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One of Django Unchained's biggest inspirations was the 1966 movie Django. Its star, Franco Nero, has an extended cameo in Quentin Tarantino's film, and a scene with a proto-KKK gang echoes one of the original Django's plot threads.
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Martin Scorsese's 1976 classic is one of Tarantino's favorite films, and Christoph Waltz's Schultz has an apparatus up his sleeve that pops a gun into his hand much like the one used by Travis Bickle. ''Yeah, that's in Taxi Driver,'' says Tarantino. ''But it's also in this Lee Van Cleef Western called Sabata.''
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Michael Landon's character on the 1959-73 TV Western Bonanza inspired one of Django's costumes. ''That 'Little Joe' green jacket is a cool, sexy, all-purpose jacket,'' Tarantino says. ''So we took the idea of it and fitted it to Jamie [Foxx]. And it looked pretty cool.''
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Son of a Gunfighter
As a clever one-off joke, Tarantino cast Russ Tamblyn as ''Son of a Gunfighter'' because he starred in a 1966 Western of the same name. Then he cast the actor's real-life daughter Amber Tamblyn (127 Hours) as ''Daughter of a Son of a Gunfighter.''
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Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back
Tarantino drew on many sources for the dynamic between his protagonists. ''Schultz is a bit like Yoda to Django's Luke,'' he says. ''But I was also looking at [1966's] Nevada Smith and the relationship between Steve McQueen and Brian Keith.''
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The Great Train Robbery
In the trailer for Django Unchained, Tarantino tipped his ten-gallon to not only one of the first Westerns ever, but one of the very first movies, period: The Great Train Robbery. Unfortunately, the quickly glimpsed wanted poster bearing the name of Edwin Porter — director of the 1903 silent — was eventually cut from the final film.
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The Great Silence
As Django is being poured into the hero mold, there is a sequence in which Waltz and Foxx spend time training up in the snowy mountains. Tarantino picked his winter-white setting in part as a nod to another Sergio Corbucci film, The Great Silence, which shares its chilly backdrop. ''There's also Day of the Outlaw, with Robert Ryan and Burl Ives, which is a great snow western,'' says Tarantino. ''I'm a fan of the genre of snow westerns and for a movie with this big of a canvas, I figured that would be a good aspect for that middle section.''