Tarantino’s Magpie Moments

Quentin Tarantino's never been shy about his cinematic larceny. We revisit five of his finest homages

Feature by Alan Bett | 10 Jan 2013

City on Fire (Ringo Lam, 1987)
The famous multiple Mexican stand-off at the climax of Reservoir Dogs feeds from the finale of this Hong Kong gangster classic starring Chow Yun Fat in his prime. The most wholesale appropriation is taken from Danny Lee delivering a two gun takedown through a police car windscreen, recreated bloodily by Mr White.

Twisted Nerve (Roy Boulting, 1968)
As Daryl Hannah strides sexily down the hospital corridor in Kill Bill her eye patch points to the morally questionable Swedish thriller They Call Her One Eye. Yet her catchy little whistle comes from an equally dubious British horror, Twisted Nerve. This current ringtone favourite is taken from a deranged killer’s lips.

Sex & Fury (Noribumi Suzuki, 1973)
For once Tarantino tones down, gentrifying a snow garden samurai bloodbath. In his case a finely choreographed dance of death between Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu; in Suzuki’s, multiple murders painted over the blood splattered breasts of cult queen Reiko Ike.

Foxy Brown (Jack Hill, 1974)
Jackie Brown is a film awash with Blaxploitation references, but the title and typography both point to Foxy. Of course Tarantino filched the lead lady from the earlier film but also gave B movie icon Sid Haig a cameo and director Jack Hill a respectful citation.

Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)
Inglorious Basterds is of course a bastardisation of Castellari’s original plot and title, yet most references within it come from the western rather than war genre. The most prevalent is the opening, mirroring Leone’s masterpiece. Fluttering sheets; a sadistic killer; a cruel game of cat and mouse; a cold-blooded slaughter.