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The Differences Between ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ and Its Novelization

Want to know the differences between “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” but don’t have time to read the novelization? This video has you covered. It analyzes the many differences Quentin Tarantino made when writing the novelization of his 2019 classic, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

The video makes it clear that most of the characters, story beats, and general atmosphere remain the same. Some changes are incredibly subtle, and others change the entire meaning of the work. Let’s dive in to what Tarantino changed up with his second go at the story.

The first and perhaps most major change comes from that of Brad Pitt’s character. The Cliff Booth most people know is the laid-back, smooth, good pal of Rick Dalton who is willing to stick his neck out without expecting anything in return. In the book, however, Booth is more clearly a stone-cold killer. He has killed many beyond his wife, seems a bit more psychopathic and sexually driven, and even participates in dogfights.

The book also makes it abundantly more clear that the Manson family is a malicious, creepy bunch. The film holds back on this information until the very end, but the novel leaves less to the imagination (and historical context). The Mansons are breaking into people’s homes early on and doing eerie, maniacal things.

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Finally, the ending is significantly different. The climactic fight scene from the film is much less, well … climactic. However, from there the novel goes on, and gives more insight into the future of the characters. While both versions have a happy ending, the novelization gives a more concrete direction for the fate of the characters. A direction that I will spare you if these differences fascinate you enough to pick up a copy.

For more specifics on the differences between the film and the novel, check out Wisecrack’s video above.