Inglorious Basterds or When Jews Attack?

Inglorious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino sounds like a very interesting name for a film; it’s catchy, rebellious, intriguing, and something you do not hear or think about in present day society.  However, after one has watched the film, one can begin to ponder why the motion picture was given that title.  The Inglorious Basterds were only peripheral characters in the movie and were only somewhat related to the outcome of the film.

The movie title is misleading.  The film is actually centered on the revenge of Shosanna, a Jew who escaped after her family was killed by Nazis.  The motion picture, in my opinion, should be titled something that has to do with the revenge of Jews or the aftermath of the Holocaust.  All of the important parts of the film involve Shosanna, a Jew, and revenge on the Nazis for committing the Holocaust; the beginning, the climax, and the end.

The beginning of Inglorious Basterds, Shosanna witnesses her family and other Jews being killed and she is lucky enough to escape the attack of the Nazis.

At the climax of Tarantino’s film, a group of unsuspecting Nazis is tricked into entering a large building; the doors are locked and bolted from the outside; then the building burns to the ground thanks to Shosanna and her vengeful behavior; Shosanna dies with nationality pride and a feeling of satisfaction that her revengeful plan followed through.  The Basterds were involved in the climax, but planning the attack of the revenge-hearted Jew was not their idea.

Then end of the film was about The Basterds and their planned return to America, but probably only because Shosanna died during her plan for revenge.  The Basterds do not have any character development throughout the film, so the real ending to the film, for me, was right after the climax.  One member of The Basterds is “The Bear Jew”, who is known for his maltreatment of Nazis that he gets the pleasure of beating to death. He is one of the few Jewish members mentioned in The Basterds and can somewhat tie the knot in the relationship between the Nazis and The Basterds.

Put the misleading film title and the intentionally misspelled word in the name of the film, “Basterds” instead of “Bastards”, together and there seems to be a mystery to be solved—Why the confusion?  The answer to this question is in the hand of the viewer to interpret the answer to.





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5 responses to “Inglorious Basterds or When Jews Attack?

  1. mcostin23

    I like your comment about how the “inglorious Basterds” were really only peripheral characters in the film and really didn’t have much to do with the overall theme. There is definitely a major theme of revenge through out the entire movie. You did well at choosing clips that were memorable. Even if people didn’t see the film these clips summarize important concepts, including the way Tarantino is known for shooting.

  2. annacantwell

    If you examine the definition of the words that make up the title, it’s a little easier to see why Tarantino named it so! Inglorious can either mean obscure and not famous, or it can mean disgraceful and shameful. The Basterds were actually quite well known in the film, seeing as Hitler felt it necessary to personally address them (at least the Bear Jew) and saw the as a threat! As for being disgraceful, the Basterds certainly had harsh methods, but they thought they were doing no worse than what the Nazis were doing. Now the word bastard is defined as someone who’s offensive or disagreeable. Because of the misspellings, one could assume that it is some sort of mistranslation. This leads me to assume that maybe the Nazis are the real basterds that the title is referring to, because all the characters (and all of history) despised them so much!

  3. I never thought about the misleading title of this film until this post. It is very interesting that the film was entitled Inglorious Basterds, when it, indeed, barely focused on the Bastards. In fact, I was rather confused as to who Shosanna was for almost half the movie, and what part she played in the overall film, since I thought the movie was solely focusing on the work of the Bastards. If anything, I believe the title definitely should have somehow incorporated both parties so that the audience would have known that the movie would be comparing the progress of both teams during their Nazi assignation plots.

  4. michaeldepasquale

    I like the comment about how “Basterds” is spelled, and how this can be a mistranslation of who the real “Bastards” are, the Nazi’s. Tarantino is a very unique director and this seems like something he would do in order to further intrigue the audience. In a sense, Shoshanna is connected to the Basterds, and very well could be considered one by the end of the movie. Shoshanna’s role might be used to show her transformation into what is known as a “basterd” as the movie progresses. Instead of laying down and taking Nazi rule, she stands up and does what is right to take vengeance. This is a more typical trait of the “basterds” than the Shoshanna we see in the beginning of the film. By the end, Shoshanna is every bit as much a “basterd” as every other soldier trying to end the Nazi regime.

  5. I honestly never thought about the mispelling in the title until it was brought up in class. I thought that maybe the only way the MPAA would let Tarantino use that word in the title was if he spelled it ‘basterd’ instead of ‘bastard’. I think part of the reason he named the movie after the Basterds was because that storyline was a better selling point to the audience with most of the famous actors being in that group/storyline.

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