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9 Films that Influenced Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds Film Strip
By  · Published on December 15th, 2009

Last night, Universal held a special Blu-ray and DVD launch party for Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds at New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. The festivities included cast and crew appearances, as well as a screening of the film. But of all the happenings of the night, perhaps the most interesting was before the screening, when Tarantino introduced the cast in attendance and showed several 35mm trailers from his own famous personal collection of films. He explained that these were some of the films that influenced him to make Inglourious Basterds.

And since Basterds is one of the favorites films of 2009 around here, I thought I would put together the list of 9 trailers that were shown last night, along with an IMDb link, plot synopsis and trailer (or clip) for each film. It goes without saying that if you loved Inglourious Basterds, these too should be on your watchlist:

The Dirty Dozen

A Major with an attitude problem and a history of getting things done is told to interview military prisoners with death sentences or long terms for a dangerous mission; To parachute behind enemy lines and cause havoc for the German Generals at a rest house on the eve of D-Day.

Play Dirty

The Dirty Dozen meet the Stiff Upper Lip. A British Petroleum executive (Michael Caine) is assigned to work with the British Army in North Africa handling port duties for incoming fuels. This gives him the official rank of Captain in the British Army. The Colonel (Nigel Green) in charge of the Dirty Dozen is told he must have a British officer accompany his men on a dangerous mission 400 miles behind the German lines and is saddled with the Petroleum executive, who tries to argue his way out by saying that his contract states he is to only work port duties. That argument is lost on the Brigade Commander (Harry Andrews) who simply points out that the executive is wearing a British uniform. The real leader of the Dirty Dozen (Nigel Davenport), a released prisoner himself, doesn’t need or want the British officer, who’s supposed to be in charge, but he’s promised an extra 2,000 British Pounds if he gets him back alive. Disguised as Italians, their trek across Rommel’s Africa includes meeting and battling many kinds of enemies and the plot twists at the end will keep your interest.


British commandos, German Jews and an American demolition’s expert must contend with the desert, German patrols and a traitor while on a mission to blow up Rommel’s fuel supplies in preparation of an amphibious landing on the North African coast.

The Five Man Army

Set during the Mexican Revolution, a man known only as “The Dutchman” has a plan, and brings in four of his old acquaintences, including an old army buddy and a silent Japanese swordsman, to help him out by promising a $1000 reward if it succeeds. The plan turns out to be a fool’s mission: rob a train carrying $500,000 in gold that’s guarded by dozens of heavily armed soldiers and passes through a steady stream of military checkpoints. Naturally, his friends agree to go along with the scheme.

Hornet’s Nest

A commando unit is dropped behind the German lines in Italy and its mission is to blow up a strategic dam. However, the unit is ambushed and only its leader survives. He is picked up by a ragtag group of local youths, who strike a bargain with him – they will help him blow the dam if he will help them get revenge on the Germans, who have taken over their village and killed their parents.

Kill Them All and Come Back Alone

Western favorite Chuck Connors gives us a hard-edged performance as the mastermind of the heist of a huge sum of the US army’s gold stock from an impregnable fort. Unfortunately the crew he picks to pull off the job, (a knife thrower ‘Blade’, a dynamite expert ‘Deker’, the ‘Kid’ and a strongman ‘Bogard’) is even less trustworthy than he is, and after the job everybody double-crosses everybody in what becomes a first rate revenge tale.

Kelly’s Heroes

During World War II a German Colonel is captured by the Americans but before he can be interrogated an artillery barrage hits the camp. However, Ex-Lieutenant Kelly manages to reach the Colonel, get him drunk and learn that he is on a secret mission to ship $16,000,000 of gold to a base in France. Kelly is determined to get the gold and plans for himself and a few of his fellow soldiers to slip into enemy territory and steal the bullion.

The Big Red One

A veteran sergeant (Lee Marvin) of the World War I leads a squad in World War II, always in the company of the survivors Pvt. Griff (Mark Hamill), the writer Pvt. Zab (Robert Carradine), the Sicilian Pvt. Vinci and Pvt. Johnson (Kelly Ward) in Vichy French Africa, Sicily, D-Day at Omaha Beach, Belgium and France, ending in a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia where they face the true horror of the war.

The Inglorious Bastards

Set in Europe during WWII, a group of American soldiers are in the process of being shipped off to military prison for a variety of infractions, ranging from desertion to murder. While they’re being transported, a German artillery attack hits the convoy, killing the MPs and enabling four of the prisoners to escape. The group decides their best bet is to head to neutral Switzerland where they can avoid the fighting and prison. As they make their way to what they think will be freedom, they end up volunteering for a commando mission to steal a V2 warhead for the French Underground. Somehow, the team must sneak into the most heavily guarded base in German territory, steal the Nazi’s most precious military hardware, and bring it back to the allies without getting arrested again by their own side.

Inglourious Basterds is on DVD and Blu-ray today, December 15th.

Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)