HEAT VISION

Brad Pitt Knows Answer to That Big 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Question

The fate of Cliff Booth's wife is left ambiguous in the film.
Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth in 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'   |   Photofest
The fate of Cliff Booth's wife is left ambiguous in the film.

[This story contains spoilers for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.]

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood does a good job answering the many questions the Quentin Tarantino film asks along that way — except for one. It is never really spells out whether Cliff Booth, played by Brad Pitt, actually killed his wife.

The possible murder is alluded to a number of times. Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) dismisses it as rumor, but other characters are sure it happened — and it creeps them out. 

One person who knows for sure: Pitt.

In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, the actor revealed that he was aware what actually happened, but... “That, I will never tell,” Pitt told the newspaper, adding he’s not interested in sharing more because he'd rather the viewer make up their own mind, especially with the character's heroics in the end. “So why spoil that?” 

There is a scene in Once Upon a Time with Cliff and his wife on a boat, but it ends before it is clear what occurred. However, Cliff does say he was once on a chain gang and another time that he had avoided prison for many years, so he is alluding to something criminal in his past.

While defending his version of Bruce Lee, Tarantino revealed a lot more about the Cliff character than the film does. 

"The reality of the situation is this: Cliff is a Green Beret," Tarantino said. "He has killed many men in World War II in hand-to-hand combat. What Bruce Lee is talking about in the whole thing is that he admires warriors. He admires combat, and boxing is a closer approximation of combat as a sport. Cliff is not part of the sport that is like combat, he is a warrior. He is a combat person."

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