Once Upon a Time In Hollywood Review

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood

Today I chose to write about Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. This is the first movie that made me really get into Quentin Tarantino movies. The premise of the movie is Rick Dalton, who is a fading actor in Hollywood in the late 1960’s, and his stunt double, Cliff Booth. The story followsRick and Cliff and their lives trying to navigate the changing landscape of the Hollywood film industry. Let’s get into it!

Introduction/Opening Scenes

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opens in February of 1969. Rick Dalton fearing his career is fading as he is advised by one of his acting peers to go to Italy to make silly Spaghetti Western movies. Dalton feels that these types of movies aren’t good enough for him. Rick and his stunt double Cliff drive around Los Angeles because of Rick’s many DUI’s. On one note, the driving scenes in this movie are one of my favorite parts. The design team did such a good job with creating a set that feels like vintage Hollywood. It made me nostalgic even though I myself didn’t even live in the era of time. Paired with the 60’s upbeat rock music made for some great scenes with Rick and Cliff driving in the car. Moving on though. 

The film introduces Sharon Tate, played by Margot Robbie, and Tate’s husband Roman Polanski, who was a big time film maker in the 60’s. The two of them bought a house right next to Rick Dalton in the Hollywood hills. The Tate and Polanski go to a big Hollywood party at the playboy mansion where they see big time celebrities like Steve McQueen. This opening scene introducing Sharon Tate was really well acted by Margot Robbie. She really showcased the free and elegant spirit of the late Sharon Tate. 

Meanwhile while on the set of a Western television series called Lancer, Rick Dalton is introduced to a young actor by the name of Trudi Fraser. Trudi encourages Rick Dalton as he goes into do his scenes for the show, but he does not remember his lines. Dalton goes back to his trailer and proceeds to have a violent, yet hilarious mental breakdown. Dalton hypes himself back up for the next scene and delivers a strong acting performance on set which boosts his confidence greatly.

Spahn Ranch Scene

While driving around in Dalton’s car, Cliff Booth picks up a hitchhiker by the name of Pussycat. Booth takes her to Spahn Ranch, where Booth used to work as a stunt double. Spahn Ranch is also where the famous Manson family lived at the time. This is where Tex Watson is introduced, who is one of Manson’s henchmen. At the Ranch, Booth wants to check on an old friend who owns the ranch, George Spahn. He wants to make sure that the Manson family is not taking advantage of him. Booth gets to speak with Spahn, and Spahn ensures Cliff that he’s fine.

This whole scene really has a creepy sense to it. When Cliff enters the whole you can see a whole bunch of Manson’s followers. It is silent the whole time. You just get the sense that something bad is about to happen to Cliff. Cliff exits the house after he talks with George Spahn to discover one of the guys a part of the Manson family has slashed one of his tires. He then beats him up in a very typical Tarantino fashion with the scene being all bloody and violent, but kind of funny in a sense. Booth gets his tire changed and leaves the Ranch. 

Ending Scenes/Manson Murderers

Later in the night, Cliff and Rick watch an episode of F.B.I, which Rock stars in. These scenes are really cool because it is almost like Tarantino is putting in a separate movie scene inside of a movie. The cinematography is meant to look like 60’s movies which is really cool to me. 

After it shows that Rick ends up doing a 6 month stint in Italy making knockoff western movies, and marries an Italian actress. When Rick gets back to Hollywood from Italy, he goes out for drinks with Cliff. Rick informs Cliff that because of his new wife, he can no longer afford Cliff’s services. The two sit at the restaurant and drink while reminiscing on their times working together.

The two come back to Dalton’s house. Booth takes his dog for a walk down the street while smoking a LSD laced Cigarette. Rick stays back at the house preparing drinks and laying in the pool while listening to music. Members of the Manson family, Tex, and 3 others drive up to their house preparing to kill the people inside the house of Sharon Tate. In a hilarious exchange between the murderers and Rick Dalton, Dalton yells at the so called “hippies” to get off of his street with the loud mufflers of their car. The drunken Dalton keeps yelling at the unknowingly that Tex has a shotgun that he could kill Dalton at any minute. The Manson members eventually drive away and decide to park their car down the street and enter their house by foot.

Changing their plans from killing Everyone in the Tate house, and enraged Tex wants to kill Dalton instead. The murderers enter Dalton’s house and are confronted by Cliff Booth and his vicious dog. This is a start of a hilariously violent exchange. Cliff, who is high from the LSD cigarette that he smoked, orders his dog to attack. Together they kill Tex and injure Sadie (One of the girls). Cliff gets stabbed in the thigh and passes out on the floor after he kills Katie (one of the other Manson members). An injured and blinded Sadie stumbles outside to surprise Rick who has his headphones sipping margaritas in the pool. All the while oblivious to the whole situation going on. Rick then gets out of the pool and literally gets a whole flamethrower that was shown earlier in the movie and torches Sadie in the pool to kill her. 

Happy Ending

The Ambulance arrives after the fact, and brings a passed out Cliff to the hospital. Rick and Cliff share a good friendship moment as Rick tells Cliff that he’s a good friend. Cliff is driven off in the ambulance. As Rick is still outside, the next door neighbors, Sharon Tate, and Jay Sebring ask Rick what happened. They then ask Rick to come inside to hang out with them. The audience is led to believe that these moments could revive Rick’s career as he is merging himself with the new Hollywood actors. From their is the end of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Overall I think Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was absolutely hilarious. From the scene where Rick was in his trailer and had his breakdown, to the entire final sequence. There were so many funny quotable moments in the movie that made you really remember the movie. The acting by the superstar cast was as always very good from Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie. Brad Pitt ended up winning an Oscar for best supporting performance rightfully so. Also the set design to give you the feeling of 1960s Hollywood made the movie that much better. Great movie 4 out of 5 stars for me. Go see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood!


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