Arizona Raiders (1965)
This ‘60s Western isn’t directly textually referenced in the film but has been cited by Tarantino himself as an influence, likely for a number of reasons. The production values of it seem to influence the aesthetic of life on the set of Lancer, which would have tried to replicate Hollywood Westerns on a smaller budget the way it does in Tarantino’s film. But there’s also the fact that Arizona Raiders stars Audie Murphy, the kind of square-jawed star of ’50s and ’60s action movies on which Rick Dalton’s career appears to be modeled. The Dalton hit film in Tarantino’s world, The 14 Fists of McCluskey, feels very much like a project that would have attracted the war hero Murphy, star of movies like To Hell and Back. In fact, Murphy was cited as an influence on Inglourious Basterds, which also played with history the way Once Upon a Time does. Just as the spaghetti Western connects Django Unchained with Once, Audie Murphy connects Basterds with Once in fascinating ways.