Quentin Tarantino’s most recent film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, was nominated for several Academy Awards, ultimately landing Brad Pitt his first Academy Award in a supporting role, and establishing the dynamic duo that Pitt and Leonardo Dicaprio are. As expected with a Tarantino picture, the bad guys are brutally defeated and subsequently lose in the end. While the film received much criticism for the racism and misogyny that was inherently common in the 1960s, the ending attempts to pay homage to Sharon Tate and her friends.
What is now also common with any Tarantino movie are the small hints at his other works. There are dozens of references to old-school Hollywood that made up the 1960s like the authentic movie posters, film sets, radio music, cars, and locations, but there are several Tarantino-universe references that viewers possibly didn’t catch.
Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Western films, Once Upon A Time In America and Once Upon A Time In The West, definitely sound familiar to Tarantino’s titular film. However, the connection between the titles isn’t the only similarity that Tarantino incorporated into his feature-length picture.
Sergio Leone was an actual Italian filmmaker that directed “Spaghetti Westerns,” as older Italian Western films were nicknamed. While in the film, Rick Dalton’s partnership was with Sergio Corbucci (another real-life Italian director), the connection between Leone’s “Once Upon A Time…” titles and Tarantino’s 2019 film acted as a nod to older, authentic Italian flicks.
This is not a well-known reference because first of all, some viewers of the movie actually don’t know that Sergio Corbucci (mentioned by Marvin Schwarz throughout the movie as he recruits Dalton to star in Corbucci’s films) was in fact a real director.
Corbucci directed several Spaghetti Westerns, but the one that has a notable impact in relation to Tarantino was his 1966 film, Django. This film was of course succeeded by Tarantino’s 2012 film, Django Unchained, which centers on the extremities behind racism and slavery of the 1800s.
A lot of avid Tarantino viewers actually picked up on this name the second they first heard it in the film. Just as a refresher for the viewers that can’t recall this, there is a scene in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood when the diligent narrator says that one of Rick’s new Spaghetti Westerns was “directed by Antonio Margheriti.”
Tarantino fans freaked out upon first watching the film and hearing the name from the World War II-centered flick, Inglorious Basterds. It’s hard to forget about Aldo Raine’s squad of Italian cinematographer impersonators who can’t say “Arrivederci” without a thick American accent. One of the “Basterds” hilariously repeats his fake name, “Marrrgherrreti” to the Nazi, Landa, with it clearly being a ruse to sound Italian, so hearing the name in the 2019 Hollywood-centered movie is comical.