Django Unchained is a 2012 film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino (his seventh film overall). While it's in the style of a Spaghetti Western (paying particular homage to the 1966 film Django) and has the thematic drive associated with the "revisionist" side of the genre, Tarantino calls it a "Southern" because it is set in 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 wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) from the sadistic plantation owner Calvin J. Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). However, Calvin's head house slave and second-in-command Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) has other plans.
In 2014, a sequel was announced — a comic Crossover with Zorro, written by Tarantino and Matt Wagner, and "produced" by Reginald Hudlin. It is now officially being made into a film.
The E* is silent. These tropes aren't:
- Action Duo: Django and Dr. King Schultz partner up in the bounty-hunting business, and take down gang after gang of wanted criminals almost effortlessly.
- Actor Allusion:
- Jamie Foxx's Django at one point meets Franco Nero, who played the original Django in the 1960s. When Foxx says that the D in his name is silent, Nero simply responds, "I know."
- Don Johnson's Big Daddy wears all-white, a reference to his Miami Vice character's white Ferrari.
- David Steen plays Mr. Stonesipher, Candie's dog handler. The last time Steen worked with Quentin Tarantino, in Reservoir Dogs, he played a dog-handling cop.
- Calvin's sister at one point asks Schultz if he can tell her a story from "the circus". Christoph Waltz previously played a mental circus director in Water for Elephants.
- This isn't the first time Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington played a married couple.
- 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 bright blue thing. Even the other slaves on Big Daddy's plantation think it's a bit over-the-top. Later, he changes into something more sensible.Betina: You're really a free man? You mean you wanna dress like that?
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Prior to the events of the film, Django and Broomhilda unsuccessfully attempted to run away from their owner together. While Broomhilda was being prepared for "stripping" (whipping), Django frantically pleaded with overseer Big John, trying to convince him to spare Broomhilda because she was a house slave. Big John had no intention of letting Broomhilda go, but he smilingly watched Django fall to his knees anyway.
- Almighty Janitor: Stephen, despite being a house slave, is functionally the real manager of Candieland.
- Alliterative Name: Calvin Candie. "Big Daddy" Bennett is very close.
- Alternate History: On top of the Anachronism Stew listed below, Django's stunt towards the end where he kills dozens of an aristocrat Southern slave owner's men and blows up his plantation would definitely have warranted a mention in history books and had a huge historical impact. That's a similar (white) death toll to Nat Turner's rebellion (which definitely did send shocks), except mostly by one man. The opening of the film alludes to this by implying the American Civil War started a year early in this universe.
- 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 in a somewhat feminine way."Oh, I'mma 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), and most Jews viewed themselves as wholly German at the time. 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) are 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 the case 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 first made in 1860, right before the Civil War started.
- The Sharps 1874 Buffalo shotgun was not invented until... you guessed it: 1874!
- The Spencer 1860 Saddle Ring Carbide was not invented until shortly before the Civil War started.
- While the Cobra Big Bore derringer that Django and Schultz use didn't enter production until the 1980s, it's clearly a stand-in for a visually similar but much older Remington derringer that's a staple of the Western genre. But since that gun is the Remington Model 1866, that doesn't make it any less of an anachronism.
- A lot of Remington New Army revolvers seem to be in circulation despite only prototypes and pre-production samples existing in 1858 (full-scale production didn't start until 1861). And one of them even has a brass frame, a configuration that never existed until the late 20th-century Italian reproductions hit the market.
- 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 harpist plays "Für Elise", 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 Nefertiti Bust, 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 already abolished the near-equivalent serfdom earlier that century, and later signed an international treaty to suppress the slave trade. It's also possible Schultz is a "Forty-Eighter", one of the many Germans who emigrated to the United States after the Revolutions of 1848 failed — mostly because they were supporters of the revolution and German unification who did not want to end up on the business end of the post-revolutionary purge. The Forty-Eighters were also known for anti-slavery views, and once naturalized were a major constituency for the radical wing of the Republican Party. Many fought in the American Civil War on the Union side.
- "Motherfucker" makes an appearance (naturally, from Samuel L. Jackson) about 31 years before its first recorded usage.
- "Show your ass" (in the sense of "being rude and disrespectful") is an idiom from the 2000s, not the 1850s.
- The type of metal-framed kerosene lamp (technically a tubular hot-blast lantern) liberally seen in the beginning of the film wasn't invented until 1867, patented in 1868, and their wicks are incorrectly set far too high in the movie. Perhaps that was to squeeze every last lumen out of them for filming. The later cold-blast lantern (1900) made twice the light.
- The area now known as Lubbock, Texas wasn't settled until 1890, and wasn't incorporated as an official town until 1909. There was a Lubbock County, Texas before the town of Lubbock existed, but even the county wasn't established until 1876.
- And Starring: Typically of Tarantino's over-the-top style, this film manages to do three in the opening credits:
- "AND SAMUEL L. JACKSON..."
- "...AND DON JOHNSON AS 'BIG DADDY'..."
- "...AND WITH THE FRIENDLY PARTICIPATION OF FRANCO NERO..."
- "AND SAMUEL L. JACKSON..."
- And This Is for...: "D'Artagnan, motherfuckers!"
- Schultz is by far the nicest character in the movie. Although his Germanic origins mean that he already doesn't share the same attitudes towards black people and slavery as the denizens of the South, it's still telling how far he's willing to 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. In fact, he coerces Django into shooting the kid's father in the first place.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 lets another slave die when saving the poor soul would have compromised his attempts at rescuing his wife, though it's clear he's disgusted with having to do so and later murders the slavers who were present while shouting the name of the slave he had to let die. Furthermore, while Schultz sees his profession as a profitable but necessary evil, Django uses it as an outlet for revenge. However, 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.
- Anyone Can Die: Candie and Schultz are abruptly killed within seconds of each other with about a half hour left to go in the movie. By the end, Django and Broomhilda are the only characters left standing.
- 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 from an oblique angle to the direction she flies in, while another victim merely drops to the floor where he stands.
- Art Imitates Art: Django's valet costume was inspired by Thomas Gainsborough's 1770 oil painting The Blue Boy.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Played with. Wealthy Southern slaveholders like Big Daddy and Calvin Candie like to think of themselves as sophisticated and intellectual aristocrats and style themselves after what they presume to be their European counterparts. However, they are, in reality, nothing more than barbaric thugs who engage in violence, slavery (including sex slavery), bloodsports, and now-discredited pseudo-sciences (although at the time, phrenology really was viewed as valid by many, but not by actual scientists). Actual aristocratic Enlightenment figures they superficially admire such as Alexandre Dumasnote and Ludwig van Beethovennote would abhor them on principle.
- Artistic License – History:
- People in the antebellum South likely would not have been surprised to see a black man 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.
- The opening of the movie states: "1858: Two years before the Civil War". In reality, the American Civil War started in 1861. Or, since the movie probably exists in the same world as Inglorious Basterds, it might be a case of Alternate History.
- The price for slaves goes all across the board. The average price for a slave in 1860 was $800. Calvin bought D'Artagnan for almost half of this, at $500, while he is prepared to sell Eskimo Joe for $12,000 (although this is explicitly stated to be a ridiculous price).
- While slaves did fight other slaves for their masters (the history of the Battle Royal in boxing in particular is enlightening reading), there are no recorded instances of slaves fighting to the death in "mandingo" fashion. (Nor would they be likely to, as slaves were such an expensive luxury commodity that these fights would be the economic equivalent of crashing two Ferraris together for fun — the average price of a slave in 1860, as mentioned above, was $800, which would be the equivalent of $25-26 thousand today.).
- Despite what the movie shows, you were most certainly not allowed to immediately assassinate people wanted by the law in the Old West, except for the absolute most dangerous, lethal criminals, i.e. the kind of outlaw who massacred an entire town and defiled the church with the victims' entrails. Even then, MAYBE you could instantly gun him down without being arrested yourself. Every bounty killing shown in this movie, of men who were despicable bastards but not an immediate threat to anyone, would have certainly resulted in a murder charge and not a cent of reward.
- Not to mention, for a "dead or alive" bounty, the dead reward was usually a fraction of the prize: they wanted the criminals alive to stand trial. As clever and resourceful as Schultz is shown to be, certainly he would find a way to take them down non-lethally. However, this wouldn't be keeping with the Blaxploitation aspects of the movie.
- As the Good Book Says...: "Big John" Brittle has torn pages from the Bible stitched to his clothing, including one resting 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: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 entered the scene driving a wagon that has a big bouncy tooth on a spring on the roof. Schultz gives a straight reply.
- Interestingly enough, one of the trailers shows Schultz lampshading the idiocy of the question by turning to give the tooth a long glance before his answer.
- 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 Candie is killed, Stephen and Candie's sister Lara Lee 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.
- The powder blue costume was made by the costume designer as a reference to the famous Blue Boy painting by Gainsborough — the symbol of everything Little Lord Fauntleroy (i. e. an innocent poor boy benevolently uplifted to high society), and also approximately 80 years in the past for characters in the film. It was so impractical that the costume designer had to take out/in various parts of it for different motions, such as riding a horse or running.
- 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'll treat him as a guest once he's a potential business partner.
- Schultz relies on the US marshal in 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. Schultz then 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'll 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.
- Beautiful Slave Girl: Several appear throughout the movie; Candie owns at least three. Sheba is made to wear alluring attire, and is apparently something of a consort to Candie. She seems pretty happy with her role, at least outwardly. 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. He ends up being completely warranted in his concern, as Django later allows a slave to be painfully ripped apart by hunting dogs to maintain the disguise.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 of Candieland, and Stephen as the de facto one. It still remains this trope, as well as Dragon-in-Chief for Stephen, because the latter 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.
- Bigot with a Crush: Calvin Candie is one of the most unapologetically racist characters in the movie, owning a plantation's worth of slaves and organizing death matches between them. This doesn't stop him from keeping one of them, Sheba, as a mistress.
- 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.
- Black-and-Gray Morality: As is typical for Quentin Tarantino's films. The villains are racists and murderers, but the heroes are murdering bounty hunters willing to make a number of morally ambiguous decisions for their own ends. Django himself doesn't really seem too concerned about the plight of other slaves; he is only interested in saving Brunhilda, and, despite his reluctance, is even willing to play the role of a slave trader, though it's thankfully just an act. Even Dr. Schultz, the most heroic and moral character in the film, has no problem killing people for money, and later coerces a conflicted Django into shooting a father in front of his own son.
- Black Comedy: Several examples — for instance, Billy Crash's Instant Soprano when Django shoots him in the nads.
- Bloodier and Gorier: Well, compared to other Western films, anyway, courtesy of being a Tarantino movie.
- 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 she was shot from, 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, is a reference to the Spaghetti Western genre of old, on which this movie is based. Deaths of women were usually less gory or not entirely shown.
- Bond One-Liner:
- When Django sees John Brittle, he relives a traumatic memory — him on his knees before John, begging to take the blame for his and Broomhilda's failed escape (and the lashing she's about to get), to which John simply says "I like the way you beg, boy." After he approaches and shoots him, Django says, "I like the way you die, boy."
- Schultz asks Django if he is positive that he can identify Ellis Brittle, explaining that "positive" means "sure"; Django answers in the affirmative. After Schultz shoots Ellis, Django says, "I'm positive he dead!"
- Book Dumb: Justified, given the time period. Django starts off the film as well-educated as you'd expect the typical 19th-century slave to be; illiterate, with a limited lexical range of understanding which makes him appear daft when he needs things repeated a few times before he fully grasps them because he's unfamiliar with the terms used. Under Schultz' influence and tutelage, though, he manages to master not only reading, but bounty hunting and expert marksmanship in less than a year, which allows him to develop himself into a ruthlessly competent and cunning gunslinging phenom.
- Book Ends: The way Schultz deals with the Speck brothers at the movie's start by suddenly and surprisingly dropping a lantern and drawing a pistol (and subsequentally freeing Django and the rest of the Speck slaves) is reminiscent of the end, where Django suddenly drops a candle and draws a pistol (and subsequently frees Broomhilda and the other Candieland slaves).
- Boomerang Bigot: Stephen is as racist as his white entourage, if not more so. He especially hates free black people like Django. Especially when it's heavily implied Stephen is the real power in charge of Candieland, content in manipulating Candie's riches for his own gain, which makes Stephen calling Django uppity in the end quite ironic. This is also Django's cover ID for infiltrating the Candie estate: he's a black slaver.Django: Ain't nothin' lower than a black slaver. Black slaver's even lower than the head house nigger, and buddy, that's pretty fucking low.
- Bottomless Magazines: Averted. Django often has to take new guns from the guys he drops.
- Bounty Hunter: King Schultz, and Django later as well.
- 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.
- Brutal Brawl: Calvin Candie forces his slaves into what he calls “Mandingo fights”, and the only one we see starts off as an aggressive but otherwise normal wrestling fight and concludes with one of the fighters getting his arm broken, his eyes gouged, and his skull bashed in with a hammer, finally finishing him off.
- Bulletproof Human Shield: Both averted and played straight in the big shootout near the end, where Django shoots through several mooks and hits 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 it despite a large 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's 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 Candieland. They both get shot multiple times as they're lying wounded on the ground, and live long enough to scream/complain about it.
- The Cameo:
- The original Django, Franco Nero, has 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 Zoë 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 briefly 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 LeQuint Dickey Mining Company employees, and is as Robert, one of the bag heads.
- Bruce Dern as a sadistic slave owner.
- Australians will get a kick out of seeing 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 owner Amerigo Vassepi in the film, also played 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 black man 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.
- 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".
- Cerebus Syndrome: Once Calvin and Stephen are presented on screen, the plot of the film focuses much more on the drama than the Black Comedy.
- 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 naively 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 for his escape, post-climax, with slave traders about to transport him to a Fate Worse than Death.
- The big bouncy tooth on top of Schultz's wagon is used to store dynamite, which is then used to blow up the proto-KKK members hunting down Schultz and Django.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Rodney, one of the slaves Django antagonizes during the ride to Candieland, later verifies Django's story of riding into Candieland on a horse accompanied by a white man.
- 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. This also also overlaps with Hiding Behind the Language Barrier; see 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 the 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 takes a rifle shot to the head. Needless to say, his face turns into Pink Mist.
- Cigar-Fuse Lighting: Django does this in the final scene to blow the Candieland mansion to smithereens.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Aside from the whippings both Django and Broomhilda suffer, Broomhilda is first introduced for real by having been put in the "hot box", a metal enclosure in the ground exposed to the humid Southern heat, naked, as punishment for trying to escape Candieland. There's also what Billy Crash tries to do to Django's privates after he is forced to give himself up to save Broomhilda following the first Candieland shootout.
- Complexity Addiction: Dr. Schultz, which proves to be his biggest flaw. He repeatedly risks life and limb unnecessarily, starting in the sequence at the start where he kills the sheriff for a bounty by tricking him into coming to him rather than having to lift a finger himself. In fact, the entire plan to trick Candie into selling Broomhilda by pretending to be interested in Mandingo fighting stems from this: Word of God has it that Candie didn't care that much about Broomhilda and would have parted with her anyway without needing to be tricked into it.
- 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 create a dimwitted but vile Billy Crash.
- 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.
- Contempt Crossfire: Django explains that "house niggers" (slaves who served in the relative luxury of their owner's house rather than in the fields) are the lowest of the low, being looked down upon by white people for being black and hated by other slaves for their cushy job and Quisling-like position. The only thing that can inspire more contempt along the same lines is being a black slaver.
- 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 more easily 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. King Schultz, a graying but undoubtedly badass German bounty hunter who, unlike just about every other white person in the film, sees black people as people and abhors slavery and racism. He frees Django from slavery, trains him in the ways of bounty hunting, and aids him in his journey to save his wife Broomhilda from Candieland.
- 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.
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: When their plan to rescue Broomhilda... well, goes south, Candie pretty much tells Django and Schultz that if they had just been honest in the first place, he probably would have given her to them for practically nothing. Sure, Candie and Stephen would still be kicking and Candieland would still be in operation, but at least Django and Broomhilda would be together again and Schultz would still be alive. Sadly, Schultz had to come up with a needlessly complicated plan that ends up getting him killed and Django nearly sold back into slavery.
- Counting Bullets: Stephen tries this, but Django is one step ahead of him.Stephen: I count six shots, nigga.
Django: [whips out a second revolver] I count two guns, nigga.
- Covered with Scars: Django and Broomhilda's backs are both covered in whip-scars. Schultz and Django's con falls apart when the villains show Broomhilda's scars to Django, and notice his reaction to them.
- Crapsaccharine World: Candieland is the most beautiful plantation in the movie — if you can get past the abused slaves, the armed guards, and the sadism lurking underneath its master's slick facade.
- Crazy-Prepared: Schultz 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 LeQuint Dickey Mining Company slave transporters. Unusually for a Creator Cameo, however, 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. D'Artagnan, 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 Knee-capping.
- Cultured Badass: Schultz. He speaks in a refined, proper manner and has decent knowledge of German folklore. He knows English, French, and his native German. 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 the Candieland big house explodes gloriously with him inside it. This is most likely a reference to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, which ends with a similar line.
- Damsel in Distress: Oddly for a Tarantino film, this trope is played completely straight in the form of Broomhilda. She exists entirely as a 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. (Kerry Washington says she took the role specifically because African-American actresses are rarely offered this type of part — after all, in Hollywood, when the plot is driven by a woman being in danger, it's usually a pretty white woman or young girl.)
- 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. Schultz is a master at it.
- 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 marshal and, by all appearances, the entire population of Daughtrey drawing down on Dr. Schultz and Django 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 goes kaboom, calling him "uppity" one last time.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: This movie is set during the Antebellum South, where slavery was widely practiced. Barely a minute goes by without a racist statement being flung or some atrocity being perpetrated on a slave.
- Department of Redundancy Department:Betina: That house we just left from is the Big House. Big Daddy calls it that because it's big.
- Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: When Schultz loads the tooth on his cart with dynamite, he whistles the Django theme.
- Distressed Dude: Like Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx goes au naturel for his torture scene, which involves Django being suspended from the ceiling while Billy Crash pokes his genitals with a red-hot knife.
- 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's also worth mentioning that those criminals once oversaw the plantation that Django was at and that they whipped his wife for trying to escape.
- The group of slaves Schultz frees (at the beginning of the film) in the course of recruiting Django take some well-deserved and very justified vengeance upon their slave master before their departure.
- The Dragon: Stephen to Candie.
- Dragon Ascendant: Stephen seems to have more practical authority in the house than Candie does, even with the white folks.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Calvin Candie isn't the brightest; it is definitely Stephen who is the brains of Candyland.
- Dramatic Ammo Depletion: Defied Trope; in the finale, Django shoots Miss Candie and her entourage with his revolver, and Stephen then points out that he's fired all six shots. Django promptly pulls out a second revolver.
- Drop the Hammer: Calvin Candie gives his slave fighter a hammer to finish off his opponent in his introductory scene. He later uses a hammer to make an "evolutionary" observation of the Negro skull. Having lulled his guests into an uneasy silence, he then turns the hammer on Broomhilda and threatens to bludgeon her to death on the spot.
- Dropping the Bombshell: A particularly effective one in recent memory: "Alexandre Dumas is black."
- 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.
- Everyone Has Standards: Dr. King Schultz is a ruthless bounty hunter who barely flinches at gunning down a man at a distance in front of his young son, but he's clearly almost nauseated by the sight of a slave being ripped to pieces by dogs.
- 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 is quite upset when his gang criticizes the masks that his wife made, and 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 is morally gray at worst, so "evil" is severely pushing it here, but 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 harshly reproaches 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 in their masks.
- It's subtle, but when we get close-up shots on character reactions to the 'Mandingo fight' in the Cleopatra club, Candie's henchman Butch Pooch looks rather unamused and even a little sad. Certainly he's not whooping and hollering like Candie and Moguy.
- 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, 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 himself. He's the person really in charge of the goings-on at Candieland.
- 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 are about to whip a girl for breaking eggs before Django intervenes.
- 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.
- During the Candieland massacre, one of the thugs entering through the main door is hurt in his eye by splinters of the nearby wall that's been shot at by Django. Downplayed, especially compared to the Mandingo fight, as the harm is neither direct nor entirely deliberate, and we don't see too much of the wound.
- Face Death with Dignity:
- Stephen is clearly prepared to be an archetypal case of this; he dramatically drops his walking stick and strolls calmly and proudly towards Django as he waits to be shot. Fortunately, Django has no intention of letting him die that way, and ensures that he actually dies kneecapped and screaming semi-coherent curses.
- Schultz does this after shooting Calvin, posing dramatically and even throwing out a Post-Mortem One-Liner before getting shot.
- "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, I 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.
- Fanservice 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".
- Fate Worse than Death: Technically, "Fate Worse than Getting Your Balls Chopped Off and Then Death": Stephen explains Django's punishment in this way. Instead of just castrating him and then torturing him to death (as many of the others want to do to him), 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 treats the slaves who are currently in his favor with politeness (if you ignore the inherent cruelty of slave ownership, and the fact that he's introduced watching slaves fight each other to the death, encouraging them to kill and maim their opponents) and is nowhere as disgusting as previous bounty targets, but when finally provoked, the jolly and genial part goes right out the window in a hurry. Just to remind us that he's the villain, he casually lets a slave who attempted to run away get torn apart by dogs.
- Stephen play-acts as a curmudgeonly but affable house slave, but as soon as he's in private, he turns into a calculating 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 Betina when he gives her instructions about how to treat Django...but then we learn that he ordered a slave whipped for breaking eggs. And then when the Brittle Brothers are killed, he tries to have Django and Schultz killed by his band of proto-KKK Regulators.
- 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.
- 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 foam scraper. Later, we have a just-long-enough shot of 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 widely known at the time this 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 infiltrates Candieland), 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 slaver is the lowest kind of black person there is. The second-lowest? The head house slave.
- 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."
- Stephen complains about having to burn everything in Django's room when he leaves. He gets his wish.
- 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:
- French Maid Outfit: One of Candie's slave girls is made to wear one.
- Friend or Foe?: One of Django's enemies in the final shootout gets to suffer even more from his buddies accidentally shooting him trying to get Django after he falls to the ground from Django shooting him in the knee.
- 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 penis in full view.
- Funny Background Event:
- When Bettina 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 the famous painting The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough.
- Again, right before Django shoots his first Brittle brother, while he's walking toward his target, you can see a slave in the background joyously swinging on a swing like a carefree schoolgirl.
- Gallows Humor: Frequently, such as the following exchange when Schultz is about to snipe a bounty:Schultz: You sure that's him?
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?".
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 Throwback: To the spaghetti western and blaxploitation films.
- The Ghost: US Circuit Court Judge Henry Allen Laudermilk. He's the guy who gives Schultz his warrants, and is frequently cited by name to justify Schultz gunning down his bounties on sight, but he never makes any appearances.
- Glad You Thought of It: 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: Both Django and Schultz. Years of growing up on plantations have hardened Django to the point where he does not bat an eyelash at 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.
- Gorn: This is definitely one of Tarantino's gorier films, right up there alongside Inglourious Basterds. The opening scene with the slaves executing their owner shows flesh being flung up to the height of the men and blood forcefully spraying out to twice their height, and the final shootout has entire walls covered in blood.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Despite the above, 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 gets this, in that you only see his horse being splattered with blood before he falls instead of chunky salsa.
- When Candie has a slave ripped to shreds by dogs, we only see him thrashing around from a distance before it cuts to a Reaction Shot of the shocked Dr. Schultz.
- Groin Attack: A running theme.
- Django nearly gets castrated when he's captured at Candieland. Discussed and deconstructed when Stephen mentions most of the whites' uncreative ideas to torture Django "had t' do with fuckin' with your foreign parts"; he secretly hated the concept because, although it may seem exceptionally cruel on paper, cutting off his testicles would cause him to bleed out in seven minutes or so, and Stephen knows a lifetime of grueling labor would be infinitely worse punishment.
- Django 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 head house slave, combines this with being a completely remorseless Jerkass. 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, who uses this silver tongue to trick the LeQuint Dickey people into giving him a gun so he can turn the tables and kill them.
- Gun Twirling: Django frequently does this before reholstering his pistol. As Schultz says, he does have a flair for the dramatic.
- Guns Akimbo: Django with a pair of revolvers. Even lampshaded in one scene.Stephen: I count six shots, nigger.
Django: [pulling out his second gun from inside his coat] I count two guns, nigger.
- 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: A woman at Candieland plays Beethoven's "Für Elise" on one of these — at least, she does until Schultz angrily demands for her to stop, since he can't stand to hear Beethoven in Candie's house.
- 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.
- Hero's Journey: Django fights and kills to rescue an innocent loved one (his wife) from a harsh, unjust place. Even taking into account his necessary moments of brutality, this is the closest a Tarantino protagonist has ever come to a moral, old-fashioned hero. Schultz even lampshades this by drawing a parallel between Django and mythical hero Siegfried before undertaking their mission.
- 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."
- Hidden Weapons: Django and Schultz keep tiny Derringer pistols in their sleeves as backup guns, and use them with devastating efficiency on a few occasions.
- 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.
- High-Pressure Blood: Definitely the case in this movie — hell, the first movie's death sees blood spray from a man's head around eight feet up into the air. The final shootout is a tad more downplayed, but it still has blood bursting out of gunshot holes at least twice as thick as it probably would.
- 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.
- This could be an homage to Blazing Saddles, where the racist villains were portrayed as morons instead of evil.
- 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 criminal (and/or racist) Southerners, whom he considers barbaric. All of them are also murderers, making it easier to tolerate.
- Hollywood Law:
- This film seems to operate on the notion that local judges could write warrants that gave bounty hunters like Schultz nationwide jurisdiction to track down criminals anywhere and murder them on sight. Even back in the 1850s, this was not the case.
- Openly holding fights to the death between slaves would also have been illegal. Enslaved people were not legally citizens, nor were they considered equal to white people, but even in the pre-war South, it was illegal to force them to kill each other, or outright murder them. That's certainly not to say that black people weren't frequently abused and murdered, just that it was, technically, illegal. Whether their abusers were ever caught or punished is a separate issue.
- Hollywood Tactics: Early in the former's bounty hunter career, Django and Schultz ambush a bunch of people with bounty on their heads by standing on opposite sides of the trail they were travelling and rapidly firing on the passing gang. Apparently two shooters across each other won't kill each other dead.
- 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 Schultz casually guns down the sheriff, the marshall turns up with a posse and demands his surrender. Schultz 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 sheriff? Shot him down like a dog in the street!
Schulz: Yes, that's exactly what I mean.
- I Did What I Had to Do: This is Django's excuse for playing such a convincingly callous slaver while on his mission to rescue his wife.
- I Have Your Wife: Figuratively speaking, the entire plot. Though the trope itself only comes into play in the last arc.
- 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 completely willing to kill people up until now (quoting his iconic 'kill white folk' line at him back), and reminds him that bounty hunting requires a clear head and a gray conscience. Django takes the shot with guilt.
- Candie is distrustful of Django's story as a callous slaver and 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.
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Django's first choice of clothes as a free man, which is 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. He can hit exactly what he intends to hit, at any range, with great precision. If he wants you kneecapped, your knees will be gone before you know what hit you. Lampshaded:Schultz: 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 one point). A man of Calvin's age and social status at the time and period would usually be long married by this point, making it even more suspicious. Throughout his on-screen time, out of anyone, 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.
- Instant Death Bullet: Quite an Averted Trope in the final shootout. Various baddies clearly react with agony from being non-fatally shot numerous times. Indeed, one falls to the ground from a shot in his knee and gets to last long enough to suffer through more non-fatal friendly fire.
- Insult Misfire: When the marshal tries to shame Schultz for murdering the sheriff.Schultz: I trust that, as a representative of the criminal justice system of the United States of America, I shan't be shot down in the street, by either you or your deputies, before I've had my day in court.
Marshal: You mean like you did our sheriff? Shot him down like a dog in the street!
Schultz: [calmly] Yes, that's exactly what I mean. Do I have your word, as a lawman, not to shoot me down like a dog in the street?
- Involuntary Battle to the Death: "Mandingo fighting".
- Ironic Echo:
- "I like the way you X, 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.
- Fancy 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, the Ku Klux Klan formed... and guess what animal the bags were put on.◊
- It Will Never Catch On: The Regulators who decide to teach Schultz and Django a lesson are a disorganized 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 and go "full regalia".
- Jaw Drop: Candie after Schultz tells him that Alexandre Dumas is black.
- Jump Scare: After Candie figures out that Django and Schultz were about to dupe him out of Broomhilda (after a LOT of help from Steven), Schultz sits as Candie's sister plays "Für Elise" on the harp while the images of poor D'Artagnan being torn apart by the dogs flash on screen, each accompanied by his very loud screams.
- Just Following Orders: Once Schultz finalizes the sale of Django to him, he suggests to the other slaves that they can either head north towards freedom, or go to a nearby town to get help for the trapped slaver and continue a life in bondage. As Schultz and Django leave, one of the slaves cocks the shotgun Schultz gave them, and the slaver tries to reason with them, saying that all he's done to them and the other people he helped keep in slavery was because he was just doing his job, and even tries to cut a deal with them. It doesn't work.
- Karma Houdini: Old Man Carrucan, who is never killed by either Django or Schultz.
- Karmic Death: Django (a 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 so loyally.
- Kick the Dog: Almost every slaver, slave owner, and overseer (except Old Man Carrucan) we see gets at least one of these, but Candie is the worst of them, what with forcing slaves to fight to the death, having one slave ripped apart by dogs for not having it in him to fight anymore, and everything he does to Broomhilda, up to and including the hot box.
- 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.Django: You've been in this house for 76 years, you've seen all manners of shit done to niggers. But I noticed... you didn't mention kneecapping! [BANG]
- Kneel Before Zod: Calvin demanding that Schultz shake his hand, or else his bodyguard will mow down Broomhilda 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?!?!" Whatever he does, ranging from threatening Django and Schultz to giddily encouraging his slave to gouge out another's eyes and hammer his face in, he does it with enough ham to construct an entire hog.
- Lead You Can Relate To: Django, who is black, is the titular character and one of the main leads, but, for the presumed audience of hyperviolent Tarantino movies, the white Dr. Schultz is his co-main lead.
- Left the Background Music On: When Candie is drawing up the receipts, Beethoven's "Für Elise" plays in the soundtrack. Schultz, extremely distressed at Candie getting the better of him (and having a flashback of D'Artagnan's horrific death by dogs), angrily makes the harpist 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 to avoid having to take the name of a slaveowner, and as a title/status marker to distinguish from slaves.
- Living MacGuffin: Broomhilda. Django occasionally fantasizes about seeing her in various places in his travels, which is done to remind the audience of his motivation.
- Longing Look: What brings the Batman Gambit down. Lara notices Hildi 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 gunfights in the film come with large amounts of blood splatter.
- 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 wears a maid outfit, 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.
- 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 Candieland, 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 legend 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. Zoë Bell's tracker character is shot unceremoniously with the others, and Miss Lara gets gunned down at the climax.
- The Mentor: 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.
- 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 God, What Have I Done?: While Django mostly masks his regret at passing for a slaver, it's extremely clear that he can barely hold in his guilt and anger when he allows a slave to be torn apart by dogs to maintain his cover.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Stephen horrifically embodies this. For all the discussions of slavery in media, this is one of the few works that emphasizes the role that such attitudes played in the system of 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. Both are deliberately evocative of the KKK, despite being set in a time before its existence, 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 means is 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 to the Waiter:
- Schultz to pretty much every slave he comes across. One such occurrence, when he first encounters Django, serves as his Establishing Character Moment.
- Candie coddles the slaves who serve him well, such as Stephen, 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 out 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" Remark:
- 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 Daughtrey. 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 John Brittle. 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, and primarily uses it to ingratiate himself with slave traders and plantation owners. A couple of other slurs of the period, such as "jimmie", "garboon", and "pickaninny", also get used.
- Leonardo DiCaprio actually stopped during a scene because he was having "a difficult time" using so many racial slurs. Samuel L. Jackson then pulled him aside and told him, "Motherfucker, this is just another Tuesday for us."
- 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. In fact, he's the real brains of Candieland.
- 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.
- Obi-Wan Moment: "I'm sorry, I couldn't resist."
- Odd Friendship:
- Calvin Candie and Stephen, the plantation owner 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 Candieland 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 Sharp 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. Various points in the foyer part of the gunfight are 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. If they object or otherwise give the overseers "sass", they cut out their tongue, in such a way that they don't bleed out. 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 Django and Schultz 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 head slave Stephen is one as well.
- Power Walk:
- Done by Candie's entourage as they walk back to the mansion before the final showdown.
- Django walking amidst the flames of the demolished Candieland.
- Prayer of Malice: Stephen, after Django caps his knees.Stephen: Sweet Jesus, let me kill this nigger!
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
- Schultz kills Big Daddy's thugs following a friendly "Auf Wiedersehen!"
- Django makes his presence known to Stonecipher and the other trackers by shouting "D'Artagnan, motherfucker!" before gunning them all down.
- Profane Last Words: Before Stephen gets blown up along with Candieland, 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.
- Pronouncing My Name for You: When Django shoots Billy Crash in the groin, Billy screams, "Da-jango! You black son of a bitch!'' Django educates him before delivering the coup de grace:Django: The D is silent, hillbilly. [Boom, Headshot!]
- Protagonist Title: The one who is unchained.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Sheriff Bill Sharp, actually a wanted outlaw named Willard Peck.Sharp: You ain't got nothin' better to do, than come into Bill Sharp's town, and Show. Your. ASS?
- Punishment Box: Runaway slaves in Candieland are punished by being put in the "hot box", which is a metal 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 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 words used 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.
- The obscene amount of gore in most kills can be seen as over-the-top compared to most films where gunshots leave little more than a trickle. This is justified in that the film takes place in the 1800s, where guns were nowhere near as powerful or accurate as they are today. Back then, the best way to ensure a target was hit was to maximize the spray, and a slower-moving bullet is far more likely to hit a bone and push it out the back of a person's body than to simply go through the bone.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
- Candie gives what he thinks is a scientific one to Django when he finds out he's there to save Broomhilda, using phrenology to 'prove' that European people are more creative and independent than Africans, whom he says are more close-minded and submissive.
- Schultz, in turn, gives one to Candie, calling out the shallowness of Candie's faux-Francophilia, and his hypocrisy, by pointing out that Alexandre Dumas was black, something a real Francophile would have already known.
- 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 black freedman.
- 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 — they just decided the scene worked better with the cut hand.
- 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. He, of course, already knows what it is.
- 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 Vengeance.
- Royal Brat: Tarantino wrote Candie as a spoilt princeling.
- Rule of Funny: Lara flying backwards into another room after getting shot by Django makes zero sense from the angle he shoots her at, but it is undeniably very funny. Auf wiedersehen!
- Rule of Symbolism:
- White people, white cotton, a white horse, white cake, and a white plantation mansion being coated red with blood.
- Hildi's introduction in the main story; she's pulled out of the ground, in a fetal position, soaked with sweat, and when water is dumped on her, she starts screaming. Pretty much looks like she's being born. This is 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.
- Scar Survey: Calvin has Stephen open 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.
- Scars are Forever: Django and Broomhilda's scars never really go away, and are there to show the cruel conditions they've had to endure as slaves.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Willard after the other proto-Klansmen repeatedly criticize the job his wife did making their bag-hoods.Willard: Well, fuck all y'all, I'm going home! You know, I watched my wife work all day getting thirty bags for ungrateful sons-of-bitches, and all I can hear is criticize, criticize, criticize! From now on, don't ask me or mine for nothing!
- Screw Your Ultimatum!: Following Candie's ultimatum that Schultz and Django buy Broomhilda immediately for $12,000 lest he kill her, 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 practical.Bag Head #2: Are the bags on or off?
Bag Head #3/Randy: 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!
- In a previous scene with Big Daddy, when he orders one of his female slaves to show Django around the property, he gets sidetracked trying to find a comparison of how she should treat him (higher than other slaves, but lower than whites). He eventually settles on her treating him like a local glass-worker, Jerry.
- Self-Plagiarism: To Kill Bill:
- Stephen uses the phrase, "That will be the story of you," when detailing Django's ignominious end as a mining slave. This exchange is lifted from the scene where Bill warns the Bride against showing cheek to Pai Mei
- A morally-ambiguous protagonist kills a Retired Monster in front of their child, though here, the protagonist is extremely reluctant.
- In this film, near the climax, the protagonist severely wounds the lieutenant to the Big Bad, crippling them, announcing that everyone else can leave except that individual. The same thing happens when The Bride hacks up Sofie Fatale, lieutenant to Yakuza kingpin O-Ren Ishii.
- Stephen is last seen severely injured but alive and screaming abuse at Django, same as Elle after her fight with the Bride. They're both also left in very precarious situations and we don't see their bodies after the fight. While it's possible that Elle could have left the trailer without getting bitten by her own black mamba, it's highly unlikely 79-year-old Stephen could survive a load of dynamite exploding over his head. Both of them are Evil Counterparts of the protagonists: the Bride and Django (both on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge over a loved one and tutored by white-haired masters) fight more or less fairly, while Stephen and Elle (both very cozy with the enemy and using others to do their fighting) are incredibly Manipulative Bastards.
- 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 eloquent English than Americans he's talking to, who get confused and request he talk properly.
- Hilariously lampshaded in his introductory sequence. Having used a non-colloquial word ("parley"), he is ordered to "speak English," prompting him to laugh and apologize, "please forgive me, it is a second language."
- Even Candie and the Bag Heads occasionally break this out a little (comparatively speaking) in their Seinfeldian Conversation.
- Shellshocked Veteran: Despite Schultz killing several men over the course of the movie, witnessing D'Artangan's death sickens and disturbs Schultz, and the strain of dealing with Candie eventually triggers a flashback.
- Sherlock Scan: Stephen deduces that Schultz and Django's plan is a con by observing Broomhilda's reaction to seeing Django, and Django's reaction to seeing her scars.
- Shout-Out: Plenty, given that it's a Tarantino movie.
- For instance, Schultz lies about having a lawyer by the name of "Tuttle", which is the name of Hawkeye's similarly fictional associate in M*A*S*H.
- Schultz's former career as a travelling dentist is likely a reference to Edgar "Painless" Parker, a real-life travelling dentist/sideshow act who travelled in a similar wagon.
- An especially pointed one to The Birth of a Nation. The scene in which the proto-KKK riders charge in to the music from Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" is lifted directly from the former movie, where it's the Klan's Big Damn Heroes moment. Given that Django Unchained immediately goes on to savagely mock the Klansmen with five minutes of Seinfeldian Conversation followed by most of them dying in Schultz's trap, it's pretty clearly intended as a Take That!.
- The Stinger has one of the (former) Candieland slaves ask "who was that nigger?" in reference to Django. This phrase is very possibly a subtle reference to The Lone Ranger, another vigilante hero widely known for his supreme marksmanship and fighting skills.
- Sickening "Crunch!": What we hear as one of the mandingo fighters finally subdues the other — implying most likely a broken back — after which Candie gives the victor a hammer and orders him to deliver the coup de grace.
- 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 received an "r" (for "runaway") branded on their right cheekbone after their attempt to run away from the Carrucan plantation.
- Slave Market: Groups of chained-together slaves are shown hobbling at one when Django and Schultz arrive in Mississippi to look for Broomhilda following Django's Training Montage in the winter. The original script and the comic adaptation have Schultz describe the market as "a scene out of Dante", to which Django, who has had first-hand experience with such markets, says, "You should see it from the other side."
- 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 nigger, and that's pretty fuckin' low!" amongst the slave population. And Django should know: he executes Calvin Candie's smarmy head house slave without remorse.
- Smash 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.
- When the proto-KKK ride down the hill a la Birth of a Nation, they appear set on a direct immediate ambush on the wagon... only for it to cut to them standing around and discussing the pragmatics of their hoods and a speech about the pragmatics of killing.
- Sound-Only Death: D'Artagnan's grisly demise to Candie's dogs abruptly cuts to a Reaction Shot of a shocked Dr. Schultz and an ice-cold Django watching it happen.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: In-Universe. During the negotiations over Brunhilde, a harpist plays Beethoven. Since Schultz is reminscing about the slave torn apart by dogs, he becomes so agitated he forces the harpist to stop playing.
- Southern Belle: Calvin's sister, Lara, is introduced as one, by name.
- 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.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Big Fred isn't seen again after winning his fight in the movie, but the original script and the comic adaptation has him getting killed by Ace Woody, Candie's sadistic mandingo trainer, after he arbitrarily judges him to have "won his last fight."
- Spell My Name with an S: Hildi'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: It has often been said to be so to Quentin Tarantino and Christoph Waltz's earlier film Inglorious Basterds.
- It could be seen as one to Blazing Saddles in a way as well. Both are satirical Anvilicious movies which show racists as being morons. Where Blazing Saddles was an allegory to the Civil Rights movement at that time, Django could be seen as a stark reminder of the horrible culture so many are trying to preserve as “Heritage. Not Hate.”
- 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 kills 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 Hildi'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 get 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.
- Sub-Par Supremacist:
- The Regulators are a proto-KKK of breathtaking incompetence, trying to ride horses in masks with eyeholes that don't fit, arguing whether or not to wear the masks, and ending up blundering straight into a trap set by the heroes.
- Calvin Candie is a slave owner with delusions of culture, such as naming his slaves after characters in The Three Musketeers, but is incapable of speaking French and unaware that the author was black (by the standards of the time, as Alexandre Dumas' grandmother was black). It's made very clear that the real brains of the outfit is Stephen, the head house slave.
- Super-Fun Happy Thing of Doom: Calvin Candie's plantation is called Candieland.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: As it turns out, attempting a raid on horseback in the middle of the night with poorly eyehole-cut bags on your head makes seeing where you're going rather difficult.
- Take That!: The proto-Klansmen's issues with their bags are a reference to John Ford's accounts of his playing a Klansman in The Birth of a Nation, where he apparently was the one who kept holding up his hood so he could see. Quentin has been very vocal about how disgusting he finds Ford having taken the role — let alone bragging about it — and Word of God is that this part of Django Unchained is specifically meant to be this trope.
- A Taste of the Lash: Django and Hildi 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.
- 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 together.
- Tongue Trauma: Stephen mentions that any "sass" at the LeQuint Dickey Mining Company from the slaves gets their tongues cut out, and apparently the guys doing the cutting have enough know-how that the poor saps don't even get the mercy of bleeding out.
- To the Pain: Lara Candie and the ranchers devise a smorgasbord of possible deaths for Django in the wake of Calvin's death, including cutting off his testicles and letting him bleed out. Stephen casually remarks to each suggestion that the LeQuint 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 try, 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:
- Late in the movie, Candie discovers the true identities and intentions of Django and Schultz, but gives them a chance to walk away with Django's wife, essentially giving them everything they want. Rather then take advantage of this golden opportunity, Schultz completely blows it by shooting Candie, starting a shootout that gets himself killed and nearly gets Django killed as well. Even if Schultz really wanted to kill Candie, this still makes no sense. He could have simply walked away and then returned later to kill him at a more opportune time when he wasn't in the middle of Candie's mansion surrounded by armed guards. It seems he just couldn't hold in his anger at Candie any longer.
- 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 she 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 had already done to the remaining plantation henchmen.
- A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: When Candie demands a handshake from Schultz as an act of respect, Schultz snaps and shoots him dead. He has enough time to apologize to Django before getting gunned down.
- 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 until just over halfway through the film and isn't especially intelligentnote , and the duo are only shown taking down a couple of relevant bounty targets — the majority of their work is 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. Stonecipher.
- Unflinching Walk: Subverted in that Django puts on his sunglasses and turns around to watch the impending explosion.
- Unfolding Plan Montage: Played with in the "raid" scene. At first, we first see a massive horde of Klan members pouring down the hill and circling around the cart to get Django. Cut back to the planning stage, where they complain about the plan and how they can't see through the eyeholes in the bags over their heads. Then cut back to the main scene, where the raid continues as planned.
- 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: This happens to Django after Candie's murder, waiting to find out what punishment the white survivors of the havoc he wreaked in Candieland will enact upon him.
- Vengeance Feels Empty: Completely averted: everyone is vengeful, and everyone enjoys vengeance a lot.
- Villain Ball:
- Candie 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.
- The Villain Must Be Punished: Calvin Candie is apparently willing to sell Broomhilda to Schultz and Django... except that he insists that Schultz, who is utterly disgusted by his brutality and racism, shake his hand on the deal. Schultz shoots him dead, leading to Django and Broomhilda nearly getting killed and the eventual mass murder by Django of all Candie's surviving relatives and employees, plus Stephen. According to Word of God, Calvin genuinely wasn't planning any further treachery, and would have allowed Django, Schultz, and Brunhilde to leave peacefully.
- 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 Candieland 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: Although it takes place largely in the Deep South, the movie is primarily a loving homage to Spaghetti Westerns.
- 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.
- During the same meeting, Django himself calls out Schultz on the hypocrisy of him admonishing Django for potentially going too far by reminding him that, earlier in the film, he had him shoot a bounty while he was spending time with his young son despite Django's spoken reluctance.
- Wilhelm Scream: One is heard when one of the escaping riders falls off his horse after Schultz shoots the hidden explosives in his van.
- Working on the Chain Gang: After Django is captured following Schultz killing Calvin and dying himself, Stephen explains to Django that for the past several hours, all the white people on the plantation have been thinking up various torturous ways to kill him (normally involving castration). Throughout the process, Stephen kept saying that each method of execution was far too quick and painless for what Django deserved, mentioning that the slaves they sold to the LeQuint Dickey Mining Company suffered much harsher fates. Eventually, Calvin's sister got the message, and decided "as if out of nowhere" to sell him to LeQuint Dickey, where he would spend the rest of his days breaking down rocks with no rest until his body gave out, after which they would finally kill him.
- 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 shoots a woman who has her face covered up with a bandana. The other one is clearly female (Lara Lee, an unarmed bystander), and he doesn't really have a problem with it — even joking while doing it.
- Yes-Man: Stephen behaves this way around Candie, the plantation owner, exploding with laughter at all of his jokes. He also stands at his master's side and parrots his statements, though this is revealed to be an act.
- You Are a Credit to Your Race: Mr. Candie discuss the theory of the "exceptional nigger" and considers Django to be one. However he finds out that Django actually wants his wife back, he amends that he's actually unexceptional.
- You Are Already Dead: Invoked with John Brittle and Mr. Candie due to their significance to 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 come from revolvers and shotguns. Candie, Bill Sharp, and John Brittle are killed with the little hideaway derringer.
- You Are Number 6: Stephen tells Django after he's been captured that once he's sold to LeQuint Dickey, he'll be known only as a number until the day he dies.
- "Who was that nigger?"