'Django Unchained': 7 Nods to the Past
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.
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.''
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.''
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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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.''
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.
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.''