'Rio Bravo' (1959)
Tarantino has previously cited Howard Hawks’ John Wayne western and “hang-out movie” as his favorite film, and while the tone of The Hateful Eight is less us-against-them and more us-against-us, the classic remains a tangential influence.
This television western was a lot more than just its iconic theme song. Tarantino previously styled his main character’s look in Django Unchained after that of Michael Landon’s Little Joe, but for The Hateful Eight, he wasn’t looking at the heroes. He was looking instead at the characters played by guest stars like Charles Bronson or Vic Morrow, whose motivations wouldn’t be known until midway through the episode. “I always liked those characters. So I thought, ‘What if I did a story that was made up of nothing but those characters?’” says Tarantino. “So there’s no good guys. There’s no Little Joe.”
'The High Chaparral' (1967–1971)
Another oater from the creator of Bonanza, this four-season series was a Tarantino favorite when he was younger and it served as another TV inspiration for The Hateful Eight.
'It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World' (1963)
You might not think that the contentedly bloated 1963 comedy epic has anything in common with The Hateful Eight other than an eye-popping cast, but both films were actually filmed with the same lenses. Cinematographer Robert Richardson found the lenses in the Panavision vaults while looking into shooting the project on 70mm film. They, along with some of the cameras, had also been used on Ben-Hur, Mutiny on the Bounty, and Khartoum.
'Reservoir Dogs' (1992)
All of Tarantino’s movies contain nods of varying vigorousness to the other films in his oeuvre, but The Hateful Eight resembles none so much as Reservoir Dogs, with its cast of shifty characters trapped in one location (a cast that includes former Dogs Tim Roth and Michael Madsen). Even Tarantino notes the similarities: “A bunch of guys who can’t trust each other,” he says. “I mean that wasn’t a marching order when I sat down to write the script but pretty quickly I realized this is kind of coming full circle.”
'The Magnificent Seven' (1960)
The Hateful Eight’s title pays homage—or at least a wink—to John Sturges’ adaptation of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, though the enumerated characters of Tarantino’s film are far less selfless.
'The Thing' (1982)
Tarantino screened John Carpenter’s Arctic horror thriller for his cast so that they could see a good snowbound film and prepare for their own subzero experience.
'The Virginian' (1962–1971)
Add The Virginian to the pile of long-running TV westerns that helped inspire the basic idea behind the film. “At least four times a season on The Virginian, or any of these shows, some bad guys would show up at the Ponderosa or Shiloh Ranch and take it over and then they had this hostage situation,” says Tarantino. “Now, ours isn’t exactly a hostage movie but you get the idea.” Also worth noting: Executive producer Charles Marquis Warren, who also created the series Rawhide and adapted Gunsmoke to television, is undoubtedly the basis of the name of Samuel L. Jackson’s character, Major Marquis Warren.