In the opening part of Inglourious Basterds Hans Landa asks Monsieur LaPadite if he knows the nickname the French people have bestowed upon him. When LaPadite anxiously reveals that he has heard the term "Jew Hunter", Landa puts him at ease saying he is proud of this nickname

"precisely because I have earned it".

However, in the last act of the film when Hans Landa is sitting in front of a captured Aldo Raine and "Little Man", when referred to as "Jew Hunter", Landa is disgusted. He states

"I'm a detective. A damn good one. Sure I have to find people and sometimes those people are jews... But Jew HUNTER? Just a name that stuck"

Why the change of heart? What's happened to make him resent the nickname at that point?

  • I'd say it's part of his pleading but it's been a while since I've seen it. Not a bad idea to re-watch it me thinks.
    – Tablemaker
    Commented Dec 29, 2012 at 6:22

1 Answer 1


It is probably not a change in heart, I am afraid! In the first case you are referring to when Col. Landa said the quoted statement while talking to LaPadite. The reason behind the sudden visit to his house was to search for the unaccounted-for Jewish family in that area. To remind LaPadite about his unofficial nickname was a tactic of Landa, I believe, to mentally pressure him to admit that he has given shelter to the Jewish family members (which Col. seemed to be quite sure of) and that could result in a disaster to both of the families by the colonel himself. This is a sort of act to tactfully make the victim mentally weak so that the victim gives in easily.

While on the other hand, the second scene you are referring to, he wants to terrorize some terrorists (apparently they are terrorists to him) who are not Jewish. So throwing the same dialogue would not result anything fruitful. Rather he should make sure in that situation that he must speak something that would make the prisoners think. He is more capable of doing something other than merely hunting or killing Jews, so that he must make himself sound like a frightening character to his enemies. This is also a sort of cunningness to frighten the prisoners.

Christian Rau's comment is valuable and worthy to be added. As he suggested in his comments, maybe Landa was preparing himself before the events to flee to the US. He also planned to make a deal with the Allies. So maybe to save himself, he started presenting himself as a good man who was just doing his job. He tried to mean that it was not his intention to kill the Jews, but his employer made him do that. In the end, he wanted to portray himself as just a responsible employee and nothing more!

  • 7
    +1 Good explanation. But I think in the second scene it could also be that he wanted to distance himself from the antisemitic attitude of his "employers" in order to look like a man who just does his job. Since at this point he already planned to make a deal with the Allies, I think (though it's been some time since I watched it).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 15:53
  • @ChristianRau, Good point. I would add it!
    – Mistu4u
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 19:25
  • Excellent point, @ChristianRau, I think that's the real answer.
    – Nik Pinski
    Commented Jan 3, 2013 at 18:08

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