Inglourious Basterds is a 2009 German-American war film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Brad Pitt and Mélanie Laurent. The film tells the fictional alternate history story of two plots to assassinate Nazi Germany’s political leadership, one planned by Shosanna Dreyfus (Laurent), a young French Jewish cinema proprietor, and the other by a team of Jewish-American soldiers led by First Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Pitt). Christoph Waltz co-stars as Hans Landa, an SS colonel tracking down Raine’s group who has a connection to Shosanna’s past. The film’s title was inspired by Italian director Enzo G. Castellari’s macaroni combat film, The Inglorious Bastards (1978).
Tarantino wrote the script in 1998 but struggled with the ending and chose to hold off filming and instead direct the two-part film Kill Bill. After directing Death Proof in 2007 (as part of the double feature Grindhouse), Tarantino returned to work on Inglourious Basterds. A co-production of the United States and Germany, the film began principal photography in October 2008 and was filmed in Germany and France with a $70 million production budget. Inglourious Basterds premiered on May 20, 2009, at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival. It was widely released in theaters in the United States and Europe in August 2009 by The Weinstein Company and Universal Pictures.
The film was commercially successful, grossing over $321 million in theaters worldwide, making it Tarantino’s highest-grossing film at that point, and second-highest to date, after Django Unchained (2012). It received multiple awards and nominations, among them eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. For his role as Landa, Waltz won the Cannes Film Festival’s Best Actor Award, as well as the BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe, and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.