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Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) Poster

Trivia

In order to achieve the specific look of Chinese "wuxia" (martial arts) film of the 1970s, Quentin Tarantino gave director of photography, Robert Richardson, an extensive list of genre films as a crash-course in the visual style they used. The list included films by genre-pioneers Cheh Chang and the Shaw Brothers. Tarantino also forbade the use of digital effects and "professional" gags and squibs. As such, he insisted that bloody spurts be done in the fashion made popular by Chang Cheh: Chinese condoms full of fake blood that would splatter on impact.
Jump to: Director Cameo (1) | Director Trademark (5) | Spoilers (9)
At the beginning of the fight scene between O-Ren and The Bride, after O-Ren says, in Japanese, "I hope you saved your energy. If you haven't you may not last 5 minutes", it is exactly 4 minutes and 59 seconds from the time she steps forward and the music cues, until the fatal blow of the duel.
When Chiaki Kuriyama (Gogo) was shooting the scene where she flings her ball and chain out, she accidentally hit Quentin Tarantino on the head while he stood by the camera.
According to Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman in the DVD documentary the idea for doing "Kill Bill" began during the filming of Pulp Fiction (1994). The two began talking about the kinds of movies that they would like to do and Quentin said he would like to do a 70's style kung-fu flick. Uma came up with the film's opening shot of her beaten up and wearing a wedding gown.
This became the first feature-length film directed by Quentin Tarantino to feature fewer than 100 uses of the word "fuck." It is used 17 times.
The shot where the Bride splits a baseball in two with a samurai sword was done for real on the set. It was done by Zoë Bell, Uma Thurman's stunt double.
Uma Thurman was offered the script to Kill Bill, and her role as "The Bride", as a 30th Birthday present from Quentin Tarantino.
Quentin Tarantino owns the "Pussy Wagon" and drove as his everyday vehicle to promote the release of Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004). He licensed use of it for the Missy Elliott music video, "I'm Really Hot". It also appears in the video for "Telephone" by Lady Gaga and Beyoncé Knowles.
Ellie Driver's codename, the California Mountain Kingsnake, is the only one of the 5 that isn't a venomous snake. Incidentally, when The Bride is in a coma, Ellie can't kill her by injecting poison into her IV.
Shin'ichi Chiba makes katanas in real life. In the movie, his character Hattori Hanzo is a renowned katana maker who has taken a blood oath to never create an instrument of death again.
The church scene was shot in the Mojave Desert outside of Lancaster, CA. Keep an eye out during this scene for a cameo by Samuel L. Jackson as the dead organ player and Bo Svenson as the preacher.
Bill calls The Bride by her last name, Kiddo, in the film's opening scene. The audience, not knowing her last name, is meant to assume it is simply a term of endearment.
The black and white photography is ultimately an homage to '70s and '80s US television airings of kung fu movies. Black and white (as well as black and red), were used to conceal the shedding of blood from television censors. Originally, no black and white photographic effects were going to be used (and in the Japanese version none are), but the MPAA demanded measures be taken to tone the scene down. Tarantino merely used the old trick for its intended purpose, rather than merely as an homage.
On the Bride's plane tickets you can see the name 'Beatrix Kiddo' which is never actually said in the film.
When 'The Bride' is walking towards the stairs in the House of Blue Leaves to fight the first round of bodyguards you see a shot taken from underneath through the glass floor. The bottom of her shoes reads "Fuck U".
The Japanese symbols on the background of the poster spell "kirubiru" which is the Japanese spelling for "Kill Bill".
The closing title card, "Based on the character of 'The Bride' created by Q and U", refers to the first initials of Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman.
Okinawa is widely regarded as one of the worst possible places to get good sushi. In other words, a sushi joint in Okinawa would make a fine hiding place.
As Quentin Tarantino was leaving Japan after initial location scouting and securing the studios, he heard the all girl band "The 5,6,7,8's" playing over the store's speakers. He was so intrigued by the music that he asked a clerk who the band was. When he was told, Tarantino, who didn't have enough time to go to a music shop to get their CD, begged the clerk to sell him their copy. Quentin took the disc home, listened to it, and immediately signed the band to play during the "Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves" segment. All of the band's songs, including the stand-out "Woo Hoo" are covers of early 60's surfer songs.
Christopher Allen Nelson, who worked on the special effects, revealed in interview that over 450 gallons of fake blood were used in the two Kill Bill movies.
Quentin Tarantino originally intended to cast a Japanese actress to play O-Ren Ishii, but before casting began he saw Lucy Liu's work in Shanghai Noon (2000) and immediately changed O-Ren into a Chinese-Japanese American so that Liu could play the part.
Approximately US$60,000 of the movie's budget was used for producing swords and sword accessories.
Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) was actually whistling "Twisted Nerve" whilst entering the hospital for the scene. It sounded quite professional, but it was masked over; the instrumental was taken off, and the sole whistling from Herrman's song was what we hear until she enters a changing ward.
Quentin Tarantino delayed the start of the production because Uma Thurman was pregnant.
Quentin Tarantino in his conversation with Indian director Anurag Kashyap admitted that that the celebrated manga animation-action sequence in Kill Bill was inspired from 2001 Hindi-Tamil film, Aalavandhan (2001) starring Kamal Hassan. Tarantino was quoted saying 'Yes, saw this Indian serial-killer film which showed violence as animated'.
It took six years to write the entire script before being split into two parts. The original draft was about 220 pages long.
Director Quentin Tarantino was a big fan of the Japanese movie Battle Royale (2000) so he cast Chiaki Kuriyama (who played Takako Chigusa in Battle Royale (2000)) as Gogo Yubari.
Jack Nicholson, Kurt Russell, Mickey Rourke and Burt Reynolds passed on playing Bill.
According to Uma Thurman, Quentin had her watch three movies in preparation for this film: John Woo's The Killer (1989), Coffy (1973) (Starring Jackie Brown (1997) star Pam Grier), and Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars (1964).
Gogo Yubari is not a real Japanese name. "Gogo" derives from Mach GoGoGo (aka Speed Racer), a Japanese anime that Quentin Tarantino liked when he was young. Yubari is the name of a small town in Hokkaido, northern Japan, that is famous for melons and film. Tarantino's first visit to Japan was to showcase Reservoir Dogs (1992) at the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival.
The infamous long take scene took 6 hours to rehearse and was shot in 17 takes. After that, Steadicam operator Larry McConkey was rumored to have passed out in exhaustion.
Quentin Tarantino only had Uma Thurman in mind to play The Bride.
The sunglasses the Bride takes from Buck at the hospital are the same ones Christian Slater wore in True Romance (1993), also written by Quentin Tarantino.
The members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad are all named after snakes. Bill drives a De Tomaso Mangusta. "Mangusta" is Italian for "Mongoose" which are well-known for their ability to fight and kill venomous snakes, particularly cobras.
During filming, actors often provided a "Hello, Sally!" take. This involves the actor finishing his or her take, turning to face the camera, and yelling "Hello, Sally!". Whether editor Sally Menke appreciates this is yet to be reported.
On the wall of the House of Blue Leaves are the letters Q and U. These refer to the first names of Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman, as the creators of The Bride.
To entice cinematographer Robert Richardson to work on the project, Quentin Tarantino had the script sent to his house on Valentine's Day 2002... along with a bouquet of roses.
Despite being bleeped out in the film, the name of The Bride is revealed on her plane tickets to Okinawa and Tokyo.
Warren Beatty was originally offered the role of Bill. After turning it down, he suggested to Quentin Tarantino that he use David Carradine.
Although the "Old Klingon Proverb": "Revenge is a dish best served cold" is from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), the quote is a paraphrase of a line from the book "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" (1782) by Choderlos de Laclos.
On the The Making of 'Kill Bill' (2003) Tarantino noted that the split screen scene where Elle is about to enter the bride's room and kill her was an homage to Brian De Palma.
Tarantino said the Grindhouse films were also an influence on Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003). He later got to make a Grindhouse film with Death Proof (2007).
During the fight scene between Gogo Yubari and the Bride, the sound of bowling pins being knocked over can be heard as Gogo flips over after being hit in the back of the head with a flail.
The Bride always wears Onitsuka Tiger footwear.
The finale took eight weeks to shoot.
Michael Madsen's character is named "Budd" as a tribute to Budd Boetticher, one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite directors.
The members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad are all named for snakes: Sidewinder, Black Mamba, Cottonmouth, Copperhead, and California Mountain (King) snake.
The original trailer for this film, although featuring no actual bloodshed, raised the ire of the MPAA with the sight of The Bride's blood-stained clothes. As such it became the first to be subjected to the MPAA's new "no blood" policy for trailers, in which all sight of the bodily fluid must be alternately colored or removed entirely. This is why the trailers for this film (and similarly for every film released in the US thereafter) feature The Bride's clothes covered in blackish-brown stains where the blood would be.
During the anime sequence explaining O-Ren's origins you briefly see that O-Ren's father held the rank of Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army.
Quentin Tarantino had intended for three actors of different nationalities to represent their respective countries. Chia-Hui Liu represents China, Shin'ichi Chiba represents Japan, and David Carradine represents the United States. Tarantino said that had Bruce Lee still been alive he'd have been asked to appear in Kill Bill as well.
Quentin Tarantino chose Jun Kunimura to be Boss Tanaka after seeing him scream in Ichi the Killer (2001).
Quentin Tarantino revealed in an interview that the music used in Kill Bill was all from other films; he used music from his soundtrack collection.
When Tarantino planned to cast Gogo and Yuki Yubari, his first choices were Chiaki Kuriyama and Ko Shibasaki. Both had roles in the 2000 hit, Battle Royale (2000).
The original script featured the Bill character to be a master chemist. The liquid in the syringe was pointed out to be a concoction created by Bill entitled "Goodbye Forever". These potions/elixirs were to be detailed by on-screen subtitles. The Bride would also use a mix called "The Undisputed Truth" to get information from Sofie Fatale. In Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), Bill would use "The Undisputed Truth" on the Bride.
Originally, Quentin Tarantino wanted Michael Madsen to play Johnny Mo (Mr. Barrel in the original script). However, he decided that Madsen would be better as Bill's brother, so he had Madsen play Budd instead.
The Tokyo miniature sets were leftovers from the then most recent Godzilla film (Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)).
During the scene when O-Ren Ishii celebrates her ascension to the head of the Tokyo Yakuza, she is wearing a black kimono. It is a kurotomesode with long sleeves (dangling near the floor). The kurotomesode is the most formal kimono, is for married women only, and would only be made with short sleeves.
"The Bells" sign seen on the letterbox at the beginning of Chapter One was given to Uma Thurman's stunt double Zoë Bell by Quentin Tarantino. Bell presented it to her parents, The Bells.
Michael Bowen (Buck) and David Carradine (Bill) share three siblings, but are themselves not related. Carradine is the son of John Carradine and Ardanelle McCool, while Bowen is the son of Sonia Sorel and Michael Bowen Sr. However Sorel and Carradine had three children together, including actors Keith and Robert Carradine.
David Carradine is only heard in the film, never seen (bar his hands in the opening scene and in the closing scene).
Daryl Hannah's character is called "Elle Driver." The production team for the documentary Full Tilt Boogie (1997), a documentary about the production of From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) (which starred Quentin Tarantino), is also called " L. Driver Productions".
Sofie Fatale's cell phone ring is "Auld Lang Syne", specifically the tune for the line, "Should old acquaintance be forgot". However, the tune is also a popular tradition in Japan where it is known as "Hotaru no Hikari". This version contains totally different lyrics and is commonly associated with graduation ceremonies.
In Hattori Hanzo's sushi restaurant, there is a 4-character Chinese saying hanging above the bar. It says "zui sheng meng si," literally "drunk birth, dream death." A rough meaningful translation is "To lead an unimportant and often dissipated life."
"Hattori" means "weapon" in a feminine context in the Hindi language, the modern form of Sanskrit language, the ancient language for Hinduism and Buddhism.
WILHELM SCREAM: used twice during the battle at the House of Blue Leaves.
During production, Quentin Tarantino wrote new scenes as he shot thus compiling massive amounts of footage.
In the original script, Johnny Mo was called Mr. Barrel. He had a Kato mask on a stick, like someone from a 17th Century costume ball. Mr. Barrel didn't like the rubber bands on the typical Kato masks because they 'fucked up his hair'. The Bride convinces him not to fight her, and he walks away, leaving O-Ren with no bodyguards.
The entrance to the traffic tunnel in Tokyo is in fact the entrance to the second street tunnel in Los Angeles (Blade Runner (1982)) with Japanese traffic signs added.
The license plate for Buck's truck is a Texas plate that reads PSY WGN. When the movie is shown on network television, and the name of the truck is edited to "Party Wagon", the license plate remains the same.
The characters streaming down the left side of the screen in the opening scenes are Japanese kanji and hiragana, and they read "Hana yome ga kuru, hana yome ga kuru." Or: "The Bride is coming, the Bride is coming," over and over again.
Despite the fact that this was filmed in Super 35, "Filmed in Panavision" is listed in the end credits.
Kevin Costner was also considered for the title role of "Bill", but he turned it down to do Open Range (2003) instead.
Part of the movie was shot at the legendary The Shaw Brothers Creative Group studio in Hong Kong. Quentin Tarantino has seen so many movies made at the studio that he felt it was important for him to work there.
The paintings on the walls of Vernita (Vivica A. Fox)'s home in the opening scenes, were provided by visual artist Rodney Grier, brother of Pam Grier the star of Tarantino's earlier Jackie Brown (1997).
When Uma Thurman is approaching 'The Bells' house, "Music Box Dancer" is playing in the background. Frank Mills composed this song after several years of performing in a band called, 'The Bells'.
Vernita Green's (Vivica A. Fox) original codename was 'Cobra' before it was changed to 'Copperhead'.
Quentin Tarantino has said in interviews that, had Warren Beatty taken the part of Bill, the character would have been more of a suave, James Bond-type.
The music sampled for "Ode to O-Ren Ishii" is the title track from the film The Psychic (1977). Since an instrumental version is not included on the soundtrack, it has become an increasingly popular download.
The view of the trees through the windows of the Bride's hospital room just before Elle, dressed as a nurse, enters is taken from Mandalay Pictures' ID.
The name Johnny Mo is a reference to the Chinese director of Hero (2002), Yimou Zhang, whose name when spoken would sound almost the same.
The restaurant where The Bride fights O-Ren is called The House of Blue Leaves. The House of Blue Leaves is a play written by John Guare.
While O-Ren Ishii's age is never mentioned, we can gather that she is either 29 or 30, since The Bride states that she was 25 when she took her part in trying to kill her, and it is four years later.
The name Hattori Hanzo was borne by four ninjas in feudal Japan but the most famous was born in the mid-16th century. As well as being an excellent strategist and a master of the spear, he and his ninja were instrumental in ushering in the Tokugawa Period of Japanese history (1603-1868).
Michael Madsen only gets a couple of lines, and even then, its right at the end of the film.

Director Cameo 

Quentin Tarantino:  : When The Bride stands over the remains of the Crazy 88s, a masked Quentin Tarantino is among them.

Director Trademark 

Quentin Tarantino:  [Red Apple cigarettes]  When the Bride arrives at the Tokyo airport, she walks in front of a Red Apple Cigarettes advertisement. Red Apple is a "Tarantino brand," one of several fictional products that are often seen in his films. Julie Dreyfus (Sofie Fatale) is the Red Apple model.
Quentin Tarantino:  [long take]  After the Bride leaves O-Ren's door at the House of Blue Leaves (when Go-Go returns inside) the camera follows her down the stairs through the bar, past the kitchen, into the ladies room; we then go out of the ladies' room, back to the stairs and follow Sofie Fatale along the exact same path to the ladies' room, ending with the ring of her cellphone. The shot is done in a single, unedited take.
Quentin Tarantino:  [cereal]  The pistol that Vernita Green fires at The Bride is hidden in an emptied box of "KaBoom" cereal.
Quentin Tarantino:  [bare feet]  Lucy Liu is barefoot as she runs to kill Boss Tanaka. The band at the House of Blue Leaves is barefoot. The Bride is barefoot as she escapes from the hospital and tries to regain control of her legs.
Quentin Tarantino:  [Trunk Shot]  While The Bride is interrogating Sofie Fatale, we see from Sofie's point of view inside the trunk of her own car looking up at the masked Bride.

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The line that O-Ren and The Bride speak together in the House of Blue Leaves - "Silly rabbit / Trix are for kids" - refers to an advertising slogan for breakfast cereal. It is also a cryptic reference to The Bride's name, which in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) is revealed to be Beatrix Kiddo.
Body Count: 95.
The character Gogo was originally written as two characters: the twin Yubari sisters, Gogo and Yuki. Gogo had almost no lines and after her death at the hands of The Bride, Yuki would seek her out, only to be killed as well, in the "lost" chapter "Yuki's Revenge". All of Gogo's dialogue in the final film would have been spoken by Yuki.
In the early stages of filming, O-Ren was supposed to be decapitated at the end of her battle with the Bride, but it was changed because she would have never known that the Bride's sword was truly a Hanzo sword had she been beheaded.
Although The Bride has Hattori Hanzo craft a sword to exact her revenge against Bill and the Vipers, the only member of her former team it is used to kill is O-Ren Ishii.
Julie Dreyfus speaks three different languages in the movie. She speaks fluent Japanese until the end where she speaks in her native French to insult the Bride (Uma Thurman) and then in clear English when she talks to Bill. In real life, Julie Dreyfus is trilingual.
Quentin Tarantino and producer Harvey Weinstein have been quoted as saying that Kill Bill was separated into two parts well into production. By splitting the movie into two parts, the film's advertising tagline, "In 2003, Uma Thurman Will Kill Bill!" was made false.
When The Bride is standing outside Vernita Green's house, an ice cream truck jingle is played. It's "Music Box Dancer" by the Canadian pianist Frank Mills, a 1978 hit single. In the original script, Yuki Yubari (attempting to avenge the death of her sister, Gogo) stalked The Bride in an ice cream truck.
A major spoiler was given when The Bride is in the "Pussy Wagon" with her list. When she is crossing off the name "Vernita Green", right above it you can see the name "O-Ren Ishii" that is also crossed off indicating that O-Ren was killed before Vernita even though O-Ren isn't killed until the climax of the film.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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