|Allegiance||Nazi Germany, SS, SD|
|Portrayed by||Christoph Waltz|
- “I love my unofficial title, precisely because I have earned it.”
- ―Hans Landa
Hans Landa was born in Austria. After joining the military, and the annexation of Austria into the German Reich, he was recruited into the SS. Because of his intelligence and skills, he quickly rose to the rank of Standartenführer (Colonel).
Chapter One - Once upon a time... in Nazi-occupied France
Col. Hans Landa is first introduced when arriving at Perrier LaPadite's farm, to search the residence for any hiding Jews in France. After he asks permission, he enters LaPadite's house, where he meets the former's daughters. He sits at the kitchen table and asks for a glass of milk, as LaPadite operates a dairy farm. Landa then politely asks LaPadite to send the girls outside, so that they could have a talk. He then asks to switch to English (so that any hiding Jews in the house would not know what they're saying). LaPadite, obviously nervous, asks for permission to light his pipe and Landa agrees, as it's the Frenchman's house
Landa begins to ask LaPadite if he knows anything about the Dreyfus family, as well as their names and ages, which LaPadite gives him. Landa asks for another glass of milk before he leaves, and then begins to talk about how he loves his nickname, "The Jew Hunter". He explains to LaPadite that the Jews are similar to rats, saying that he doesn't consider it an insult. He goes on to elaborate his statement before coming to the conclusion that his ability to find Jews is far more advanced than that of regular German soldiers', and that he is aware of "humans being are capable of once they've abandoned dignity".
At this point, Landa suddenly asked Perrier for permission to smoke his pipe. He pulls out a huge Sherlock Holmes-like pipe, then starts to tell the French farmer that in order to cross his family's name off the list, he would have to have his men search his house. However, he tells LaPadite, any information that will make his job a lot easier would not be met with punishment, quite the contrary, it would be met with reward, that his family will no longer be harassed in any way by the Germans during the Occupation. Resigned, a tearful LaPadite reluctantly confirms to Landa that the Dreyfuses are under the floor of his house. Landa asks him if they don't speak English, since he hasn't heard any noises during the conversation.
After LaPadite has confirmed his suspicions, Landa asks him to return to French and continue the masquerade. Hans Landa thanks him in French for the hospitality and for the milk and says that they're now finished. He exits the door, seemingly to call the girls, but he actually calls his men, and points them out the place where they need to shoot. As he wishes to everybody "Adieu", his men shoot through the floor, killing the Jews. However, one girl, Shosanna, somehow survives and crawls through the basement vent and flees in horror, crying. Landa goes to the front door, puts his suitcase on the doorsteps and aims his Walther P38 at her, soon realizing that she's run too far for him to shoot. Instead he smiles and says to himself, sarcastically, "bupsti" (the German equivalent of "oopsie"). Landa then shouts, "Au revoir, Shosanna!", as Shoshanna flees further into the distance.
Chapter Three - GERMAN NIGHT IN PARIS
Hans Landa arrives at the restaurant where Joseph Goebbels, Francesca Mondino, and Frederick Zoller are talking to Shosanna Dreyfus, now known as Emanuelle Mimieux, about her cinema. Zoller introduces Landa to Mimieux, telling her he is running the security for the film premiere. He kisses her hand, while Shosanna tries to remain calm. As the Germans leave, Landa explains that he would like to have a conversation with Mimieux. Zoller rudely asks why, and Landa (both offscreen) is surprised by the private's attitude. Landa then sits at the table with Mimieux. He then orders two strudels and a glass of milk for her. He asks Mimieux about her cinema and if it's true that a black man operates the projectors. When Mimieux confirms that it is, Landa tells her that she will be the one to operate the projectors on the day of the premiere. He then says he had another question for Mimieux and briefly stares at her. After saying he cannot remember what the question was, he leaves. Landa attends a film screening in Shosanna's cinema, as requested by Goebbels, along with Hellstrom, Zoller, Francesca and her pudel. He leaves the cinema with the said group to prepare the film premiere.
Chapter Four - OPERATION KINO
Hans Landa is called into the village of Nadine, to investigate a shootout between several German soldiers and the Basterds. He identifies Hugo Stiglitz and Wilhelm Wicki. He tells the soldier that accompanies him that they were part of the Basterds, responsible for killing German soldiers. But he notices that there's something odd about the incident. He then sees a woman's shoe, and deduces that someone is missing. After signalling everyone to leave, he finds a handkerchief with an autograph from Bridget von Hammersmark.
Chapter Five - REVENGE OF THE GIANT FACE
Hans Landa is at the film premiere, drinking some champagne. He sees Bridget von Hammersmark with three of the Basterds, Donny Donowitz, Omar Ulmer and Aldo Raine, who are masquerading as Italian escorts. He speaks with von Hammersmark and her escorts, and sees through their disguises. He takes von Hammersmark to a private room and tells her to put her foot on his lap. He puts the shoe he found at the tavern on her, and then strangles her to death. He then has Aldo captured, along with another Basterd named Utivich. He takes Aldo and Utivich to an empty building and speaks with them. Aldo asks where Donny, Omar, and von Hammersmark are. Landa tells him that von Hammersmark got what she deserved, and that Donny and Omar are still at the cinema auditorium with bombs strapped to their legs. He has Aldo contact his superior at the OSS and negotiates his surrender and allowing the mission to proceed in exchange for immunity, medals, American citizenship, and a house on Nantucket Island. Aldo's superior agrees to his demands and the mission goes as planned, with the theatre blowing up and the Nazi High Command being killed, most likely ending the war. Landa and his radio operator drive Aldo and Utivich into Allied territory, and then surrender to them. Aldo tells Utivich to cuff Landa. Landa asks if that's really necessary, and Aldo replies that he's a 'slave to appearances' before shooting the radio operator and having Utivich scalp him, to Landa's shock. Landa finally loses his composure and tells Aldo that he will be shot for this. Aldo says that he will most likely be "chewed out" and that he's been chewed out before. Aldo, knowing that Landa plans to take off his Nazi uniform someday, tells the frightened Landa that he will give him something he can't take off. He then carves a swastika into Landa's forehead as he screams in agony. After finishing, he tells Utivich that "this just might be my masterpiece."
Hans Landa is portrayed as a highly intelligent and cold-blooded SS officer ordered to hunt down any European Jew hiding out in France. He has a sarcastic, sharp sense of humor and is often shown to distract his preys by luring them into long talks to lower their guard, and asking them trap questions. In all of his conversations with other characters, Landa proved that he could be extremely persuasive, charismatic and courteous, until the table is turned. He laughed hysterically on Bridget von Hammersmark's made-up story about her injured leg, having peeled off every aspects of it as hastily prepared lies but letting her panic slightly for his own amusement - before suddenly shifting in character and murdering her by strangulation.
Landa takes a great deal of pride in this reputation as the Jew Hunter, as shown during the farm house scene in 1941. 3 years later, however, he scoffs at his nickname during his conversation with Aldo, alluding that he does not share in prejudice against Jews, and only hunts them because that is what he is ordered to do. He uses a very methodical and Holmesian approach in his search for hidden Jews, suggesting that either something had changed his perspective during the time gap, or he simply stated so to win Aldo's trust. He also wisely switched sides, deliberately capturing Aldo and Utivich instead of executing them, as he was aware that the tide of the war was against the Germans and knowing that he would be trialed and executed for his crimes, should he be caught.
Despite several loyalty awards within the SS, and his long career with them (his badges show that he joined the NSDAP in 1934), Landa is not a true believer in Nazi ideology; he admits he has no personal animus toward Jews, and that he is simply very accomplished at hunting them and therefore does what is asked of him. He also shows himself to be quite ambitious, as when negotiating with the General of the OSS for his "conditional surrender", he wanted history to write down his "contribution" to Operation Kino as a double-agent and demanded rewards for his service: pardon for any of his crimes he committed as SS officer, US citizenship, full pension, Congressional Medal of Honor and property on Nantucket Island, further emphasizing that he's an opportunist willing to switch sides to stay on the winning side.
Besides speaking German, he is also fluent in at least English, French and Italian. Although he said to Mr. LaPadite that his knowledge of French was not excellent, he may have said it in an effort to conceal his suspicions of LaPadite's hiding the Dreyfuss family from them if they happened to be within hearing distance, showing his excellent calculations and lateral thinking.
- Hans Landa appears in four chapters (One, Three, Four and Five), the most of any character throughout the movie.
- Landa addresses all Germans of lower rank as "Herman", a colloquialism for "soldier" or "army man" (Heer Mann).
- Hans Landa speaks several distinct European languages throughout the movie, including English, French, German, and Italian.
- In the scene where Col. Landa strangles Bridget von Hammersmark, the hands doing the strangling are those of Quentin Tarantino, who had a very distinct approach on how to strangle her and opted to do it instead of Waltz.
- The pipe smoked by Landa is the Calabash Meerschaum, famous for being smoked by Sherlock Holmes. This further alludes his similarities to Holmes, although he uses his intelligence in a rather immoral way.
- Christoph Waltz dubbed his own performance in the German and French version.
- The role of Col. Hans Landa is that of a notorious and merciless "Jew Hunter". In real life, Christoph Waltz has a son who is a rabbi.
- At the premiere, Col. Landa is wearing a golden medal around his neck which covers his tie. This is the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross in Gold with Swords (which was never actually awarded). The War Merit Cross was created to recognize non-combat contributions to the Third Reich war effort. The Knights Cross in Gold without swords was only ever awarded twice during the war, and it was actually instituted in October 1944 so it was impossible for Landa to be a recipient.
- Ironically, in the next Tarantino movie in which Christoph Waltz starred, Django Unchained, his character is a polar opposite of Landa: a peaceful German dentist with progressive and abolitionist views and after witnessing the horrors of slavery, becomes devout to murdering and destroying slave owners.
- Colonel Hans Landa's speech to LaPadite, which relates Jewish people to rats, is influenced by a real German film, The Eternal Jew (1940), made by the S.S. propaganda team in Poland during World War II. The film was made with the intention of lower the image of Jews throughout Europe, and depicts rats and other animals spreading diseases, that would contaminate the Arian people, if the Jewish Question wouldn't be resolved by their extermination. This horrific concept and aesthetics is a central theme in present days, and was duly criticized by Tarantino in this picture.
- Landa claims that if they [the Basterds] want to end the war they must kill Hitler, Goebbels, Göring and Bormann, however, he completely forgets about Albert Speer, Heinrich Himmler and Karl Dönitz, who are just as important as the former four. That said, the Nazis were so prone to factionalism, encouraged by Hitler himself so as to not be conspired against, that their respective bodies may not be able to function alongside the others due to their lack of important leaders.
- I love rumors! Facts can be so misleading, where rumors, true or false, are often revealing.
- What a tremendously hostile world that a rat must endure. Yet not only does he survive, he thrives. Because our little foe has an instinct for survival and preservation second to none... And that, Monsieur, is what a Jew shares with a rat.
- But if one were to determine what attributes the Jews share with a beast, it would be that of the rat.
- If the shoe fits, you must wear it.
- Oooh, that's a bingo!
- But in the pages of history, every once in a while, fate reaches out and extends its hand.
Behind the Scenes
Hans Landa was played by Christoph Waltz. Quentin Tarantino has said that Landa might be the greatest character he has ever written. Landa was crucial for the movie and the actor who would play that role had to not only be fluent in French, German, English and Italian but to be able to act in these languages too; and during the casting Tarantino was about to quit the movie (as he said in an interview) and release the script to the web. His crew at the time begged for another 2 weeks of casting. After more than a week Tarantino was again about to give up since he had not been able to find the actor suitable for the role. It was during Christoph Waltz's audition when he whispered into one of his coworker's ear (Bender) "we have our movie". The role ultimately went to the Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, who, according to Tarantino, "gave me my movie back", as he felt the movie could not be made without Landa as a character but feared the part was "unplayable."
(Some believe Landa's part was originally created for Leonardo DiCaprio but the role created for this actor was the one of Aldo Raine.)
When Waltz auditioned for the role, he had no prior correspondence with director Quentin Tarantino or producer Lawrence Bender, and believed that the character of Hans Landa was being used during the audition process to cast other roles. Waltz stated that he was most impressed with the dialogue and the depth of the character. Waltz describes Landa's character as one who has an understanding of how the world works, stating that the swastika means nothing to him. He adds that he is not driven by ideology, and that if anyone were to call Landa a Nazi, he would clarify that he was not, stating that just because he wears a Nazi uniform does not mean that he believes in the Nazi ideology. In describing the ending between the Basterds and Landa, he describes him as "realistic to the point of being inhuman", adding that he understands that the world is not just one thing at a time, and even though these things may contradict each other, they do not necessarily have to.
The character Col. Hans Landa was named after one of Tarantino's repeat customers when he worked at Video Archive, a now defunct video rental store in Manhattan Beach. The customer, Hans Landa, was an Austrian immigrant. Tarantino bonded with Landa over their mutual love of foreign films. Upon hearing of Landa's death, Tarantino paid his respects to him by naming the character after him.
In late 2009, legendary British actor Michael Caine praised Christoph Waltz's performance as Hans Landa, saying it was "the best performance of a villain I've seen in years". Caine even correctly predicted that Waltz would win Best Supporting Actor at the 2010 Academy Awards.
At his audition in Berlin, Michael Fassbender inquired about playing Colonel Hans Landa. Quentin Tarantino however replied: "Look, man, any guy that gets cast as Heathcliff is not fucking German enough to play my Landa, all right?"
|Nazis||Martin Bormann • Butz • Walter Frazer • Joseph Goebbels • Hermann Göring • Dieter Hellstrom • Adolf Hitler • Kliest • Hans Landa • Ludwig • Werner Rachtman • Wilhelm • Wolfgang • Fredrick Zoller|
|Basterds||Donny Donowitz • Gerold Hirschberg • Andy Kagan • Aldo Raine • Simon Sakowitz • Hugo Stiglitz • Omar Ulmer • Smithson Utivich • Wilhelm Wicki • Michael Zimmerman|
|British Operatives||Winston Churchill • Ed Fenech • Archie Hicox|
|Dreyfus Family||Amos Dreyfus • Bob Dreyfus • Jakob Dreyfus • Miriam Dreyfus • Shosanna Dreyfus|
|LaPadite Family||Charlotte LaPadite • Julie LaPadite • Perrier LaPadite • Suzanne LaPadite|
|Actors||Bridget von Hammersmark • Emil Jannings • Francesca Mondino|
|Filmmakers||Gaspar • Ada Mimieux • Jean-Pierre Mimieux|
|Other||Babette • Eric • Himmelstein • Marcel • Mathilda • Maximilian|
|Unnamed||American colonel • Narrator • Obergruppenführer • OSS Commander • Unnamed characters|