Nine Films That Inspired Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood

At 14 years of age, our most youthful film correspondent was not yet born when Quentin Tarantino burst onto the scene with Reservoir Dogs back in 1992. Twenty-seven years later and he is not old enough, still, to have watched any of Tarantino’s films.

Those films we watched when we were in our early teens, those 18 certificate films that made us giddy with the thrill of bad behaviour, filled with blood and guts and sex and drugs and all the things the BBFC deemed too much for our teenage senses, they were some of the most important films we’ll ever see. Our writer may be too young to dodge the cinema ushers and their THINK 25 policy, but you’re never too young to dodge your parents and so, thanks to some DVD rifling and online streaming, he is a fully-fledged 14 year old Tarantino fan.

Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood might be Tarantino’s least violent, least sweary, least druggy, least 18y film yet, influenced by the films of the mid-to-late 1960s and their casual charm and humour. We asked our writer, Harvey Young, to research nine films that Tarantino himself has cited as key references for his new Hollywood opus.

Arizona Raiders (1965)

When captured by the Arizona Raiders, Clint Stewart (Audie Murphy) is given a choice; prison or killing his old gang, the Quantrill’s Raiders. Following under the leadership of Captain Andrews (Buster Crabbe), and accompanied by another outlaw from the gang, Stewart quickly realises there’s a third party ready to strike.

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Gunman’s Walk (1958)

Kicking off with another Western, this one follows a father and his two sons. With the old brother Ed (Tab Hunter) being a reckless, shoot first, think later cowpoke, his father (Van Helfin) must manage him; but to no avail. 


The Wrecking Crew (1969)

Starring Dean Martin as Matt Helm in the fourth and final film in the franchise, The Wrecking Crew. It follows Helm as he attempts to stop an evil count (Yes, really) from stealing a billion in gold, as he is joined by Freya Carlson (Sharon Tate).


Model Shop (1969)

Everything is going wrong for architect George Matthews (Gary Lockwood). Unemployed and in debt, his car about to be repossessed and his girlfriend on the border of walking out, things start to look up as a beautiful, foreign woman appears in town.


Cactus Flower (1969)

Cactus Flower begins grimmer then you would expect for a comedy, but quickly reveals itself as a spiralling rom-com about a doctor and his attempt to win back his love. Starring Walter Matthau as said doctor, the film is a complete classic from 1969.

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Hammerhead (1968)

Hammerhead is not only the title of this classic 1964 flick, but also the name of the main villain. We follow Soldier Of Fortune Charles Hood (Vince Edwards) as he tracks Hammerhead (Peter Vaughn) across Portugal to England, to stop him from stealing a nuclear report.


Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice is a film that questions the boundaries of love, and where openness should start and end. Balancing along side the engaging themes, are great comedic performances from all four leads.


Easy Rider (1969)

A film about 2 freewheeling motorcyclists and their journey across America already sounds good enough, but with emotional drama about the country during the time, and a surprise performance from Jack Nicholson, the film is bound to leave you with a few thoughts on your mind.


Getting Straight (1970)

Getting Straight follows an ex-activist student named Harry Bailey (Elliott Gould), now completing his course to become a teacher. While he is attempting to “get straight”, Jan (his partner, played by Candice Bergen) is doing the opposite, leading protests about the educational climate at the time. Getting Straight is an interesting look at political unrest, and even feature Harrison Ford in one of his earliest performances. 


[Words by Harvey Young]

Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood plays now on our screens

The nine films cited above are all showing on the Sony movie channel throughout August.