How Quentin Tarantino Figured Out How To Kill Hitler In Inglourious Basterds

Inglorious Bastards Hitler

Quentin Tarantino has made some of the most interesting and unique films of the modern day but none of them may quite as unusual as Inglorious Basterds. It's a World War II movie that takes an alternate history take on the key moment in world history. It's one thing to make minor tweaks to history to make a story work, but Inglorious Basterds takes things much further than that by actually killing off Adolf Hitler in a way utterly unrelated to actual history.

Recently, in advance of the premiere of Once Upon A Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and revealed that the decision to kill off Hitler in a movie theater came during a late night writing session for Inglorious Basterds where he came up against the question of what to do about the Nazi leader, and decided to simply take the easy way out. According to Tarantino...

So, the thing is though, I was like, ‘Well I don’t want it to be a double, that’s always a bummer whenever that happens in a movie. I’ve seen that before. And I don’t think they should sneak him out of the back, so, what am I gonna do?’ It’s like 4 o’clock in the morning; I’m writing by myself. And then I finally decide, ‘Just kill him.’ So, I took a piece of paper and I wrote on it, ‘Just f-ing kill him.’

When you've got Hitler trapped in a movie theater, you need to figure out what's going to happen to him. It's not exactly a moment to ignore. It seems Tarantino considered some ideas that wouldn't have necessarily messed with the historical record quite so much, like having it not actually be Hitler, or seeing Hitler escape. However, Tarantino didn't love those ideas, and finally came upon a radical idea, just let the Basterds kill him.

The idea of killing Hitler off didn't make it directly into the script. Tarantino says that he decided to sleep on the idea before deciding if it was the right call...

And I put it by my bedside table and went to bed. And when I woke up the next morning, I figured I would look at the piece of paper and realize: Was it a good idea or a bad idea? After I had a night’s sleep I read it and I go, ‘It’s a GREAT idea.’

Most fans of Inglorious Basterds would probably agree that it's a great idea. The fact that the movie doesn't feel obligated to actual history at the very least allows it to be as creative with the rest of its story as it wants to be.

Quentin Tarantino's new movie, Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood also deals with actual historical events, but also inserts a great deal of fiction inside them. You can check out the director's full comments on both films in the clip below.

Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood hits theaters tomorrow.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.