality sci fi. I love it so hard.

It’s a kind of mind-blowing theory and it definitely brings about another way of viewing the rest of Tarantino’s filmography.  The question is, how will Django Unchained fit into this timeline?  Will it be in the Tarantino universe or the “movie movie universe?”  Could we possibly see an early iteration of the Red Apple cigarettes?  Though Tarantino’s first and most important goal is to make a great standalone movie, I’ll be interested to see if/how he throws a connection to the rest of his films into the upcoming Spaghetti Western.


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  • Anon

    Not to mention the character Texas Ranger Earl McGraw is in both “From Dusk Till Dawn” AND “Kill Bill Vol. 2″. But if “Kill Bill Vol. 2″ is a movie movie then I guess Jules isn’t Rufus, the piano player, as some have speculated.

    • Anon

      Also McGraw is in “Death Proof” and “Planet Terror”. So I guess McGraw is kind of the signifier that the Tarantino movie is a MOVIE movie.

      • Rick

        I seem to remember Tarantino saying that Texas Ranger Earl McGraw is the only character who can cross over into both universes, which makes him that much cooler

    • Aaron

      Esmerelda the cab driver has her own Tarantino produced film, “Curled”, with a tv appareance of George Clooney and Tarantino as the fugitives of Dusk till Dawn, the Gecko brothers.

  • VicManMan

    I would argue that Inglourious Basterds is based in the ultra violent “movie movie” universe based on actual historical event’s in the regular “Tarantino” universe. It should also be noted that Robert Rodriquez’ El Mariachi films belong in the same universe as Kill Bill. That pimp that the Bride visits for info lives in one of the towns El Mariachi visits in Mexico.

    • Velocirapto

      Funny you mention that pimp from Kill Bill. That same actor is Sheriff Earl McGraw!

  • oaktreeradar

    Quentin should make a team up movie with all his surviving characters and it would be called the revengers.

    • SP1234

      Hahaha!!!! That’s a good one! :)

  • Collin V.

    Very interesting connections…

  • Tyler

    Wow, this is amazing, mind blowing stuff. Easily the best article I’ve read on a film site….ever.


  • daath

    wow thanks for the article, i only knew about the connection between pulp fiction and reservoir dogs, the fact that what happens in inglorious basterds is so relevant to understand the psychology of the US population in previous films is mindblowing

  • sense 11

    :) Great Stuff

  • TPF1138

    “I’m gonna’ walk the earth, like Kane from Kung Fu.” – Jules in Pulp Fiction.

    Loving all this Meta speculation stuff, but seriously why hasn’t Quentin made that movie.

    Samuel L Jackson as a badass Kung Fu drifter, like a modern day Yojimbo. Come on!!!!

    • Judson


    • Pottermagic

      Surely he did make the Film, but with Uma as the badass Kung Fu drifter, who just happened to be in Pulp Fiction !!

  • AlexHeyNa

    Somebody was on Reddit today…

    • thrawn2071

      Came here to say this.

    • Dscrote

      Maybe so, but at least he gave credit where it’s due.

  • Stinky

    Kind of playing fast and loose with the phrase “mind-blowing”, eh?

  • Carlos

    So does Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction become an actress and portray the Bride in Kill Bill?

    • marrowbonez

      She already was an actress in Pulp Fiction (sort of). She was in a pilot.

  • JIM


    • varelax

      and you write these films in CAPS LOCK?

      • JIM


    • Tyler

      Hey, JIM, I don’t mean to rain on your highly intelligent (cough) parade, but it’s you’re, not your.

  • murphyslaw

    The Donny/Lee Donowitz relation is not mind blowing news at all, its very old news. I remember making that connection (or at least reading about it) back when Inglorious Basterds was released in ’09. Saying that the rest of his movies take place in an alternative Tarantinoverse is a little much, but I guess all the Kevin Smith movies (except for recently) take place in their own universe: The Askewniverse. As for this being an ‘epiphany,’ you’re very late to the uptake, Collider. What would be more interesting is trying to explain how his most underrated film, Jackie Brown, fits into the Tarantinoverse.

    • Ponce

      I believe that’s a separate universe, being that JB comes from Elmore Leonard and not Tarantino.

      • randal

        QT changed the characters and story jackie brown quite a bit, enough that i’d say it’s QT’s own

  • Mickey and Mallory

    I wonder if anything from Natural Born Killers is associated with this “metaverse”, since he was one of the writers…


    • Thundersauresrex

      Yeah natural born killers if i remember right has a lot of connections. The Scagnetti i believe was sizemores characters name as well as connected to the Vega character in resevior Dogs some how. like a parole officer? i think. i then the dude that is tortured in Resevior Dogs Nash someone related to him maybe his brother is the officer that they torture in natural born killers. and as far as Jackie brown goes it borrows heavily from exploitation films and is genre piece where Kill Bill Borrows from Westerns and Martial Arts heavily where Dusk till Dawn steals from Horror so Brown could easily fit in with the MOVIE within A MOVIE front in this world.

    • Chris

      Yes. Sgagnetti (not sure if spelled right), the cop chasing them, is also mentioned in Reservoir Dogs, as the Mr. Blonde’s parole officer.

  • Jack Edmondson

    The connection doesn’t make any sense though. Why would Mr. Brown be talking about The Great Escape in the opening scene of Reservoir Dogs when there was no war to escape from? And also, if WWII ended like that, perhaps the Cold War never started, and so the Vietnam War never began. So Butch’s dad wouldn’t have died in the Vietnam War. But, let’s say it does make sense. Suppose Hitler does die that way, but then the war doesn’t end. Somebody else takes over the Third Reich. What if they decide, “Hey, I don’t think it’s a very good idea to fight a two-front war, so let’s finish wiping out Britain, and THEN attack Russia,” and then the Germans win the war, and take over the world. What can we extrapolate from this? That everybody in Quentin Tarantino’s universe is a Nazi. This would explain why they’re so violent and so free with racial slurs, I suppose.

    • Mack Medmondson

      You’re kind of all over the place…

      WWII still happened, the European Front just ended a year earlier because all the Nazi high command was killed. There wouldn’t be anyone to take over the Nazi party because of such a high Nazi attendance at the movie theater. Germany had already started a two front war at the time of the premier. There was still the Pacific Front that would end the same way except maybe sooner.

      Communism still happened and the US’s relationship with Russia would still be on the rocks. So the entire cold war would happen, except maybe more violent in Korea and Vietnam.

  • zillabeast

    God I hope QT gets his crack at GODZILLA one day.

  • Dscrote

    I’m glad that no one else threw this out already, but wouldn’t it be badass if Django was Jules great-grandfather? I couldn’t think of a better tie into the Tarantinoverse, something as offhand as a remark about the Winsfeilds.

    • THGhost

      Now THAT would be brilliant. :)

      • Stasz

        Wouldn’t it be more appropiate to have Samuel L Jackson’s character in Django be the great-great-grandfather ?

        I wonder how this link could be established , but now I’m just guessing stuff.

        I mean , the black characters in Django apparently don’t have last names , due to the slavery I guess…

        So creating links between all these characters and movies in Tarantino’s universe will be a new sport from now on for anyone who will read articles similar to this one.

        I mean you can go on and on about it !
        For instance in Django you can make some guesses about Christoph Waltz’ character as well ;)

        Loving it hard indeed :)

        About the Scagnetti reference I thought this was obvious , right ?

        It’s the movie-within-a-movie thing that sounded like news in my ears.
        I think that’s damn brilliant.

  • TrippSmyth

    Does anyone remember the Gecko brothers were also referenced in a movie called “Curdled”? Where does that fit since it has Angela Jones (who played Esmarelda Villalobos)? Is she an actress who moonlights a cab driver? What about the El Ray references? A character has that name in “Planet Terror” and that’s where the Gecko brothers are headed in “From Dusk Till Dawn”. Just thought I would throw those out there!

  • tarek

    Tarantino’s movies are all the same cabbage soup. A Cliché of Cliché

  • dellamorte1872

    i’m g;ad someone drew the connection with the SCAGNETTI character from NATURAL BORN KILLERS + RESERVOIR DOGS. he must have a sordid group of offenders if hes the parole officer of a bank robber as well as the head detective who caught two serial killers. odd but it IS possible

    • Agent_Black

      There are 2 Scagnetti’s – Jack and Seymore. The former us a cop and the latter a parole officer, if my memory serves me. I assume they are related, like Vince and Vic Vega.

  • dellamorte1872

    its a STRETCH and a half to TRY and connect FIX FORCE FIVE + KILL BILL. that’s a but much lol. but i like how he continually references past characters in unique ways

  • dellamorte1872


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  • Jon

    I call FULL ON BS on this. This is just the kind of self serving bull shit somebody like QT would love for you to believe. But retcon-ing you’re movies together through some cheap vagaries and then letting the intertubes fill in with wild speculation doesn’t mean you had what would have been brilliant forethought.

    The only show I’ve ever seen do this both subtly and purposefully was Arrested Development. They would drop all kind of little hints and jokes that didn’t make sense until the following season.

  • Graham

    That’s really cool, kinda like Stephen King does with his multiverse.

  • Spock Jenkins

    “Hence why” does not a well written article make.

    “Hence” alone will suffice. Look up the meaning and usage of “hence”.

    The “Why” part is entirely redundant.

  • Taylor

    When was the explosion at the movie premiere (that killed Donnie along with Adolf and the high command, remember) meant to have taken place? Presumably before Hitler’s real-life death date in 1945…So the math doesn’t really quiiiite work since Saul “Lee Donowitz” Rubinek was born in 1948. But given that we don’t know who Lee’s mother is supposed to be or where he was born, he could have been conceived while the Basterds were in Europe and of course the actor’s age vs. the character’s age is easily fudgable by a few years.

  • Ken

    I think redundancies are pointless and unnecessary.

  • Kyhan

    But wait… In Kill Bill 2, Bill and his brother talk about how his brother sold his hitori honzo sword to a pawn shop, explaining why there was the Katana in Pulp Fiction… How’s that possible if they’re in separate universes within Tarintino’s movies?

    • Mr.Orange

      He never pawned it. When the bride is fightingin his trailer she finds the sword in his closet.

  • Robert

    “Fox Force Five” doesn’t sound much like the plot of Kill Bill to me. More likely, it was inspired by the TV series Codename: Foxfire, which not only has a similar title, but was basically the exact show described by Mia Wallace.

  • Ryan

    I like how ‘Jackie Brown’ isn’t mentioned in this whole thing, its probably because that movie is in the ‘sucky movie universe.’

    Also, Christophe Watlz plays a German bounty hunter in ‘Django Unchained’, thats a pretty easy connection to his ‘Jew Hunter’ character in ‘Inglorious Basterds.’

    • randal

      sucky? jackie brown is obviously superior to kill bill. i mean, i love all of them but clearly pulp and jackie were his masterpieces. kill bill was pretty silly

      • Ryan

        Maybe you’re right, I personally just found Jackie Brown to be the only Tarantino movie that I wasn’t thoroughly entertained by.

  • Josh

    The theories fun and all but Kill Bill isn’t really that much like Fox Force Five. Also how would WW2 ending earlier by blowing up a single theater make America more desensitized than the reality of the situation in which WW2 was prolonged ending in America DROPPING NUCLEAR BOMBS ON CIVILIANS?

    • Joel

      Sigh… the bombs were dropped on Japan AFTER every other Axis power had surrendered and ONLY because Japan refused to surrender and so the US gov decided dropping 2 bombs is going to kill fewer people than having the Japanese pointlessly fighting out a war that they were losing anyway. It’s not moral, but it had little to do with what was happening in Germany.

    • momo_tun

      USA = Peace Or is it ?

  • lonelygrave

    Django is going to end up in the “movie movie” universe. My proof has to with inter-related characters in Tarantino’s films. Waltz will play Dr. King Shultz who I am guess is going to be an old relative of Paula Shultz.
    The Bride is buried in “The Lonely Grave of Paula Shultz”

  • Tim Boone

    I do find Tarantino’s connections interesting, he’s probably my favorite filmmaker, and I love stuff like this. However, even any casual fan should know that the ending of Inglourious Basterds was not even thought of until the movie was actually well into production, let alone the idea that he had planned all of his earlier movies to spring off the end of Inglourious Basterds, so I think some of this a little too much of a stretch, though I do enjoy the other connections that I’d always noticed in the past. Just sayin.

    • randal

      that’s funny, cause i read the script before shooting started, and everything that was on the page, was later on screen. QT doesn’t start with an unfinished script, and he almost never deviates from the script. seriously, who told you this?

      • Tim Boone

        Who told ‘me’ this was Tarantino in one or more interviews that I’ve seen awhile ago. Nice try buddy. And I wouldn’t doubt if it were more than the Vega brothers and Possibly the Scagnetti brothers that were supposed to be connected, but I haven’t heard anything about it, and I have followed all this shit for years, but I could be wrong, but I’ve personally been under the impression that “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction” were in Tarantino’s “Realer Than Real” universe; “Natural Born Killers”, “True Romance”, and “From Dusk Til Dawn” were originally in his “Movie Movie” universe; “Jackie Brown was Tarantino’s perception of Elmore Leonard’s universe; obviously “Kill Bill” and “Inglourious Basterds” belong in the “Movie Movie” universe as well.
        And again, I never read the script before shooting, I would never do that with a Tarantino movie, even if he personally handed me the script, unless he wanted me to act in it, but I have been under the impression, through various Tarantion interviews, that he came up with the idea for the ending of “Inglourious Basterds” during the shoot, and while you claim he may deviate from the original script, I’m very skeptical of your actual knowledge because although that technically may be the case, from what I gather he is continuously writing on set and changing things around, and not only that, but having various versions of what the characters say in each scene..I’m not so sure about the latter, but I am definitely sure of the former..Anyway, what do I know? More than some here apparently lol ^_^ Peace

  • Tim Boone

    By the way, aren’t any of you aware that most of these ‘connections’, in reality is just Tarantino recylcing names he likes? Some of them are meant to be connected, I think, well Earl MacGraw obviously moves through several movies, but as far as most if not all the other ‘connections’, other than the Vega Brothers, I think the majority of them are just unrelated characters who have the same last name because Tarantino liked the names. I can see how the Scagnetti brothers Might be intentionally connected, but I don’t know about some of these other so called connections mentioned. I think this article could have honestly been more entertaining to die hard Tarantino fans if there was more effort put into the research of facts about these things; I know what I know about this because of interviews of Tarantino I viewed a long time ago, and honestly I’m surprised someone would write an article about this without doing more research. Having said that, I think it is an interesting idea and there was some thought put into , but mostly I just like this particular topic, and I would love to see it written more accurately. It was well written and interesting though, I’m just too big of a Tarantino fan to be turned on by much of the inaccurate content, nice try though, seriously!

  • dylan

    I hate this article so hard.

  • TimesTalks

    QT has stated that Kill Bill was the first film he’s done that takes place outside of his “regular” universe; the first movie movie. I was surprised that it has been intentional past the obvious connections in True Romance, Reservoir Dogs, and Pulp Fiction.

    5:18 of this clip from a TimesTalks while promoting Basterds:

  • Tim Boone

    Let me clarify: I think Tarantino has done both; I think some of the connections were coincidences because he was recylcing names, and I think that maybe he liked the idea of these connections and started using them intentionally..Just a thought..I’ve had so many thoughts on this type of thing over the years that I’m ashamed I’m thinking about it so vaguely at the moment, but this is a moment that most alcholics Don’t refer to as a moment of clarity ^_^ I think me and the writer of this article are on the same boat. And that boat carried Django over here and Tarantino’s actual intention was to have everything link back to this article right here ^_^

  • Vinícius

    I liked this theory a lot, but if that’s true, then it would totally destroy the theory that Sam Jackson’s character in Kill Bill 2 (the church’s organ player) is Jules from Pulp Fiction, that went into his journey of self discovery and ended up there.

    And wasn’t the sheriff investigating the murder in the Church in Kill Bill the same guy that died in From Dusk Till Dawn?


    So did Stuntman Mike (Death Proof) do stuntwork in Lee Donowicz’s films? Or Zoe Bell maybe?

  • Aaron

    Esmerelda the cab driver has her own Tarantino produced film, “Curled”, with a tv appareance of George Clooney and Tarantino as the fugitives of Dusk till Dawn, the Gecko brothers.


  • Maven

    Okay, let me state off the bat, I knew every single one of these references w/o even blinking. But, even I was like, “And I care, why?”

    • Phoenix

      But hey, you cared enough to take the time to post your apathy, so I guess that’s something 9_9

    • $29528119

      You must be very smart. Congratulations on letting the internet know.

  • Brett

    I would love to hear Tarantino speak to this. If it’s true, he continues to establish himself as perhaps the most creative filmmaker of all time. Don’t take that to mean best, or greatest, but as far as creativity goes I honestly don’t think he can be matched.

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  • jadea

    One thing i noticed about Tarantino’s latest film is that they somehow incoprorate a plot where a minority or a “weaker group in society” take violent revenge, “Kill Bill” where an “strong independent woman” takes revenge on a bunch of men, “Inglorious Bastards” about jews taking revenge on Nazis and now “Django Unchained” about a black man going around killing whites.

    Just on a side note, the doubble standard of modern consensus scares me. At a point in the movie Django is asked if he enjoys his profession as a bounty hunter and he answers “I kill white people and get payed for it, what is there not to like?”. Change him for a white lead character and switch the word white with black in that sentence and this movie would’ve never hit the theatres. Heck, they might’ve thrown Quentin into prison!
    Other movies have been accused for being racist simply having a villain resembling a black man such as with Darth Maul, or the Oliphant people in lord of the rings resembling arabs.

  • James

    Meanwhile, in reality, the U.S. actually won by utterly obliterating two entire Japanese cities. Try again.

    • Matt

      Consider the psychological difference between shooting someone you “know” directly in the face and dropping bombs on anonymous citizens. The first one is more personal and thus may carry more weight.

    • $29528119

      Try this one: The USSR basically defeated Germany, with the assistance of the US and Britain providing diversions. Then the US dropped bombs on Japan to force them to surrender without having to use the aid of the USSR.

  • Brad

    So, if Grindhouse is a part of the Movie Movie universe, I assume that means the fake trailers included in the theatrical release are movies themselves in the ‘movie movie’ universe? That would mean the spinoff Machete is also a part of the Quentin Tarantino Movie Movie universe, which, as the central character is in the Spy Kids films, the Spy Kids series is also a part of the Quentin Tarantino movie movie universe? I dunno, maybe I’m looking into this too much.

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  • Jim

    Love the article, but I think it’s important to note that whilst there are connections, the conclusions you have jumped to come in the absence of hard data which makes it likely that you are wrong. You’ve also failed to take into account much of what Tarantino has himself said about some of his characters. For example, by QT’s own admission (he said this on Graham Norton’s talk show in the UK a couple of weeks ago), Vic Vega, played by Michael Madsen, was supposed to appear in Pulp fiction being played by Michael Madsen who agreed to be in Pulp Fiction two years before QT finished writing it. Sadly, when it came time to shoot Madsen had already committed himself to another movie, so instead QT cast John Travolta as Vincent Vega, Vic’s brother. Therefore this linkage at least is clearly out of necessity rather than out of any great plan for decades worth of story telling. Having said that, clearly Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs do take place in the same universe. Good article, even if not brilliantly researched. Here is another take on it from wired which makes fewer leaps of faith…

    • $29528119

      “whilst” = just one example of how you’re trying WAY too hard to make a point that’s merely an opinion.

    • dhsimmons

      Vic Vega can’t be a character in both movies because he dies in both of them.

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  • Galileo Figaro

    What was missed in all of this was the fact that natural born killers was being written by Christian slater’s character in true romance as a romanticized/highly fictionalized version of what was occurring at the time in the movie. (Switch Gary oldman’s pimp with Rodney dangerfield’s molesting father, etc.)

  • Chuck

    June 2, 2014 
    2:09 pm

    Why would a super power country like USA ally itself so closely with a foreign COUNTRY as small and insignificant as Israel? And secondly, why does every American president kiss the wailing wall? Yet no Israeli president has ever kissed the crucifix or Holy Catholic Bible.
    I think Tarantino makes awesome propaganda movies. We should have the same Tarantinoesque type movies released in North America with a Muslim perspective.
    I wonder how the Jews would react to seeing an Arab historical revisionist fantasy movie where all the Jews in Palestine get wiped out by a Muslim-Apache hit squad.
    Only instead of collecting scalps, they collect bloody yamakkas. Hateful movies breed hateful audiences. Tarantino is playing with his toy soldiers.

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