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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: did you spot these Tarantino Easter eggs?


Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino's ninth movie and has finally blasted its way onto Cineworld screens.

The provocative Pulp Fiction auteur presents his romanticised and unforgettable vision of 1969-era Los Angeles, one that has already stimulated strong debate.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt are a winning combo as (fictional) actor Rick Dalton and (equally fictional) stuntman Cliff Booth, who are forced to contemplate the potential end of their careers as Tinseltown hinges on great change.

Looming in the background is the spectre of notorious real-life psychopath Charles Manson (Damon Herriman), whose presence intersects with that of real-life actress Sharon Tate (portrayed by Margot Robbie).

All these characters are part of a heady tapestry of fact and fiction – in fact, the movie actively forces us to question the divide between these two poles.

Quite apart from that, the movie drops in some sneaky references to past Tarantino classics. Did you spot these five Easter eggs?


1. Antonio Margheriti

Two thirds of the way through Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, struggling actor Dalton hits the big time in Italy. His decision to travel to Europe to star in a string of Spaghetti Westerns (about which he was initially cynical) reignites his long-flagging career.

No longer just a supporting villainous actor in TV Westerns such as Lancer, he now has the kind of A-list profile that will potentially help get him in with next-door neighbour Sharon Tate, and her film director husband Roman Polanski.

A montage sequence arrives (narrated by Kurt Russell's director character Randy) showing Dalton's image on a selection of European movie posters. We then hear a casual reference to director Antonio Margheriti – this is the fake name adopted by Eli Roth's Donny 'The Bear Jew' Donowitz while attempting to fool SS Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) in Inglourious Basterds. (This was inspired by the real-life Italian director of the same name.)

2. Cherry on top

A fleeting moment, this one, but a welcome callback to Pulp Fiction, nonetheless. During a rapid-fire montage of drinks being prepared (always a favourite Tarantino motif), we see a cherry being plopped onto an elaborate cocktail.

This is surely a reference to the Jack Rabbit Slims sequence from Pulp Fiction, in which Uma Thurman's Mia Wallace takes great relish in a five-dollar shake adorned with – you guessed it – a cherry.

3. Red Apple cigarettes

The post-credits gag in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood revolves around a commercial in which Dalton promotes Red Apple cigarettes. This may seem like an odd diversion (although the film is full of such things), but it does in fact throw back to Pulp Fiction, in which Bruce Willis's character Butch orders a pack of smokes from a bar.

Of course, the brilliant joke in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is that Dalton, once the camera has stopped rolling, expresses disgust at the Red Apple taste. 

4. Randy's wife

One of the most controversial (and amusing) sequences in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood involves the presence of martial arts legend Bruce Lee (Mike Moh). In the scene, Lee challenges Cliff Booth to a fight on the set of cult TV show The Green Hornet, and Pitt's character puts the iconic fighter squarely in his place by slamming him into a car. Surely this is the wrong way for Tarantino to treat the embodiment of martial arts cinema?

Debate will no doubt continue to rage on – one could argue that since the scene is filtered from Booth's point-of-view, it didn't actually go down this way at all. Regardless, it all comes to a hilarious end when the aforementioned Randy's wife, the film's stunt co-ordinator, angrily puts an end to the scrap. And she's portrayed by Zoe Bell, a real-life stuntwoman who played herself in Tarantino's 'grindhouse' pastiche Death Proof.

5. Dalton's Cadillac

So much of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is taken up with Booth driving around Los Angeles, bathed in the warm glow of Robert Richardson's gorgeous cinematography. Some of the most memorable scenes involve him driving Dalton's a sleek 1966 Cadillac DeVille, owned in reality by actor Michael Madsen, and used in Tarantino's breakout movie Reservoir Dogs.

When Cliff is forced to resort to his own set of wheels, he drives a blue Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, which featured in Tarantino's Kill Bill movies.

What Easter eggs did we miss in the movie? Are you compelled to watch the movie again to discover more?

If so, click here to book your tickets for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and tweet us @Cineworld with the references that you spotted.