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Kill Bill and Once Upon A Time In America

* Contains heavy spoilers for Once Upon A Time In America*

I recommend to watch the film before reading on, both for spoiler reasons and for the fact that it’s a great film. Anyways:

Is it just me or does these two films have A LOT in common? Obviously QT is a fan of Leone, and he can even be seen on the DVD extras, but there’s a lot more.

  • Both films clock in at about 4 hours.
  • Both films suffered for their lengths (OUATIA being edited down from 230 to 130 minutes, Kill Bill split in two films).
  • Both premiered in Cannes in their full version, which was later restored.
  • Both use a lot of images as opposed to dialogue (although the dialogue becomes more frequent in both throughout).
  • Both are heavily unchronological.
  • Both are epic films, but allow themselves to use very broad humour (the jokes in OUATIA were basically American Pie in the 30s).
  • Both ends with an anti-climactic showdown between two close persons, where one of them betrayed the other in the past but ultimatily gives in or lets the other get close in the showdown. These two persons were also previously part of a group with strong bonds to each other.
  • Both are extremely violent and use rape scenes for humour (although the last one in OUATIA is anything but funny).
  • Both feature music by Ennio Morricone.

    Maybe I’m outta my league. I’m now saying Tarantino ripped of Leone and anything, it just struck me how much they resembled each other. Opinions?

Hmm, I think most of the points you mentioned are really vague. You seem to imply that QT made a four hour movie just as a tribute to OUATIA. I don’t know, I can’t see that much of a connection between the two.

No, I didn’t say Tarantino made a tribute to it. I just said there are a lot of similar things between the two, yet they doesn’t resemble each other at all. It’s not like comparing one action movie to another, that would be to obvious.

totally right, my friend. that’s a nice observation!

Tarantino is the mix of Leone and Hawks with a bit of Scorsese in him. and Exploitation film directors

Yeah. I see a lot of Leone in all of Tarantino’s film. The pace is always extremely slow, for example. Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs are anything but fast-paced. I find that kind of influence to be much more interesting than the more obvious things.

I don’t see a lot of Scorsese in his films, although I realise that there certainly is some, I just can’t pinpoint what at the top of my head.

And how has Hawks influenced him? I’ve only seen Rio Bravo and the obvious element there is the “hang-out with the characters, get to know them, fuck the plot”-thing.

I think the way QT uses music in his films is inspired alot by Scorsese’s style. Also the look of the red neon bars in QTs films are definitely inspired by the bars in Scorsese films. Some of the quick editing QT uses is from Scorsese. One specific tracking shot in Death Proof reminded me of a similar shot in Mean Streets. Overall I still dont know if QTs films have a solid connection to Scorsese. Their films are pretty different IMO.

Id say visually QT is more inspired by Brian DePalma. The way he uses long tracking shots, his dark humor and his action sequences (see the car crash) are very DePalma-esque.

I think QTs inspired by Hawks’ films in that his characters are very talkative. Like Hawks’ women, QTs women characters are usually sharply intelligent and strong willed. The Hawksian themes of honor and loyalty are prevalent in much of QTs work. QT was such a big fan of Hawks he said he learned how to be a man from watching his films as a kid.

QTs connection to Leone comes up his all his films. Whether its the Leone style close ups, the Mexican standoffs or those quiet moments with a simple natural noise (The water pump in Kill Bill, the oil pump in death Proof). That great Leone crosscutting/GBU Morricone music when Bea first sees Bill outside the church.