Django Unchained is a 2012 American revisionist Western film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson. The Tarantino western is set in the Old West and Antebellum South, and is a highly-stylized, heavily-revisionist tribute to Spaghetti Westerns, in particular the 1966 Italian film Django by Sergio Corbucci, whose star Franco Nero has a cameo appearance. Development of Django Unchained began in 2007 when Tarantino was writing a book on Corbucci.
In 2007, Tarantino discussed an idea for a type of Spaghetti Western set in the United States’ pre-Civil War Deep South. He called this type of film “a Southern”:
“I wanted to do movies that deal with America’s horrible past with slavery and stuff but do them like Spaghetti Westerns, not like big issue movies. I want to do them like they’re genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it’s ashamed of it, and other countries don’t really deal with because they don’t feel they have the right to.”
Tarantino later explained the genesis of the idea:
“I was writing a book about Sergio Corbucci when I came up with a way to tell the story. … I was writing about how his movies have this evil Wild West, a horrible Wild West. It was surreal, it dealt a lot with fascism. So I’m writing this whole piece on this, and I’m thinking: ‘I don’t really know if Sergio was thinking [this] while he was doing this. But I know I’m thinking it now. And I can do it!”
Django Unchained grossed $162.8 million in the United States and Canada and $262.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $425.4 million, against a production budget of $100 million. As of 2013, Django Unchained is Tarantino’s highest-grossing film, surpassing his 2009 film Inglourious Basterds, which grossed $321.4 million worldwide.