One of the things people have noticed is that the fictitious Stolz der Nation (Nation's Pride) in Inglourious Basterds, which is about the career of a military sniper, bears similarities to American Sniper (also about the career of a military sniper).

Obviously there's no way Quentin Tarantino could have predicted American Sniper existing when he made Inglourious Basterds five years earlier (and to be completely fair, the fictitious film is clearly a thin propaganda piece whereas the recent real life film is an adaptation of an autobiography) but remembering this comparison and the controversies around Chris Kyle's mental state made me notice something - they don't really expand on it too much but it appears Fredrick Zoller is uncomfortable with the film and its recreation of his exploits.

Plot-wise, this serves the purpose of getting him to go pester Shosanna during the movie but I'm wondering if we're supposed to be reading more into his discomfort level, like is he experiencing PTSD or is he just embarrassed (since in the fictitious movie he played himself) or could some amount of the story he's famous for be exaggerated or inaccurate? (something that plagues the more recent modern story).

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    I think it's more embarassment. It isn't about his "career", rather one incident where he gunned down a lot of Allied soliders. He was an appreciator of cinema. I'd guess he was embarassed at this film, since it was obviously not a work of art, as he was trying to impress Shoshanna, a film lover.
    – Dom Vito
    Jun 21, 2016 at 13:27

2 Answers 2


Zoller states his reason for exiting to Shosanna when he meets her in the projection room.

However the fact remains, this film, is based on my military exploits. And in this case, my exploits consisted of me killing many men. Consequently, the part of the film that's playing now,... .I don't like watching this part.

This doesn't necessarily mean that this is the true reason as Tarantino's characters are rarely straightforward and we have prior experience of Zoller's duplicity (e.g. his persuasion of Goebbels to show the premiere in Shosanna's theatre for self-interested reasons).

However, in this case I'm willing to give Zoller the benefit of the doubt as there are few other reasons for him to leave. A few of the more likely are addressed below.

PTSD - I think we can rule this out as an explanation since he maintains his composure and looks uncomfortable rather than mentally distressed.

Shosanna's attractions - More plausible but unlikely. He could have continued to court her after the movie or approached her at any future date. There was no reason to rush to do so during his important premiere.

He doesn't like the movie - Again this is plausible. Tarantino plays up the extent to which 'Nation's Pride' is crude propaganda and Zoller openly (if jokingly) states that the acting is terrible. However, it is not a sufficient reason for his exit. He states that he will endure subsequent viewings in the proper spirit. Why would he make this claim if he found the film literally unwatchable?

Ultimately it seems likely that his self-proclaimed reason is truthful. The fact that it makes him appear vulnerable and non-nationalistic in front of the Frenchwoman he is attracted to is just a happy bonus for Zoller.


He is embarassed, in fact a sense of modesty - film about recent events and with war still on... - but does not feel remorse, I think. It was life or death for him or the enemies: and, he remarks, he has killed "men", not women and children, and perhaps he distances himself from his countrymen who instead acted against helpless people. Of course, he does not know Shoshanna's identity and what happened to her, but surely he knew something about the extermination of the Jews. And yes, he has something vulnerable, and if dying he kills Shoshanna, it's his disappointment for that girl who reveals herself an enemy (and against an enemy, he must react!) and somebody should also - vaguely! - recall "Duel in the sun"...

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