"Adult supervision is required."
"The D is silent. His revenge isn't."Django Unchained
is a 2012 film in the style of a Spaghetti Western
by Quentin Tarantino
, who calls it a "Southern" because it is set in the The Deep South
rather than The Wild West
The film tells the story of Django (Jamie Foxx
), a slave who is freed by German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz
) with the promise that, in return for Django's assistance in a few bounty recoveries, he will aid Django in finding and rescuing his lost wife (Kerry Washington
) from the sadistic plantation owner Calvin J. Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio
). Calvin's head house slave and second-in-command Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson
) has other plans.
It won 2 Oscars
: Best Original Screenplay for Quentin Tarantino (his second Oscar) and Best Supporting Actor for Christoph Waltz (his second win in 4 years).
In 2014 a sequel was announced - a comics crossover
, written by Tarantino and Matt Wagner
, and "produced" by Reginald Hudlin
Provides examples of:
- Action Duo: Django and Dr. King Schultz.
- Agent Peacock: When given the chance to dress like a white man, Django goes a bit overboard by dressing up in an outrageously flamboyant and ill-fitting thing. Even the other slaves on Big Daddy's plantation think it's a bit over-the-top.
"You're really a free man? You mean you wanna dress like that?"
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: In a flashback, Django frantically negotiates with Big John, warning him not to "strip" (i.e. whip) a prized house slave. Big John has no intention of letting Brunhilde off the hook, but he smilingly watches Django fall to his knees anyway.
- Alliterative Name: Calvin Candie. "Big Daddy" Bennett is very close.
- Ambiguously Gay: Billy Crash, who is disappointed that he does not get to cut off Django's testicles runs a finger down Django's nutsack, and walks swishy.
"Oh, I'ma go walkin' in the moonlight with you."
"You gonna hold my hand?"
- Ambiguously Jewish: Dr. King Schultz is a German immigrant in the mid-19th century, when the first Jews came to America from Germany with the stereotypically Jewish profession of dentist. He clearly has a strong German identity due to his fascination with German folklore, but Jews were much more assimilated in Germany than any other European country (prior to Hitler, of course). The surname Schultz, like many German names, is common among Ashkenazi Jews.
- Anachronism Stew: Quite a lot for a story set in pre-Civil War America, but most of them are deliberate. And it's not as though proper spaghetti Westerns (or Westerns in general) were famous for their historical accuracy, anyway.
- While straws are a very old invention, the high quality, plastic kind that Candie uses, had not yet come into being.
- Sunglasses of the sort that Jamie Foxx and Bruce Dern's characters wear were not really produced until the late 1920s. Even then, they weren't fashion accessories.
- As is often common in westerns, many of the firearms and weapons used in the film did not yet exist during the movie's timeframe.
- Several of the lever-action rifles used by assorted people are Henry 1860s, which, you guessed it, were made in 1860, after the Civil War had started.
- The 1874 Buffalo shotgun was not invented until... you guessed it— 1874!
- The Spencer 1860 Saddle Ring Carbide was not invented until after the Civil War had started.
- Dynamite wasn't invented until 1867.
- The scantily clad slave woman Sheba wears something that looks like it was made at least in the 1930s.
- Candie's sister was playing "Für Elise" on the harp, but the piece wasn't published until 1867.
- Upon finding and identifying Django at the beginning of the film, Schultz exclaims "Sold American!" in celebration (complete in auctioneer tone), even though the phrase wasn't introduced (or at least made popular) until the 1930s, when it was used as a jingle/catchphrase for Lucky Strike cigarette ads.
- "Mandingo" didn't come into common usage until the novel Mandingo in 1957, and the movie that followed in 1975.
- The emblem of the Cleopatra Club where Django and King meet Candie for the first time is the famous bust of Nefertiti, and a reproduction is seen in the hallway. It was actually discovered in 1912.
- Both Schultz and everyone else refer to his home as "Germany", even though, at in the 1850s, Germany did not exist as one country yet. At one point he mentions Düsseldorf (it's part of a fake identity, but the hometown might be accurate), which would make him a Prussian national. However, as an academic and an expatriate, he might simply associate more with a pan-German identity than any particular statenote , or just be simplifying things for the sake of others. If he is Prussian, that might explain his relaxed attitude to violence and dislike of slavery: Prussia had abolished the near-equivalent serfdom earlier that century, and later signed an international treaty to suppress slave trade.
- "Motherfucker" makes an appearance (naturally, from Samuel L. Jackson) about 31 years before its first recorded usage.
- And Starring: Typical of Tarantino's over the top style this one manages to do three in the opening credits:
- "AND SAMUEL L. JACKSON..."
- Schultz is by far the nicest character in the movie. Although his Germanic origins meant that he did not share the same attitudes towards black people and slavery as the denizens of the South, it's still telling how far he would go to help Django rescue his wife. However, when it comes to bounty hunting, Schultz is willing to grievously injure and kill every last one of his marks, rather than capture them alive. He has no qualms against shooting a man in cold blood, even in front of his own son. The bounties are "dead or alive", but the payout's the same either way and a corpse is a lot easier to bring in (can't try to run away and doesn't have to be fed).
- Django is sympathetic, but some of his feelings and actions are not nice. Being a former slave, his vengeful attitude towards white Southerners is perfectly understandable and generally justified by their despicable actions. Although Django's desire to reunite with his wife is admirable, the way he goes about fulfilling his goal is very morally questionable: he would go so far as to let another slave die when saving the poor soul would have compromised his attempts at rescuing his wife. Furthermore, while Schultz sees his profession as a profitable, but necessary evil, Django uses it as an outlet for revenge. And even then, he feels morally uncomfortable murdering a "wanted" white man in front of his young son and has to be heavily persuaded by Schultz in order to do so.
- Arbitrary Gun Power: The guns seem to deal whatever damage makes the coolest shot at the time. During the final showdown, Django shoots Lara Lee and the body is thrown clean backwards into the next room despite her being hit diagonally, while another victim merely drops to the floor where he stands.
- Artistic License – History: People in the antebellum South likely would not have been surprised to see a 'nigger on a horse', as slaves were often ordered to exercise their masters' horses and the sight of them riding around the area would not have been unusual.
- As the Good Book Says: "Big John" Brittle has torn pages from the Bible stitched to his clothing, including one hovering over his heart (which Django shoots clean through). Brittle recites passages while preparing to whip one of Big Daddy's slaves over a matter of some broken eggs.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: During Django and Schultz's conversation in the Daughtrey saloon as Schultz is waiting for the bartender to come back with the sheriff, there's this:
Dr. King Schultz:
I hear at least two of them are overseeing up in Gatlinburg, but I don't know where. That means we visit every plantation in Gatlinburg till we find them. And when we find them, you point them out, and I kill them. You do that, I agree to give you your freedom, twenty-five dollars per Brittle brother -that's seventy-five dollars, and, as if on cue
, here comes the Sheriff.
- Asshole Victim: Many, but for different reasons from the characters' point of view: Django and Schultz go after violent slavers and criminals with bounties on their heads, Schultz doesn't hesitate to kill anyone who can be said to be threatening him and finally kills Candie as revenge for ordering the brutal murder of a slave.
- Ask a Stupid Question...: The two Speck brothers ask Schultz what kind of doctor he is, as if oblivious to the fact that he has just rode into the scene driving a wagon that has a big bouncy tooth on a spring on the roof. Schultz gives a straight reply.
- Author Appeal: In-universe: As Schultz explains the legend of Siegfried and Brunhilde, he notes that it being German and all, it involves a big mountain.
- Avenging the Villain: After Schultz kills Candie and gets himself also killed in the process, Stephen and Candie's sister get to work devising a suitable scheme to punish Django for his death.
- Badass Bookworm: Schultz is an erudite former "dentist" - at the very least, an intellectual of some sort - who took up bounty hunting about five years ago. He's pretty damn good at it.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Django and Dr. Schultz. Although it takes a while for Django to step his suit game up, as his initial choice is an incredibly goofy and out-of-place frilly thing that even the uneducated slaves think is terrible.
- Badass Longcoat: Dr. Schultz wears an impressive fur one that goes with his suit.
- Bad Guys Play Pool: Calvin's bodyguard is introduced playing pool as he keeps a suspicious eye on Schultz and Django.
- Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: Used by Schultz as a pretext to have a private conversation with Broomhilda. Well, technically he only asks to talk to her, but the Candies unsurprisingly assume he has something else in mind.
- Batman Gambit:
- Schultz repeatedly gains access to slavers' estates by taking advantage of their Southern hospitality once he dangles a lucrative slave-purchasing deal in front of them, knowing they would treat him as a guest once he's a potential business partner.
- Schultz relies on the Marshal of Daugherty being level-headed enough to hear out his claim at being a legal bounty hunter and not simply gun him down the moment he sticks his head out of the saloon. He takes the time to make sure that the Marshal will give them a "trial" and not just shoot them.
- Schultz takes Django into a saloon, knowing full-well the innkeeper will run out screaming for help at the sight of Django in a place where blacks are not tolerated. So Schultz calls after him telling him to specifically bring the sheriff, not the marshal.
- Schultz and Django carry out a very clever one against Candie. Knowing that if they directly buy Broomhilda from Candie he would charge them an enormous amount, they trick him by offering $12,000 (which comes out to about $315,000 in today's money) for a third-tier slave fighter (Eskimo Joe) in order to get to Candie's plantation and meet Broomhilda, buy her for a few hundred dollars, and leave, under the pretense of returning with the promised money, a doctor, and a lawyer, never to be seen again.
- Although, at least according to Word of God, this was an entirely unnecessary gambit based on incomplete information and Complexity Addiction. Candie didn't give enough of a damn about Broomhilda to care who bought her and why, and would've let her go for a reasonable sum, making this a subversion.
- Bittersweet Ending: Django and Broomhilda escape to the north and the hope of freedom - but they leave a hell of a lot of bodies in their wake, including Schultz (whose death was his own fault, not Django's, but still easily preventable). Most of them deserved it, though.
- Beautiful Slave Girl: Seen several times. Candie owns at least three of these. Sheba is made to wear alluring attire, and is apparently something of a consort to Candie. She seems pretty happy with her role. Broomhilda, on the other hand, is openly made available to Candie's visitors to show his "hospitality", and is traumatized by it. He also owns a slave who's forced to wear a French Maid Outfit.
- Becoming the Mask: Django, in his role of the black slaver, plays it so far to the hilt that Schultz stops him because he thinks that Django is taking it too far. Completely warranted, as Django later allows a slave to be painfully ripped apart by hunting dogs.
Django: You niggers gonna understand something about me! I'm worse than any of these white men here! You get the molasses out your ass, and you keep your goddamn eyeballs off me!
- Big Bad Duumvirate: Candie and Stephen. With Candie as the de jure superior, and Stephen as the de facto one. It still remains this trope as well as Dragon-in-Chief for Stephen because he remains fiercely loyal to Candie and works only to serve his interests.
- Big Damn Heroes: A young slave girl is about to get a whipping from Big John Brittle, but Django (ridiculous blue suit and all) swoops in at the last second, kills Big John, and proceeds to whip the hell out of Little Raj Brittle before killing him too.
- Big "NO!": From Stephen, when Calvin dies.
- Black Comedy
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Calvin Candie.
- Bloodier and Gorier/Darker and Edgier: Well, compared to other Western films, anyway.
- Blown Across the Room: Mostly averted, but played straight in a couple instances, such as when Butch Pooch shoots Schultz with a sawed-off shotgun and Schultz's body is thrown backwards into a bookshelf. A very weird example happens with the "Bye, Miss Lara!" scene, when Django shoots Lara and she is thrown backwards at a completely different angle than how she was shot, resulting in her getting yanked into the next room Paranormal Activity-style (so it'd be more like "Blown Out of the Room". That, of course, was a reference to the Spaghetti Western genre of old, of which this movie is based on. Deaths of women were usually less gory or not entirely shown.
- Boomerang Bigot: Stephen is as equally racist as his white entourage - if not more so. This is also Django's cover ID for infiltrating the Candie estate: He's a black slaver.
"Black slaver's even lower than the head house nigger, and that's pretty fucking low."
- Bottomless Magazines: Averted, Django often has to take new guns from the guys he drops.
- Break the Haughty: A rare heroic example; Schultz carries himself with utterly self-assured superiority over the thugs and cutthroats he deals with, and while he finds slavery and its practitioners morally abhorrent, he reacts to it with mostly jokes and arrogance. It's not until he sees the horrors committed on Calvin Candie's estate, combined with Calvin's victory over him, that his wall of ironic distance is broken down.
- Brick Joke: The "D" is silent.
- Bulletproof Human Shield: Both averted and played straight in the big shootout near the end, where Django shoots through several mooks and hitting the person behind them, but when he picks one of them up to act as a shield, none of the mook's bullets can penetrate despite a heavy number of rounds being emptied into the body.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Dr. Schultz's introduction is him rolling up in a wagon with a bouncy tooth on a spring on the top. Way too goofy to take seriously. That's probably what he was counting on, because he is deadly good at his job.
- Butt Monkey / Friend or Foe: Both Moguy and an unnamed henchman during the shootout in Candyland. They both get shot multiple times as they're lying wounded on the ground, and live long enough to scream/complain about it.
- California Doubling:
- The only thing actually filmed in Louisiana was the Evergreen Plantation, used to represent Big Daddy Bennett's place.
- Quite a lot of the filming had California double for Texas and Louisiana. Melody Ranch was used for the Daughtrey town set, and the Ahmenson Ranch was used in some backdrops.
- The mountains where Django and Schultz spend the winter montage are the Grand Tetons near Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
- The Cameo:
- The original Django, Franco Nero, plays a small role as Amerigo Vassepi, the owner of a slave engaged in mandingo fighting with Candie's slave.
- Jonah Hill is Bag Head Guy #2.
- Among Mr. Stonesipher's trackers one may notice Tom Savini, Michael Bowen, Robert Carradine, Ted Neeley and Tarantino's favorite stuntwoman Zoe Bell (she's the one with the bandanna covering her mouth and chin; itself possibly another reference to the original Django).
- Russ and Amber Tamblyn appear as a father and daughter who watch Django come into town riding a horse near the beginning of the film. They're appropriately billed as Son of a Gunfighter, and Daughter of A Son of a Gunfighter.
- Quentin Tarantino, as in all his films, plays one of the Le Quint Dickey Mining Company employees, and also as Robert, one of the bag heads.
- Bruce Dern, as a sadistic slave-owner.
- Australians will get a kick out of seeing former children's show host John Jarratt as a slave trader.
- Canon Welding:
- Tarantino revealed in a 2012 Comic-Con interview that Django and Broomhilda (von Shaft) are the great-great-great-great grandparents of John Shaft.
- The credits also list Russ Tamblyn as "Son of a Gunfighter", ostensibly the same character as the protagonist (Johnny Ketchum) of the 1965 Western of the same name.
- Casting Gag:
- Franco Nero, who plays the mandingo fighter Amerigo Vassepi in the film, was the title character in the 1966 spaghetti western Django from which Tarantino adapted the title of this film.
- Russ Tamblyn, who starred in Son of a Gunfighter in 1965 and plays one of the locals of Daughtrey who reacts in shock to the sight of a nigger on a horse, is credited as Son of a Gunfighter. And Amber Tamblyn, his daughter, is credited as Daughter of a Son of a Gunfighter
- The Cast Showoff:
- Jamie Foxx gets to show off his horsemanship in ways that are not strictly plot relevant, but cool anyway. The horse Django rides is one of Foxx's real ones.
- Ted Neeley, a professional singer, performs a rather eerie "Trackers Chant".
- Category Traitor:
- Django while pretending to be a black slaver. He discusses the trope with Schultz, saying that a black slaver is the lowest of the low, and Schultz suggests that if that's the characterisation that works, that's how he should play it — though he later gets concerned that Django may be taking the act too far.
- Stephen is the brains behind Candie's slave empire. He also takes an instant disliking to Django for being "uppity" and works to sabotage his attempt to reconnect with his wife purely out of spite. Samuel L. Jackson is on record as saying he wanted to play Stephen as "the most hated negro in the history of film".
- Chekhov's Boomerang: Schultz's favored weapon, the spring-loaded sleeve gun. Django conceals it beneath his ridiculous blue frock, unleashing it on two of the Brittle brothers. Much later, Schultz unloads it on Calvin after the latter mistakenly asks the bounty hunter to extend his hand.
- Chekhov's Gun: Schultz insists that Django keep the handbill for his first bounty since it's "good luck." Django later uses it to bargain his escape, post-climax, with slave traders about to transport him to a Fate Worse Than Death.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Rodney, one of the slaves Django antagonizes during the ride to Candyland, later verifies Django's story.
- Chekhov's Skill: Early in the film, Broomhilda is revealed to be able to speak German. Schultz uses this as a plausible excuse to buy her from Candie, stating that he would like to have a fellow person to converse with in his native language. He also tells Broomhilda about his and Django's plan to free her in German, since nobody in the Candie mansion would be able to understand German. Overlaps with Hiding Behind the Language Barrier, below.
- Cluster F-Bomb: N-bombs in this case. It gets dropped a lot in this movie (110 times to be exact). Of course, it's perfectly natural given the time period and setting. This movie probably has the most uses of that word (in a wide-release film) in any serious film made since Blazing Saddles.
- Chubby Chaser: Stephen has an affinity for the portly housemaid, Cora. "Get your big pretty ass outta here."
- Chunky Salsa Rule: One of the slave traders in the intro, when turned on, takes a rifle shot to the head. Needless to say, his face turns into Pink Mist.
- Complexity Addiction: Dr. Schultz.
- Composite Character: In the original script, Candie had two main henchmen - the dim Billy Crash and the sadistic Ace Woody. Because Tarantino never stops tinkering with his scripts, even while filming, Ace Woody's part became smaller and smaller until Kurt Russell left the project. The characters were then combined to created a dimwitted but vile Billy Crash.
- Counting Bullets: Steven tries this but Django just switches guns.
- The Con: Schultz and Django pretend to be customers offering $12,000 for a prize fighter of Calvin's, when their real plan is to buy Broomhilda on the side and then (presumably) vanish during the grace period they request to get the paperwork together.
- Cool, but Impractical: Spencer Bennett's and his posse's Klan-esque white hoods. Sure, they're meant to look scary, but Willard's wife did such a terrible job cutting out the eyeholes, it obscures everyone's vision. That makes them easier to be taken out by Schultz and Django: they are unable to notice that the "bodies" they're trying to kill are actually bedrolls until "auf wiedersehn".
- Cool Old Guy: Dr. Schultz.
- Cool Shades: Django wears a pair of sunglasses through most of the middle of the film, though sunglasses were not fashion accessories at the time.
- Covered with Scars: Django and Broomhilda's backs are both covered in whip-scars. The con falls apart when the villains show Broomhilda's scars to Django, and notice his reaction to them.
- Crazy-Prepared: Schultz, being Genre Savvy, knows Spencer 'Big Daddy' Bennett will be coming after him and Django after collecting their bounty on his plantation, so Schultz sets a little trap ahead of time: a wagon cart with dynamite in the tooth on the roof.
- Creator Cameo: Quentin Tarantino plays one of the dimwitted Le Quint Dickey Mining Company slave transporter. This small role is actually critical to the plot.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Stephen, on first appearance, almost out-Fetchits Stepin Fetchit, bowing and scraping and acting servile, but underneath that act....well, Tarantino says it best, in the script:
Who's STEPHEN? Stephen is a very old black man, who with his bald pate, and tufts of white curly hair on the sides, looks like a character out of Dickens
- if Dickens wrote about House Niggers in the Antebellum South.
Stephen has been Calvin's slave since he was a little boy. And in (almost) every way is the 2nd most powerful person at Candyland. Like the characters Basil Rathbone would play in swashbucklers
, evil, scheming, intriguing men, always trying to influence and manipulate power for their own self interest. Well that describes Stephen to a tee. The Basil Rathbone of House Niggers.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Almost all of them, actually. The slave ripped apart by dogs probably takes the cake. At one point, the entire Candie estate are embroiled in a great debate about the most gruesome way they could kill Django; Stephen considers all of their suggestions unadventurous and dimwitted, though even he didn't mention kneecapping.
- Cultured Badass: Schultz. Speaks in a refined, proper manner and has a decent knowledge of German folklore. He's also a Guile Hero who's a pretty mean quickdraw and badass bounty hunter.
- Curse Cut Short: Stephen to Django, shortly before biting the big one, manages: "Django! You uppity son of a—" before Candyland explodes gloriously with him in it. Most likely a reference to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, which ends with a similar line.
- Crapsaccharine World: Candieland is beautiful plantation- if you can get past the abused slaves, the armed guards, and sadism underneath its slick host.
- Damsel in Distress: Broomhilda. She exists entirely on the level of plot device, receiving very little characterization aside from being Django's wife, having a tendency to attempt to escape, and being able to speak German. Oddly for a Tarantino film, played completely straight.
- Dead Man's Trigger Finger: During the gun battle at Candie's mansion, Django pulls a One-Hit Polykill on two mooks, who reflexively then blast each other again for good measure.
- Deadpan Snarker: While he more or less acts as the Silent Snarker, Django does this from time to time.
- Death Equals Redemption: Schultz shooting Candie, and then letting himself be gunned down, can be interpreted as atoning for having stood aside while D'Artagnan died.
- Death Glare: Stephen levels one at Django upon seeing him ride up on a horse, showing that Stephen is quite the Boomerang Bigot.
- Death In All Directions: The Marshall and, by all appearances, the entire population of Daugherty drawing down on King Schultz outside the tavern.
- Deep South: A highly unflattering depiction.
- Defiant to the End: Even after being shot and left to die, Stephen still screams at Django just before Candyland detonates, calling him "uppity" one last time.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Barely a minute goes by without a racist statement being flung or some atrocity being perpetrated on a slave.
- Department of Redundancy Department:
- Distressed Dude: Like Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx goes au natural for his torture scene, which involves Django being suspended from the ceiling while Billy Crash pokes his genitals with a red-hot knife.
- The Dragon: Stephen.
- Dragon Ascendant: Stephen seems to have more practical authority in the house than Calvin does, even with the white folks.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Calvin isn't the brightest; it is definitely Stephen who is the brains of Candyland.
- Drink Order: Dr. Schultz always goes for a beer. Calvin Candie orders a tiki drink at the Cleopatra Club, and asks the bartender to be generous with the rum.
- Drop the Hammer: Calvin gives his slave fighter a hammer to finish off his opponent. He later uses a hammer to make an evolutionary observation on the negro skull. Having lulled his guests into an uneasy silence, he turns the hammer on Broomhilda and threatens to bludgeon her on the spot.
- Dropping the Bombshell: A particularly effective one in recent memory: "Alexandre Dumas is black."
- Dying Curse: Before Stephen gets blown up along with Candyland, he spends his last minutes cursing at Django that he will be caught and killed for his crimes, ending with "Django! You uppity son of a—" before the explosion cuts him off.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: For Django and Broomhilda at least.
- Establishing Character Moment:
- In his very first scene, Schultz speaks like an intellectual, is quite polite, addresses Django in an equal, respectful manner, shoots the Speck brothers, and frees the slaves.
- Candie is introduced wildly cheering during a death match between two slaves. We hear this before we even see his face.
- Stephen comes out and immediately demonstrates an almost warm, paternal banter with Candie (who reciprocates) and in the same breath, has a near fit when he sees Django on a horse, summing up his complete psyche in one paragraph. Also, the first shot of him slightly before this shows him stamping checks with Calvin's signature, demonstrating his position at Candyland.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- Candie towards his sister Lara Lee. Maybe a little too much...
- One of the bounty targets is a man who gets shot right in front of his son.
- One of the proto-KKK members was quite upset when his gang criticized the masks that his wife made; he rides off in a huff.
- Stephen seems to love Calvin like a son, which between any other two people would be heartwarming. His distraught reaction to Calvin's death is almost sympathetic.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Schultz, in a morally gray version. He's quite frank that he earns his living by murdering people, often quite ruthlessly, and more-or-less forces Django to shoot a man in front of the man's young son. However, when he meets Candie and is forced to witness D'Artagnan being torn apart by dogs, even he is sickened.
- Lara snaps at Calvin when he excitedly shows off Broomhilda's scars at dinnertime. Whether this is because she disapproves of the barbarity of it or simply finds it aesthetically disgusting is left ambiguous for the viewer.
- The proto-Klansman who leaves the group because he can't stand the others ragging on his wife's inability to cut proper eyeholes.
- Evil Counterpart: Calvin rewarding Big Fred with a tall beer is eerily reminiscent of Schultz doing the same with Django at the saloon in Daughtrey earlier in the movie.
- Evil Is Hammy:
- Leonardo DiCaprio continues the grand tradition of over-the-top Tarantino villains, despite being probably the most despicable one yet.
- Samuel L. Jackson's portrayal of Stephen is also over the top, bordering on caricature. However, this is a case of Obfuscating Stupidity: Stephen is much more sinister and calculating than even Candie. He's more in charge of the goings-on at Candyland.
- Evil Is Petty:
- Calvin Candie decides to rub salt in the wound of his 'victory' over Schultz by demanding the doctor shake his hand before the deal is finalized. This ends poorly for both of them.
- The Brittle Brothers about to whip a girl for breaking eggs.
- Exact Words: When the saloon keeper in Daughtrey leaves, Dr. Schultz instructs him to fetch the sheriff. Not the town marshal, but the sheriff.
- Expy: Stephen seems to be based on various characters played by Stepin Fetchit. Probably named after him too.
- Eyepatch of Power: Ellis Brittle has an eyepatch over his left eye.
- Eye Scream: The winner of the Mandingo fight gouges out the loser's eyes. Complete with squishy sounds and screaming. Then kills him by striking him with the blunt part of a hammer.
- Face Death with Dignity:
- "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Having lost all his dignity and money surrendering to Candie, Dr. Schultz is requested to shake Candie's hand like a partner lest the deal be cancelled. Schultz instead opts to kill Candie, and uses his last moments to shrug and comment, "I'm sorry, couldn't resist."
- Fan Disservice: Both Broomhilda and Django are shown naked or nearly-naked, but in such abusive and humiliating circumstances that there's nothing erotic about it; Broomhilda sentenced to solitary confinement in a "hot box", and Django suspended from his ankles to be castrated. Other scenes give the same treatment to Toplessness from the Back; nudity in this film always seems to be more associated with exploitation and cruelty than eroticism.
- Fan Service With A Smile: The girl who answers the door in the 'comfort house' is dressed in a sexy maid's outfit.
- Family Theme Naming: Russ and Amber Tamblyn's characters are named, respectively, "Son of a Gunfighter" and "Daughter of a Son of a Gunfighter".
- A Fate Worse Than Death: Technically, "A Fate Worse than Getting Your Dick Chopped Off and then Being Killed", Stephen explains Django's punishment in this way. Instead of just castrating him and then torturing him to death, Stephen suggests that they sell him to the LeQuint Dickey Mining Company where he will do backbreaking mining work until his back gives out at which point they'll bludgeon him with a sledgehammer and throw his body down the nigger hole.
- Faux Affably Evil:
- Calvin Candie plays a jolly, genial sadist, who seems to treat his slaves properly (if you ignore the fact that he's introduced watching slaves fight each other to the death, and encourages them to kill and maim) and is nowhere as disgusting as the previous bounty targets, but when finally provoked, the jolly genial part goes right out the window in a hurry. Just to remind us that he's the villain, he casually lets a slave get torn apart.
- Stephen play-acts as the curmudgeonly but affable house Negro, but as soon as he's in private, he turns into a frigging Bond villain.
- Big Daddy is initially rude to Schultz...until he hears that money is up for grabs, at which point he is indulgent, welcoming, and a generous host. Similarly, perhaps because he is in a good mood due to the probability of imminent financial gain, he is, if not respectful, then at least pleasant with Bettina when he gives her instructions about how to treat Django...but then we learn that he has ordered a slave whipped for breaking eggs.
- Fauxshadowing: Early in the film, when Django and Schultz ride into the first town they visit, the foreground of one shot conspicuously incorporates a noose through which Django's head cleanly passes, strongly suggesting that he will be hanged. In a way, he does end up hanging, but not quite that way.
- Felony Misdemeanor: One of the Brittle brothers whipping a girl for breaking eggs.
- Five-Bad Band: Candyland
- Foil: Django and Schultz are each other's foils, as are Candie and Stephen. In turn, the relationship between Schultz and Django parallels that of Stephen and Candie.
- Food Porn: Like Inglourious Basterds, right before the "shooting the sheriff" scene in Daughtrey, we have the camera doing close ups as Dr. Schultz pours beer into glasses and cuts the foam off with a popsicle stick. Later we have a just long enough shot on the cake slices Candie serves.
- Foreign Culture Fetish: Calvin is an admirer of all things French, particularly Alexandre Dumas. Still, he cannot actually speak French, and is oblivious to the fact that Dumas was one-quarter black (which would have been plenty at the time the movie is set).
- Schultz complaining to Django that he doesn't want to die in a redneck part of America. Also, his preceding speech becomes a lot more meaningful when he thoroughly disregards his own advice:
Schultz: "Don't get so carried away with your retribution. You'll lose sight of why we're here. [...] Stop antagonizing Candie. You're going to blow this whole charade, or more than likely get us both killed."
- Schultz explaining to Candie that "auf wiedersehen" means that they'll meet again, and "goodbye" means he never wants to see him again.
- Schultz describing the legend of Siegfried in terms of three challenges that must be overcome to claim Broomhilda. Siegfried climbed a mountain (Django infiltrated Candyland), then slew The Dragon (Django kills Crash and slaughters Candie's posse), and finally walked through hellfire (Django ambles through the burning rubble of the estate)
- Django telling Schultz that a black slave trader is the lowest kind of negro there is. The second lowest? The head house servant.
- Schultz compares their plan, offering to buy a fighting slave to get Broomhilda in the bargain, to getting a horse from a farmer by "buying the farm." Schultz later, as the saying goes, "buys the farm."
- French Maid Outfit: One of Candie's slave girls is made to wear this.
- Full-Frontal Assault: When Django is captured after the gunfight where Calvin and Schultz (and a number of Mooks) are killed, he's seen hanging upside down, butt-naked, with his schlong in full view.
- Funny Background Event:
- When Tina asks Big Daddy if she should treat Django like a white man, Big Daddy gives her a serious Little "No". Beside him, however, Schultz gives her a big smiling nod and then scowls at Big Daddy's reply.
- When Schultz is putting a bullet in the Daughtrey sheriff's head, look behind him and you will see a) one woman on a single crutch desperately hobbling away as fast as she can, while b) another woman just faints on the spot.
- Look carefully at the crowd behind Marshal Tatum in the very next scene, pointing rifles at the tavern — even the townswomen are in on it.
- As Django is just about to start killing the Brittle Brothers, a tall, dusty, framed mirror to the right of the tree where Lil' Jodie is tied that happens to catch his reflection. It's quite reminiscent of famous painting The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough.
- Gallows Humor: Frequent, such as the exchange when Schultz is about to snipe a bounty:
: You sure that's him? Django
: Yeah. Schultz
: Positive? Django
: I don't know. Schultz
: You don't know if you're positive? Django
: I don't know what "Positive?" means. Schultz
: It means "You're sure?"
: Yes. Schultz
: Yes what? Django
: Yes, I'm sure that's Ellis Brittle. [Schultz shoots the fleeing Ellis off his horse] Django
: I'm positive he dead
- Genre Savvy: Schultz to an extent, since he's been in the bounty hunter game for so long. He pretty much knows how each of his adversaries is going to react and takes precaution for the most part. However, even though he anticipates Candie's reactions perfectly and plays him like a violin throughout their time together, Stephen's intelligence behind his Obfuscating Stupidity is an ultimately fatal case of Didn't See That Coming. To give Schultz his due, there was no way he could have known how dangerous Stephen was in advance, and Stephen's Uncle Tomfoolery charade is very convincing.
- Genre Throwback: To the spaghetti western and blaxploitation.
- Girl in a Box: Broomhilda's introduction, having been isolated in the "hot box" for attempting to escape.
- Glad I Thought of It: Invoked; Stephen despairingly recalls how heavily he had to drop hints before anyone picked up on his suggestion of selling Django to a mining company known for its atrociously cruel treatment of slaves.
- Good Is Not Nice/Good Is Not Soft: Django and Schultz respectively. Years of growing up in plantations has hardened Django to the point where he does not bat an eyelash to the inhumanities that the slaves suffer. Schultz, on the other hand, having grown up in Germany, is more emotional since he lacks any experience in this aspect. That still doesn't deter him from taking out criminals in a coldblooded manner.
- Go Out with a Smile: After Schultz shoots Candie, he realizes that he'll be killed himself by Candie's bodyguard in a moment. He apologizes to Django with a smile and a shrug.
- Gorn: Definitely one of Tarantino's gorier films, right up there alongside Inglourious Basterds. The final shootout has entire walls covered in blood.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Some female deaths contain a surprising lack of gore despite this being a Tarantino flick. Whilst some characters instead get Blown Across the Room, Big Daddy surprisingly get this in that you only see his horse get blood splattered before he falls instead of chunky salsa.
- Gray and Black Morality: The villains are racists and murderers, but the heroes are murdering bounty hunters willing to make a number of morally ambiguous decisions to their own ends. Even Dr. Schultz, the most heroic and moral character in the film, has no problem killing people for money.
- Groin Attack: A running theme. Django nearly gets castrated when he's captured at Candyland. He kills two of Candie's remaining enforcers by shooting them in the nads. This also may be the only movie in history to feature a groin attack on a snowman.
- Grumpy Old Man: Stephen, Candie's butler, combines this with being a completely remorseless Jerk Ass. Still hilarious.
- Guile Hero: Schultz, who has a nigh-on supernatural ability to talk his way out of incredibly dangerous situations. It rubs off on Django.
- Gun Twirling: Django frequently does this before reholstering his pistol.
- Guns Akimbo: Django with a pair of revolvers. Even lampshaded in one scene.
Stephen: I count six shots
, nigga. Django: (pulling out his second gun from inside his coat)
I count two guns,
- Handshake Refusal: Just when everything seems to be wrapped up, bloodlessly if not ideally, Schultz's inability to bring himself to shake Candie's hand ruins everything. Candie claims their signed contract will be effectively null and void without one, but more likely he just wants to antagonize him. Schultz shoots him instead.
- Harp of Femininity: Candie's sister Lara plays Beethoven's "Für Elise" on one of these — at least, she does until Schultz angrily demands her to stop.
- Happiness in Slavery: Stephen, Candie's head house slave, is fiercely devoted to serving him. This is partly due to loyalty, and partly because Stephen is in a very high position of power in Candie's service. Sheba also seems perfectly happy with essentially being a sex slave.
- So does Cora, though it's mostly out of fear.
- Heart in the Wrong Place: Monsieur Candie and John Brittle are both very obviously shot through the left lung, but in the context of the narrative it's clear that the shots are supposed to go through their hearts.
- Heroic BSOD: Schultz after seeing the dogs sicced on a runaway slave. This is something of a delayed BSOD, as the full effect doesn't hit him until hours after the incident.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Schultz kills Candie, even though it means his own death. It isn't that heroic, however, since it threatens the lives of Django and his wife. Schultz actually realizes this, saying apologetically to Django "I couldn't resist."
- Hero's Journey: Django fights and kills for saving the life of an innocent life, in a harsh, unjust place. Even taking in count his necessary moments of brutality he's still the Tarantino protagonist to come closest to a moral, old-fashioned hero.
- Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: Schultz, a native speaker of German, takes advantage of the fact that Damsel in Distress Broomhilda speaks German to tell her of the plan to rescue her without worrying whether anyone else is listening in.
- Hilarity Ensues: The discussion about the bags used as hoods in the style of the KKK.
- Historical Villain Downgrade: The film goes out of its way to portray pro-slave Southerners largely as incompetent idiots. One example is the scene with the proto-KKK Bag Heads, who spend more onscreen time arguing over their masks than attacking the heroes.
- Hitman with a Heart: King Schultz, to the point where it's hard to believe he kills people for money. Then again, we only see him shooting southerners, whom he considers barbaric.
- Horseback Heroism: Django in the climax.
- Hypocrite: The racist slurs Stephen throws at Django... well, it's pretty obvious how it's hypocritical.
- Hypocritical Humor: After Schulz casually guns down the sheriff, the Marshall turns up with a possie and demands his surrender. Schulz puts his guns away and asks for the Marshall's word that he won't be shot out of hand.
Marshall: You mean like you did our sherriff? Shot him down like a dog in the street!
Schulz: Yes, that's exactly what I mean.
- Idiot Hero: Justified, given the time period. Django starts off the film as well-educated as you'd expect the typical 1800s slave to be; he's ignorant, uneducated, and needs things repeated a few times before he fully grasps them. Under Schultz' influence and tutelage, though, he graduates to a competent, cunning badass with some Guile Hero abilities.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Django's excuse for playing such a convincingly callous slaver while on his mission to rescue his wife.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten:
- A morally gray example, early in the film, Django and Schultz's target is a (possibly former) stagecoach robber... and a family man. Schultz wants Django to kill him while he's plowing the field with his son, and Django hesitates. Schultz chides Django, who was willing to kill people up until now (quoting his iconic 'kill white folk' line at him back), and reminds him that Bounty Hunting needs a clear head and a gray conscience. Django takes the shot with guilt.
- Candie is distrustful of Django's story as a callous mandingo expert and so has a runaway slave torn apart by dogs so that Candie can watch him closely and see if he betrays any sympathy.
- I Have Your Wife: Figuratively speaking, the entire plot. Though the trope itself only comes in play in the last arc.
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Django's first choice of clothes as a free man, which are almost identical◊ to "The Blue Boy" painting by Thomas Gainsborough. One of the slaves he talks to is astonished to find out that he picked the outfit out for himself.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Django, oh so very much. Lampshaded:
"The kid's a natural."
- Incest Subtext: A bit between Calvin and his sister. He gushes on and on about her beauty, and often kisses her on the cheeknote whenever he can (even on the lips at some point). Throughout his on-screen time, he shows the most affection to her by far.
- Insistent Terminology: Calvin Candie insists on being called "Monsieur", even though he can't even form a complete sentence in French.
- Insult Misfire: When the Marshall tries to shame Shultz for murdering the sheriff.
Shultz: May I have your word that neither you nor your men will open fire on us without the benefit of a trial?
Marshall: You mean like you did to the sheriff? Shot him down like a dog in the street!
Shultz:(calmly) Yes, that's exactly what I mean. Do I have your word we won't be shot down like a dog in the street?
- Ironic Echo:
- "I like the way you die, boy."
- "The 'D' is silent."
- "auf Wiedersehen" and "goodbye".
- "Hey, little troublemaker."
- Django quotes Schultz right back at him when the latter is afraid Django is taking the slaver act too far.
- The horse tricks.
- "Kill white folk and get paid for it?"
- Irony: During the raid scene, several raiders complain that they can't see, due to the bags on their heads. Big Daddy yells "Goddamn it, this is a raid! I can't see, you can't see, so what? All that matters is can the fuckin' horse see!" Not five years later, KKK formed...and guess what animal the bags were put on.◊
- It Will Never Catch On: The raiders who decide to teach Schultz and Django a lesson are a disorganised mob who happen to get the idea to wear white hoods with eyeholes cut out. It's roundly considered that while it was a decent idea, they hadn't really thought it through... but there's a throwaway line that next time they do this, they'll put some effort into getting the hoods right.
- Jaw Drop: Candie, after Schultz tells him that Alexander Dumas is black.
- Jerkass Façade: Django puts on one when posing as a black slaver. Candie, of course, tests it by having Django more-or-less passively approve a slave being torn apart by dogs. Django can barely hold in his disgust.
- Jump Scare: After Candie figures out that Django and Schultz were about to dupe him out of Broomhilda, Schultz sits as Candie's sister plays "Für Elise" on the harp while the images of a slave being torn apart by dogs flash, each with the slave's very loud screams.
- Karma Houdini: Carrucan.
- Karmic Death: Django (former slave) killing a bunch of racist slave owners, overseers, and transporters. Also, Stephen, the unscrupulous house slave, is left to go up with the very house he served.
- The Klan: A precursor, led by a vengeful plantation owner after Django and Schultz shoot up three of his men.
- Knee-capping: Django does it to Stephen to ensure he doesn't die a dignified death in the ending.
- Kneel Before Zod: Calvin demanding that Schultz shake his hand, or else his bodyguard will mow them down with his sawed-off shotgun.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Schultz occasionally says disgusting things about his profession and tries to act cold-hearted, but the man is in it to do good and punish bad people.
- Large Ham: Candie. All together now: "WHERE IS MY BEAUTIFUL SISTER?!?!" Ranging from his ham as he threatens Django and Schultz to giddily encouraging his slave to gouge out another's eyes and hammer his face in.
- Lead You Can Relate To
- Left the Background Music On: When Candie is drawing up the receipts, Beethoven's "Für Elise" plays in the soundtrack. It's Lara Lee playing the harp, and Schultz angrily tells her to stop.
- Let The Past Burn: The film ends with Django and his wife leaving an exploding slave plantation, on horseback determined to live a free life.
- Line-of-Sight Name: Sort of. Dr. Schultz, after "purchasing" and freeing Django, introduces him as "Django Freeman". It was actually pretty common for former slaves to take on the last name Freeman. Slaves had no last name except possibly that of their master's, but after being freed, they would need a last name. Freeman works both to fill the role of a necessary last name and as a title/status marker to distinguish them from slaves.
- Living MacGuffin: Broomhilda. Django occasionally fantasizes about seeing her in various places he comes across, shown to remind the audience of his motivation.
- Longing Look: What brings the Batman Gambit down. Lara notices Hildie looking a lot at Django, which makes Stephen suspect they know each other and deduce she's the real reason they're there.
- Ludicrous Gibs: Most of the gun fights in the film came with large amounts of blood splatter.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Double Subverted, Schultz ends up dying because he let his emotions get the best of him, not to inspire Django. The subsequent course of events does lead to Django seeking glorious revenge however, both to reclaim his wife and avenge Schultz's death as well.
- Magical Negro: Dr. King Schultz serves this function. The fact that he's white can be seen as part of the film's subversion of the traditional roles played by white and black people in Westerns.
- Maid Cafe: The Cleopatra Club, where Candie is first introduced, seems to be an antebellum-South version of this. Each of the female servers in the club wear a maid outfit, act as waitresses, and there is a brief clip where several waitresses and patrons sing a song together.
- Male Frontal Nudity:
- Doubles as Fan Disservice, as it's Django after surrendering to the remainder of Candie's forces in the aftermath of Candie's death, and after undergoing torture, still obviously in pain. Stephen promises him he'll suffer a horrible death, and Billy Crash comes in and toys with his genitals... with a hot knife.
- Shortly after, when Django massacres the trackers, one of the trackers gets out of the bath only to have his genitals shot off.
- The Man Behind the Man: Stephen may not be the master of the plantation, but he is easily the most influential figure in the Candie household. In private, he brazenly bosses Calvin around and even berates him for being so easily taken in by a pair of strangers.
- Man in White: Big Daddy, narrowly averting the Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit trope. After all, it is Sonny Crockett.
- Meaningful Echo: When saying farewell to Candie, Schultz refuses to use the traditional German farewell of "auf Wiedersehen", because it implies they will meet again. Instead, he says "goodbye", as he does not want to meet Candie ever again. After escaping a slave convoy and returning to Candyland, Django pays his last respects to Schultz's body with "auf Wiedersehen" and tells the maids to say "goodbye" to Lara.
- Meaningful Name:
- Broomhilda (spelled in German as Brunhilde and also known as Brynhildr, among other names), as explained by Schultz, is named after a Valkyrie from German legends who is imprisoned and eventually rescued by a hero who overcomes many dangerous obstacles.
- Dr. King Schultz.
- Stonecipher, the semi-comprehensible dogkeeper.
- Schultz gives Django the last name "Freeman" to make sure people remember that he is, in fact, a free man.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Averted somewhat. Zoë Bell's tracker character is shot unceremoniously with the others and Miss Lara gets gunned down at the climax. However, their deaths are cleaner than the others,
- Missing Trailer Scene: Interesting example - As per usual on a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack release, there is dialogue from the film interspersed throughout. In two instances, the tracks "In that case, Django, After you," and "5,000 Dollar Niggas" are from alternate or deleted scenes.
- Mood Whiplash: And because it is a Black Comedy, you'll go from laughing to cringing to laughing again in the same scenes.
- Ms. Fanservice: Sheba, being her in-universe role as well.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Stephen horrifically embodies this. For all the discussions of slavery, this is one of the few works that emphasizes just how much this trope was a main ingredient in slavery.
- Mythology Gag: There are a few nods to the original Django:
- The credits/theme song sequence in the original played while the main character was wearily dragging a coffin. In here, it plays over the main character wearily dragging himself along as a part of a slave procession.
- The mask-wearing racist southerners complaining about not seeing a thing are very similar to a group of villains in the original, who wore bright red hoods over their faces. While they didn't complain, they certainly looked like they couldn't see much out of them. They were both deliberately evocative of the KKK, despite being set in a time before them, however.
- And of course, Franco Nero making a cameo in the Mandingo fight scene.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Candie's all set to release Broomhilda; they're nearly home-free. However, Schultz must first shake Candie's hand, due to something of a legal technicality (in truth, it's bullshit; contracts have never required handshakes — although Calvin could probably find a nearby judge with a sympathetic ear). If he doesn't, Calvin would be well within his rights to call the deal cancelled (again, not really, but what Candie probably meant was that, if Schultz didn't shake his hand, he'd just kill him and Django) and to have Broomhilda shot. As easy as it would have been to pull off, Schultz hates Candie enough that he just can't bring himself to do it, and shoots Candie in the heart.
- Nice Hat: Django and Schultz.
- Nice to the Waiter:
- Schultz, to pretty much every slave he comes across. Also serves as his Establishing Character Moment.
- Candie coddles the slaves who serve him well, such as Steven, the winning mandingo fighters, and his fetishized female slaves. It serves to highlight his ruthlessness when a slave falls into his disfavor.
- No Badass to His Valet: Candie. Stephen is more than willing to call him a dipshit when he's making a mistake, and is revealed to be the smarter of the two.
- Not So Above It All: Inverted; King Schultz treats slavery as the stupid backwards practice of easily dispatched dumb rednecks, but Calvin Candie's brutality eventually breaks down his wall of irony.
- Not So Different: Schultz points out that bounty hunting isn't so different from slavery in that they both deal in the trade of human flesh, though where the slave trade pays for live humans, bounty hunting pays for corpses.
- Candie points out that both Django and Stephen are "strong-willed Negroes."
- Not-So-Small Role: Subverted — Amber Tamblyn is visible through a window in Daughertry. This is merely a nod to her father, Russ Tamblyn, star of Son of a Gunfighter (who also cameos in this film).
- Nothing Up My Sleeve: Schultz has a special sleeve rig for a derringer, used to kill the sheriff of Daughtrey and later by Django to kill two of the Brittle brothers. Later Schultz uses it to kill Candie
- N-Word Privileges: In spades, from both black and white characters, as would be realistic for the time period. The only character who seems even a little bit squeamish about the word is Schultz, until he starts acting the part of a slave trader.
- Obfuscating Stupidity:
- Stephen plays the part of a foolish, if somewhat irascible, head house slave, when in fact he is far more cunning and observant than his master Calvin.
- Schultz frequently does this too, playing the part of the out-of-his-depth Funny Foreigner in order to get close to some of his targets.
- The Obi-Wan: Schultz is this to Django, teaching him the ropes as a bounty hunter both in terms of skills and in terms of cleverness. He even lampshades their mythical roles in the story. He also teaches him how to read, which would have been incredibly subversive at the time. Indeed, in 1858, as a consequence of a couple of (brutally suppressed) slave rebellions, it was actually illegal to educate slaves, though, technically, given he promised he'd give Django his freedom after the Brittle business, this may not have been a problem. How he manages to teach him all that through the winter while actively hunting bounties is anyone's guess.
- Obi-Wan Moment: "I'm sorry, I couldn't resist."
- Odd Friendship:
- Calvin Candie and Stephen, the planter and the slave. Stephen even seems to be Candie's equal in many ways.
- Also Schultz and Django
- Old Retainer: Stephen to Calvin. He also happens to have a Creepy Souvenir of the family's previous Old Retainer "Old Ben".
- Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Schultz against Candie.
- One-Hit Polykill: During the Candyland gun battle, one of Django's bullets pierces two guards at once. Reflexively, the morons twirl around and blast each other again for good measure.
- One Steve Limit: Averted. One of the raiders is named Willard. And Sheriff Bill Sharp is revealed to be a criminal named Willard Peck, using Sharpe as a pseudonym.
- Overcrank: Really overused in the Candieland massacre shootout. After Candie is shot, we see Stephen scream "NOOOOO!! CALVIN!" and hurry to Candie's side, with the slo-mo making it obvious he's probably bolting past Schultz. Butch Pooch turning around is also done in slo-mo, and when he shoots Schultz with his shotgun and Schultz is blasted into the bookcase, we are in super slo-mo, and then we suddenly ramp back up to real time as within merely three real-time seconds of Schultz getting shot, Django grabs Butch's revolver and shoots him, and at various points in the foyer part of the gunfight, it is overcranked up to eleven.
- Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: The Candieland massacre is one of the bloodiest gunfights you'll ever find on screen as upwards of 20 people are killed in the foyer and the adjoining rooms of the plantation. By the end, not only is the floor littered with bullet riddled corpses, but during the gunfight, we have people who get shot many times past the point of death who survive, and the walls look like someone splashed a big bucket of blood all over them.
- Overly Long Gag: The Klan scene, which is an annoyed argument over their poorly-tailored hoods.
Bennett: "Hold on, I'm fucking with my eye holes..."
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Both Django and Schultz are Anti-Heroes who do morally ambiguous things throughout the film. But their morally questionable/violent acts are almost always directed at Asshole Victims.
- Place Worse Than Death: Stephen sends Django to be imprisoned at the Lequint Dickey Mining Company, a place where all slaves are given "a number and a sledgehammer and told to break big rocks into small rocks" until their backs give out, at which point their heads are bashed in with a hammer and their body is thrown into a hole with other slave corpses. Django escapes before he gets anywhere near a mine, though.
- Politically Correct History: Averted to the point that it verges on parody. The 'nigger on a horse' gag as they ride into Daughtrey is clearly an homage to the 'welcoming the Sheriff' scene in Blazing Saddles—right down to the porch-front reaction-shots.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Calvin Candie, a Mississippi plantation owner and utter bigot. Ironically, his black servant Stephen is one as well.
- Power Walk:
- Done by Candie's entourage as they walk back to the mansion before the climax.
- Django walking amidst the flames of the demolished Candyland.
- Prayer of Malice: Stephen, after Django caps his knees.
Sweet Jesus, let me kill this nigger!
- Protagonist Title: The one who is unchained.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Schultz kills Big Daddy's thugs following a friendly "Auf Wiedersehen!"
- Punishment Box: Runaway slaves in candyland are punished by being put in the "hot box", which is a concrete coffin in the ground. This being the humid, hot South, it's not a pleasant punishment.
- Purple Is Powerful: Lampshaded by Django, who comments that he looks pretty good in burgundy.
- Rage Breaking Point: Candie really, really shouldn't have tried to force Schultz to shake his hand before he'd let them leave. Schultz, already pushed to his limits by Candie's dog-kicking and murder of D'Artagnan, snaps and shoots him without any regard for his own safety or the success of his plan.
- Rape as Drama: Ultimately only played with. The tension of this is present, but nothing is ever shown of this actually occurring. The movie only says it's happened.
- Reality Ensues: The practicality of the proto-KKK masks.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: A lot of people complained that the movie used the N-word too much, however, the N-word was one of the only ways to refer to black people in the 1850s; even they commonly used it to refer to themselves. People also complained about the way the slaves were tortured, according to Quentin Tarantino, most of the torture in the movie is based on real things that were done to slaves.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- The U.S. Marshal at Daughtrey doesn't underestimate the threat that Schultz poses, as the sheriff did, and honors his promise not to gun down Schultz the moment Schultz steps outside. He also apparently pays Schultz the money that he's owed.
- "Snowy McSnow" (the Marshal the two men meet during their wintertime hunt) is, unlike the Daughtrey sheriff, rather accepting of a freedman.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
- Candie gives what he (and most of the intellectual community of his age) thinks is scientific one to Django when he finds out he's there to save Broomhilda, using Phrenology to 'prove' that Euroepans people are more creative and independent than Africans, whom he says are more close-minded and submissive.
- Schultz, in turn, gives one to Candie, pointing out the shallowness of Candie's faux-Francophilia, and his hypocrisy, by pointing out Alexandre Dumas was considered black.
- Red Herring Twist: In the scene where Candie is really, really insisting Schultz 'shakes his hand', his recently wounded and still bandaged other hand is clearly in view, and it seems probable that Schultz is going to shake that hand. Hard. Schultz kills Candie instead. This might not be a deliberate Red Herring though, since that hand wound wasn't in the script, and Leonardo DiCaprio really cut his hand by accident during shooting.
- Remake Cameo: Franco Nero, who played the title character in the original Django, makes a brief appearance and discusses the pronunciation of the main character's name.
- Revenge Before Reason: Schultz killing Candie. He'd bought Broomhilda's freedom and could have walked safely out the door if he'd shaken Candie's hand, but he couldn't bring himself to do it out of utter hatred for the man.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The whole film can also be regarded as one incredibly long one for Django. The film's tagline, after all, is Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Revenge.
- Royal Brat: Tarantino wrote the Candie character as a spoilt princeling.
- Rule of Symbolism:
- White people, white cotton, a white horse, white cake, and a white plantation mansion being coated red with blood.
- Hildy's introduction in the main story; she's pulled out of the ground, in a fetal position, soaked with sweat, and when the water is dumped on her, she starts screaming. Pretty much looks like she's being born. Also a nod to the Germanic legend of her namesake, Brunhilde who was trapped inside a ring of fire until Siegfried rescued her. The "ring of fire" in this case being the hot box.
- Running Gag:
- Various people's reactions to seeing a "nigger on a horse".
- In the climactic shootout, Candie's mooks accidentally shooting each other, especially the poor bastard lying in the middle of the atrium floor.
- Salt and Pepper: Schultz and Django. Their Evil Counterparts are Candie and Stephen.
- Scars Are Forever: Django and Broomhilda's scars never really go away and are there to show the crude conditions they've had to endure.
- Scar Survey: Calvin rips off Broomhilda's dress to expose her scarred back to his dinner party. ("This is a painting", he says excitedly). This is a bit much even for Lady Lara Lee.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Willard, after the other proto-Klansmen repeatedly criticize the job his wife did making their bag-hoods.
"Well, fuck all y'all, I'm going home! You know I watched my wife work all day getting thirty bags for you thirty ungrateful sons-of-bitches! From now on, don't ask me or mine for nothing!"
- Screw Your Ultimatum!: Following Candie's ultimatum that they buy Broomhilda immediately for $12,000 lest she die, he then gives another ultimatum demanding Schultz's remaining dignity (by sharing a friendly handshake) or the deal is off. Schultz responds to this by putting a bullet in Candie's chest.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: The proto-Klan raiding scene is topped off with a hilarious debate on their hoods not being very visible.
Bag Head #2/Randy: Are the bags on or off?
Bag Head #3: I think we all think the bags was a nice idea. But not pointin' any fingers, they coulda been done better. How about no bags this time? But next time we do the bags right, and then we go full regalia.
(murmurs in agreement)
Big Daddy: Wait a minute. I didn't say no bags!
Bag Head #2: But nobody can see.
Big Daddy: So?
Bag Head #2: So it'd be nice to see.
Big Daddy: Goddamn it, this is a raid! I can't see, you can't see — so what?! All that matters is can the fuckin' horse see!
- Servile Snarker: Stephen gripes playfully at Calvin even though he's Calvin's slave. It turns out that Stephen isn't servile at all behind closed doors. He's just pretending to be a servile snarker around others so that he can criticize Calvin in private.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Schultz takes this Up to Eleven, as several occasions have him use more diverse English than Americans, who get confused and request he talk properly.
- Even Candie and the Bag Heads occasionally break this out a little (comparatively speaking) in their Seinfeldian Conversation.
- Sherlock Scan: Stephen uses one of these to see through Schultz's plan.
- Shout-Out: Plenty, given that it's a Tarantino movie.
- Side Kick: Schultz recruits Django to be his sidekick in the first act when they're hunting for bounties, and becomes Django's sidekick in the second act when they're trying to save Django's wife.
- Slave Brand: Both Django and Broomhilda have an "r" (for "runaway") branded on their right cheekbone.
- Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Mentioned when Django is talking about posing as a black slaver in the pre-Civil War South. He mentions a black slaver being considered "Lower than the head House Slave, and that's pretty fuckin' low!" amongst the slave population. And Django should know: he executes Calvin Candie's smarmy house slave without remorse.
- Smash Cut/Gilligan Cut: When Schultz and Django enter the Daughtrey saloon, the saloonkeeper looks at Django and says "What the hell do you think you're doing boy? Get that nigger out of here!" The scene cuts to Pete careening out of his establishment, screaming for help. Schultz follows him out and says "Innkeeper! Remember, get the sheriff, not the marshal!" Just what Schultz did to make sure this happened is never made clear.
- Southern Belle: Calvin's sister, Lara, introduced as such.
- Southern Gentleman: Being set during the Antebellum South, the film features two particularly vicious deconstructions: Spencer "Big Daddy" Bennett and Calvin J. Candie. Both are plantation owners and slavers, and Deliberate Values Dissonance is in full effect with their monstrously brutal treatment of slaves.
- Big Daddy is seen having young girls whipped for accidentally breaking eggs, and heads a gang of proto-klansmen.
- Candie manages to be even worse: his hobbies include the study of the racist pseudo-science phrenology and forcing his slaves to fight each other to the death in “mandingo” fights for his amusement. We also see him having slaves unwilling to fight torn apart by hungry dogs.
- Spanner in the Works: While the main reason the entire plan falls apart is Stephen, his attention was drawn to the situation by a completely innocent jest by Lara, who didn't realise the significance of what she had noticed. It's possible that had she not made the joke, everything would have gone off without a hitch.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Hildy's name is obviously intended to be Brünnhilde (or Brynhildr, Brunhild or Brynhild), given that the mistress who named her was German. The only times we see it written down, however, it is spelled Broomhilda.
- Spiritual Successor: Has often been said to be so to Quentin Tarantino and Christoph Waltz's earlier film Inglorious Basterds.
- Starter Villain: The Brittle brothers.
- The Stinger: After the end credits, the film cuts back to the three men Django released after he killed the slave transporters. They watch him leave, and one asks, "Who was that nigger?" before it smash-cuts back to the title.
- Stealth Pun:
- Who killed Candie? A dentist.
- The big tooth on top of Schultz's carriage is hollow so he can sneak dynamite into it. In other words, it has a cavity.
- The girl at the Cleopatra Club that's attending to Candie is wearing a chocolate brown dress.
- Stepford Smiler: Lara's default setting is to wear a giant grin at all times and act like nothing is unusual. She only breaks this routine off once, when Calvin tries to show off Hildy's scars at dinner.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Tarantino himself personally shows us why you really shouldn't carry dynamite when you get shot.
- Stupid Crooks: Most of the bad guys aren't just assholes, they're stupid assholes.
- Candie puts on French airs, yet doesn't speak a word of it himself (don't speak French around him or you'll embarrass him) or know a thing about one of the most famous French writers.
- The proto-KKK raiding party assaulting Schultz and Django are hung up for way too long on how bad their masks are, and most of Candie's trackers and the phony sheriff are mush-mouthed scum-of-the-earth.
- Super Fun Happy Thing of Doom: Calvin Candie's plantation is called Candyland.
- A Taste of the Lash: Django and Hildy were both flogged for attempting to run away from their original plantation. Django interrupts another flogging by the Brittle brothers on Big Daddy's plantation, and one of the Brittle Brothers gets whipped by Django before he dies.
- Theme Tune Cameo: When Schultz loads the tooth on his cart with dynamite he whistles the Django theme.
- The Dog Bites Back: Pretty much the entire premise of the film. Django (a slave) gets recruited by Schultz to take down a group of criminals in exchange for a chance to rescue his wife and gain his freedom. It also worth mentioning that those criminals once oversaw the plantation that Django was at and that they whipped his wife for trying to escape.
- Time-Compression Montage: Django and Schultz's partnership over the winter months is relegated to a short montage that consists of them journeying through snowy mountain ranges and taking out several bounties.
- To the Pain: Lara Candie and the ranchers devise a smorgasbord of possible deaths for Django in the wake of Calvin's death, including castrating his testicles and letting him bleed out. Stephen casually remarks to each suggestion that the Le Quint Dickey Mining Company slaves have it way worse than any of that. What they do is they make you break big rocks into little rocks until the day you die. They take away your name, give you a number and a sledgehammer, and say "Get to work!" No back-talk is allowed because if you do, they cut out your tongue (and you won't bleed out, because they're really good at it). You are worked until your back gives out, at which point they'll strike you over the head with a sledgehammer, and throw your body down the nigger hole. And that will be the story of you.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- The LeQuint-Dickey Mining Company slave transporters are easily taken in by Django's story about a bounty. Then they untie him, a man who has just sold them on his skill at killing people, and just hand him a revolver. *Bang, bang, boom!*
- Also, Miss Lara. You'd think might have used the opportunity while Django was carrying out his bloody revenge on Billy Crash to run away. Although it's quite likely that Django would still have an opportunity to shoot her anyway, she makes no attempt at all to ensure her own safety. Though she was likely petrified just seeing what Django has already done to those remaining plantation henchmen.
- Trailers Always Lie: The commercials make it out to be a Western with almost nonstop action, with a heavy emphasis on bounty hunting, and set up Candie to be some sort of mastermind (as well as implying, by juxtaposition, that he's one of the Brittle brothers, when they're only Starter Villains). In the film, the action is only in a few parts (as is common with Tarantino's films), Candie isn't introduced or discussed until just over halfway through the film (and isn't especially intelligent; in fact, he doesn't figure out Schultz and Django's plan until his butler tells him), and the duo are only shown taking down a couple of relevant bounty targets — the majority of their work was done off-screen.
- Trailers Always Spoil: Several trailers prominently feature Stephen's line to Candie "They playin' your ass for a fool," which is a more important line than might at first be apparent.
- True Companions: Django and Schultz become this as the movie goes along.
- The Unintelligible: Mr. Stonesipher.
- Unflinching Walk: Subverted in that Django puts on his sunglasses and turns around to watch the impending explosion.
- Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Calvin Candie is described by Dr. Schultz as being "an abysmal winner". It is Candie's insistence on rubbing his victory in Schultz's face that causes Schultz to shoot him.
- Unwilling Suspension: Happens to Django after Candie's murder, awaiting to be sold to a mining company infamous for working slaves to death.
- Vengeance Feels Empty: Completely averted: everyone is vengeful, and everyone enjoys vengeance a lot.
- Villain Ball:
- Calvin insisting that Schultz shake his hand just to rub his victory in.
- The decision to have Django enslaved once more and sent off to work at a mine, as opposed to just plain killing him.
- Every antagonist in the movie basically walks into Schultz and Django's guns for some reason. Maybe it's a homage to badly choreographed 70s western flicks, or maybe not.
- Villainous Breakdown: Stephen after Django kneecaps him in both legs during the climax.
- Villainous Friendship: Calvin Candie and Stephen are shown to be genuine friends, with Stephen preserving Candie's authority at Candyland and basically running his plantation for him, and Candie providing Stephen with a dominant position in his organisation.
- Villainous Incest: There are several instances where this type of incest is heavily implied between Calvin Candie and his sister Lara Lee. Now then, "WHERE IS MY BEAUTIFUL SISTER?!?!?!"
- Villainous Valor: Stephen barely flinches when he learns Django has a second gun. Even after he's kneecapped twice, all he does is shout abuse and threats.
- We Have Reserves: In the Candieland massacre scene, the white plantation henchmen seem to have no compunctions about blasting bullets through their own men (or the house staff, for that matter) trying to shoot at Django.
- The Western
- What the Hell, Hero?: Schultz arranges a private meeting with Django to criticize him for going too far with his "brutal Negro slaver" act. Django replies that he's doing what he has to do to get his wife back by playing the part as convincingly as he can.
- Would Hit a Girl:
- Several of the slave owners pull this on their female slaves.
- Django pulls this off twice in the climax. The first one was ambiguous; he shot a woman who had her face covered up with a bandana. The other one was clearly female, and he didn't really have a problem with it.
- Written-In Infirmity:
- During the first 40 minutes of the movie, with the exception of a single scene at Big Daddy's plantation, Schultz drives a wagon rather than riding a horse. This was because Christoph Waltz had injured his pelvis in a fall from a horse during shooting. Analysis of the script shows that there was only a small amount of dialogue that ever had to be rewritten due to the cart.
- Then there is Leonardo DiCaprio accidentally cutting his hand on broken glass. It was thrown in, so he wears a bandage through the rest of the film.
- Yes-Man: Stephen and the plantation owner behave this way around Candie, exploding with laughter at all of his jokes. Stephen furthermore stands at his master's side and parrots his statements, though this is revealed to be an act.
- You Are Already Dead: Invoked with John Brittle and Mr. Candie due to their significance in the plot; despite other characters flat out exploding from gunshots, they both bleed mildly from a heart shot, and take a second to realize before keeling over and dying.
- Justified in that most of the gun kills in this movie came from revolvers and shotguns. Candie and Brittle were killed with the little hideaway derringer.