List of Kill Bill characters
The following is a list of characters from the film Kill Bill. Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, the film was released in two separate parts, Kill Bill Vol. 1 in 2003 and Kill Bill Vol. 2 in 2004. The film takes place after a massacre that killed the fiancé and friends of the main character, The Bride, at the chapel in which she was to be married; she was also thought to have been killed by being shot in the head. However, The Bride survived, but was put into a coma for four years as a result of the attack. Upon finally awakening she plots her vengeance against the killers.
- 1 Deadly Viper Assassination Squad
- 2 Associates of O-Ren Ishii
- 3 Other characters
- 4 References
Deadly Viper Assassination Squad
Beatrix Kiddo (Black Mamba, also known as The Bride)
Beatrix Kiddo, a.k.a. The Bride (portrayed by Uma Thurman), is the protagonist of the film. She abandons her life as a hired assassin for the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (DVAS) upon realizing she is pregnant with Bill's child, denying him the right of fatherhood to preserve her unborn's future. This action provokes the attacks on her and her loved ones and its ensuing revenge, which is the entire basis of the film. Her code name while working for DVAS was Black Mamba.
Bill (Snake Charmer)
Bill (portrayed by David Carradine) is the main antagonist of the film. He is the founder and leader of The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, to which The Bride formerly belonged, and also her former lover. Because the code names of the members are all referring to venomous snakes, Bill's code name is Snake Charmer. He and the four remaining Deadly Vipers attempt to kill her after she learns she is carrying Bill's child and leaves him without warning. Some time after the massacre, the squad has disbanded. When Bill finds out The Bride isn't dead but instead in a coma, he sends former Squad member and mistress Elle Driver to the hospital to kill her, but Bill changes his mind and tells Elle to abort the mission, saying that killing a helpless person would demean the name of the Assassination Squad.
O-Ren Ishii (Cottonmouth)
O-Ren Ishii, a.k.a. Cottonmouth (portrayed by Lucy Liu), is a half-Japanese, half-Chinese-American woman. O-Ren experienced her first encounter of death when at the age of nine, while hiding underneath a bed, she witnessed both her parents being brutally murdered under the orders of a Yakuza boss (who turned out to be a pedophile) and his associates. An anime flashback showed her father in a U.S. Army uniform wearing the rank of sergeant major fighting the assassins. Though he was apparently a skilled martial artist who took down two of the boss's men, he was eventually overwhelmed and killed, along with his wife whom the crime boss personally murdered by striking her in either the head or the chest with the same sword used to execute her father. The house was later destroyed in a fire to cover up the act but young O-Ren escaped and although she was left physically unharmed, she was left psychologically and emotionally scarred for life, swearing revenge against the crime boss responsible. After going through intense training, two years later and at the age of eleven, she succeeded in getting her revenge against the crime boss by sneaking into his house and killing him but not before asking if he remembered her or if she looked like someone he'd killed. Once she'd murdered the crime boss, O-Ren killed his two bodyguards and escaped, later becoming an expert assassin, proficient in marksmanship and sword fighting, raising through the ranks to become one of the world's top female assassins at the age of twenty. Though once a member of the Deadly Vipers, she eventually became the head of the Tokyo Yakuza, with Bill's help, and possessed her own bodyguard army, the Crazy 88. O-Ren is fiercely proud of her heritage, going so far as to decapitate her own subordinate when he vented his frustration over being led by "a Chinese Jap-American half breed bitch".
The Showdown at House of Blue Leaves is the chapter in which O-Ren Ishii visits a Japanese club together with various Crazy 88 members, her lawyer and friend Sofie Fatale, and personal teenage bodyguard, Gogo Yubari. While sitting in a room apart from the other guests, O-Ren hears a sound outside the room and throws a dart in that direction. She orders Gogo to take a look; however, Gogo finds nothing. Later, Sofie Fatale is captured by The Bride and taken to the main hall of the restaurant, where The Bride calls O-Ren, who appears with her bodyguards. The Bride reveals herself to O-Ren, cutting off Sofie's arm, horrifying the other guests who flee the restaurant. The Bride defeats countless Crazy 88s and Gogo, finally meeting O-Ren in a garden scene atop the club. During the battle, O-Ren mocks The Bride as a "silly Caucasian girl who likes to play with samurai swords." After resuming their fight, O-Ren receives a wound and apologizes for her earlier remark. The Bride accepts and eventually kills O-Ren by lopping off the top of her head. It is hinted that O-Ren and the Bride may have had a genuine friendship in the past; she and the Bride share an inside joke ("tricks are for kids"), based on the Bride's true name, and O-Ren is the only member of the Deadly Vipers besides Bill towards whom the Bride shows any remorse. O-Ren utters with her dying breath "That really was a Hattori Hanzo sword", having been close enough to both see the symbol of Hattori Hanzo and feel the blade.
Vernita Green (Copperhead)
Vernita Green, a.k.a. Copperhead (portrayed by Vivica A. Fox), is a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad who took part in the massacre at the Two Pines Wedding Chapel. She is second on the Bride's "Death List Five". Four years after the massacre, she is depicted living a normal life under the alias of Jeannie Bell. She is trained in hand-to-hand combat and knife fighting, and it is hinted that she and The Bride share a mutual, professional respect for each other. At the start of the first movie, they engage in a vicious fight, destroying Vernita's living room in the process. However, the fight is interrupted when Green's four-year-old daughter, Nikki, arrives home from school in the middle of the fight, and they stop fighting because the Bride does not wish to kill Vernita in front of her child. Green sends Nikki to her room and she talks with the Bride over coffee, apologizing for betraying her and asking for mercy on behalf of her daughter and family. The Bride coldly refuses and they agree to meet in the middle of the night to have a knife fight. However, Vernita betrays her promise, and shoots at the Bride with a handgun concealed within a box of Kaboom cereal. She misses, and the Bride throws a knife into her heart, killing her instantly. Nikki unintentionally witnesses her mother's death, for which the Bride apologizes. The Bride then adds that, when Nikki grows up, if she ever wants to avenge her mother's death she'll be waiting for her and leaves.
Incidentally, Vernita Green's alias (Jeannie Bell) is a direct reference to the actress and former Playboy Playmate Jeanne Bell who starred in the 1974 blaxploitation film T.N.T. Jackson (writer/director Tarantino is a noted fan of cult 1970's cinema).
Elle Driver (California Mountain Snake)
Elle Driver, a.k.a. California Mountain Snake (portrayed by Daryl Hannah), is another swordswoman who is loyal to Bill. Elle and the Bride despise each other immensely, and it is implied that their mutual hatred came to be before the events of the film. Elle is jealous of the Bride's status as Bill's lover, implying that Elle herself also had some kind of sexual relationship with him. Despite this, Elle does grudgingly respect the Bride, describing her as "the greatest warrior [she] had ever met" and also believing that she deserved better than to have supposedly met her end at the hands of someone like Budd.
Like Bill and The Bride, Elle was trained by Pai Mei. When she showed disrespect to Pai Mei by calling him a "miserable old fool", he responded by plucking out her right eye for her insolence, which is why she is shown to wear an eyepatch. In retaliation, Elle murdered Pai Mei by poisoning his meal of fish-heads. When Bill learns that the Bride survived the attempt on her life, he orders Elle to go kill her at the hospital where she was then lying comatose. Disguised as a nurse, Elle nearly injects the Bride with a deadly poison when Bill calls her to abort the mission. Though Elle wanted to kill the Bride while she was incapacitated, she abides by Bill's wishes.
When Budd (Sidewinder) captures the Bride, he calls Elle to offer her the Bride's Hanzo sword. Elle agrees to pay one million dollars for the sword, on the condition that Budd makes The Bride "suffer until her last breath". Budd buries the Bride alive, but she eventually escapes and lies in wait near Budd's trailer. Elle pays Budd for the sword with a suitcase containing $1 million but when Budd opens the case, a concealed black mamba bites Budd and he succumbs to its venom. Elle calls Bill and frames the Bride for Budd's death, also taking credit for Budd's live burial of the Bride and tells Bill the grave's location. When Elle is about to leave the trailer, the Bride ambushes her. The two women engage in an improvised weapons fight which evolves into a sword fight, with the Bride having to use Budd's Hanzo sword (thought to have been long-ago pawned, by Budd's statement to Bill). During the fight, Elle reveals that she killed Pai Mei; enraged, the Bride snatches out Elle's remaining eye. The Bride leaves Elle, now completely blind, thrashing wildly on the floor of the trailer with the black mamba still loose inside. Though it can be inferred that Elle was also killed by the Black Mamba, her fate is unknown or rather undecided.
Budd, a.k.a. Sidewinder (portrayed by Michael Madsen), is Bill's degenerate younger brother who was recognized by Bill as 'the only man I ever loved', an epigraph etched onto Budd's Hanzo sword. He was the only other male Deadly Viper Squad member and, since the assassination squad's disbandment, adopted a redneck-like life-style. Living in a mobile home where he steadily became an alcoholic, Budd makes ends meet by working as a bouncer at a local strip club. When told by Bill that Beatrix was coming to kill him, Budd philosophically stated "That woman deserves her revenge. And we deserve to die. But then again, so does she." (When Budd makes this statement in Volume 1, the last sentence is not included; the full statement is spoken in Volume 2). Budd once owned a Hattori Hanzo katana and told Bill, who told Elle, that he had sold it for $250 in El Paso, Texas. He actually lied because The Bride later found the sword in a golf bag in the bedroom of Budd's trailer. During Bill and Budd's discourse, Bill mentions an unpleasant event between the two of them that led to their falling out, but the details of this event are never explicitly mentioned.
When the Bride finally does find Budd, he is prepared for her sneak attack, shooting her with rock salt from a double-barreled shotgun (making him the only Deadly Viper to single-handedly defeat The Bride) and buries her alive (later described as a 'Texas funeral'). Before closing the casket, he tells The Bride that her live burial is retribution for breaking Bill's heart. Returning to his trailer, Budd gives the Bride's priceless Hattori Hanzo sword to Elle in return for $1 million in cash; he is then repeatedly bitten in the face by a black mamba concealed in the suitcase (poetically The Bride's Deadly Viper codename) containing the cash. She takes advantage of the situation in torturing Budd slowly by reading useful information about Black Mamba poison and the effects of it if not injected with anti-venom. As he dies in agony minutes later, Elle tells Budd that she feels regret because she never had a chance to take the Bride on herself and that she had to die at the hands of miserable cowboy like him.
Associates of O-Ren Ishii
In the quest for revenge, The Bride's first target is O-Ren Ishii, who during the intervening four years has risen to become a major leader of the Tokyo organized crime world. But before The Bride battles and defeats her, she must first confront and bring down her associates one by one.
Sofie Fatale (portrayed by Julie Dreyfus) is O-Ren Ishii's lawyer, second-in-command, and best friend. Sofie Fatale is of mixed Japanese/French descent and serves as an interpreter and is seen speaking English, Japanese and French fluently. Although she is referred to as a protege of Bill's, she does not display any martial arts skills during her appearances.
Sofie Fatale is present at the "House of Blue Leaves" when The Bride arrives to kill O-Ren Ishii. The Bride is riding her motorbike through Tokyo, stalking Sofie's Nissan Fairlady Z when she is seen at a stop light using her phone; her left-handedness, and later, the phone's "Auld Lang Syne" ringtone, are recognized by The Bride. She remembers that Sofie was present during the El Paso massacre, and while she did not assist in beating The Bride, she did answer her ringing phone, while callously ignoring the injured Bride and the rest of the carnage. The Bride captures Sofie at the House of Blue Leaves and brings her to O-Ren Ishii. The Bride then cuts off Sofie's left arm (the arm she holds her phone with) as a means of both exacting revenge on her and showing Ishii her intentions for a duel.
Later, The Bride interrogates Sofie to learn the location of the rest of the members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, threatening to further dismember her when she refuses to speak. She then sends her rolling down a hill to a hospital for medical attention so she can live on and tell Bill what has happened and that the Bride is still alive. Although her fate is left ambiguous, Tarantino has commented that a potential third Kill Bill movie would focus on the revenge of Vernita's daughter Nikki against the Bride, and that Nikki would be trained by Elle and Sofie. Apparently, Sofie would inherit all of O-Ren and Bill's money.
The Crazy 88 are a masked Yakuza gang under her control who originally employed to help O-Ren take control of the Tokyo underworld. It includes members of both sexes and a wide age range. Most of them fight using katanas except for three members. One is shown with a pair of throwing axes and another is seen briefly wielding a meteor hammer. Johnny Mo, the clan's leader (under O-Ren), uses dual shortswords which, when each is sheathed in the other's handle, can be used as a fighting staff. The Bride manages to fend off the entire gang, killing, mortally wounding, and dismembering many. After the fight, any surviving member was taken into custody after leaving the nightclub. Their arrest by Japanese police and hospitalization before being locked up in prison is not shown. One of the last of the Crazy 88 member the Bride faces before O-Ren is a very timid teenage boy whose katana she cuts into several pieces with her own, after which he surrenders immediately. She spanks him with the flat of her blade and orders him to leave the criminal business by the word "Go home to your mother".
Aside from Johnny Mo, only one member of the Crazy 88 is identified and named. Miki is apparently O-Ren Ishii's bodyguard, aside from Gogo. He is the first member to attack the Bride although he's quickly killed when the Bride impales his chest with her sword. Quentin Tarantino appears as one of the members whose throat is slit after the Bride dismembers the eye of one of the gangsters.
The Crazy 88 allegedly does not actually have eighty-eight members. Bill says that they adopted the name because it "sounded cool". There are only 40 actors credited to the Crazy 88.
Metaphors are used to create the Crazy 88. 8 (八 hachi, ya?) is considered a lucky number in some Eastern cultures[by whom?] - it suggests growing prosperous, because the letter (八) broadens gradually. 8 (や ya?) was also seen as holy in ancient times. Another metaphor is that there are 88 keys on a standard piano. The gang are dressed in black and white like the piano keys.
There are two different versions of the fight scene with the Crazy 88. The original version was released as a Japanese Unrated Limited Edition DVD in Japan and U.S. which has the fight in full color. Tarantino was forced to tone down the violence of the whole fight the scene by omitting a few scenes and adding a black and white effect to the finished product for the film's release.
Johnny Mo (portrayed by Gordon Liu, who also portrays Pai Mei in Vol. 2) is the leader of O-Ren's personal army, the Crazy 88. Johnny Mo is most prominently featured in the "House of Blue Leaves" scene. After The Bride kills Gogo Yubari and O-Ren Ishii's six bodyguards, Johnny Mo, armed with a pair of shōtō, arrives with an army of Crazy 88s. He is a more proficient fighter than the rest of the gang, nearly tipping the scales in their favor and holding his own against The Bride for several minutes alone while fighting her on top of a balcony railing. She eventually chops off his leg and he falls into a bloodied fountain pool from the second floor balcony and is presumed dead thereafter.
Gogo Yubari (portrayed by Chiaki Kuriyama) is a young associate of O-Ren Ishii. Gogo is the bloodthirsty and ultraviolent seventeen-year-old schoolgirl who takes a sadistic delight in killing. Her fighting style is a combination of wushu techniques using chain whip and rope dart. She is O-Ren's top assassin and personal bodyguard. Gogo's disturbed mind and vicious penchant for killing is displayed when she offers herself to a drunken man in a bar and then disembowels him, asking him, "Do you still wish to penetrate me?... Or is it I who has penetrated you?"
Later on, she takes on Beatrix Kiddo when the latter has already slaughtered several of O-Ren Ishii's immediate guards at the House of Blue Leaves. Although the Bride gives her the opportunity to walk away, Gogo refuses and takes her on with a large meteor hammer, almost overcoming the Bride by strangling her savagely with the chain. Eventually Kiddo distracts Gogo by driving a broken chair leg studded with nails into her foot, then kills her by driving the nails into the side of her head.
B.B. (portrayed by Perla Haney-Jardine) is the four-year-old daughter of The Bride and Bill who was in utero during the massacre at the Two Pines chapel. Upon first coming out of her coma, The Bride believes her unborn child was killed in the attack and promises to avenge her death. The audience does not learn that she is alive until the last line of Vol. 1, and The Bride does not find out until the final act of Vol. 2. B.B. was named (probably in homage to her parents, Beatrix and Bill) and raised by Bill, who in Vol. 2 openly admitted to her the terrible crime he had committed against The Bride.
Buck (portrayed by Michael Bowen) is a male nurse at the hospital where The Bride laid comatose for four years. During this period, he regularly took sexual advantage of The Bride, raping her unconscious body and later also prostituting her to other male clients. After she first awakens, The Bride attacks Buck and interrogates him on the whereabouts of Bill. Suddenly, she begins recalling Buck's prior assaults on her (including his infamous line, "My name's Buck and I'm here to fuck!") and, in a fit of rage, slams his head with a door, killing him with an intracranial hemorrhage. The Bride then steals Buck's clothes and escapes from the hospital in his truck, the "Pussy Wagon" (censored to "Party Wagon" for network broadcast). She uses the truck during her scenes in the United States during Volume 1, but in Volume 2 says that it has broken down and she has thus acquired another vehicle.
Earl McGraw (portrayed by Michael Parks) is a Texas Ranger who investigates the murders at the wedding chapel, and the first person to realize that The Bride has managed to survive the attack. This is the second appearance of McGraw in a Tarantino film, as he had previously been a character in From Dusk till Dawn (in which he was killed by Tarantino himself starring as Richie Gecko); he would later appear in both features that make up Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse.
Esteban Vihaio (portrayed by Michael Parks) is an eighty-year-old Mexican pimp based in the border city of Ciudad Acuña who, as a friend of Bill and Budd's mother, was seen by Bill as a father figure. His prostitutes' illegitimate children are apparently recruited into an organized crime gang called the Acuña Boys, of which Esteban is the de facto leader. When The Bride visits him, he tells her of Bill's whereabouts, noting that it is what Bill would have wanted Esteban to do ("How else is he ever going to see you again?"). He also notes that if he were in Bill's situation when Bill had tracked the Bride down he says he would have only mutilated her face instead of trying to kill her—revealed as his apparent discipline of choice for his prostitutes.
Hattori Hanzō (portrayed by Sonny Chiba) is still the finest swordsmith in the world; however, he has not created a new sword in 28 years since taking a blood oath before God to never again make instruments of death. He became the owner of a sushi shop in Okinawa. The choice of Okinawa was deliberate, as the island is regarded as one of the worst places to get sushi, making a sushi shop there an excellent hiding place. Hanzō initially met the Bride when she was under the guise of an American tourist visiting Okinawa. Hanzō initially refused to make a sword for her, or even give her one he had previously made, but was convinced to make one for her after the Bride alluded that she wanted to kill his former student Bill. It is also alluded in the film that the mere mention of Bill's name was sufficient to make Hanzō violate his blood oath because Bill did something to make Hanzō truly furious with him (possibly because Bill chose to become a contract killer), and made the sword so Bill could be killed with it. According to Hanzō, it is the finest and sharpest sword he has ever made, and stated to The Bride "If, on your journey, should you encounter God, God will be cut." When the Bride tells Bill that she got him to make her a sword by giving him his name, Bill admits "that'd do it."
Quentin Tarantino stated in the supplementary material on the Kill Bill DVD that the character was named in tribute to Sonny Chiba's former role as Hattori Hanzō (the real-life historical 16th-century Iga Ninja) in Shadow Warriors (Kage no Gundan). The joke is that Chiba played multiple generations of the character: even when the character actually died, the next installment would shift to covering his descendant, also named "Hattori Hanzō" after his famous predecessor. The implication is that the "Hattori Hanzō" seen in Kill Bill is the current descendant of the Hanzō lineage in the present-day. Tarantino went so far as to call him Hattori Hanzō the XIV.
Chiba's own daughter, Japanese actress Juri Manase, also appears as a member of the Crazy 88.
Karen Kim (portrayed by Helen Kim) is an assassin sent to kill The Bride while she was still a Deadly Viper. She narrowly misses hitting The Bride with shotgun fire. Before the shootout can worsen, Karen is convinced to leave in peace when The Bride proves that she is pregnant, to which Karen says 'Congratulations', and then leaves.
Larry (portrayed by Larry Bishop) is the owner of the strip club, My Oh My Club, where Budd works as a bouncer. He is seen doing cocaine with one of the dancers before Budd strolls into work 20 minutes late. An argument ensues over the fact that "there is nobody there to bounce". He almost fires Budd but tells him to come back when he calls him.
Nikita "Nikki" Bell
Nikita "Nikki" Bell (portrayed by Ambrosia Kelley) is a young girl and the four-year-old daughter to Vernita Green and Dr. Lawrence Bell. She makes an appearance in Vol. 1 when she unknowingly interrupts a battle between her mother and The Bride in the living room. Vernita explains that the family dog made the mess, to conceal her past from Nikki. Nikki accidentally witnesses her mother's death at the hands of The Bride, who was unaware that Nikki was present until she turned around and saw her. The Bride tells her that her mother had it coming. However, with sympathy, the Bride tells Nikki if she still feels "raw" about it, she will be waiting for her in the future. Quentin Tarantino has commented that any potential Kill Bill sequel will focus on her revenge against the Bride.
"Pai Mei" redirects here. For the historical figure, see Bak Mei.
Pai Mei (Chinese: 白眉; pinyin: Bái Méi; literally White Eyebrow) was performed by veteran Chinese actor Gordon Liu (who previously played Johnny Mo in the Vol. 1). As depicted in the film, Pai Mei was a powerful, very old practitioner of the Bak Mei style of kung fu. Pai Mei was the former teacher and master of The Bride, Bill, and Elle, although it is unclear whether he instructed the other members of the DeVAS. Despite being a wise and knowledgeable White Lotus priest, he also was racist (specifically towards Caucasians), xenophobic (towards the Japanese and Americans), and a misogynist. He only agreed to take on The Bride as a student after having a very violent (offscreen) martials arts duel with Bill, who then adds that Pai Mei was a very, very old man whose advancing years had taught him the value of company, while not brightening up his angry disposition. In spite of being both a Caucasian American and a woman, Beatrix ultimately wins his approval for her perseverance under his torturous training regimen.
Pai Mei was alleged to be able to perform the lethal Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique. Bill describes the technique as the deadliest blow in all of martial arts. He adds that Pai Mei hits the victim with his finger tips at five different pressure points on the victim's body and then lets him/her walk away. But once the victim has taken five steps, the heart explodes inside the body and the victim dies.
Pai Mei claims that he teaches no one this manoeuvre. He ultimately makes an exception because he has given the Bride his sincere respect after the first stages of brutal training. He teaches the Bride this blow off-screen and the Bride, in turn, uses it to kill Bill.
Elle, Pai Mei's last student, is responsible for his death. During a training session, Elle insults Pai Mei by calling him a "miserable old fool". As punishment for her insolence, Pai Mei plucks out Elle's right eye, leading her to wear her signature eye patch. In retribution, Elle puts a deadly poison in fish heads that he subsequently eats, killing him.
In the first version of the script, Gordon Liu' character speaks Cantonese while Quentin Tarantino dubs his voice in English and it resulted in a bad dub job. This idea was ultimately discarded, and Mei's dialogue was left undubbed.
The organ player at the Two Pines chapel, Rufus is a former professional blues musician who died in the massacre. Rufus states that he has played with Rufus Thomas and numerous other well-known R&B acts: "I was a Drell. I was a Drifter. I was a Coaster. I was part of The Gang. I was a Bar-Kay... If they come through Texas, I done played with them." The character was portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, who had starred in two previous Tarantino films, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown; and starred in Django Unchained later on and performed the narration in two scenes in Inglourious Basterds.
Tommy Plympton (portrayed by Christopher Allen Nelson) is The Bride's fiancé who is murdered at Two Pines. He is the proprietor of a record shop and employed The Bride, who used the assumed name Arlene Machiavelli when she met him.
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