Characters: Inglourious Basterds
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Played By: Brad Pitt, Eli Roth, Til Schweiger, Gedeon Burkhard, B. J. Novak, Omar Doom, Samm Levine, Paul Rust, Michael BacallA group of soldiers who have set out to put the fear of God into Nazi Germany. Started as eight Jewish-Americans, but were later joined by the German Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz after he murders 13 Gestapo officers and the Basterds break him out of jail.
"We will be cruel to the Germans, and through our cruelty they will know who we are."
- Badass Crew: It's not even funny how much fear they put into the Nazi party, "butchering them like flies." Hitler even ponders them as "apparitions", able to appear and disappear at will. They're just that good.
- Blood Knight: Going as far as to scalp the soldiers they kill, the Basterds are in France for the sole purpose of killing German soldiers.
- The Dreaded: Always leave a Sole Survivor with a swastika carved into their foreheads to spread the word that they are going around killing Nazis.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: All the members can classify.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Let's see, they hate the Nazis, yet they do several eerily similar actions onto the Nazis that the Nazis do onto Jews and other undesirables, even down to locking them in a room under false pretenses (in a manner of speaking). That fits the trope to a "t". But given that it's eight Jews and a hillbilly versus the entirety of the Nazi Party, it just as much comes across as a darkly satisfying turning the tables.
- Knight Templar: Their mission statement is two words long; "Kill Nazis". However, one of the many (many, many) things that makes them morally dubious is that they do not differentiate between Nazis and non-party German Soldiers. Joined the German army just for the pay, even if you hate the Nazis? Too bad; assuming you survive the Basterds, you're still getting branded with a swastika.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Possibly the best example.
Lt. Aldo "The Apache" Raine
Played By: Brad PittA hilljack from the backwoods of Tennessee. Has a mysterious scar about his neck that is ultimately left to the viewers' imagination. Tasked with instilling God-induced fear into the Germans before the Armada, he puts together the American-Jewish "Basterds" - all too happy to kill him some Nazis.
"Every man here owes me one. Hundred. Nazi. Scalps. And I want my scalps!"
- American Accents: Of the Hillbilly/Appalachian type.
- Anti-Hero: Aldo seems truly dedicated to taking down Hitler and stopping the persecution of European Jews. The killing and torturing is just a bonus.
- Ax-Crazy: He does get off on carving swastikas into the heads of German prisoners-of-war.
- Expy: His speech to the Basterds draws similarities to General George S. Patton.
- Famous Ancestor: Raine mentions he's a direct descendant of well-known mountain man Jim Bridger
- Laughably Evil: He is QUITE entertaining, probably the main reason why his blatant sociopathy is largely ignored by the fanbase. Another reason probably being Pay Evil unto Evil.
- Military Maverick: That fact he mentions having been 'chewed out' before and is still holding the rank of lieutenant probably goes some way to explaining why he is leading an irregular unit on what most people would consider a suicide mission.
- Noodle Incident:
- When he tweaks the deal Landa made with the Allied Command, Raine notes it's not the first time he went against orders.
- How Raine got that scar. He looks like a survivor of a failed hanging, although who hanged him and for what reason is never explained.
- Southern-Fried Private: He hails from Tennessee, although Raine mentions he's got Native American blood in him.
Sgt. Donny "The Bear Jew" Donowitz
Played By: Eli RothMore commonly known as "The Bear Jew", his infamy and brutality is so widespread among German soldiers stationed in France that many actually believe that he is a golem summoned by a vengeful rabbi. In truth, he is a Jewish-American soldier who really likes baseball. Unfortunately, there are no baseballs in Nazi-Occupied France, so he and his bat make do with Nazi melons.
- All There in the Manual: Donny's backstory-flashback, cut from the film but found in the published script, reveals that he specifically enlisted to fight in the war on the condition that he fight Germany, not Japan. Also, his bat is inscribed with names of Jewish friends and family members as their blessings for his revenge.
- Anti-Hero: Donny is truly dedicated to taking down Hitler and stopping the persecution of European Jews. The killing and torturing is just a bonus.
- American Accents: Boston.
- Batter Up: His weapon of choice. He's become infamous among the Nazis for it.
- Blood Knight: Donny loves to kill, and he cannot wait to smash his bat into another human being's face over and over.
- The Dreaded: Among the German military, to the point of being Shrouded in Myth.
- Famous Son: According to Quentin Tarantino, Lee Donowitz is in fact, Donny's son.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Dies in the explosion of the theater in the end.
- Knight Templar: Is decidedly the most eager to torment and slaughter him some Nazis.
- Large Ham: Tends towards Chewing the Scenery a lot in his lines. Like his exaggerated sarcasm when talking about Operation Kino...or his elation after beating Sgt. Rachtmann to death.
- Nightmare Fetishist: His face whilst listening to Raine explain his intentions to the Nazis.
- Red Baron: He becomes knows as the "Bear Jew" among the Nazis.
- Psychotic Smirk: Donny Donowitz gives this off as he approaches the German Commanding Officer to execute him.
- Shrouded in Myth: Nazis believe he's a golem conjured by a Rabbi.
Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz
Played By: Til SchweigerA psychotic serial killer who was, for a time, a German enlisted soldier. He gained infamy after brutally butchering thirteen Gestapo officers, and was promptly on his way to the gallows. But as it turns out, Aldo was a huge fan of his work and wanted him to play for his team. Hugo didn't even have to ponder on the possibility of killing more Nazis.
- A Day in the Limelight: The only Basterd to get a full flashback sequence divulging their backstory.
- Badass: To memetic proportions, with a very hardcore Blaxploitation soundtrack as his Leitmotif.
- Blood Knight: Certainly seems to enjoy that one kill where he choked the Nazi to death with his fist.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Out of the 13 Gestapo officers he killed we saw three. One was suffocated by stuffing a fist into his throat and another repeatedly stabbed in the face through a pillow. The third was just strangled with a piano wire.
- Defector from Decadence: Downplayed in that the Basterds are nearly as decadent as their targets. However, the inscription on his knife translates into "My duty is to my honor", indicating that his rebellion against the Nazis arose out of disgust for their dishonorable crimes.
- The Dreaded: "Everybody in the German army's heard of Hugo Stiglitz...!"
- Heel-Face Turn: Subverted. It's never fully explained why he decided to kill Gestapo officers, but the Basterds heard about it and offered him his freedom in return for helping them. Naturally, he joined up. The film hints that the Gestapo tortured him for some reason, setting him off on his personal Roaring Rampage of Revenge before capture (and rescue by the Basterds).
- The inscription on his knife ("My duty is to my honor") may give a clue as to his rebellion.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: The greatest example in the movie (on the part of sociopath).
- Knife Nut: He has a SS dagger, with the "Loyalty is my honor" inscription.
- Nominal Hero: Hugo has no problems with murder, mutilation, and torture. His targets are Nazis, though, so his interests are aligned with that of the Allied High Command.
- Psycho for Hire: He just seems to like killing.
- Serial Killer: Before joining the Basterds.
- Sociopathic Hero: Straddle between this and Heroic Comedic Sociopath.
- The Stoic"I don't look calm to you?"
- Token Enemy Minority: Former German soldier under the Nazis. Now with the Basterds.
Cpl. Wilhelm Wicki
Played By: Gedeon BurkhardAn Austrian-born Jew, he quickly fled and became an American citizen right around the time when the Nazi party was coming into real prominence. Afterwards, he joined the Basterds to kick a little ass. Acts as the team's translator, cause the Germans are too shit-scared of Stiglitz.
- Defector from Decadence: He's actually Austrian-born.
Pfc. Omar Ulmer
Played By: Omar DoomA Basterd who got roped into Aldo's insane plan of bombing the cinema following the Mexican Standoff turned Blast Out in the pub. He doesn't speak Italian, not that Aldo cares.
- Hidden Depths: He's the only one of the trio who satisfies Landa's ear for Italian despite being the only one who can't speak any.
Pfc. Smithson "The Little Man" Utvich,
Played By: BJ NovakKnown to the Germans as the "Little Man" - even though he's not the smallest of the Basterds - , Utvich is a Basterd who, for some reason, was captured by Landa along with Aldo in the hopes of his scheme succeeding. Despite coming off as timid, he is all too happy to follow Aldo.
"The Germans' nickname for me is "the Little Man"?"
Pfc. Gerold Hirschberg
Played By: Samm LevineA Basterd with a minor role. He's the shortest member of the Basterds
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Doesn't show up again after the scene in which the Basterds and Hicox prepare for the meeting with Von Hammermark
- In the Back: Shoots Private Ludwig when he tries to escape.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In interviews, Samm Levine confirms that Hirschberg survives to the story's end, and written-but-not-filmed closing scenes had himself and other unspecified Basterds meeting up with Lt. Raine and PFC Utivich after they settled things with Col. Hans Landa.
Pfc. Andy Kagan
Played By: Paul Rust
Pfc. Michael Zimmerman
Played By: Michel Bacall
German High Command
The German High Command (Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Goring, and Martin Bormann)
Played By: Martin Wuttke & Sylvester Groth
- Big Bad: Hitler, who else?
Played By: Martin WuttkeIt's that one guy.
- Incoming Ham: "NEIN, NEIN, NEIN, NEIN, NEIN, NEIN!"
Dr. Joseph Goebbels
Played By: Sylvester GrothHitler's Minister of Propaganda, he sees himself as the next (less Jewish) Fritz Lang. He...really isn't.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: As if being the Nazi Minister of Propaganda didn't make him evil enough, he also has a creepy, passive-aggressive handshake.
- Fan Disservice: Thanks for the Goebbels sex scene, Quentin.
- Number Two: to Hitler.
Col. Hans ‘The Jew Hunter’ Landa
Played By: Christoph WaltzA Nazi colonel who is a damn good detective (in his words). Very good at rooting out Jewish families in hiding. This is how he makes the acquaintance of Shoshanna Dreyfus, whose family's death he is responsible for. As fate would have it, he is responsible for the security detail for the film premiere...at Shoshanna's cinema.
"You are now in the hands of the SS. My hands to be exact."
- Affably Evil: He's Wicked Cultured, speaks politely, and cracks jokes. He's also a vicious killer.
- Appropriated Appellation: As seen in the beginning, when he mentions having been given the title of "Jew Hunter," which he finds to be rather catchy. Subverted in the final act, several years later, when he has come to loathe the accolade.
- Awesome by Analysis: He is essentially a Nazi Sherlock Holmes, and may actually see himself as such (he insists that he's a "detective", and a damn good one; and he even has a gavel).
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: With a predilection for dairy products, idioms involving shoes, languages, rumours and elaborate conversation Landa is a very odd fish but he counterbalances this with his brilliance as a detective.
- Cunning Linguist: One of the character's most well-known traits is his quadri-linguality.
- The Cast Showoff: Landa's multilingualism could never have been realized if Christoph Waltz wasn't one in Real Life.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: He knows how to play people's weaknesses and strengths against them to get what he wants.
- Drink Order: He sure does like his milk.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Let's just say that despite promise of becoming a complete American citizen and hailed as a hero, he couldn't eliminate his ties to the Nazis afterwards thanks to the surviving members of the Basterds deciding to do one of their usual methods with surviving Nazis. Though he can probably get plastic surgery with all those goodies he extorted.
- Karma Houdini: He attempts to invoke this trope in combination with Written by the Winners. He betrays Hitler with the intention of being viewed by the public as being a spy for the Allies, and he being the reason the allies win. It doesn't quite go the way he plans though with the Mark of Shame being carved into his forehead.
- Let no Crisis Go to Waste: He discovers the Basterds' plan and hijacks it in order to give himself a cushy retirement.
- Manipulative Bastard: Manipulates his way into surviving the defeat of the Nazis and retiring with a "nest egg".
- Mark of Shame: Becomes the recipient of Aldo's masterpiece so as to not let his old ties be forgotten.
- Pet the Dog: It's implied that he does honor his agreement to leave the farmer alone and he is clearly horrified when Aldo kills his driver after they've surrendered claiming that he made a deal for the man's life.
- Psycho for Hire: The Nazis are just convenient for him to act out his horrible impulses. Without them, it's likely he'd be off doing something just as monstrous.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: In four languages no less.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: Comes with being Affably Evil.
- The Starscream: He actually puts some of the dynamite in Hitler's balcony.
- Smug Snake
- Too Clever by Half: His scheme doesn't go the way he envisions it; also, while he is responsible for the death of the German and Nazi High leadership, it's less because he sold them out to the Basterds, and more due to sparing a young Jewish girl (For the Evulz, mind; he'd just killed her entire family, and he spared her just because it amused him to do so) and not recognising her as a vengeful adult.
- Turncoat: Helps Operation Kino succeed. For a price, of course.
- Verbal Tic: Calls anyone he does not know the name of Herrman.
- Villain Protagonist: A villain and most likely the real protagonist of the film.
- Wicked Cultured: He embodies this trope.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Normally he's Dangerously Genre Savvy; very little gets by him, which makes him such a good detective. He susses out Operation Kino very quickly and cuts what appears to be a flawless deal to save his own skin once the war is over. His mistake, however, comes in assuming that Aldo Raine's Ax-Crazy Military Maverick shtick is just an act to scare the Germans and not really who he is...
Played By: Daniel BruhlA charming German sniper who gained a hero status in Germany after mowing down nearly 300 American soldiers in a single day from a tower. He is now the centerpiece of Goebbels' latest propaganda film, Nation's Pride. Has a serious case of puppy-love for Shoshanna.
- Autobiographical Role: The Movie Within The Movie is about his exploits, and he plays himself.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Initially appears as a jovial guy who just simply does his job as he's commanded. Then Shoshanna refuses him and he drops the Nice Guy personality.
- Cat Smile: A result of his nice guy persona and having Daniel Bruhl's face.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Up to a point. Shoshanna would definitely disagree, especially when he shows his true colours.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Finally snaps after Shoshanna snubs him yet again, even when he expected his favors would warm her up to him.
- Entitled to Have You: When he drops the Nice Guy façade, he demands that Shoshanna submit herself to him.
- Humble Hero: Of a sort; he never reveals his celebrity status until fans appear to fawn over him and afterward doesn't flaunt it. It may be because he's not particularly proud of his claim to fame; see Punch Clock Villain below.
- One-Man Army: Why he's so famous, and why a movie is being made about him.
- Punch Clock Villain: He confesses to Shosanna that he does not want to watch his film, because he does not feel proud of killing so many men.
- Taking You with Me: Shoshanna shoots him to keep him from discovering her plan, but then gets curious when she hears him still alive. As she approaches him in sympathy, Zoller shoots her back.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: He seems to think he's in a romance flick where he can defrost the ice queen. Not how it works out.
Major Dieter Hellstrom
Played By: August DiehlSomething of a repulsive Gestapo Major, he works directly under Goebbels. Not particularly savvy, but very difficult to fool.
- Big Bad Wannabe: He could very well serve as a Deconstruction of Landa's character: Good with language, but not good enough to recognize a British accent. He fancies himself a detective and claims to know "every [German Soldier] in France worth knowing", and yet sits right next to Hugo Stiglitz, the only member of the Basterds whom we know had his face in a newspaper (for killing those 13 officers), whom "every man in the German Army has heard of", and fails to recognize him. He has no personal magnetism, and his charm is all superficial, quickly dropped once it becomes inconvenient. And perhaps most important of all; unlike Landa, Hellstrom didn't Know When to Fold 'Em and it costs him and his men their lives.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: He is well versed into German accents and can recognize fake ones.
- Faux Affably Evil: An act he's not particularly accomplished at. "I must say, I grow weary of these monkeyshines."
- Groin Attack: Is shot to death by Hicox and Stiglitz firing their sidearms point-blank into his groin
- The Profiler: Definitely envisions himself as such.
- Smug Snake: Hellstrom sure thinks he's some kind of version of Landa. That's the kind of thinking that makes you say "auf wiedersehen" to your Nazi balls.
Staff Sgt. Wilhelm
Played By: Alexander FehlingA German soldier under Hellstrom's command. He was given the night off to celebrate the birth of his son, Max, at a pub. Then it all goes to hell.
- I Have a Family: He's given the choice to let Bridget go without a fight so he could be with his wife and son.
- Mexican Standoff: With Raine... or not... depends if you ask him or Raine.
- Punch Clock Villain: You set aside the whole "nazi" thing, and what you have left is a swell guy who is celebrating his new family.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Or perhaps his new son, Max, is a better example. Imagine what would've happened if Max hadn't been born that night; Wilhelm and his fellow soldiers wouldn't have gone to that bar, they wouldn't have met Bridget von Hammersmark, Wilhelm wouldn't have picked up on Hicox's accent, which means Hellstrom wouldn't have picked up on his accent, which means the Mexican Standoff wouldn't have happened, and everyone in the bar might've lived through the night. If nothing else, Operation Kino would've played out very differently.
- Suddenly Sober: Amazing what a firefight in a basement can do.
Sgt. Werner Rachtman
Played By: Richard SammelAn honorable and loyal German soldier, who "respectfully refuses" Aldo's offer to rat out his comrades. He becomes The Bear Jew's first on-screen kill.
- A Father to His Men: As he surveys the dead bodies of his men being scalped, he looks none too pleased....
- Even Evil Has Standards: An unapologetic Nazi (and by extension anti-semite) who nonetheless dies rather than give up his comrades.
- Face Death with Dignity: The man is unflappable, given the situation; It takes a baseball bat to the head to finally get a reaction out of him.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Unapologetic Nazi and anti-Semite.
- Precision F-Strike: When told his options are to expose the location of an artillery encampment or get beaten to death with a baseball bat, he answers with an unmistakable "Fuck you, and your Jew dogs."
Played By: Sönke MöhringA German solder serving under Sgt. Ratchmann.
Played By: Julie DreyfusGoebbels' mistress and French translator.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Played By: Rod Taylor
"Brief him."The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
- Big Good: Of the entire allied war effort.
- The Cameo: For Rod Taylor.
- Historical-Domain Character: He's Winston bloody Churchill.
- Smoking Is Cool: Courtesy of those legendary cigars.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Until he speeks, Hicox and Fenech act as if he isn't in the room, seemingly for reasons of Plausible Deniability.
General Ed Fenech
Played By: Mike Myers
"We have all our rotten eggs in one basket. The objective of the operation: blow up the basket."An English general under Churchill's command.
- The Cameo: For Mike Myers with an impeccable accent and heavy make-up.
- Cool Old Guy: He's an older gentleman who has enough of a sense of fun to have a drink with his subordinates.
Lt. Archie Hicox
Played By: Michael FassbenderA former film critic and journalist who now serves in Her Majesty's Royal Army. His immense knowledge of German cinema makes him invaluable for the upcoming operation in Fenech's and Churchill's eyes.
- Badass Bookworm: He is a film historian and film critic.
- Fatal Flaw: For all his knowledge of German cinema he doesn't know how to signal "3" with his fingers German-style, which is what confirms Major Hellstrom's suspicions that he's not German.
- Elites Are More Glamorous : His cap-badge indicates he is a Commando.
- One Last Smoke: Along with a glass of scotch.
- Token Good Teammate: To the Basterds
Bridget von Hammersmark
Played By: Diane KrugerA beautiful German actress who has been secretly working for the Allies for quite some time, being Fenech's primary spy.
- Idiot Ball: Really, Bridget? You had to explain your broken leg by saying you were mountain climbing? Good old "fell down the stairs" isn't good enough for you?
- Opera Gloves: Her theater dress includes white gloves.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Her black theater dress has lots of beads, lace, and feather trim at the hem.
- Pretty in Mink: Her theater dress is topped by a blue fox fur wrap.
- Smug Snake: A rare 'heroic' version.
Le Gamaar Theater
Shoshanna Dreyfus / Emmannuelle Mimieux
Played By: Mélanie LaurentA French Jew whose entire family was murdered by Hans Landa's men. She eventually inherits a cinema, which ironically becomes the state for the premiere of Nation's Pride. Which ironically, Landa is providing security for.
- Anti-Hero: A Pay Evil unto Evil version. She crafts a horrific punishment for an entire theater full of high-ranking Nazis. It certainly helps that she's the only survivor of a massacre by Landa and Landa left her alive because he figured she couldn't possibly pose a threat to the Nazis in the future. As noted in Would Hurt a Child, it wasn't just the high ranking officers, but anyone who had association with the Nazi Party.
- Badass: With her plan to burn the whole cinema to the ground on the premiere night and shooting Zoller in the back with a gun she hid, she certainly qualifies.
- Broken Bird: Forced to watch the death of her family and then cater to the Nazis.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Betrayed by her protector and then watched her family get slaughtered.
- Evil Laugh: In the film she makes for the Nazis right before Marcel burns the whole place down.
- Final Girl: Subverted. She dies right before her revenge is completed.
- Ice Queen: Justified, given her backstory.
- Irony: In the end, she manages to kill damn near every high ranking German soldier except the one who was personally responsible for her family's death.
- Lady in Red: During the premiere night.
- Lipstick and Load Montage: On the premiere night.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Becomes disturbed with herself after shooting Frederick.
- Not So Stoic: After her encounter with Landa. Also in her taped message to the Nazis in the theater, complete with the Evil Laugh.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Oh boy!
- Sole Survivor: Of her family.
- The Stoic: The demeanor she puts on to save her life during the occupation of Paris.
- Would Hurt a Child: If she noticed there were girls of the Bund Deutscher Mädel, the League of German Maidens, the girl's wing of the Hitler Youth.
Played By: Jacky IdoShoshanna's boyfriend as well as the film projectionist at her cinema. He's said to be the best.
- Anti-Hero: Type III.
- Flat Character: He has little characterization other than his loyalty to Shoshanna and that his demeanor is that of a...
- Nice Guy: See Flat Character
- One Last Smoke: He's smoking as he waits for the signal to set the film rolls on fire.
- Satellite Character: We never get to learn anything about him, other than that he's Shosanna's boyfriend and a very good projectionist.
- Undying Loyalty: To Shoshanna.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Since the final shot of Marcel is the moment when he tosses down his cigarette to ignite the film reels, his fate is unclear: he ought to have had ample time to escape the theater, but it appears that Shoshanna never had any intention of walking away from this one alive; if Marcel knew that, he might have preferred to stay and join in her Heroic Sacrifice rather than live on without her.
Perrier La Padite
Played By: Denis MénochetA French milk farmer with three daughters. Landa intimidates and pressures him into exposing the Dreyfus family hiding under his floorboard.
- Keeping Secrets Sucks: The first one: aiding Jews to hide puts him and his family at risk. And then to protect his family he's forced to go along with Landa's game.
- Les Collaborateurs: A rare sympathetic example.
- Manly Tears: Breaks down for betraying the Dreyfus family to protect his own daughters.
- Sadistic Choice: Is given the choice of either selling out the Dreyfus family to the Nazis or having his own family killed for not cooperating.
- Of course, Hans already pretty much knew he was sheltering the Dreyfus family, so Perrier admitting he was hiding them was kind of a moot point anyway.
La Louisiane Tavern
Played By: Christian BerkelThe bartender of La Louisiane. Doesn't seem to care too much for the German occupation.
- Bald of Awesome: Christian Berkel's own
- Les Collaborateurs: Seems to have no problem with the occupation as he has a bar filled with Nazis
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Keeps one on his side of the bar
- Two Shots from Behind the Bar: Keeps a concealed shotgun to keep order on the bar
- Poor Communication Kills: Kills Stiglitz and is killed by a Basterd in the confusion of the firefight.
Played By: Anne-Sophie FranckA waitress working at La Louisiane. Unlike Eric, she is deathly scared of the German soldiers.