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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is packed with car-fueled nostalgia

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood is a “love letter to Los Angeles”—an homage to 1960s Hollywood. It’s a bittersweet story about the friendship between fading star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his steadfast stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), a pairing not unlike Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham. It’s both a spaghetti western and an elegiac to the classic American western, with Cliff Booth and Rick Dalton like two cowboys roaming the city. Just imagine a Coupe de Ville in lieu of a horse. Cliff and Rick spend plenty of screen time together on the road, and it’s a pleasure to watch them traverse Los Angeles as it once was, in a nostalgic film full of countless beautiful classic cars.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/08/12/once-upon-a-time-in-hollywood-is-packed-with-car-fueled-nostalgia

I have not seen the movie yet, but the previews did show a lot of cars from that era. The movie has had good reviews, so I hope to see it this week.

I periodically will watch some old movies via cable; I like the “action” movies and when watching I find myself looking, identifying the “old-classic cars” so much that I forget the movie plot itself…I love seeing those old/classic cars just driving around the town, sitting, parked…that’s what I love most about the movies.

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@icsllc - I know I catch myself doing that and then getting too wrapped around the axle if a car is “wrong” - like the movie is set in 1970 but there is a '71 or '72 car in the shot… So close yet so far.

This was a fabulous movie, in both the setting of ‘69 LA (I was there, 11 years old and I remember how cool the place really was) and the characters. Damian Lewis as Steve McQueen- I couldn’t tell the difference!
And yes, the cars. Good old American cars mostly. References (on one of Brad Pitt’s t-shirts) to Lions drag strip was awesome!

Loved the movie (have seen it twice, so far) and the cars, but I can’t understand why Tarantino let the California license plate detail slip. Sure, black plates with yellow characters are period correct from '63 to about 1970, but unless they were fitted to commercial vehicles or motorcycles, they always had a format of 3 letters followed by 3 numbers. Plus the font was less chunky than today’s current batch of vintage repros available through the DMV. It’s odd that in light of all the care put into recreating the look of LA in the '60’s, this would be missed. To really pick nits, did anyone else spot the speedo in the Caddy reading “0” in at least one driving shot? Probably because the car was being towed on a picture trailer.

Wow; some of you guys are really detailed in what you see…I like it; Being an “Old Guy”; I graduated highschool in 1969…for those of you younger followers things were a little crazy in 1969; Nam, Hippies, Anti Government Movement; allot happening…anyway; right out of High School, 18 years old, my buddy and I jumped in his 1968 Triumph TR6 and made the drive from Ohio to LA. So when I watch these 60 movies, especially when shot in LA; I love it…too many stories about that trip and my time in LA too talk about via text; plus we’d have to be drinking for me to tell you everything…enjoy the old flics, love the old cars.

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That Navajo rig was seen a couple times but what a find. I also saw the GM New Look bus countless times but what a treasure of screen action of classic iron !!

Perhaps you meant 1953 MG TD. That was the last year the TD was made.

I have a light blue '68 Karmann Ghia convertible. So far no one has confused me with Cliff Booth. I think it’s because my car is the wrong year.

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The Love Story MG was a 1945 TC. Can’t be the same car if the car in the film is a 1962 (1952?) MG TD.

Great flick. No mention of the black Porsche 911 Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) was driving?

Where was the BRG Austin-Healey 3000 that Dennis Wilson drove when he first saw Manson?

Such a great movie you will not see all the cars. Certainly might miss the old Ferrari outside the film studio.

After reading all the negative, nit-picking, reviews on-line, I had no desire to see this movie. After reading Hagerty’s review, I can not wait. Thanks.

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I’ve not seen the movie either, but that inaccurate Cadillac license plate does jump right out. My question is not really apropos of a car-centric discussion, but indulge me… Apparently one scene is set at the Playboy Mansion. I believe Hefner first saw the house in 1971, and Wikipedia, for what it’s worth has Hefs’ residency beginning in 1974. Huh?

I lived and saw all those places in my twenties, cruising Sunset and Hollywood blvd, hitting the Whiskey, Rainbow, Troub, I even testified against the Manson family in Bishop after they were arrested at the ranch. I can hardly wait too see the film.

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I’m also a ‘69 HS grad, so could not wait to see the movie just for the nostalgia. Now I can’t wait to get the DVD so I can pause my way through the whole experience.

I think that most viewers will not live in America but in other countries around the world so won’t even notice that the cars don’t have California black plates. I myself will be looking at the cars, not the plates as I live in UK.

Let me buy you drink…