37 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood' Differences Between The Book And Movie

Light up a Red Apple and enjoy!

7/19/2021 9:11:00 PM

Light up a Red Apple and enjoy!

Light up a Red Apple and enjoy!

Sony Pictures ReleasingWhile the film kicks off with various scenes of Rick Dalton’s popular TV showBounty Law, the book merely mentions it. It’s fun to relive the black-and-white episodes in the film but since those visuals are hard to pay off on the page, Rick’s history on the show is only talked about when referencing his resume. Much of which is discussed in the new opening scene...

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2.Rick and Marvin Schwarz don’t meet at Musso & Frank’s.Sony Pictures ReleasingThe movie has the actor meeting his would-be agent at the oldest Hollywood restaurant, the Musso & Frank Grill, but the book has them confer instead at Schwarz’s office. The meeting, though fun and lighthearted in the movie, seems much more formal set in the William Morris Agency building for the novel. Dalton’s career is discussed in much detail here, even more so than the interview and clips that are presented in the film's prologue. It is a dense way to start the book; big dumps of information make you wonder if you are reading a novel or a Wikipedia page, but it is all interesting nonetheless. Though I miss the idea of meeting at Musso & Frank’s, this new office meeting feels like a more realistic choice.

3.Cliff Booth is a major cinephile.Sony Pictures ReleasingHe loves going to the movies, especially foreign films, which are way more interesting than the American movies that he takes part in making on set. Cliff tries to go to the cinema every Sunday to get a dose of some culture. Tarantino goes into detail about the movies and filmmakers he likes and dislikes, even going so far as to list Cliff’s Top 5 Akira Kurosawa Films… which I would bet is not far off from Tarantino’s own personal list. headtopics.com

4.And we learn a lot more about Cliff's time in WWII.The Weinstein CompanyIn the film, Cliff has a mysterious past but the book sheds much light on who he is and where he’s been. He saw much violence in the Second World War, seeing dead soldiers stuck on spikes, having to kill no less than 16 Japanese men with a knife, and even being captured as a POW. Sounds like another of Tarantino's Brad Pitt characters...

5.It's revealed that Cliff has TWO Medals of Valor.Sony Pictures ReleasingWhen Cliff was discharged, he walked away with not one but two Medals or Valor. Not only that, but the story of his escape from a prison camp was adapted into a feature film called

Battle of the Coral Sea, though Cliff was unimpressed by how the facts got muddled into a Hollywood nonsense action film.6.And we also learn that Cliff did in fact kill his wife.Sony Pictures ReleasingThough the rumor around Hollywood is that Cliff Booth murdered his wife, the film keeps this truth vague; was it an accident or was it in cold blood? The book makes no bones about it: Cliff killed his wife. Though it turns out he actually regretted blasting her with a shark gun. He cradled his wife's mangled torso so she wouldn’t separate into two pieces, waiting for the rescue team to arrive. Cliff’s reputation as a war hero really helped smooth things out with the cops…multiple times, actually. More on this later.

7.Brandy the dog gets an elaborate backstory.Sony Pictures ReleasingThe loveable but tough pitbull was a scene-stealer in the film, even with little backstory or information about how Cliff acquired the bitch. The novel tells the story of Buster Cooley, a stuntman friend of Cliff’s who owed him money. Instead of cash, Cliff was offered a half-stake in Brandy, an undefeated fighting dog. The men tour around SoCal to various underground dogfights where Brandy is always victorious, earning them thousands of dollars. When Brandy is about to age out of the biz, Buster suggests to Cliff that they enter their dog in one last fight and bet against her, knowing that Brandy will not survive. Being the softhearted person that he is, Cliff only sees one way to handle this situation; that brings us to... headtopics.com

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8.Cliff actually got away with murder TWICE.Sony Pictures ReleasingCliff did not utter a word to his friend Buster about the idea of sacrificing Brandy. He simply attacked him. After a few minutes' tussle in Booth’s trailer, he broke Buster’s neck, killing him. Later that night, he packed the body in his friend’s car, drove it down to Compton, and dumped it. Cliff was never questioned by police and no one ever spoke of the missing Buster Cooley again.

9.Charlie Manson inspires Pussycat to go on something he called a"kreepy krawl."Sony Pictures ReleasingManson and his followers get to shine in this new addition to the story. In one of the best written chapters of the book, young Pussycat (played in the film by Margaret Qualley) takes her first solo “kreepy krawl” — stealthily breaking into an old couple’s house, roaming around naked to feel the electric power of the situation. As she prowls through the house, Manson’s voice pops in her head, helping her through her fear and allowing her to complete her mission. When she reaches the bedroom, she jumps on the bed, purposefully stirring the old folks awake in terror and then leaving the scene.

10.There's a whole chapter about Sharon Tate hitchhiking to Hollywood.Sony Pictures ReleasingFour years before the main story takes place, a barefoot blonde hitchhikes from Dallas, Texas, to the West Coast. Luckily, for Sharon Tate, she ends up with a nice, old fella on her journey to Hollywood. Dramatically, not much happens on the road but it allows us to enjoy the pure-at-heart nature of this future star. She is young and beautiful and dreaming of the time when she can star alongside Tony Curtis…which she soon will.

11.The Playboy Mansion party is omitted.Sony Pictures ReleasingOne of the most swinging '60s moments of the film, a party at the Playboy Mansion — including cameos by Connie Stevens, Mama Cass, and Steve McQueen — is totally omitted from the book. Although the lavish party attended by Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski is mentioned briefly, no big blowout descriptions of the mansion or Playboy Bunnies are to be found in the novel. headtopics.com

12.The flamethrower finale makes a surprisingly early appearance.Sony Pictures ReleasingAlthough the movie climaxes with Rick and Cliff battling Manson’s cronies with implements including a flamethrower, this event is mentioned a quarter of the way into the book. Instead of building up to this surprising turn of events in the last few chapters, Tarantino casually mentions this story, an apparent footnote in Rick Dalton’s life, mid-chapter on page 110. Reading this so early in the novel was almost as surprising as watching the scene play out for the first time onscreen. Spilling the beans this early could mean only one thing; QT has something else up his sleeve for the end of the book...

13.Rick Dalton is undiagnosed bipolar.Tap to play or pause GIFTap to play or pause GIFSony Pictures Releasing / Viagiphy.comRick’s mood swings in the film — including the infamous self-deprecating tantrum in his trailer — can be downright hilarious. But in the context of the book, they tend to feel a little more sad since Rick is in the grips of alcoholism and depression. He sees his drinking as a weakness but he continues to use it as self-medication, not realizing he has a condition. The depression leads to more drinking, which leads to him feeling weak and depressed again; a vicious cycle.

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14.Squeaky and George Spahn have a real relationship.Sony Pictures ReleasingAlthough Squeaky (Dakota Fanning) is a menacing presence in the film, the book makes her out to be a regular housewife. In the movie, when she says George Spahn (Bruce Dern) is sleeping off a good fuck, it is hard to tell if she is telling the truth or just playing with Cliff to get him to leave the ranch. But the book details how much the Manson follower actually has grown to love the old man that she bathes and cooks for and masturbates. These characters don’t seem to mean much in the grand scheme of the movie but in the context of the book, they appear to mean a lot to Tarantino.

15.We learn more about Charles Manson's real-life wannabe rock star phase.Sony Pictures ReleasingManson’s appearance in the film is ominous and brief, though his presence is felt every time his followers are onscreen. The novel gives us a lot more backstory about his place in the entertainment biz. Through his friendship with Beach Boys drummer

Dennis Wilson, Charlie Manson was able to mingle with musical elite like The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith and even jam with the great Neil Young. Most of Manson’s extended scenes in the book are focused on his obsession with getting his music into the right industry hands…but his dream of becoming the next Bob Dylan never came to fruition.

16.Cliff wanted to KILL Bruce Lee.Tap to play or pause GIFTap to play or pause GIFSony Pictures Releasing / ViaEven before “the Bruce Lee Incident,” Cliff was never impressed by the martial arts legend, comparing his fighting style to the dancing of Russ Tamblyn in

West Side Story. He thought Lee was a blowhard who would never be able to survive hand-to-hand combat, especially with a war vet like Booth. So when Lee suggested they have a friendly contest of “two out of three falls,” Cliff was all but happy to knock him on his ass. But the more the competition escalated, Bruce could see he was in real trouble. “He could see Cliff wasn’t

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