Inglourious Basterds - Summary

Inglourious Basterds is a film which tells the fictional story of two plots to assassinate Nazi Germany's political leaders. This war film is written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Director Enzo G. Castellari's 1978 Macaroni Combat film, The Inglorious Bastards is the inspiration behind the deliberately misspelled title, Inglourious Basterds.

In spring 1944, 1st Special Service Force Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) recruits eight Jewish-American soldiers for a mission behind enemy lines. Raine tells his soldiers they each owe him 100 Nazi scalps (and to take no prisoners). As war rages in Europe, this squad of American soldiers, known to their enemy as "The Basterds," is on a mission to take down the leaders of the Third Reich. Due to the group's extreme killing tactics, the Nazis fear them.

In June 1944, Shosanna (Melanie Laurent), a young French Jewish cinema owner who goes by the alias Emmanuelle Mimieux, meets Fredrick Zoller (Daniel Brühl), a German sniper. The Nazi propaganda film, Stolz der Nation (Nation’s Pride), stars Zoller and features his exploits. It is about to be released, and Shosanna creates a plan.

If she can get Zoller to hold the film's premiere in her cinema, she will make sure none of the attending Nazi leaders get out of the building alive.

Attracted to Shosanna, Zoller convinces Joseph Goebbels (Sylvester Groth) to have the premiere at her cinema. Goebbels is in charge of propaganda for the Third Reich and controls who can make movies (and what those films can depict). With her boyfriend, Marcel (Jacky Ido), Shosanna plans to burn down her cinema (thereby ending the lives of the top Nazi leaders who attend the premiere). 

Meanwhile, German actress and spy, Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger), learns about the premiere and that Adolf Hitler (Martin Wuttke) plans to attend. She gives this information to the Americans who, with von Hammersmark, plant explosives in the cinema.

With two assassination plots occurring during the same event, the premiere becomes an action-packed affair. This alternate-history tale speculates what might have happened had the Nazi leaders died in such an event (thereby ending the war earlier than it actually ended).

In this story behind the movie, meet Nazi Germany’s political leaders (including Hitler). Meet Charles de Gaulle and learn about his Free-French resistance movement. Learn about real events leading up to World War II—including how the end of WWI is tied to the beginning of WWII—as well as what happens in Europe during the war. Read the historical accounts about leaders during the war and decide for yourself if Quentin Tarantino bases some of his characters on real people.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 01, 2009

Updated Last Revision: Nov 04, 2016

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"Inglourious Basterds" AwesomeStories.com. Jul 01, 2009. Dec 07, 2019.
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