Kill Bill On Netflix: 33 Easter Eggs To Look Out For While You Rewatch
Kill Bill is back on Netflix.
On January 1, 2020, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) and Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004) returned to streaming on Netflix. Originally, writer/director Quentin Tarantino conceived of the two volumes as a single, three-hour-plus revenge epic. But closer to its release date, former Miramax chairman Harvey Weinstein recommended splitting the film in half. Tarantino agreed, worried that a single sprawling epic might be too "pretentious."
The resulting first film, Kill Bill: Volume 1, is a colorful genre pastiche of samurai, anime, and kung fu influences infused with a healthy dose of Tarantino's signature wit. The movie lacks his signature dialogue or any sort of narrative depth; Tarantino saved both of those attributes for the longer, more languid Vol. 2. But what Vol. 1 does have, in spades, is action—non-stop, kinetic ass-kicking that makes it more akin to a Hong Kong action film than an American one.
And to top it off, the film is incredibly detailed, filled with hidden nuggets for eagle-eyed viewers to spot. Here are 33 Easter Eggs from Kill Bill: Vol. 1 to look out for when you re-watch it on Netflix.
1. Shot in Shaw Scope
The movie opens with the Shaw Brothers logo and fanfare. Tarantino pays homage to this legendary Hong Kong action film studio, which helped to popularize the martial arts genre with movies like Five Deadly Venoms, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, and Five Fingers of Death.
2. Star Trek Reference--Sometimes
We see the following quote in white typeface against a black background: "Revenge is a dish best served cold." This is attributed as an old Klingon proverb. The Klingons are a warrior race from the Star Trek franchise, most recognizable by the prominent ridges on their foreheads. When Tarantino re-released the two volumes as a single, definitive theatrical release called Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair in 2011, this proverb was replaced with: "This film is dedicated to Master Filmmaker Kinji Fukasaku (1930-2003)." The original Japanese cut of Vol. 1 also had this dedication.
Fukasaku is perhaps best known to Western audiences for directing Battle Royale (2000), the pre-Hunger Games, dystopian movie where a classroom of students is forced to fight to the death on an island. Chiaki Kuriyama, who plays Go Go Yubari, had her star-making turn in Battle Royale. Tarantino admired Fukasaku's work, and in 2009, named Battle Royale as his favorite film of the past 17 years.
3. Ring The Alarm
The alarm-like sound that the audience hears every time The Bride goes into kickass mode is taken from the 1967-1975 detective drama Ironside, starring Raymond Burr. Quincy Jones composed the theme.
4. Commemorative Plates
When scripting the opening fight in Vernita Green's home, Tarantino was super granular about the home's interior. Here's an expository description from the script:
"An ornamental iron and tempered-glass bookcase that has framed family photos, display toys, some African art, and a collection of painted commemorative plates depicting the negro experience in the American military. Starting with a plate featuring Cripis Atkins [sic] in the revolutionary war, negro troops in union blue during the civil war, Buffalo soldiers fighting Indians, the Jim Crow troops of the first world war, the colored troops of world war two, Korea, Vietnam, and finally Colin Powell…. The Bride and The Housewife CRASH
THROUGH all this reducing everything to rubble."
If you pause the film, you can see these plates in the background; Colin Powell's face is in the center, and a depiction of the Crispus Attucks shooting is on the far right.
5. Don't Be A Square
When the Bride, played by Uma Thurman, is discussing getting even with Vernita, she draws a square with her finger in the air. This is a direct callback to Thurman's character Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction, who makes a similar hand gesture in Vincent Vega's car.
Kaboom is a real (now discontinued) cereal produced by General Mills. The box alludes to the gun that Vernita has hidden inside it. Tarantino likes putting eccentric boxes of cereal in his movies; most memorably, he included a box of the also-real cereal Fruit Brute in both Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.
7. Cycle of Violence
Vernita's daughter Nikki sees The Bride over her mother's dead body. The Bride promises Nikki that if she wants her revenge once she's older, she'll be waiting for her.
This may form the basis for the long-rumored (though unconfirmed) three-quel, Kill Bill: Vol. 3.
"I’ve already got the whole mythology: Sofie Fatale will get all of Bill’s money," Tarantino told Entertainment Weekly back in 2004. "She’ll raise Nikki, who’ll take on the Bride. Nikki deserves her revenge every bit as much as the Bride deserved hers."
8. Pussy Wagon
The Pussy Wagon is more than just a movie prop; Tarantino owns it and used to drive it around LA. He also lent it to Lady Gaga for her 2010 music video "Telephone," featuring Beyoncé.
9. El Paso Sheriff
Sheriff Earl McGraw is performed by veteran character actor Michael Parks. Parks also plays pimp Esteban Vihaio in Vol. 2.
The Sheriff, as well as his son (played by Parks' real-life son), are recurring characters in Tarantino's films, appearing in Kill Bill, From Dusk Til Dawn (which Tarantino wrote), and Death Proof.
10. A Menacing Trill
The tune that Elle Driver whistles when she's in the hospital, on her way to poison The Bride, is "Twisted Nerve," from the 1968 psychological thriller of the same name. Bernard Herrmann composed that movie's score.
11. Creepy Carrie
Tarantino uses split screen in the scene where Elle Driver prepares to kill the Bride. It's a direct homage to Brian DePalma, who also used split screen during the climactic prom scene in Carrie.
Despite being the film's namesake, we don't get a look at Bill's face during Vol. 1. Instead, he's always filmed from the neck down, with his hands prominently featured. Withholding a character's face is a common film technique, often used with authority figures and villains, to project strength and signify impenetrability.
There's been considerable speculation over the years that Bill is also "Pretty Rikii," the anime hitman who killed O-Ren's parents in Chapter Three; both characters have heavy, colorful rings on their fingers. A 2009 interview with Tarantino, however, debunked this theory.
13. Serial Pervert
Jasper (Jonathan Loughran) is the man who attempts to rape The Bride while she's in a coma. He's also in Death Proof; Jasper is the auto repairman who owns the 1970 Dodge Challenger. Zoe and her friends negotiate with Jasper to take the vehicle on a joy ride.
14. An Elvis Woman
After killing Buck, the Bride takes his sunglasses. They're the same type of Elvis shades that Clarence wore in True Romance, which Tarantino also wrote.
15. A Foot Fixation
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 continues a larger pattern of Quentin Tarantino filming his actresses' feet. We see a close-up of Uma Thurman's feet when she tries wiggling her big toe. Later, the 184.108.40.206's perform barefoot at the House of Blue Leaves.
16. An Extended Anime Sequence
"Chapter 3: The Origin of O-Ren" was animated by Japanese company I.G. Production, also known for animating the Ghost in the Shell series. More recently, the company was responsible for the animated sequences in Persona 5.
The American version of the scene is plenty gory, but there is actually a more explicit anime sequence in the Japanese version of Vol.1; you can see the sword slice Boss Matsumoto's abdomen, disemboweling him, before the massive blood spray. In the American version, you see the sword in his abdomen and you see the spraying blood, but you don't see the actual slice.
17. An Early Name Reveal
For all of Vol. 1, the Bride's real name, Beatrix Kiddo, is bleeped out—perhaps to keep the audience at an emotional distance from her, or to evoke a sense of mystery and intimidation, similar to that of the Man With No Name in Sergio Leone's Dollars trilogy. But Tarantino actually put the Bride's real name on her plane tickets, first from El Paso to Okinawa, and then from Okinawa to Tokyo.
18. Hattori Hanzo
The man playing Hattori Hanzo is Sonny Chiba, a movie star famous for his role in the Japanese martial arts film The Street Fighter (1974). The original cut of the film received an X rating in the United States for its intense violence.
19. Sisterly Love
Go Go Yubari, the killer schoolgirl who guards O-Ren, had a sister in the original script named Yuki Yabari. Yuki would have been more outwardly psychotic than Go Go, and the planned fight between her and The Bride would have been a destruction-heavy rampage across a suburban neighborhood. Yuki would have gotten her own chapter, entitled "Yuki's Revenge." In one scene in Vol. 1, Go Go is drinking and disembowels a bar patron. This was originally going to be Yuki, mourning her sister's death, before Tarantino nixed the character.
20. Razor Sharp On The Beats
The RZA, the de facto leader of the Wu-Tang Clan, is responsible for many of the musical interludes throughout the film. One of them plays right after O-Ren decapitates Boss Tanaka. Other RZA contributions include the song when the Crazy 88 surround The Bride, and the song when The Bride fights Johnny Mo on the bannister.
21. Red Apples
Tarantino's made-up cigarette brand, Red Apple Cigarettes, makes an appearance in the background of Chapter 5. You can see a billboard advertisement for the brand; Sofie Fatale (one of Bill's pupils and O-Ren's right-hand woman) is the brand's model.
Red Apples appear in many Tarantino films, most recently in last year's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
22. Playing the Game
The Bride's yellow and black-striped jumpsuit is a tribute to Bruce Lee. He wore a similar jumpsuit in Game of Death, when he's ascending the floors of the Red Pepper restaurant and fights Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
23. Japanese Surf Rock
The surf rock band playing at the House of Blue Leaves is the 220.127.116.11's. Tarantino became acquainted with them by complete chance; he heard them in a Japanese second-hand store on the way to the airport, and he liked the music so much that bought the album off the store owner.
24. Showing Off
A long, unbroken tracking shot is a showoff move from a director; the longer and more intricate the camera work is, the better. The long, swooping tracking shot in the House of Blue Leaves is a little under two minutes long; it establishes the layout and scale of the restaurant, and also establishes everyone's positioning, right before the carnage begins.
It required 17 takes -- and removing and reattaching a wall in the restaurant mid-take -- to successfully shoot the scene.
25. Explicit Soles
Right after The Bride cuts off Sofie Fatale's left arm, the camera shoots the Bride from below, underneath the glass floor of the restaurant. You can see that both of her shoes have "F***U" carved into the rubber of the sole.
26. Daughter of a Legend
One of the first Crazy 88 members to attack The Bride is Juri Manase. Manase is Sonny Chiba's daughter; Chiba appears earlier in the film as master sword craftsman Hattori Hanzo.
27. Black and White or Color?
In order to secure an R rating in the United States, the majority of Vol. 1's climactic fight sequence is depicted in black and white. The uncensored Japanese cut is in color and includes additional, gory footage; in one sequence, the Bride cuts off both of a man's hands, and in another, she jabs her fingers into a man's throat.
The stuntwoman who doubles for Uma Thurman is Zoe Bell. She also appears in Death Proof as a fictionalized version of herself; she's the woman who rides on the hood of the Dodge Challenger while Kurt Russell is trying to kill her. Bell also appears in Django Unchained behind a bandana, as one of Calvin Candie's slave trackers.
29. Dual Role
Gordon Liu plays the leader of the Crazy 88, Johnny Mo. Like Michael Parks, Liu plays two roles in the Kill Bill movies. The first is Johnny Mo and the second is Pai Mei, the sadistic kung fu instructor in Kill Bill: Vol. 2.
30. Buckets and Buckets
Before their final duel in the snow, O-Ren taunts The Bride by saying that if she hadn't conserved her strength, she "might not last five minutes." The fight is almost exactly five minutes long--some versions of the film appear to be four minutes and 59 seconds, while the timestamps on Netflix have it at five minutes and one second, from the moment that O-Ren steps forward and the music starts, to the Bride's final, killing blow.
32. Double Amputee
In the US release of Vol. 1, we only see Sofie Fatale lose her left arm. But in the uncensored Japanese version, we see Sofie lose her right arm as well; The Bride chops it off while she's threatening Sofie in the car trunk.
33. Signature Trunk Shot
Tarantino has his signature "trunk shot" in every one of his movies. In Vol. 1, it comes near the end of the film, when The Bride is explaining to Sofie (who's in the car's trunk) why she's letting Sofie "keep her wicked life."