19

In Inglourious Basterds First Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) had a scar that made it look as though someone had tried to cut his throat. Is there any reason mentioned for that scar (in the movie that I missed, or in interviews with Tarantino etc.)?

I kept expecting someone to ask about it, and get some background story.

Scar across throat

Scar across throat

Scar continuing up behind left ear

Scar continuing up behind left ear

  • 2
    There is a reddit thread which posits that 1) Aldo Raine bears the scars of American history (negro lynching) and then passes it on to the Nazi's by giving them Nazi scars (swastikas) or 2) it was a Tarantino homage to Clint Eastwood's character in Hang 'Em High, where the character is an innocent man hung who survives and hunts down his accusers working as a marshal. – CGCampbell Aug 23 '14 at 16:44
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    Knowing Tarantino, I believe it is both of those reasons at once. – CGCampbell Aug 23 '14 at 16:45
11

It is neither explained in the movie nor outside. There are no interviews available from cast or crew, there are just assumptions and user theories. One can be found on IMDb:

It is never explained in the movie, as it was Tarantino's intention to leave it unknown. Several theories have come up about it, one such being that it resulted from his punishment for being a bootlegger in the Southern United States. There is a rumor that Tarantino said in an interview that Raine was lynched by the KKK for defending African Americans in the South. It is also been suggested that someone slit or tried to slit his throat but didn't go as deeply as intended or that Aldo fought them off quickly enough, although the scar does not look like that caused by a knife, and the screenplay refers to it as a 'rope burn'.

  • 1
    I would accept (from IMDB) "..it was Tarantino's intention to leave it unknown" if that had a link to an interview, or at least mentioned when/where the interview was performed. – Andrew Thompson Aug 23 '14 at 11:59
  • OK.. no more stuffing about, this answer gets the tick. Thanks for hunting down those refs. for me. :) – Andrew Thompson Aug 25 '14 at 1:42
14

He survived a lynching

That is not just speculation, that is in the script:

CHAPTER TWO

"INGLORIOUS BASTERDS"

FADE UP

EXT - SOMEWHERE IN ENGLAND - DAY
A bunch of SOLDIERS are lined up at attention.
LIEUTENANT ALDO.RAINE, a hillbilly from the mountains of
Tennessee, walks down the line. He recruits the men, the
Germans will later call; "The Basterds". Lt.Aldo has one
defining physical characteristic, a ROPE BURN around his
neck. As if once upon a time,. he survived a LYNCHING.
The scar will never once be mentioned.

LT.ALDO
My name is Lt.Aldo Raine, and I'm
puttin together a special team.

That may be because he is part American Indian

At 1:20, he says

And I am the direct descendent of the mountain man, Jim Bridger.
That means I got a little Injun in me.

An implication of this might be that an attempt to lynch him was made out of racist motivations, but that is speculation.


‡ Injun: Indian, or Native American.

3

On IMDb it is said that

The reason for the scar on Aldo Raine's neck is not mentioned in the film. The script hints that Raine survived a lynching, a common punishment in the 1920s and 1930s.

And furthermore, that it is a reference to the character Judge Roy Bean from the movie The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.

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