Standartenführer Hans Landa is a fictional character and the main antagonist in the 2009 Quentin Tarantino film Inglourious Basterds. He is portrayed by Austrian actor Christoph Waltz.[1] For his performance, Waltz received widespread acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Best Actor Award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, among others.

Hans Landa
Inglourious Basterds character
Hans Landa IB 2009.jpg
First appearanceInglourious Basterds (2009)
Created byQuentin Tarantino
Portrayed byChristoph Waltz
In-universe information
NicknameThe Jew Hunter
OccupationSicherheitsdienst Member
AffiliationAustrian Nazi Party
Allegiance Nazi Germany


Standartenführer (SS Colonel) Hans Landa is an Austrian SS officer assigned to the Sicherheitsdienst. He is nicknamed "the Jew Hunter" for his uncanny ability to locate Jews hiding throughout Occupied France.

Egotistical and ambitious, Landa takes a great deal of pride in his fearsome reputation, lauding his nickname "The Jew Hunter" and using it to compare himself to his boss Reinhard Heydrich, whom he describes as disliking the nickname the people of Prague bestowed upon him (“the hangman”).[citation needed] When the tide of the war turns against the Nazis, he scoffs at it, alluding that his job is to find and capture people and the fact that they are Jews is of no consequence to him.[2]

Besides speaking German, he is also fluent in at least English, French, and Italian.

Landa is intelligent, opportunistic, arrogant, ruthless, and relentless, but can also be circumspect, polite, and even charming. He is an opportunist acting only out of pure self-interest.[citation needed] As such, by the end of the film, he unreservedly switches sides to assist the Basterds in assassinating Hitler and a Nazi Party elite inside a movie theater. In return for his role in the plot, Landa demands full immunity for his war crimes, a house on Nantucket Island, a colonel's military pension, public recognition as an agent working with the American Office of Strategic Services and to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

In 2019, Quentin Tarantino appeared on the podcast Happy Sad Confused, where he discussed Landa's fate after the events of the film. Tarantino facetiously stated that Landa is recognized as a hero in the US and history books for his involvement in ending WWII and helping kill Adolf Hitler, and that he subsequently settles on Nantucket Island, where he solves a series of murders as an amateur master detective.[3]

Conception and creationEdit

Quentin Tarantino has said that Landa might be the greatest character he has ever written. He originally wanted Leonardo DiCaprio for the part.[4] Tarantino then decided to have the character played by a German actor.[5] The role ultimately went to the Austrian Waltz, who, according to Tarantino, "gave me my movie back", as he felt the movie could not be made without Landa as a character, but feared the part was "unplayable".[6]

When Waltz auditioned for the role, he had no prior correspondence with Tarantino or producer Lawrence Bender, and believed that the character of Hans Landa was being used during the audition process to cast other roles. Waltz stated that he was most impressed with the dialogue and the depth of the character.[7][8]

Waltz has described Landa's character as one who has an understanding of how the world works, stating that the swastika means nothing to him. He adds that he is not driven by ideology, and that if anyone were to call Landa a Nazi, he would clarify that he was not, stating that just because he wears a Nazi uniform does not mean that he believes in the Nazi ideology. In describing the ending between the Basterds and Landa, he describes him as "realistic to the point of being inhuman", adding that he understands that the world is not just one thing at a time, and even though these things may contradict each other, they do not necessarily have to.[7]


...a character unlike any Nazi — indeed, anyone at all — I’ve seen in a movie: evil, sardonic, ironic, mannered, absurd.

Roger Ebert[9]

Waltz received widespread critical acclaim for his role as Landa, and won the Best Actor Award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival for his performance. Due to his role as Hans Landa, Waltz has received many offers from directors to play roles in their films, enough for him to describe the situation as "wild".[7]

Film editor Hunter Stephenson commented that international viewers, Americans more so, would be surprised by Waltz's talent in this role, adding that he tipped Waltz to be nominated an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.[7] Waltz was awarded several accolades for his performance, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Screen Actors Guild Award in the same category in January 2010. He also won the BAFTA[10] and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, becoming the first actor to win an Oscar for a performance in a Quentin Tarantino film.


Hunter Stephenson of /Film describes Landa's calabash as an unsubtle metaphor of masculinity, and describes his love of milk as being left over from an age of innocence and a primal link.[7] Stephenson compared him to Die Hard villain Hans Gruber, played by Alan Rickman, due to his disdain for the inferior intellect of those around him.[7]

Waltz, in an interview, pointed out that the calabash was Tarantino's allusion to Sherlock Holmes, who smoked a similar pipe.[11]


  1. ^ Andrew Siddons (October 30, 2009). "Nazis get their comeuppance, in brutal fashion". JooAng Daily. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  2. ^ Fleming, Michael (2008-08-29). "Kruger, Waltz join Tarantino film". Variety. Archived from the original on 2009-09-23. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  3. ^ Horowitz, Josh (July 22, 2019). "Quentin Tarantino, Vol. II". Happy Sad Confused (Podcast). Event occurs at 35:00-38:00. Archived from the original on November 7, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2022 – via Spotify.
  4. ^ Fleming, Michael (2008-07-15). "Quentin Tarantino seeks 'Bastards'". Variety. Reed Business Information. Archived from the original on 2008-07-28. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  5. ^ Fleming, Michael; Tatiana Siegel (2008-08-05). "Eli Roth on deck for 'Bastards'". Variety. Reed Business Information. Archived from the original on 2008-08-12. Retrieved 2008-08-06.
  6. ^ Tarantino reflects on 'Basterds' Archived 2015-12-22 at the Wayback Machine,, May 17, 2009.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Interview: Christoph Waltz on Playing Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds, Working With Quentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt, and the Legendary Strudel Scene". Slash Film. 2009-08-25. Archived from the original on 2009-09-27. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  8. ^ "Meet Inglourious Basterd's Colonel Hans Landa - Christoph Waltz". ATN Zone. 2009-08-31. Archived from the original on 2009-09-14. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 19, 2009). "Inglourious Basterds movie review (2009)". Archived from the original on 2021-10-19. Retrieved 2022-08-13.
  10. ^ 2010 Film Awards Archived 2010-02-28 at the Wayback Machine The BAFTA site. 2010-02-21.
  11. ^ "Mr. Beaks Squares Off With INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS' Christoph Waltz!". Aint It Cool News. Archived from the original on 21 September 2021. Retrieved 21 September 2021.