Inglourious Basterds soundtrack review

Inglourious Basterds is here (opening in the US friday, in Germany tomorrow, in France today), and oh boy will it be Inglourious to see it again. Quentin was on Letterman (who would rather have had Brad Pitt) yesterday (click here for a video) and I enjoyed that quite a bit. There’s a little review of the film on, and a very negative one (if you like to read that stuff) on The New Yorker. Now you all know my take on this, I think people who rip his movies apart usually tend to do so because of wrong expectations or because they just don’t get Tarantino, and I think that one falls somewhere in between those two as well. Whatever. What’s really cool, however, and that gets me to my little review of the soundtrack, is this piece on Spin TV, where Tarantino (“Filmdom’s reigning re-appropriator”) talks about putting music into his films (or rather “defends the use of old movie music in his new movie”), a nice video worth watching.

With a Tarantino film, the soundtrack isn’t just “that CD you can buy” or some title track or violins or some shit, with a Tarantion film, it’s a friggin’ (pardon my french) Tarantino soundtrack, from start to finish. The music is such an integral part of what it means to watch a Tarantino movie, it’s hard to ignore the multitude of tunes one finds on the albums usually. Now, with Inglourious Basterds, I have to say he’s yet again outdone himself picking tracks that not only give you goosebumps while you sit in the theater, but some of them are again such little gems and secret uncoverings, it’s a joy exploring what stands behind those tracks. The CD (and the movie, the CD is in chronological order) opens up with the title theme from The Alamo, a wonderful western melody that explodes onto the screen, while the Basterds opening titles play. The last time I’ve seen The Alamo must’ve been years ago, and I’ve read they’re doing a giant restoration of the film, but until then, what people will associate with the film is this track, I think. It is followed by Ennio Morricone’s “the verdict”, which puts you right in the Spaghetti Western mood, as Inglourious Basterds opens up, and it’s Tarantino’s first western. A chilling and beautiful tune. The White Lightning theme that follows, mixes it up good, now we’re in completely different territory, music-wise, and it sounds more like a 70s movie now. I like how the track opens, it’s nice and instrumental. This is where we’re introduced to the Basterds, and why they are Inglourious. Slaughter then, is the first track on the CD that will resurface among the party crowd this year, it’s a really cool track that you might’ve heard on the international trailer for the film also, really funky. We’re back to Morricone now, and one of my favorite motives of his, “la resa” from the Big Gundown. The deep piano sound, and the slow build up to the entrance of The Bear Jew, that was one of the greatest moments in the movie, it makes him the larger than life, scary as hell, character he’s rumored to be among the occupying forces, a golem as the rumor goes. By the way if you’ve never seen The Big Gundown, here’s some homework for you. The next track is interesting. It’s from the Giuliano Gemma movie One Silver Dollar, but the theme as much as it is a Spaghetti Western tune as well, sounds very French, sort of like the music you’d hear in a ‘bistro’ in Paris, and that’s exactly the scene it plays to in Basterds. The next three tracks are mood tunes that set the scene and build a very contemporary atmosphere, the first one is an old Zara Leander song, then we’ve got the great “the man with the big sombrero” and lastly the track that every German knows and translates to “I wish I was a chicken”. All three great picks by Tarantino I think, and I wish they would’ve featured a bit more prominently in the movie actually. The next one is tricky, it’s the title theme from Dark of the Sun, an amazing men-on-a-mission movie, yet the track is hard to access, as it’s very instrumental, but it then goes on to a nice beat and could as well be from a Miss Marple movie. The movie is hard to get, I just hope they release that on DVD soon. Track 11 is one of the most important tracks on this CD, and it’s also the single they released on vinyl a few weeks ago in limited edition. It’s also the most unlikely track to be found on the soundtrack to a WW2 movie. But when you watch the movie, mark my words: this is one of the greatest scenes in the  film, when you hear David Bowie sing to Giorgio Moroder tunes. Putting out the Fire from Cat People works great and it’s sort of the foreplay to the great finale of Basterds. It kicks ass. Next up is a track from Kelly’s Heroes that sets the mood for one of the most  suspense-filled moments I’ve ever seen in a Tarantino movie. There’s a last Morricone track before the screen goes black, only to give way to another one. And when I sat there at the premiere, “directed by Quentin Tarantino” coming up, this tune getting loud on the speakers, the theater silent, in awe, and this track playing, that’s where you know you just experienced Inglourious Basterds. This last track, from the Mastroiani movie Allonsanfan, is one amazing piece that you will be humming on your way out the theater. (click here for the full track list and more info on the soundtrack)

You Basterds! It’s been a long ride, and we’re almost there. Drag all your friends to go see the movie this weekend, and enjoy the hell out of it, go watch it again with other friends. Send us your comments and reviews. And get the soundtrack. You can use these Amazon links to order it (or get it on iTunes or something), which supports this website: The soundtrack from AMAZON.COM, or from,,,

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Sebastian is the founder and owner of the Tarantino Archives and has been a fan and observer of QT for over two decades now, cherishing his work and the window in the the wider world of cinema his movies have opened up. Inspired as such, he runs the Spaghetti Western Database (SWDb), the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb), Furious Cinema, its German sister Nischenkino and The Robert Rodriguez Archives. He lives in Berlin.

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