The Born Losers (1967)
From the very start of the film’s publicity shots, viewers will have noticed Booth, Rick’s best friend and stunt double, wears a particularly interesting and appropriate denim jacket and black t-shirt combination. The wardrobe belongs to Billy Jack from Tom Laughlin’s 1967 western The Born Losers. Cliff would have worked on that film and kept the clothes if he had been a stuntman at that time, just as the story states.
Half-Indian, half-American Billy Jack (Laughlin) is a lonely Vietnam war veteran who occasionally commits acts of vigilantism. However, when a deadly biker gang rides through a small California beach town, he takes action to prevent them from terrorizing the residents.
Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls (1970)
Although released a year after OUATIH is set, and despite the fact, there are plenty of objectively superior counterculture films from the period, this gonzo Russ Meyer directed trip is one of the absolute essential films for capturing the youth spirit of the late 60s. Meyer and co-writer Roger Ebert aimed to ‘damn the man’ in more ways than one and crafted many party scenes and plot elements that Tarantino would pick up on some 50 years later.
Hip rock band The Kelly Affair travels to Los Angeles to secure an inheritance for their frontwoman. Although Kelly (Dolly Read), Casey (Cynthia Meyers), and Petronella (Marcia McBroom) find instant success upon arrival, heartbreak, melodrama, and even violence are just around the corner.
The counterculture at this time was full of political satire, especially in hippie cinema. OUATIH fans will instantly recognize this Roger Corman directed romp with the use of a song from the film, but it has more in common with Tarantino’s latest than meets the eye.
In the aftermath of a deadly gas explosion, everyone over the age of 25 instantly dies, leaving the hippy youth to fend for themselves. The film tells the story of Coel (Robert Corff) and Cilla (Elaine Giftos) as they search for allies and supplies in the desert, and run into increasingly bizarre situations. Edgar Allan Poe and car stealing cowboys are to be expected.
The Wrecking Crew (1968)
The scene in which Sharon Tate cautiously enters a movie theatre to see her latest film on the big screen in OUATIH is pure cinematic joy, despite the fact that she doesn’t get enough screen time in the movie compared to her fictional counterparts. As Tarantino intended, it preserves her memory as a rising ingenue instead of a murder victim. This film is another important piece to this world, even if the director has made it clear how much he dislikes it, and even Cliff mentions it in the novelization.
Matt Helm’s fourth comedy spy film sees the titular character, played by Dean Martin, sent on a mission to stop an evil count (Nigel Green) from destabilizing global financial stability. He teams up with Frey Carlson (Sharon Tate) along the way, and the two travel across the globe before taking on the mastermind and his accomplices, Wen Yu Rang (Nancy Kwan) and Linka (Elke Sommer).
Gunman’s Walk (1958)
Tab Hunter in this film, as the dashing yet conflicted cowboy Ed Hackett, maybe one of the inspirations for DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton. In what is really quite a brilliant screenplay for a western of this era, Hunter is able to connect Hunter’s misunderstood anti-hero with Dalton in his fictitious show Bounty Law, and later roles in spaghetti westerns.
A Shakespearian feud breaks out between Lee Hackett’s sons Davy (James Darren) and Ed (Tab Hunter), starring the half-French/half Sioux love interest Cecily (Kathryn Grant). In a riding contest between Cecily’s brother and Ed (Bert Convy), the latter suffers a fatal accident, bringing into question Ed’s family and loyalty.
Play It As It Lays (1972)
Her finger was firmly on the pulse of Hollywood in the 1960s and 1970s as a writer and author. She depicts the dark underbelly of the film industry with an almost aimless wonder in her 1970 novel, Plays It As It Lays. The film version, directed by Frank Perry, is a great inspiration for Tarantino’s latest, capturing Hollywood in the same era as the movie.
Maria Wyeth (Tuesday Weld), a once-successful actress now institutionalized due to depression, recalls her Hollywood career. In flashbacks, she describes driving through LA in her sports car, her tenuous marriage to director Carter Lang (Adam Roarke), her friendship with BZ Mendenhall (Anthony Perkins), and increasingly numbing extramarital affairs with Hollywood professionals.