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Django Unchained: 50 Best Moments

Candie crash zoom

When we first see Leonardo, he has his back to us.

He addresses Django and Schultz, insisting they tell him why they want to get into Mandingo fighting.

Schultz explains that he thinks it will be fun.

Leo turns, QT cuts to a crash zoom onto Candie's grinning face as he delivers the line: "Come on over, we've got a fight going on that's a good bit of fun" with a perfect combination of slime and smarm.

It's an iconic introduction, and was a highlight of the Unchained trailers.

Can you please stop playing Beethoven!

Schultz has been defeated by Candie, but we don't think he's particularly bothered about it.

After all, he has won Hildi her freedom.

12K is a lot of money, but he can make it back in a couple of handbills - especially with Django's help.

No, what's bothering him are the brutal memories of seeing d'Artagnan torn apart by dogs.

It sickens him so much he can't stand to hear the music of Beethoven, pulling the harpist's hands away from the instrument and demanding she stops.

It's not clear exactly why he does it - perhaps he doesn't want the beauty of Beethoven sullied by his thoughts, perhaps he doesn't want to be reminded of home, perhaps he doesn't think this pack of racists deserves to hear such wonderful music - but his anger and passion makes its own point.

Revenge on Billy Crash

Django's already taken Billy Crash down, but for some reason he's let him live. It's not long before we find out why…

"Billy Crash, where were we? Oh yes, the last time I saw you, you had your hand on my…" BOOM, a gunshot rings out and Crash starts to scream.

A few moments later, Django puts him out of his misery - but what perfect misery it is.

DArtagnan and the dogs

Chilling, cruel and completely brutal.

We're not sure what's more shocking - the offscreen sounds of a desperate slave being torn to pieces by dogs, or the third-act flashbacks, in which we see the event through Schultz's eyes, in disturbing close-up.

In both scenes, the sound effects are grimly impressive, heightening the impact of images that wouldn't be out of place in an unrated horror film.

Elk Grove

You might not think Django Unchained is Tarantino’s best film, but it’s hard to argue that it’s not his most gorgeous.

We loved every single wide location shot, but our favourite is probably the moment when Django and Schultz ride through the elk.

Contrast it with the opening sequence, in which Django – still chained – was led through stark, barren locations.

As a free man, Django has access to so much more beauty.

Blood on the cotton

Django is full of images of red blood splashing on white – from Big Daddy’s horse, to Calvin Candie’s flower – but this moment is the most thematically resonant.

One Brittle brother has just been whipped, whilst another dies in a cotton field.

Sometimes, revenge is particularly sweet.

"His name was King"

Another soundtrack highlight, this is essentially Dr King Schultz's theme tune, and not just because it seems to be directly filling in his backstory (some songs are written for films, it often feels like Tarantino writes films for songs).

It kicks in at the end of Schultz's sheriff-slaying scene, on the killer line: 'In other words Marshall, you owe me $200.'

It immediately transforms King into the most badass dentist we've ever seen. And we've seen Little Shop Of Horrors .

Effortless cool.

Stephen and Calvin's meeting

Calvin joins Stephen in the library, and the true master of Candyland is revealed.

Stephen is sat sipping brandy by the fire - and it's clear that in private, he lives a life of privilege to match Calvin's.

No longer the shivering slave, Stephen speaks with authority. He reveals a mind as sharp as Hans Landa's, as he breaks down Django and Schultz's plan for his 'master'.

It's the first time Leonardo and Samuel are alone together, each proving to be the other's match in terms of characterisation and performance.

How these two avoided Oscar nominations for this film, we'll never know.


When Schultz explains that he wants a fighter with a sense of panache, Stephen asks Calvin what the word means.

Candie motions to Schultz to explain, whilst pretending to understand.

He waits for the German to explain, then repeats the last word: "Showmanship." as if he knew all along.

It's a subtle moment, but it provides an insight into the complete pretentiousness of Candie; a man who insists people call him Monsieur, without speaking a word of French.

Getting dirty

During the journey to the Candyland ranch, Django abuses the slaves, as part of his charade as a black slaver.

He attracts the attention of Candie: "He is a rambunctious sort, ain't he?"

This causes Schultz to stop and talk to his man - to warn him that he's risking the mission, and that they will be killed if they are discovered.

Django replies: "You said, this is my world and in my world you gotta get dirty, so that's why I'm doing, I'm getting dirty."

Schultz says: "You're paraphrasing a tad, but that was the general gist."

It's a beautifully written scene that both shows how far Django has progressed as his own man, whilst underlining the danger that faces them if they fail.

Sam Ashurst

Sam Ashurst is a London-based film maker, journalist, and podcast host. He's the director of Frankenstein's Creature, A Little More Flesh + A Little More Flesh 2, and co-hosts the Arrow Podcast. His words have appeared on HuffPost, MSN, The Independent, Yahoo, Cosmopolitan, and many more, as well as of course for us here at GamesRadar+.