Quentin Tarantino is famous for his epic movies, but the director freely admits to stealing from other works to make his films. Beacon of US pop culture Vanity Fair took on the daunting task of capturing every reference to other sources in Tarantino’s 2003 hit Kill Bill Volume 1. And there were a lot. Fifty-eight to be exact.
The references include a whole range of sources, from music, movies, TV shows, anime and comic books. The references start early—even before Tarantino’s standard logo—with text treatments reminiscent of Samurai films like Lady Snowblood and Tokyo Drifter.
You don’t have to go very far before the next reference comes in: a quote from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. The old Klingon proverb, “Revenge is a dish best-served cold” perfectly sums up what you’re about to watch.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly influenced the cold opening. Citizen Kane, Five Fingers of Death and a whole litany of other movies were referenced. A Quincy Jones song features prominently in flashbacks. Bill’s “Deadly Viper Assassination Squad” borrows heavily from Marvel Comic’s “Serpent Society”. O-Ren’s anime origin lines up almost exactly with the opening scene of Death Rides a Horse.
Tarantino also worked in a reference to one of his favourite TV shows growing up: Kage No Gundan or “Shadow Warriors.” Tarantino used the same actor that plays Hattori Hanzo in the TV show to play Hattori Hanzo in the film. Speaking of TV, Tarantino used the theme song for Green Hornet, starring Bruce Lee—that’s not the only reference to the famous martial artist, either. There’s even a reference to Charlie Brown.
There are just too many references to share—you have to watch the video above to pick up on them all. What is amazing is how seamlessly Tarantino weaves all these references into a complete tapestry. It’s genius at work.