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During the Inglourious Basterds' meeting with Bridget von Hammersmark in the basement bar, the bar's owner and bartender is always around and observing the events and ultimately taking part in the final shootout himself with the rifle he had under his bar. But it isn't entirely clear to me whom he's actually sided with. Seeing that he speaks German (while his daughter doesn't) and is played by one, this might suggest that he's supposed to be a collaborator but he doesn't seem too unsuspicious of the Germans in that bar either (though that might just be motivated by paternal care). Likewise is it absolutely hard to make out who kills whom in all the chaos at the end of this scene and especially what the barkeeper is actually shooting at.

So while this might as well have been left ambiguous, I wonder if there are any more conclusive hints at what the barkeeper's affiliation actually was, or just something obvious I missed. Was he actively siding for the Germans or was he just trying to protect his bar and shooting at any of those "troublemakers", no matter what uniform? Or could he even have sided with the Basterds (even if unbeknownst to them)?

  • Looking at that scene it's really hard to tell. In the first shot you see him with the gun, it's clearly pointing at one of the Basterds, but in the next shot it's clearly not. – Crow T Robot Sep 5 '14 at 0:33
  • It was a free for all - Nacis Basterds and barkeep. – Matas Vaitkevicius Sep 5 '14 at 12:21
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    @napolean : If you are satisfied with the answer, please accept it. Coz I took a lot of pain to get the movie and get those screenshots. This question really triggered me :-) – Ankit Sep 9 '14 at 10:18
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    @Ankit Rest assured that I know how the accept mechanism works. If I'm entirely satisfied and the question was open long enough to attract possible additional answers, I will certainly accept it, but don't expect this to happen today or tomorrow. After all it isn't a 100% exact yes/no question. As to the answer, it's really good and explanative (and sure worth an upvote), but acceptance requires are more thorough evaluation of it from my side instead of a single short read and until that I cannot be 100% sure of its correctness. But I don't forget open questions, no matter how old they are – Napoleon Wilson Sep 9 '14 at 11:23
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The Barkeeper is on Bridget von Hammersmark's side. Although it is not clearly seen during the shooting frenzy that against whom he uses his gun. But if you closely analyze the other scenes it appears that he was definitely on Bridget's side. Here are the indications

Scene where the men have just arived at the bar. enter image description here

Bridget is not so cautious of him when talking and probably the men know this too. enter image description here

He asks Matilda to join the other soldiers, probably so that they would keep themselves busy and not interrupt Bridget

enter image description here

The way is constantly looking at the German officer when he is at Bridget's table.

enter image description here

He prepares his gun right at the time when the German Officer has caught the British officer for his fake SS officer's appearance. Right when the German officer says "You are no more German than that Scotch", he is seen preparing his gun. enter image description here enter image description here

All the scenes together indicate that the bar keeper was Bridget's accomplice.

  • I have uploaded more images. What do you think of the answer ? – Ankit Sep 7 '14 at 8:11
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    Ankit, I think this is well done. I agree with your surmise. I would only point out that it looks less like a rifle and more like a long-barrelled shotgun, about as useless a bar weapon as can be had. – CGCampbell Sep 7 '14 at 16:20
  • I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I finally took the time to recheck this scene carefully and it seems to me that the bartender shoots Stiglitz and is then shot by Wicki, which would make him at least opposed to the Basterds even if it's still unclear if he's allied to the Nazis. I'll still keep this upvoted as it is a reasonable and interesting rundown nevertheless. – Napoleon Wilson Nov 23 '14 at 16:49
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While Ankit presents a very reasonable rundown of the scene in his answer, when I carefully rechecked the shootout in particular, I came to the contradictory conclusion that he at least is opposed to the Basterds, which still leaves it unclear if he's entirely dedicated to the Germans or just minding his own business (or if he maybe even was a double agent posing as an ally to Bridget but actually working against her and waiting for the right chance). This would also explain why he apparently didn't tell Bridget about the cunning SS-officer sitting in the backroom, which he as the barkeeper certainly must have been aware of.

In particular he seems to shoot at least into Stiglitz's direction and is then clearly shot by Wicki:

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

I also found this blog entry giving a detailed rundown of who kills whom which I'd have to agree with when looking closely at the scene:

Stiglitz starts things off by shooting Hellstrom in the crotch. Hellstrom then shoots Hicox and hits Bridget Von Hammersmark in the leg while Hicox falls backwards and before he dies he returns fire at Hellstrom. Stiglitz then stands up and repeatedly stabs Hellstrom in the back of the head, pinning his head to the table. Wicki stands up and shoots Winnetou in the back at least twice. Beethoven shoots Stiglitz in the back. Mata Hari shoots Wicki in the stomach. Stiglitz turns and shoots Beethoven four times in the torso and then also shoots Edgar Wallace in the heart killing them both. Wicki shoots Mata Hari in the heart. Eric shoots Stiglitz with a double-barreled shotgun, killing him. Wicki shoots Eric in the head and Wilhelm blindly guns down Wicki and Mathilda with his MP40 sub-machine gun.

But that being said I'd still hope someone can shed some more light on his exact motivation and if he sided with the Germans or did his own thing or if he even posed as an ally to Bridget as Ankit's answer might suggest.

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