The “Inglourious Basterds” in Quentin Tarantino’s lushly-photographed World War II epic are a posse of blood-splattering Jewish-American soldiers turned Nazi slayers. These Reservoir dogs-of-war, led by Brad Pitt as Lieutenant Aldo Raine, lend levity (and gore) to Tarentino’s new movie, which opens Aug. 21 and blends the stories of a vengeful French Jew (Melanie Laurent) who has witnessed the murder of her entire family, with other plots against the Reich. There has been much debate among critics about whether Tarentino’s new film is muddled or a masterpiece. But even if the movie is declined Oscar nominations, much pleasure may be gleaned by watching the Jewish soldiers kick Nazi butt, Tarantino-style. Here are five of the craziest basterd moments from the movie:
- Brad Pitt’s hick colonel character is nicknamed “Aldo the Apache” for his predilection for a particular kind of torture: “Every man under my command owes me 100 Nazi scalps,” he tells the basterds before they’re deployed behind enemy lines. “And I want my scalps. And all y’all will git me, 100 Nazi scalps, taken from the heads of 100 dead Nazis, or you will die tryin’.” They do their best to oblige.
- The basterds bust the psychotic German Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz, who has butchered numerous Gestapo agents, out of captivity, after blasting away the requisite number of guards. “We’re a big fan of your work,” Aldo tells Hugo, who in his estimation, however, is still an amateur. “We all came here to see if you want to go pro?”
- In one scene, Hitler (played by Martin Wuttke) goes ape about the basterd nicknamed The Bear Jew (Eli Roth), who has instilled fear among Germans because of his affinity for bashing Nazi brains in with a baseball bat. We first meet the Bear Jew as Pitt interrogates a German sergeant, ordering him to “Take your Weinerschnitzel-lickin’ finger and point out on this map what we want to know.” When the sergeant tells Aldo to f—-himself and his “Jew dogs,” Pitt gestures to the entrance of a tunnel from which we hear menacing booming sounds: the sound of Bear Jew’s bat pounding the walls. Suddenly the Bear (a.k.a. Sgt. Donny Donowitz) emerges: Eli Roth looking eye-bulging nuts, wearing a mezuzah around his neck as he approaches the German and caresses his face with the bat before he …you can leave the rest to your imagination. Appropriately, the Bear Jew— perhaps the bloodiest of the basterds—is played by Eli Roth, who is also the director of the super-grisly “Hostel” films.
- Even though the French-Jewish heroine, Shoshanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent), is not a basterd (her role is basically played straight and adds gravitas to the film), she can be made an honorary one for her actions while in hiding as the non-Jewish owner of a Paris cinema. When a young Nazi war hero admires her selection of German films, she tartly replies: “I’m French. We respect directors in our country.” And when he keeps pestering her: “If you’re so desperate for a French girlfriend, try Vichy.” MAJOR SPOILER ALERT: In one climactic sequence, a close-up of Shoshana’s maniacally laughing face projects on the giant screen of her cinema, as flames leap up beneath her image and Nazi leaders in the audience are bar-be-qued alive.
- When an SS officer nicknamed The Jew Hunter (Christoph Waltz) cuts a deal with the Allies, the basterds can’t stand that he’ll be able to remove his Nazi uniform and live a respectable life in the United States. So they tell him they’re going to give him something he can’t take off – and gleefully carve a swastika into his forehead.