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"Anybody accidentally kills anybody in a fight, they go to jail. It’s called manslaughter." ― Cliff Booth[source]
Cliff Booth is one of the main protagonists in Quentin Tarantino's ninth film, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. He is a Hollywood stuntman whose career suffered because of rumors that he killed his wife. Cliff is also Rick Dalton's stunt double, personal assistant and best friend. His father is Aldo Raine, who served a role as one of the protagonists in Tarantino's previous film Inglourious Basterds.
He was portrayed by Brad Pitt, who also played Aldo Raine.
Cliff Booth was born on October 29, 1934. There is no clear story to his birth other than that his mother's last name of Booth and he never knew his father. He also served in World War II, most probably alongside his father. He is a two-time Medal of Valor recipient, and has killed more Japanese soldiers than any other American soldier. Cliff also was a Green Beret specialized in knives and close-quarters combat, and is "one of the deadliest guys alive."
In the 1960s, Cliff lives in a trailer in Van Nuys with his beloved pit bull Brandy. At some point he married a woman named Billie. One day he was on a boat trip with her wife. When she got drunk, Billie started complaining about the weather as well as the boat and then proceeded to insult Cliff. Soon after that she died during the same trip. Rumor has it that Cliff shot her with a speargun but it's never confirmed or denied. Cliff had also murdered three other people, including another stuntman. He is notable for working with a famous actor, Rick Dalton, since the last two seasons of NBC's Bounty Law. He had performed stunts on The Born Losers and was paid with the denim outfit worn by Laughlin as Billy Jack, which is what he wears in the film.
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
In the movie, Cliff first appears alongside Rick Dalton at the set of Bounty Law where Allen Kincade, an interviewer, asks the two about what is the job of a stuntman.
On 8th February 1969 Cliff drives Rick to a bar on a meeting with a casting agent, Marvin Schwarz. At the meeting place, Cliff drinks a cocktali while Mr. Shwarz warns Rick about always playing the heavy in TV pilots and tells him that the only way to save his career is to starr in a couple of Italian Westerns.
Later in the film, Cliff drives Pussycat, a hitchhiking member of the Manson Family to the Spahn Ranch. After she introduces him to the cultists, including Gypsy and Tex, Cliff asks them if his friend George Spahn is still the owner of the ranch and if he can visit him. Cult members reveal that George still owns the ranch but it is impossible for Booth to visit him right now because he is taking a nap. Cliff, not trusting the cultists and finding them suspicious, approches George's house. Dianne "Snake" Lake sees that and warns her fellow cultist about it. When Cliff walks to the door, couple of cultists are exiting the house on orders from another cult member, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme. After a short interogation, Squeaky reluctantly allows Cliff to visit George. After the stuntman's visit with Spahn ends, he walks out the house and heads to his cart while Pussycat and other members of Manson's cult yell at him. When he arrives, Cliff finds a knife in the car's tire placed there by one of the cultists, Steve "Clem" Grogan. After he sees him, Booth gets another tire from the trunk and orders him to change it. When Clem refuses, Cliff proceeds to beat him and tosses him into the car's side. After that, Grogan finally starts changing the tire. Tex is informed about the inncident by another member of the Manson Family, but when he arrives, Cliff is seen driving off the ranch.
On 8th August 1969, Cliff and Rick go to the Valley Mexican restaurant landmark Casa Vega on Ventura while Rick's wife Francesca Capucci stays behind at Rick's house, sleeping and being guarded by Brandy. Some time after Cliff and Rick returned home, Tex and two other members of the Manson Family, Katie and Sadie, break into the house and find Cliff, who is high on acid. While Katie threatens Francesca and forces her to go to the living room, Tex pulls a revolver towards Cliff but when he is about to shot the stuntman, the latter orders Brandy to attack him. When dog bites Tex, Sadie tries to attack Cliff but he throws a can of dog food at her while Katie and Francesca stand in shock. After Brandy begins to attack Susan, Cliff knocks Tex on the floor and Francesca punches Katie but runs away to the bedroom after she takes out the knife. After killing Tex Cliff is attacked by Katie, who stabs and knocks him on the floor. When Booth dicovers his fresh stab wound, he grabs Patricia and hits her head into various object in the house untill she dies. After killing Katie, Cliff passes out. He is taken to the hospital after the police interrogates him about the cultists.
- Hand-to-hand combat: Cliff is a highly skilled fighter, serving in World War II as well as in Korean War. At the set of Lancer, he got into a fight with Bruce Lee himself and was winning it untill the duel was stopped. He was also able to deafeat three armed members off the Manson Family while being high on acid. Even after one of the cultists stabbed him in the hip, Cliff was still able to succesfully kill her using his fighting skills.
- Cliff was based on legendary stuntman Hal Needham. He was also inspired by Gary Kent, a stuntman for a film made at the Spahn Ranch. Tarantino also revealed that Cliff was inspired by a real stuntman who "was the closest equivalent to Stuntman Mike" (Kurt Russell) from Death Proof. He was "absolutely indestructible ... scared everybody ... [and] killed his wife on a boat and got away with it."
- Quentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt modeled Cliff after Tom Laughlin's portrayal of Billy Jack.
- In another interview, Tarantino has also said that Cliff is also the father of Floyd from True Romance.
- The novelization of the film reveals that Cliff did in fact murder Billie.
- Quentin Tarantino said that Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth are two years apart in age, with Cliff being older. He later described Cliff as a “muscular, handsome, 35-year-old man with a thick head of blonde hair”. We also know Cliff’s birthday is October 29, placing his birth on October 29, 1934.