Quentin Jerome Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, to Connie (McHugh), a nurse, and Tony Tarantino, an Italian-American actor and musician from New York. Quentin moved with his mother to Torrance, California, when he was four years old.
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" stating that he 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, while writing a book about Sergio Corbucci:
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!'
Tarantino finished the script on April 26, 2011, and handed in the final draft to The Weinstein Company. One inspiration for the film is Corbucci's 1966 spaghetti western Django, whose star Franco Nero has a cameo appearance in Django Unchained:
The title Django Unchained alludes to the titles of the 1966 Corbucci film Django; Hercules Unchained, the American title for the 1959 Italian epic fantasy film Ercole e la regina di Lidia, about the mythical hero's escape from enslavement to a wicked master; and to Angel Unchained, the 1970 American biker film about a biker exacting revenge on a large group of rednecks.
Django Unchained was a major critical and commercial success and was nominated for several film industry awards, including five Academy Awards. Waltz won several awards for his performance, among them Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and Academy Awards. Tarantino won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA award for writing the film's original screenplay. The film grossed over $425 million worldwide in theaters against its $100 million budget, making it Tarantino's highest-grossing theatrical release.