“Inglourious Basterds,” a 2009 film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, is among producer Lawrence Bender’s finest films.
A frequent collaborator with Tarantino, Bender has produced all but three of Tarantino’s films. “Inglourious Basterds” has all the graphic violence fans have come to expect from Tarantino, but it is hardly misplaced in the setting of France during World War II. The movie ends with the death of Nazi leader Adolph Hitler, an intriguing bit of revisionist history.
Brad Pitt puts in a fine performance as Aldo Raine, the leader of the Basterds, a Special Forces crew of Jewish Americans who spread fear through German forces by scalping its enemies. The Basterds hatched a plot to kill Hitler, along with numerous German brass including Hitler associate and propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels. The murder plot takes place in a movie theater owned by Shosanna, portrayed by actress Melanie Laurent.
Earlier, Shosanna’s Jewish family was murdered by German troops led by SS Colonel Hans Landa, played by Christoph Walz. Walz has carved a niche as one of this generation’s leading bad guys. His performance in “Inglourious Basterds” lit up the screen and led to Walz winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
“Inglourious Basterds” was nominated as Best Picture for the 2010 Academy Awards and that is nothing new for Bender’s films, which have received 29 Oscar nominations and six wins in more than two decades as a producer.
Bender, born Oct. 17, 1957 in New York, grew up in New Jersey and now resides in Los Angeles. He is active in many political and social causes, earning him the Torch of Liberty Award from the American Civil Liberties Union and being named a Wildlife Hero by the National Wildlife Federation, among many honors. Bender originally planned to be an engineer and studied civil engineering at the University of Maine. In 2013, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Maine.
He now lives in Los Angeles.
Bender also produces TV shows, commercials and music videos.