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    Rick Dalton
"In this town, it can all change (snap) like that."
Portrayed By: Leonardo DiCaprio

  • The Alcoholic: A flashback early in the movie shows that Rick has had his license suspended due to multiple DUI arrests and he nearly blows his role in Lancer due to drinking one too many whiskey sours the night before.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: It's not made explicit during the movie, but Tarantino told DiCaprio to play Rick as having undiagnosed bipolar disorder that he self-medicated with alcohol. This was inspired by Pete Duel, star of Alias Smith and Jones, who suffered from the same issues and eventually died by suicide because of them.
  • Anti-Hero:
    • Rick is not only a self-pitying alcoholic with Jerkass tendencies, but he specializes in playing this type of character. When he finally agrees to go to Rome to star in spaghetti westerns, his characters are specifically described as anti-heroes, fitting the change in his on-screen perception from heroic lead to villainous "heavy."
    • This also extends to Rick's character, Jake Cahill, on Bounty Law — an amoral Bounty Hunter who makes no effort to bring his targets in alive, and in fact describes other bounty hunters who do as "amateurs." Possibly a Take That! to Wanted: Dead or Alive, whose main character Josh Randall (played by Rick's rival, Steve McQueen) preferred to bring his quarry alive.
  • Always Someone Better: Rick claims that Steve McQueen beat him out for the lead role in The Great Escape.
  • Ax-Crazy: Being under the influence of alcohol can make him dangerously homicidal, as evidenced during the final confrontation.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Besides his Jerkass diva tendencies, Rick is otherwise cordial to most people. However, when Sadie crashes into his pool during the final confrontation while flailing a gun around, he immediately gets out of the pool, goes to his garage, gets out a flamethrower and roasts her. He is later acquitted of any charges for acting in self-defense against a home invader.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Early on in the film, Rick explains how he learned to use a flamethrower during the production of The Fourteen Fists of McCluskey, and he is seen learning to fire the weapon with a weapons trainer. During the final confrontation, he breaks out the flamethrower (which he still had stashed in his garage) and uses it to immolate Sadie, who has crashed into his pool.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Spends most of the movie as a drunken, whiny, has-been diva of an actor who practically has to be babysat by Cliff. He even fails to notice the cultists attacking his house because he's listening to music. Then Sadie Atkins falls into his pool, and Rick brings out the flamethrower.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Rick drinks like a fish and smokes like a chimney, to such an extent that the latter vice is shown to be giving him a bad cough and negatively impacting his health. Despite this, he stars in an ad for Red Apple Cigarettes and otherwise endorses the lifestyle. In the post-credits scene, he displays annoyance while shooting one of the commercials during his Bounty Law days, reflecting the changing attitudes towards television advertising for cigarettes, which were banned in 1970.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: On the set of Lancer, Rick tells Trudi the plot of a book he is reading, in which a fading bronco buster has to come to terms with not being the best anymore. He suddenly realizes how much the story mirrors his own life and starts crying. This may also count as a subversion, as several of the elements of the story, including the cowboy being injured in the leg, are later shown happening to Cliff. Made even more noticeable when Rick explains the plot about the cowboy as Cliff walks through the commune at the Ranch, which looks like an old-time Western town.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: While Rick isn't able to make a massive comeback or kick his alcoholism, he is able to prove his chops as an actor and reclaim his self-worth, and seems to genuinely love his wife Francesca. He also prevents the Manson murders along with Cliff and might have a shot at future stardom by getting to know the neighbor he inadvertently saved, Sharon Tate.
  • For Want of a Nail: By going outside and initially driving off the Manson acolytes when they come up Cielo Drive, Rick causes an Alternate History where the Tate residence is never attacked, the murderers are thwarted by Cliff and Rick, and Rick himself gets the opportunity to come up to the Polanski residence for a drink, suggesting they might give him a role in their next movie.
  • Gilligan Cut: During Rick's breakdown in his trailer, he tells his reflection that he needs to stop drinking or he will blow his own brains out. The scene immediately cuts to him taking a swig out of his flask before realizing what he just did and hurling it out the door like a live grenade.
  • The Gunslinger: Rick specializes in playing these characters, and many of the shows and films he appears in feature them. In the end, when Rick approaches the frenzied Sadie, she suddenly spins and points her revolver right at Rick, but he beats her to the trigger and incinerates her before she can fire.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Rick is floating in the pool wearing headphones blasting music, meaning he completely misses the home invasion until Sadie crashes through the window and lands in the pool next to him.
  • The Heavy: discussed by producer Marvin Schwarz, who fears Rick is being typecast by increasingly playing this character on TV.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Cliff.
  • Hidden Depths: Though Rick's issues and destructive lifestyle are highlighted, he is shown to be an actor who takes his job seriously. When he uses a flamethrower for a role in a movie he did take the time to learn how to operate it safely, and when he lands the role in Lancer, he's seen rehearsing lines for it in his downtime. Part of why he's so upset with himself over flubbing them was that he really was trying even as his addictions were throwing him off. (Most notably, he's embarrassed because, despite him putting in the time and practicing, his flubbing would make it look to his co-stars like he hadn't practiced.)
  • Hilarious Outtakes: During the credits, Rick is seen filming an ad for Red Apple cigarettes during his Bounty Law days, during which he praises the company and the flavor of the cigarettes. As soon as the camera stops rolling he starts bitterly complaining about how horrible the cigarettes taste and how the cardboard cutout of him has a double chin.
  • I Am Not Spock: In-Universe. Rick has trouble escaping his persona as "Jack Cahill" from Bounty Law. His subsequent work as a special guest villain on other shows doesn't help; as Schwarz points out, the story might concern a young hero beating up an experienced villain, but what the audience sees are new cowboys (and other TV heroes) kicking Jack Cahill's ass. The new TV pilot in which we see Rick actually act still casts him as a heavy, but subtly averts this; the costuming and design gives Rick a different look than he usually has, and the director specifically tells him that this role needs "Rick Dalton the actor, not Jack Cahill."
  • Imagine Spot: Rick imagines himself in the lead role of The Great Escape when asked about how he nearly got cast.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Played with. Rick has a heavy smoking habit and a persistent bad cough that he just can't seem to shake, with the implication that the two are connected being clear. However, it's never really made an issue of or discussed, and we never see him diagnosed.
  • It's Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Rick's character on Lancer is named Decoteau, which he thinks is pronounced Dakota, but everyone else pronounces as Daycahtoo (the French pronunciation would be closer to Decohtow).
  • It Will Never Catch On: Rick is dismissive of Martin's offer to star in a Spaghetti Western, because he thinks it'll do his fading career more harm than good. This is Truth in Television for the era, when most of Hollywood dismissed the genre as a cheap foreign knockoffs of "true" American westerns.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Rick is a temperamental, alcoholic Manchild, but he genuinely cares about Cliff and stands by him when no one else will. Despite it seeming like he takes advantage of him at first, Rick stands up for Cliff despite the cloud of alleged murder hanging over his head, keeps him paid and on call as his driver/handyman, and goes out of his way to find work for him even as his own career falters. Then, on the set of Lancer, Rick quickly bonds with his younger co-star Trudi — tellingly, his first reaction after throwing her to the ground in a scene (a late addition to the script which was Rick's idea) is immediately checking to see if she's okay (which she is, as wardrobe added padding under her dress).
  • Killing in Self-Defense: The ending has Rick get off scot-free for his actions in the finale by the police, after incinerating Sadie with the flamethrower that was stashed in his garage. This is because of a Californian law that permits residents to use extreme methods to defend their property in the event that it is attacked.
  • Large Ham: Rick's performance in the World War II film The Fourteen Fists of McCluskey. The titular character is a Hollywood Action Hero who kills scores of Nazis while Chewing the Scenery.
  • MST: In-Universe. Rick and Cliff sit down and watch an episode of the TV series The F.B.I., drinking beer and mocking the episode (which has Rick starring as that week's Special Guest villain).
  • Mugging the Monster: The incapacitated, mauled and nearly-drowned Sadie runs into Rick, who is lounging in his pool — and also has convenient access to a working flamethrower, which he uses to incinerate her as she thrashes around in the pool.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Rick absolutely loses it on the set of Lancer after he flubs his lines and returns to his trailer, blaming himself for drinking "ten whiskey sours" the night before and smashing furniture. However, he eventually regains his composure and elects to do better, rehearsing his lines until he's called back for shooting.
  • My Greatest Failure: Prior to the start of the film, Rick abandoned his lucrative television career in hopes of becoming an Action Star in movies. After his movie career quickly flamed out, Rick found the television acting scene had also left him behind. At best, he can only get cast as villains in other people's shows.
  • Pet the Dog: When first introduced as a faded star with a drinking problem, Rick comes across as someone who could be a real asshole in his private life. However, when he goes above and beyond in convincing Randy to give Cliff a shot at a stunt gig, it shows that, for whatever his faults, he's a good friend.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Really doesn't like hippies and has a dim view of the Italian movie-making scene even after he does a quartet of films in Rome. He also adlibs a line including a racial slur, but as he was in character as a villain, it doesn't reflect his actual feelings.
  • Prone to Tears: Rick cries three times during the movie; first when he's worrying about his career, later when he's identifying with the protagonist of a Western novel (a bronco buster who can no longer do his job due to a debilitating injury), and finally during his Tears of Joy scene after the filming of Lancer is completed.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: The sight of an old taxicab idling outside his house gets Rick so angered that he stomps outside in his nightrobe and proceeds to yell at them, ordering him to leave the area before he calls the cops. This causes an Alternate History, when the occupants of the vehicle (the Manson acolytes Tex, Patricia and Sadie) opt to attack his home instead of the Polanski residence.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Chatty, temperamental Rick Dalton is the red oni to Cliff Booth's stoic and polite blue.
  • Running Gag: People constantly identify Rick from his work on Bounty Law. This later becomes a Chekhov's Gun when the Manson acolytes realize who he is and opt to attack his house instead, under the belief that they need to kill the actor who inspired them to kill.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Rick and Cliff, though Rick only fits the sensitive slot by comparison with the ultra-macho Cliff, being still a traditionally-masculine, hard-drinking, hippie-hating action movie star (though one prone to bouts of crying and self-pity).
  • Spanner in the Works: He becomes this during the final act, unintentionally thwarting the Manson acolytes as they stake out Cielo Drive. By doing so, he creates an Alternate Timeline where the attackers elect to attack his home instead, are thwarted by both Cliff and himself, and ultimately leads to Sharon, Jay and the other guests at the Polanski residence being spared, with them eventually showing up to have a drink with Rick at the end of the film.
  • Speech Impediment: Suffers from a stutter when nervous, but able to keep it in check in front of the cameras.
  • This Is Going to Be Huge: A Running Gag throughout the film has Rick being enthusiastic about having Roman Polanski as a neighbor, predicting that he could be one social call away from making an impression on the director and landing a juicy role. Everyone at all familiar with the Manson Family will know that the Polanski home will soon be hit by tragedy that will destroy that opportunity. But it's subverted in the end, when Tate and company survive the night, and Rick gets invited over to the house, suggesting that he might just land a gig on a Polanski movie in the future.
  • Throw It In!: In-Universe. Rick ad-libs several lines during the climactic confrontation of the pilot episode of Lancer, even throwing Trudi to the ground at one point. Both Trudi (who had been outfitted with protective gear for the shoot) and the director are so impressed with Rick's actions that they compliment him after filming is completed.
  • What Could Have Been: In-Universe. Rick tells James Stacy that he was in the running for a short while as the lead star of The Great Escape before Steve McQueen took the role. Rick plays this off as unimportant, but his recollection of the time seems to suggest he briefly had the lead role and even shot footage for it, with Dalton in-character during an early scene.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Rick himself seems to think of himself as this, living in an expensive home surrounded by mementos from his past and largely being remembered from a decade-old series. This opinion is even reinforced by Marvin Schwarz, who claims that Dalton has been typecast as an older villain who gets beaten by younger, more bankable male action heroes. At the end of the film, however, he's gotten a few decent gigs in Europe, and it's implied that Dalton will get an in-universe Career Resurrection, as Jay Sebring and Sharon invite him up to their house for a drink, suggesting he may land a role in their next film.

    Cliff Booth
"Anybody accidentally kills anybody in a fight, they go to jail. It's called manslaughter."
Portrayed By: Brad Pitt

A Stunt Double who works for Rick Dalton on the set of various productions, and has remained close friends with him over the years.

  • Ambiguous Situation: The death of Cliff's wife. It is left up in the air whether or not Cliff murdered his wife or if it was just an accident. Cliff was charged but acquitted for the incident. Many people assume that he really did it, presuming his guilt, and explaining their disbelief of such on-screen. Most notably, we see a flashback of Cliff being berated by his wife on a boat, with an (unloaded) speargun in his lap pointed at her, but the scene cuts away before anything happens. It's ultimately left ambiguous what happened.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Special Forces War Veteran and stunt double VS. a trio of intoxicated hippies who never been in combat or a real fight? No contest.
  • Anti-Hero: Cliff is usually a Nice Guy, but the fights with Bruce Lee shows he has no patience for bullshit whilst remaining relatively calm but dangerous, which makes it plausible that he might have killed his wife.
  • The Atoner: It's possible, but unconfirmed, that the death of his wife (whether it was intentional or not) is part of the reason why he goes so utterly ballistic on the attacking Manson family members at the end.
  • Badass Driver: A lot of attention is drawn to Cliff simply driving around Hollywood in vintage cars. And it's cool.
  • Bait-and-Switch: At the end of the film, after Sadie grabs the revolver and starts firing wildly around the room, Cliff faceplants, suggesting that he's been shot and is possibly dead. Afterwards, he's fully conscious and in no immediate medical emergency, suggesting that he simply collapsed as a belated reaction to the previous, non-critical stab wound.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Cliff responds pleasantly (if slightly forcefully) when he discovers that the commune has slashed one of his tires during the trip to Spahn Ranch, and orders Clem to fix it. When the latter refuses and laughs at him, Cliff brutally hits him several times, warns all of the female members to stay back or else he'd punch out Clem's teeth, and orders him to fix the tire under threat of additional violence.
    • The same thing happens in the finale, when the acid-tripping Cliff encounters the three acolytes and starts laughing in his fever high. Upon realizing that they're not being taken seriously, Sadie orders Tex to shoot, leading Cliff to order Brandy to attack Tex. What results is a There Is No Kill Like Overkill sequence where Cliff and Brandy (and eventually Rick) absolutely destroy the attacking party.
    • When confronted by Bruce Lee on set of The Green Hornet, Cliff attempts to ease the tension by clarifying he doesn’t really want any trouble from Lee. Lee doesn’t heed his warning, and winds up learning just how formidable and brutal Booth is in a fight, leading to a draw before any victor can be decided.
  • Blood Knight: He’s a war veteran with a great deal of skill in combat. He also relishes the opportunity to spar with Bruce Lee, showing that he loves a good fight.
  • Boring Yet Practical:
    • Cliff's fighting style isn't flashy, but it's very efficient and more than good enough to keep pace with Bruce Lee. Considering a throwaway line from Rick identifying him as a war hero, he likely learned to fight in the military.
    • In the climax, Cliff never throws a true punch despite his strength and size advantage, instead improvising ways to inflict lethal head trauma. A full can of dog food, a stomp to the face on a door threshold and smashing a much smaller person's head into several rigid objects, respectively.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Clem apparently assumed Cliff wouldn't retaliate after slashing his tire at the commune. He did not expect Cliff to flatten him with a single punch, nor did he expect him to beat him badly and humiliate him in front of the rest of the women.
    • Bruce Lee challenging him to an exhibition match on-set also counts.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Cliff does this on several occasions, making use of hitting a person's vulnerable points and using whatever he's got at his disposal.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: Cliff is suspected to have killed his wife, but was never convicted. Despite this, everyone in the film business thinks he's guilty, and many refuse to work with him.
  • Cool Old Guy: In his mid-50's but acts and even moves like a man half his age, making it clear why Pussycat would be attracted to someone old enough to be her father.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Cliff is very unassuming and easygoing, but he regularly shows to be a lot more aware of what is going on and calculated than you would expect. He seems to let Bruce Lee get the first hit before slamming him into a car. Even his dog, Brandy, seems just a lovable lapdog. In the climax, while high on acid, he absentmindedly mocks the three attackers before handily taking them out, only being knocked unconscious as a delayed reaction to a knife wound to the leg.
    • He also reacts with surprise to hearing Pussycat is “living” at Spahn Ranch, and gives her a lift as a pretense to investigate, out of concern for George Spahn’s safety.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • After Steve Grogan stabs a tire on Rick's car and refuses to replace it with the spare, Cliff proceeds to pound the tar out of him until he acquiesces.
    • During the final fight, Cliff effortlessly dismantles the three Manson Family members. He only takes one hit due to being distracted, and still manages to take down his opponent despite being drunk and high. He also literally curbstomps Tex by using a door frame.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Is calm throughout most of the house invasion, at least in part due to the LSD.
  • Drink-Based Characterization: Cliff is shown drinking Bloody Marys in multiple scenes. His wife was enjoying one when she died, suggesting that he hasn't gotten over her death.
  • Drives Like Crazy: To a certain extent, and given his career as a stuntman, Cliff is shown pulling off fancy (and dangerous) maneuvers behind the wheel at several points during the film.
  • End of an Age: The events of the film suggest that Cliff and Rick's working partnership is coming to an end, as the latter admits that he will have to let the former go (because he can't pay him anymore) after the Time Skip. They decide to have one last hurrah as best friends, go out drinking at their favorite restaurant and hang out the rest of the night before parting ways. The ending of the film doesn't resolve it one way or the other, with Cliff either forgetting or deliberately withholdng the directions to the hospital after he is injured, and Rick promising to visit the next day before Sharon and Jay invite him up for a drink.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: During the climax, against Patricia, after she stabs him in the hip with a knife. He proceeds to smash her face against every available blunt surface in the house, reducing her to a bloody pulp.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: Possibly. He is a war veteran who displays a great deal of combat prowess, but he only really qualifies as a criminal if he did indeed murder his wife and we are never given a straight answer on that.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: He effectively uses simple deflection techniques against Bruce Lee's fancy kicks during their fight in the production lot.
  • Henpecked Husband: Seen in a flashback where Cliff is ridiculed mercilessly by his (drunk) wife while they're sitting on a boat at sea, and he silently goes about his business. The end of the scene leaves it ambiguous on whether he reached his limit and murdered her.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: When Cliff goes back to his tiny trailer, the first thing that happens is him being lovingly attacked by his pitbull Brandy.
  • Humble Hero: When not hanging out with Rick in the big Hollywood mansion, he lives modestly in a run-down trailer park with his dog Brandy. Even though he has every right to be envious of his more successful friend, he is shown to be completely content with his life.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: A key character in the movie, as he helps facilitate Rick's heroic deeds by playing the physical parts in the many shows he's appeared in. This even extends to the climax of the film, when the acid-tripping Cliff still retains enough lucidity and capability to effortlessly dismantle the attackers, with the only surviving one left being left in such an injured state she might very well have died from her injuries before Rick immolated her with a flamethrower.
  • Immune to Drugs: Subverted in the finale — Cliff is feeling the effects of LSD (not to mention the alcohol he drank earlier), but it doesn't dull his combat senses enough to stop him from routing the Manson Family, effortlessly dismantling and killing two of the attackers in the process.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Cliff's combat abilities are shown in passing several times, and he initially seems to laugh off the three attackers who show up to assault the house in the finale. It's only when Tex performs the Dramatic Gun Cock that Cliff decides all bets are off, and proceeds to utterly ruin their day with a series of brutal takedowns, using whatever he can find in the environment, his feet, his dog and a can of dog food.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Cliff is stabbed in the hip, and has no immediate reaction besides tapping the handle of the blade in confusion. He doesn't collapse from the injury until after he's made his attacker pay for it. Justified as he was drunk and high at the time, and likely was running on adrenaline.
  • Mundane Utility: Cliff's skills as a stuntman come in handy when Rick asks him to repair the TV antenna on his roof. He effortlessly leaps and jumps up to the roof with the ease of someone half his age, even balancing on the fence at one point.
  • Mysterious Past: Cliff's origins and the root of his quietly violent and dysfunctional nature are rather obscure.
  • Nice Guy: Despite his shortcomings and questionable past, Cliff is undeniably a very good friend to Rick. He's endlessly supportive, genuinely enjoys his company and is willing to do any job for him without complaint.
  • Noodle Incident: The death of Cliff's wife is never explicitly shown, and it is a question left unresolved. The flashback seems to suggest that Cliff may have killed her with a harpoon gun... except the gun isn't loaded in wide shots of Cliff holding the weapon. The last thing the audience sees before the flashback ends is a close shot on Cliff's face as a wave hits in the background, suggesting that she may have fallen overboard and drowned, but no confirmation is given either way.
  • Pet the Dog: While he is introduced as a decent guy and good friend to Rick, it's slowly revealed he has some issues with getting into fights and is suspected of having killed his wife, which have made him a pariah in the film biz. That said, when he goes home, he has a loving pitbull waiting for him, showing that he's probably a decent guy at heart.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Chatty, temperamental Rick is the red oni to Cliff Booth's stoic and polite blue. Subverted in that Cliff is widely feared and disliked throughout Hollywood for allegedly killing his wife and unleashes holy hell on the Manson family in the climax, though he's still calm when he does it.
  • Riches to Rags: Downplayed, with a flashback suggesting that Cliff owned a boat around the time of his wife's death. As the events of the film begins, his earning power has been diminished (with Rick being the only actor in Hollywood who appears to be giving him work), and he is living out of a small trailer behind a drive-in with his dog.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: To Rick, though Rick only fits the sensitive slot by comparison with the ultra-macho Cliff.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Cliff certainly qualifies. He was accused, though acquitted, of killing his wife, and isn't visibly bothered that half of Hollywood regards him with fear or derision. Taken to extremes at the climax, when he absolutely destroys the three Manson family members in Rick's home and spends a minute smashing in Patricia Krenwinkel's face, although admittedly he was high on acid which probably made him respond more violently than normal.
  • The Stoic: Despite dealing with hippie cultists, martial arts legends, and Hollywood Producers, Cliff is rarely more than slightly bemused.
  • Tranquil Fury: During the climax, when Patricia smiles at him after stabbing him in the hip, he responds by smashing her head into every single surface he can find, reducing her face to red paste before looking at the remnants impassively and shoving her away.
  • Underestimating Badassery:
    • At the Spahn Ranch, Clem bullies Cliff by flattening his tire, apparently believing that the vastly-outnumbered Cliff will have no recourse but to limp away home. It turns out Cliff has other ideas.
    • The Manson family have no idea who Cliff is, but clearly see him as a simple victim to toy with. Big mistake.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The flashback to the incident where Cliff fought Bruce Lee and got fired from the set of The Green Hornet is the only one in the film framed as a character's recollection In-Universe. It also happens to include several clues to the fact that Cliff's memories of the event are skewed, most prominent among them the fact that if Cliff had really slammed Bruce against Janet's car hard enough to do the kind of damage to the car seen onscreen, it would've broken Lee's back. When we see Lee training or rehearsing scenes with other actors later, he comes off as far friendlier than Cliff's recollection paints him.
  • Worf Had the Flu: By the time the final confrontation starts, Cliff is high off an acid-dipped cigarette he decided to enjoy. Ultimately subverted, as this doesn't stop him from effortlessly mopping the floor with the three attackers, only suffering a hip wound he seems to shrug off afterwards.
  • Would Hit a Girl: During the final act, after Patricia stabs him in the hip with her knife via surprise attack, he responds by smashing her into every surface he can find.

    Sharon Tate
"I'm in the movie. I play Mrs. Carlson, the klutz."
Portrayed By: Margot Robbie

  • Actor Allusion: Sharon is introduced on a Pan-Am plane. Pan Am was Robbie's breakout role outside her native Australia.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • On the night of August 9, 1969, Sharon, Jay and the other guests at the Polanski residence are seen going out for dinner, with Sharon herself noted as having discomfort due to her pregnancy and the higher-than-normal heat in the region, thus setting up the tragic events that would follow. She later goes back to the house, several of the guests get high and she changes into another outfit before talking with Jay. Then they completely disappear until the very last scene, not being present at all due to Rick changing the course of history by encountering the Manson acolytes, causing them to attack his house instead. Sharon and Jay only reappear during the final scene, where they greet Rick and invite him up to the house for a drink.
    • To a lesser extent, Sharon is briefly shown training with Bruce Lee, who choreographed The Wrecking Crew. For those expecting an Alternate History plot twist, this may lead them to believe that Sharon will fight off the cultists on her own. In reality, she never even meets them, with Cliff and Rick handling them instead.
  • Cuddle Bug: She really likes hugging people she meets. Upon entering the Playboy Mansion, the first thing she does is run up and hug Mama Cass. Later in the film, she cheerfully hugs a hippie hitchhiker she gave a ride to, and at the end of the film, gives Rick a big ol' bear hug upon first meeting him after his harrowing experience.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The film suggests that history is going to play out as normal, and that Sharon will be attacked and killed by the Manson acolytes at the end of the film. However, after she is shown at the party with Sebring and the other guests, and then changing into a different outfit due to her pregnancy, she isn't seen again until the very end, being completely absent due to the acolytes choosing to attack Rick's house instead.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Sharon puts her bare feet up in the movie theater while watching The Wrecking Crew, revealing that she's apparently been walking around for a long time without shoes, as her soles are dirty and calloused.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Given Tate's notorious murder in real life, and the presence of the Manson family, it looks like the movie's ending is going to show similar events. Until it's absolutely averted in the climax, when the film diverges from history and Rick and Cliff end up killing the three Manson clan members who would have killed Tate and her friends.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Sharon has blond hair and is arguably the nicest person in the film, giving a ride to a complete stranger, chatting up the employees at a local theater and even inviting her next-door neighbor up for a drink after he had to deal with a home invasion that could've turned deadly.
  • Happily Married: As in real life, Roman Polanski and Sharon are happily married and have a kid on the way. Polanski is so comfortable with their relationship that he has no problems with Tate maintaining a platonic friendship with Jay Sebring, whom she left to be with Polanski.
  • Has a Type: Steve McQueen watches Sharon dancing with her old boyfriend Jay Sebring (short, pale, slightly effete), considers her current husband Roman Polanski (short, pale, slightly effete), and mutters that he never had a chance.
  • Nerd Glasses: Subverted. The beautiful and extremely popular Sharon Tate dons an absolutely massive pair of glasses while watching The Wrecking Crew.
  • Nice Girl: Is sweet and courteous to everyone she meets.
  • Not His Sled: The film seems to build up to the infamous Tate murders, only for Alternate History to take effect. The would-be murderers instead start at Rick's house and meet their demise at the hands of him, Cliff, and Brandy. Thus, Sharon and her friends all live and invite Rick into the house for a drink after the ordeal is over.
  • Red Herring: The film seems to suggest that Sharon is going to have a larger role in the climax, as she is shown going to a theater and watching footage of herself fighting an opponent in The Wrecking Crew. This, combined with the flashback of her training with Bruce Lee, seems to suggest that history might play out a different way and that she might thwart the attackers who assault the Polanski residence. The script then flips this on its head when the ending shows the Manson murderers initially thwarted by Rick when they drive up Cielo Drive, and once they retreat, they elect to attack his home instead under the belief that they need to attack the actor who "inspired us to kill". As a result, Tate (and, by extension, the rest of the people in the Polanski home) are spared and aren't seen again until the murderers have been taken care of by Cliff and Rick.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Many of the scenes involving her are devoted to showing her as a symbol of innocence and how kind and down-to-earth she is, thus setting up the tragic events of the real-life incident that inspired the film. Except, in this timeline, she doesn't die, and remains alive to greet Rick and have a drink with him, Sebring and the other party guests at the very end of the film.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In this timeline, she doesn't die, with the attackers being routed by Cliff, Brandy and Rick. At the end of the film, she invites Rick up to the house for a drink with the party guests.
  • Triang Relations: Sharon and Roman are in love, but they're still best friends with Sharon's ex-boyfriend Jay Sebring, who in turn is still carrying a torch for Sharon. Steve McQueen voices his suspicion that Jay's staying around Sharon in the hopes of picking up the pieces should Roman break her heart.

"Charlie's gonna dig you."
Portrayed By: Margaret Qualley

One of the members of the commune living at Spahn Ranch, who takes a liking to Cliff after they see each other several times around the city.

  • Ambiguous Disorder: While she's not quite as Ax-Crazy as some of the other members of her commune, there is regardless something very off about her. When she's not coming off as cheery, she's got rather Empty Eyes prone to some rather creepy, vacant staring. She also has a rather abrupt - and random - Hair-Trigger Temper, immediately snapping at whoever or whatever has slighted her in any way.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Pussycat bluntly offers Cliff a blowjob when he gives her a ride out of Los Angeles. He politely turns her down, because she can't prove she's of legal age and he doesn't want any more trouble with the law. She actually finds his refusal charming, and settles for resting her head in his lap as he drives, and thus culminates in him visiting the Manson compound early.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The plot sets up a budding romance between her and Cliff, with them encountering each other several times as he drives around the city. When she eventually convinces him to give her a lift back to the Ranch, he obliges and eventually discovers the commune living on-site. Despite their attempts to dissuade him, Cliff investigates the house and talks with George before leaving, causing Pussycat to yell at him that he's "the blind one". After this, she isn't seen again.
  • Creepy Child: Like the rest of the female commune members, she is prone to vacant stares, a Hair-Trigger Temper, odd habits (rummaging through garbage bins for food) and unnerving singing.
  • Cute But Psycho: She's played by the beautiful Margaret Qualley, but is also part of Charles Manson's band of lunatics.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Slightly downplayed when compared to the rest of the Manson Family. The first we see of her, she is seen rummaging through the garbage and wandering around LA completely barefooted. After that, she wears sandals, though when she removes them in the car her soles are visibly filthy. Given that hippies at the time weren't exactly known for their cleanliness, it's doubtful she took a bath since her first appearance.
  • Foot Focus: She can be seen placing her feet above against the windshield as Cliff gives her a ride back to the Ranch.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: One of her establishing moments involves her looking on innocently at other bystanders before snapping at a pair of police officers who drive past, angrily berating them before greeting Cliff. This is Foreshadowing of her eventual behavior at the Spahn Ranch.
  • Jail Bait: Invoked — Pussycat offers to give Cliff fellatio, leading him to ask her age and if she has any identification. She claims that she's 18 but doesn't have ID with her, leading Cliff to presume that she's underage and stating that he's not willing to risk jail for "road head".
  • Ms. Fanservice: Played straight with those midriff baring tops and short shorts.
  • Really 17 Years Old: Implied. Pussycat insists she's Totally 18 but can't prove it.
  • She's Got Legs: Her standard outfit is a short halter top and jean-shorts, which the camera emphasizes at several points.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After blasting Cliff for investigating the Ranch and talking to George, she isn't seen again for the rest of the film.

    Susan "Sadie" Atkins
"Fuck you, Katie! Sorry I don't know the name of every fascist on TV in the 50s!"
Portrayed By: Mikey Madison

A member of the commune Cliff encounters during his visit to Spahn Ranch. She is one of the Manson acolytes who decides to attack the Polanski residence on Cielo Drive.

  • Asshole Victim: She is the reason why the acolytes elect to attack Rick's house first, claiming that they should make an example of Rick by killing the actor who inspired them to kill in the first place (and possibly Leave No Witnesses). She starts things off by ordering Tex to shoot Cliff, which gives Cliff plenty of reason to kick off the chain of events that eventually leads to her death at the hands of Rick and his flamethrower.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Actively averted by the end of the film. Cliff throws a can full of dog food at her face with full force as she tries to rush him with a knife, causing it to break her nose (at the very least) and possibly give her serious head trauma. A few moments later, Cliff orders Brandy to maul her, with her screaming all the while as it shakes her around. She manages to fire off a round that causes Brandy to flee, but in her attempt to escape, she smashes a plate window door, adding serious facial lacerations to the list of injuries. Finally, Rick immolates her, with the end result being shown shortly afterwards. Ouch.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Given her late-stage prominence in the film, her role runs straight into this trope.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Of the three acolytes, Sadie easily gets it the most, receiving a serious facial injury as a result of being hit in the face with a can of dog food, being mauled by a dog, running through a glass window and eventually being lit on fire.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: "Cute" might be too strong of a word considering her personality, but Sadie is a short, pretty young woman with a shrill voice who loves to hear herself talk. The fact that she spends almost the entirety of the climax screaming doesn't help.
  • Dark Action Girl: Within the members of the commune, she holds a relative degree of prominence, standing at the front of the female commune members as they jeer and mock Cliff for investigating the ranch. In the third act, the group defers to her plan to attack Rick's house, based on her arguments.
  • Death by Adaptation: Along with the other attackers in her group, of which she is the only one not still alive today in reality.
  • Destination Defenestration: In a panic, she runs through a glass sliding door in an attempt to flee from Cliff, receiving serious lacerations in the process.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Has long dark hair that flows over one side of her face and Cliff notes that she's quite fair complexioned.
  • Evil Matriarch: While not mentioned in the film itself, she has a son born the fall before the murders, and it doesn’t make her any less Ax-Crazy or sinister.
  • Foil: Serves as one to her intended target Sharon Tate in some respects. Sharon is blonde, Sadie is dark-haired. Sadie talks a lot in a creepy and sinister manner, while Sharon is a lot quieter and has an air of warmth to her. Sharon expresses excited about the birth of her child, such as preparing a cradle and in real life, begged for her child's life during the murder, while Sadie historically had a son born the previous fall but shows no sign of caring about him or even acknowledging his existence during her screentime, and is focused on Manson's mission.
  • Groin Attack: Like Tex, she's on the receiving end of one courtesy of Brandy. While it's just one of her many, many injuries, unlike most female examples of the trope, it is portrayed as excruciating.
  • Hate Sink: Is a sinister and vicious person with virtually no redeeming traits, and by the end of the film, she easily gets the most extended and violent punishment of any of the three Manson acolytes, receiving several different forms of injury before being immolated by Rick. This may have been inspired by historical rumors that suggest that Sadie either personally killed Sharon Tate in real life, or held her down as Tex stabbed her.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Her justification for changing the Family's plan and killing Rick is that since he starred in a show which glorified violence, so he deserves to be violently murdered as a message to Hollywood. Even better, she says she came to this conclusion after multiple LSD trips.
    Sadie: If you grew up watching television, you grew up watching murder... We should be killing the people that taught us to kill!
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Sadie is historically suspected to have personally murdered Sharon Tate. In the film, she proposes attacking the Dalton residence instead, and is "treated" to the slowest and most painful death of the three attackers, receiving serious head trauma, a mauling, lacerations and incineration, respectively.
  • Mood Whiplash: Sadie, along with Patricia and Tex, beat a hasty retreat after Rick admonishes them outside his home, and get into a humorous argument about recognizing him from Bounty Law. Then, Sadie counters that they should kill Rick because he was one of the actors who inspired them to kill, and they immediately set out to do the deed.
  • Moral Myopia: Sadie is one of the most prominent members who boo and mock Cliff as he leaves, because he had suspected them of doing something nefarious to the person whose land they're squatting on and wanted to confirm his suspicions without taking their word for it, complete with slashing one of his tires out of spite. When Cliff reacts by punching the guy who did it after he refuses to fix the tire (followed by making him fix it), the hippies (including Sadie, who is at the front of the pack) act as though he is attacking him unprovoked.
  • Oh, Crap!: Sadie realizes exactly what's going to happen when she sees Rick stalk out of his garage with a fully-operational flamethrower, having just enough time to widen her eyes in fear before he lights her on fire.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Despite her real name being Susan, everyone refers to her as "Sadie".
  • Rasputinian Death: Cliff starts off by beaning her in the face with a full can of dog food, before ordering Brandy (who has just finished attacking Tex) to maul her instead. In a panic, she jumps up and tries to escape, running through a glass door and lacerating herself in the process. When she falls into Rick's pool, he sees this, jumps out, grabs the flamethrower from his garage and incinerates her, with the camera lingering on her as she burns before sinking into the water. Even more notably, the camera cuts back to her charred form floating in the pool as Rick explains what happened. There Is No Kill Like Overkill, indeed.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: She is initially seen as one of the multitude of female commune members who encounters Cliff at Spahn Ranch, eying him suspiciously as he investigates the property and jeering at him when he leaves. She later turns out to be the instigator of the final confrontation, as she convinces Tex, Patricia and Flower Child to attack Rick's house, and subsequently gets the biggest comeuppance of the three remaining attackers.
  • The Sociopath: Much like Tex and Patricia, she wants to massacre people on Cielo Drive, comes up with the plan to kill the occupants of Rick's house, and orders Tex to shoot Cliff after refuses to take them seriously. The moment things go south for them, she rushes at Cliff brandishing a knife and screaming, only to be beaned in the face with a can of dog food.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Possibly the most prominent example in any of Tarantino's films, with her being mauled, hit in the face with heavy can of dog food (causing potentially-lethal head trauma), lacerated and immolated.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Like the rest of the attackers, she apparently didn't realize Cliff (an ex-army member and stuntman) was in the house, along with his trained attack dog, were in Rick's house, nor did she ever think that Rick could have a deadly weapon to use in self-defense.

    Charles "Tex" Watson
"I'm the devil. And I'm here to do the devil's business."
Portrayed By: Austin Butler

A member of the commune Cliff encounters during his visit to Spahn Ranch, who organizes riding tours of the property for interested tourists. He is one of the Manson acolytes who decides to attack the Polanski residence on Cielo Drive.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: He was a huge fan of Bounty Law and is amazed he got chewed out by Jake Cahill. But then he's in favor of the idea of killing his childhood hero.
  • Asshole Victim: He goes along with the plan to kill Rick, and is subsequently goaded by Sadie to shoot Cliff after the latter recognizes who he is. For his trouble, he gets mauled by Brandy (including a Groin Attack), stabbed and has his head stomped in by Cliff, leading him to be the first attacker to die in the finale.
  • Badass Boast: Defied. In the final act, when Cliff asks him his name while Tex is holding him at gunpoint, he tells Cliff that he's "the Devil", who's come to "do the Devil's business". Cliff is completely unintimidated and mocks him, telling him he remembers his name as being something "dumber than that".
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Like several other members of the commune, Tex's role becomes much more important later in the film, running into this trope.
  • Co-Dragons: He, along with Squeaky, manages the affairs of the commune at Spahn Ranch, as they were in real life.
  • Death by Adaptation: One of the most graphic cases of this happening to a real person who is still alive today that one is ever likely to see in a mainstream movie, and among the least problematic of people for this to happen to.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: When Cliff mocks him during the final confrontation, he cocks his gun in an effort to be taken seriously. This leads Cliff to sic Brandy on him.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Despite his distrust of Cliff and the creepy air about him, he puts on an air of friendliness while leading the tourist couple on a riding trip around Spahn Ranch. Six months later, he even has this reaction when he realizes who Rick is and says he owned a Bounty Law lunchbox as a kid, and even initially laughs when Cliff says he remembers him "riding on a horsey".
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: A former Glee Club member from a dysfunctional family who serves as the movie's main Hate Sink, and the only one of the trio to have participated in a murder before Manson targeted Sharon Tate.
  • Groin Attack: Is on the receiving end of this after Cliff calls Brandy to attack him during the climax of the film.
  • The Heavy: To Charles Manson, along with "Squeaky" Fromme. The final act begins with Tex being dispatched, along with Sadie and Patricia, to kill the occupants at the Polanski residence, on Manson's orders.
  • Mirthless Laughter: Lets out a small, nervous chuckle after Cliff mocks his attempts to appear threatening.
  • Mood Whiplash: After a tense scene encountering the inebriated Rick in front of his house, Tex realizes he recognizes him from Bounty Law, and is completely taken aback by the fact that he encountered a celebrity. Then Sadie says they should kill Rick, and he agrees to the plan.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Like the rest of the commune members, he is only identified as "Tex" instead of his actual name, Charles Watson.
  • Reality Ensues: Despite his bravado and attempted usage of a knife, Tex is a drug-using hippie who quickly falls to the combined efforts of Brandy attacking his sensitive parts and Cliff, a trained combatant who easily disarms him and stomps his head against a door frame.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: But hey, you would, too, if a pitbull was biting your nuts.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Mauled by a dog, gets a Groin Attack, stabbed and has his head stomped in by a man who is tripping on acid.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Like Patricia and Sadie, he doesn't realize who he's dealing with, leading him to be the first attacker killed by Cliff during the assault on Rick's house.
  • The Unfought: After being informed that Cliff is causing trouble at Spahn Ranch, Tex rides back at full gallop to try and intercept him, only to arrive too late, as Cliff has already fixed his tire and drove off. Subverted in the finale, when Cliff recognizes who Tex is, mocks him, sics Brandy on him, stabs him and eventually curb-stomps his head into the frame of Rick's front door.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Used to Be a Sweet Kid who watched Bounty Law and even owned a lunchbox from it.

    Patricia "Katie" Krenwinkel
"Jesus Christ Sadie, keep it together!"
Portrayed By: Madisen Beaty

A member of the commune Cliff encounters during his visit to Spahn Ranch. She is one of the Manson acolytes who decides to attack the Polanski residence on Cielo Drive.

  • Adding Insult to Injury: As Cliff is smashing Patricia's face into the phone receiver, it makes a handful of notable dinging noises, making the shot comical in effect. Given the real-life character's involvement in the murders, this was likely intentional.
  • Asshole Victim: Like the rest of the acolytes, she was planning to massacre the inhabitants of the Polanski residence before Rick's catching them caused a divergence from history, and likely would have done the same to Rick and his wife had Cliff not been present. As a result, her comeuppance at Cliff's hands (especially after stabbing him) comes off as karmic justice.
  • Bullying a Dragon: She manages to get a shot in on Cliff by bum-rushing him in the Dalton residence, stabbing him in the leg in the process. Upon gloating at him after doing this, he responds by bashing her head into every single surface he can find, reducing her face to a bloody pulp in the process.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Like several other members of the commune, Katie's role becomes much more important later in the film, running into this trope.
  • Death by Adaptation: One of the most graphic cases of this happening to a real person who is still alive today that one is ever likely to see in a mainstream movie, and among the least problematic of people for this to happen to.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Is poised to have one with Francesca during the climax... except the latter runs away and hides while she attempts to deal with Cliff herself.
  • Dirty Coward: Of the three attackers, Patricia's only roles are to force Francesca out of bed, threaten her with a knife, then try to bum-rush Cliff and stab him when he's distracted. It seems to momentarily work... until he picks her up by the hair and smashes her face into a bloody paste.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Like the other members of the commune, she is only identified as "Katie" instead of her real name, Patricia.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Cliff essentially turns her face into red paste during the final confrontation, after she had just stabbed him in the hip.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Patricia had an opportunity to escape after Cliff maimed Sadie and ordered Brandy to maul Tex, not to mention Patricia herself being punched by Rick's wife. However, Patricia instead opts to bumrush Cliff, stabbing him in the hip while gloating at him. For her trouble, she gets turned into red paste after Rick smashes her into every single surface he can find.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Used to Be a Sweet Kid who watched Bounty Law.

    Francesca Capucci 
Portrayed By: Lorenza Izzo

  • Bilingual Dialogue: She can only speak in her native Italian, but seems to understand English alright. Problem is, no one seems to understand her, and it's never made clear how Rick can communicate with her in the first place.
  • Defiant Captive: Despite being held hostage at one point, she seizes an opportunity to punch her captor when she has the chance.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Defied — during the final confrontation, Francesca turns on Patricia and knocks her down with a solid punch, suggesting that she's not as harmless as she appears. Despite this, she flees at the first opportunity and takes refuge in her bedroom, only opening the door briefly to let Brandy in with her.
  • "Hey, You!" Haymaker: She hits Patricia in the face during the final confrontation, though she flees to safety directly afterwards.
  • Motor Mouth: At the very end of the film, when she's explaining what happened when the Manson acolytes busted in, in rapid-fire Italian for the benefit of a cop questioning her.
  • Rambunctious Italian: Is quite emotional and hot-tempered.
  • Trophy Wife: While this appears to be the case at first, given her and Rick's noticeable age gap, it's ultimately averted in their interactions. Francesca and Rick chat enthusiastically on the car ride back to his Beverly Hills home and the moment Rick regains his composure after roasting Susan Atkins alive, he runs back inside in a panic to check on her.

    Bruce Lee
"My hands are registered as lethal weapons. We get into a fight, I accidentally kill you? I go to jail."
Portrayed By: Mike Moh

A famous martial artist and actor, Lee encounters Cliff Booth during production of The Green Hornet and gets into a confrontation with him.

  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Lee actually was Sharon Tate's karate teacher during production of The Wrecking Crew — the flashback shown of Lee teaching her is based on real events.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Depending on whether Cliff's Unreliable Narrator flashback is to be believed. Lee is portrayed as a loud-mouthed braggart who lectures the film crew about how amazingly badass he is.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Cliff's flashback is presented as taking place during production of The Green Hornet on a nearby backlot, as Lee is still wearing part of his Kato costume. When Cliff begins to mock him and the camera pulls back, Lee takes off his character's black coat.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Lee is presented as an arrogant jerk who brags that he could cripple Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammad Ali) and likes to pick fights. Tarantino based the scene on a passage on Linda Lee's book stating that those who watched Lee fight would bet that he could beat Cassius Clay. While Lee shows admiration for Clay in the film, his boasts about crippling him are original to the film, likely to make him less sympathetic when Cliff beats him up.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While Lee is shown to be a jerk in Cliff's flashback, a later flashback shows him on friendly terms with Sharon as he teaches her moves during production of The Wrecking Crew, and he's briefly shown having a friendly sparring match with a party guest at one point.
  • Made of Iron: If Cliff's recollection of his fight with him is anywhere close to accurate. During the fight Bruce is slammed against the side of a car hard enough to leave the kind of indentation one would expect if the car had been t-boned, and he still gets up looking pissed-off but uninjured.
  • Mugging the Monster: Although a capable fighter himself, Lee becomes slightly un-nerved when he finds out who he's about to spar with.
    Bruce: Who is this guy?
    Crewman: That's the guy who killed his wife and got away with it.
    Bruce: That guy!?
  • The Napoleon: He's not especially short, but Cliff does have a few inches on him, being an average white man, and he derides him as a little guy "with a big mouth, and a big chip".
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Bruce Lee is portrayed this way, talking about the purity of combat and playing up his own abilities. This runs him against Cliff, who is said to be a war vet, and leads to a "friendly" spar.
    Bruce: These hands are registered as lethal weapons. I get into a fight, accidentally kill a man... I go to jail.
    Cliff: Anyone kills anyone by accident, they go to jail. It's called manslaughter.
  • Tempting Fate: Lee picks a fight with Cliff when the latter chuckles at him saying he could beat Ali in a one-on-one fight. He is quickly proven to be underestimating his opponent when Cliff (a veteran with decades of stunt and combat experience) throws him into a car door, which wipes the smirk off his face and causes him to take the fight more seriously afterwards.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Lee scoffs at Booth's mockery of him, and initially gets the upper hand by kicking him down in the first round of their fight. It's only when Cliff picks him up and throws him into the side of a car that he starts to take the fight more seriously.
  • Warrior Poet: He pontificates a little on the idea of "real" combat when he favorably compares boxing to other forms of hand-to-hand fighting. The real Bruce Lee was indeed a philosopher and a poet in addition to being a martial artist, and took both subjects very seriously.
  • The Worf Effect: In order to build up Cliff's character, he is seen holding his own against Lee, who comes off as arrogant and Tempting Fate against a combat veteran with two decades of experience. That being said, the scene is shown from the perspective of an Unreliable Narrator (Cliff), who may have exaggerated what happened for his own benefit.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Bruce getting thrown into a car on his second assault on Cliff is justified, in that Cliff had just been taken completely aback by the first one. Who would win the third round, with both attackers prepared, is left unknown because they're interrupted.
  • Worthy Opponent: Lee seems to consider Booth this, attempting to deflect Janet's accusations by saying the fight was his fault instead of Cliff's.

    Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme
"If he comes this way, let me know."
Portrayed By: Dakota Fanning

The "den-mother" of the commune residents at Spahn Ranch, she takes a particular interest in Cliff when he gives Pussycat a ride to the property.

  • Cassandra Truth: When Cliff asks to see George, Squeaky gives him a series of excuses why he can't see him. Her creepy expression, monotone voice, the state of George's house, and the way the other commune members stare at them make Cliff think something's very wrong. It turns out everything she said was 100% true, as George himself confirms when Cliff wakes him up.
  • Co-Dragons: She, along with "Tex" Watson, oversees the rest of the female members living at the commune.
  • Creepy Monotone: Speaks in a blunt and off-putting manner.
  • Death Glare: She never takes her eyes off Cliff as he wanders to the back of the house.
  • Foot Focus: Can be seen as she sits in the recliner, along with sticking her foot out to point out the direction of George's bedroom to Cliff.
  • Mama Bear: Invoked, as Cliff calls her this verbatim when he walks up to the door of George's house.
  • Non-Indicative Name: For a woman nicknamed "Squeaky", she has a rather flat, husky voice.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Like the other members of the commune, she is only known by her nickname, "Squeaky", instead of her real name, Lynette Fromme.
  • Really Gets Around: She appears to revel in her sexuality, openly telling Cliff that George is asleep because she "fucked his brains out" earlier that morning. He later confirms that this was actually the case when he wakes George up.
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Cliff walks into the house after she's sat down, he witnesses a rat squeaking as it struggles to free itself from a glue trap. This is a reference to her Affectionate Nickname, "Squeaky", which was given to her in real-life by George Spahn because of the sound she made when he touched her.
  • Vapor Wear: It's clear through her tank top she is not wearing a bra.
  • Villain of Another Story: She went on to try and rally support for Manson after his arrest in real life and was later arrested for trying to murder Gerald Ford. However, her fate in the movie's timeline is anyone's guess.

    Linda "Flower Child" Kasabian
Portrayed By: Maya Hawke

A conflicted member of the commune. She is one of the Manson acolytes who decides to attack the Polanski residence on Cielo Drive.

  • Heel–Face Turn: Linda decides to flee from the group after they encounter Rick outside his house, whereas in real-life, she acted as a lookout during the killings, being stationed outside the house to watch for intruders.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: As the group walks up the hill to Rick's house, she claims that she left her knife in the car, which causes the exasperated Tex to hand her the keys so she can run and get it. She uses the opportunity to steal the car and flee the area.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After the argument in the car, Linda immediately gets cold feet and decides to get the hell out of dodge, pretending she left her knife in the car so she can get the keys from Tex before commandeering it and driving off, leaving Tex, Sadie and Katie stranded.
  • Token Good Teammate: As in real life, Linda refuses to participate in the murders. While it's unknown what happens to the Manson clan in this Alternate History where Cliff and Rick thwart their crimes, it's likely she still performs her real life counterpart's Heel–Face Turn and testifies against the family.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Seems to think of the Manson family as idyllic and a real Family of Choice during the scene at the ranch and is visibly nervous and conflicted after the Time Skip while being sent to kill Sharon Tate. Her real-life counterpart also joined the Manson Family due to feeling it resembled the Hopi legends she'd grown up hearing.

    Charles Manson
Portrayed By: Damon Herriman

  • Affably Evil: Despite being a psychotic cult leader, he's perfectly cordial to Sebring and Tate (albeit weirding them out due to him showing up unannounced at their house.)
  • All There in the Manual: In real life, he is The Man Behind the Man of some of the worst murders in Hollywood's history, but he's only in the film for a few moments, doesn't interact with any characters besides Jay and Sharon, and is only described in passing once, making his connection to the fated events very nebulous within the film itself.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: As in real life, Manson masterminded his cult's brutal crimes (and even participated in a few), but he only appears for roughly two minutes in the finished film and isn't confronted by any of the main characters.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Being the obvious creator of the commune, Manson plays a large role, but beyond a single scene where he visits the residence and meets Sebring and Tate, he isn't seen again for the rest of the film.
  • The Unfought: Despite the set-up of him visiting the Cielo Drive residence, he isn't seen for the rest of the film. According to Word of God, more scenes were filmed using the character that were omitted from the final cut, including one where he would have seen Cliff working on top of the Dalton residence and mimicked karate moves in his direction.
  • Verbal Tic: In the Deleted Scene referred to in The Unfought, he repeatedly refers to the label he wants to sign with as "Columbia Records and Tapes".

    Marvin Schwarzs
"I love that stuff, you know, with the killing."
Portrayed By: Al Pacino

  • Accidental Misnaming: He has to remind Rick that his last name is pronounced without a "T" sound.
  • Brutal Honesty: Marvin doesn't mince words when laying out how Rick's career is in a tailspin, though his criticism is constructive rather than pejorative.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: He gives Rick the idea to act in a Spaghetti Western as a way to jumpstart his flagging career. Midway through the film, as Cliff and Rick are sitting down to watch an episode of The F.B.I., Marvin gets on the phone to a producer to give Rick a referral, thus setting up the Time Skip.
  • Large Ham: Its a given when you're played by Al Pacino.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He effortlessly lays out Rick's career prospects in the first proper scene of the film, explaining that Rick's roles as a bad guy have led him to be typecast, acting as a glorified punching bag for newer, younger male heroes. Unlike most examples of this trope, he doesn't deliver the speech with anger; he's just stating the facts.
  • Unabashed B-Movie Fan: He tells Rick this, explaining that he likes to watch Rick's older films at home with his wife in their private theatre.

    Jay Sebring
Portrayed By: Emile Hirsch

A famed Hollywood hairstylist, Sebring is Sharon Tate's ex-boyfriend and current close confidante of both her and director Roman Polanski.

  • Bait-and-Switch: On the night of August 9, 1969, Sharon, Jay and the other guests at the Polanski residence are seen going out for dinner, with the group later going back to the Polanski residence, several of the guests get high and Jay and Sharon talking, thus setting up the tragic events of the real-life scenario. Then they completely disappear until the very last scene, not being present at all due to Rick changing the course of history by encountering the Manson acolytes, causing them to attack his house instead. Sharon and Jay only reappear during the final scene, where they greet Rick and invite him up to the house for a drink.
  • Flat Character: Beyond a single scene in which he encounters Charles Manson (who is scoping out the residence), he is largely relegated to being a non-participant in the main plot.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Like Sharon, Jay is nowhere to be seen during the final confrontation with the Manson acolytes, and he only appears afterwards to ask Rick what happened and invite him up to the house for a drink.
  • Triang Relations: Invoked by Steve McQueen. Jay is still in love with Sharon, who is married to Roman Polanski, but they remain friends. McQueen posits that Jay is staying close by in the hopes of picking up the pieces if Roman should ever break Sharon's heart.

    James Stacy
Portrayed By: Timothy Olyphant

One Rick's co-stars on the pilot for CBS western Lancer, portraying gunslinger and series lead Johnny Madrid Lancer.

  • Actor Allusion: Western star Stacy is played by Timothy Olyphant, best known for his starring roles in Deadwood (a straight Western series) and Justified (a love letter of sorts to the genre).
  • Consummate Professional: He's exceedingly polite, acts his heart out, and maintains composure when Rick flubs his lines and breaks down.
  • Nice Guy: As stated above, he's a rather pleasant fellow and happy to work with Rick.

    George Spahn 
Portrayed By: Bruce Dern

The blind and elderly owner of Spahn Movie Ranch and one of Cliff's former colleagues from his Bounty Law days.

  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a cantankerous old geezer, but he does seem to love Squeaky and appreciates Cliff stopping by to check up on him.
  • Kavorka Man: Is old and unkempt but shares a bed with the significantly younger Squeaky Fromme. Justified in that Squeaky is sleeping with him to keep him distracted from the Manson family's nefarious goings on.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Being blind and bedridden means that George really has no idea what the Manson family has gotten up to on his property.

    Wayne Maunder
Portrayed By: Luke Perry

An actor on the pilot of Lancer that Rick is shooting.

    Steve McQueen
Portrayed By: Damian Lewis

The famous actor who knows everything about everyone.

"You still with Rick, eh?"
Portrayed By: Kurt Russell

A veteran stunt coordinator and an old friend of Rick and Cliff.

  • Actor Allusion: He's a stunt coordinator, and Kurt Russell played Stuntman Mike in Tarantino's Death Proof.
  • Henpecked Husband: Implied to be this to Janet, whose words he repeats and whose judgmental attitude towards Cliff he shares.
  • Lemony Narrator: Randy occasionally narrates the film, often to add in snarky commentary and fill in the audience.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite his distrust of Cliff, he allows Cliff to work on his shoot as a favor to Rick. It's only when Cliff gets in a fight with Bruce Lee and damages Janet's car that Randy throws him off the set.

    Diane "Snake" Lake
Portrayed By: Sydney Sweeney

A minor member of the Manson Cult.

  • Courier: Squeaky has her relay what she sees from Cliff’s arrival.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: She's barefoot in every scene she's in.
  • Token Good Team Mate: Like Flower Child, she doesn't appear as malevolent or sinister as the other members.

     Steve "Clem" Grogan 
Portrayed by: James Landrey Herbert
A cult member who picks a fight with Cliff. His real-life counterpart participated in the Manson family's crimes after the murders of Sharon and her friends.
  • Addled Addict: Not too evident in the film itself, but he does show some signs of drug use, and in real-life was hooked on drugs by Manson to make him dependent on the family. His real-life counterpart received a reduced sentence from a judge who declared him "too stupid and too hopped on drugs to decide anything on his own."
  • Beard of Evil: Has a short, yet somewhat grungy beard and antagonizes Cliff during his visit.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Slashes one of Cliff's tires and makes the mistake of standing around and smirking about it.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Walks around the Spahn Ranch barefoot.
  • Dumb Muscle: One of the toughest-looking members of the family and also one of the dimmest. Even the others seem to recognize this, yelling out that he doesn't know better after Cliff hits him.
  • Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: Evident after Cliff beats him up, as everyone else gets angry and frightened on his behalf, calling him a flower, and one of the woman mouths that she loves him as Cliff puts him to work changing the tire without giving him a rag to wipe his face first.
  • The Pig-Pen: It's doubtful this man has ever taken a bath in his entire life.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Is strutting around bare-chested for all of his screen time.

     Leslie "Lulu" Van Houten
Portrayed By: Victoria Pedretti
A member of the Manson Family who guides tourists on horseback rides.
  • Alone with the Psycho: One possible interpretation of her (and Tex) taking tourists on horseback rides.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Was involved in some of Manson's later murders in real-life, but during the events of the film, it's unclear if she's involved in anything nebulous or sinister yet or if she ever will be given the change in the timeline.
  • Nice Girl: Very pleasant and helpful towards both the tourists, which just adds to the Fridge Horror when you consider her real-life counterpart's actions.
  • Token Good Teammate: Interestingly played with. She plays this straight in the context of just what the movie shows, where she's even less malevolent than Flower Child or Snake and her screen time consists of pleasantly showing around tourists and being absent when everyone else gets mad and starts throwing abuse at Cliff. However, in the real-life events following the movie which may not happen due to the deaths of Tex and the others she did participate in one of the family's murders.

     Trudi Fraser
Portrayed By: Julia Butters
Eight-year-old actor with whom Rick shares a scene in the pilot episode of the TV series Lancer.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Talks extensively about Method Acting and even states she prefers to be called an actor because "actress doesn't make sense." She's actually cute when they talk deeper. The adorability rises and rises, as does her precociousness... culminating in a scene her and Rick share.
  • Consummate Professional: Skips lunch in order to ensure she gives a strong performance, and stays in character the entire time she's on set, even refusing to give out her real name. Her dedication to her craft seems to have a serious impact on Rick.
  • Insistent Terminology: Pointedly refuses to use the term "actress" as she feels it is not a real word.
  • Little Professor Dialogue: Has plenty of it, to the point that she seems more mature than Rick during their conversation.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: A fairly transparent pastiche of Jodie Foster, who was about the same age and whose earliest roles (dating from about this time) included several appearances in television westerns.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Played with; in some ways, she has an incredibly sober-minded adult approach to her career and her craft, apparently having spent more time thinking about it in her eight years of life than Rick has in his decades-long career. On the other hand, it's made clear that she's still an eight-year-old girl as prone as any to getting excited over things like Disney cartoons and getting to do stunts.

Cliff's pitbull.
  • Angry Guard Dog: Is affectionate and well-behaved but she lives up to her breed's reputation of being downright vicious during the climactic battle with the Manson Family members.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Is shown to be affectionate, well trained, and obedient. In fact, she's a well-trained attack dog who badly mauls two of the three Manson members when they break into Rick's house.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Is extremely affectionate and obedient, with her introduction showing her happily licking Cliff's entire face. Immediately after taking down two cultists, the dog goes and cuddles up with Francesca.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: She has no problem annihilating the hippies under normal circumstances, but the moment Sadie loses her shit and starts firing off Tex's gun every-which-a-way, Brandy promptly skedaddles out of there and immediately goes to hide in Francesca's room.


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