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Who wants to send a message to Germany?
~ Fredrick's final line in "Nation's Pride".
It's nice to know you can feel something. Even if it's just physical pain. I'm not a man you say, "go away" to. There's over three hundred dead bodies in Italy, that if they could, would testify to that! After all I've done to you... you disrespect me at your peril!
~ Frederick snapping, revealing his true colors.
Fredrick Zoller is the secondary antagonist of the 2009 Quentin Tarantino film Inglourious Basterds. He was a former soldier, considered a war hero by the Nazi party after killing 250 soldiers of the allies over the span of three days. A huge movie buff, he works together with the minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbels to turn his real life story into a feature film. When he meets a young woman who owns a theater named Emmanuelle Mimieux, he immediately becomes infatuated with her. Little does he know, her name is actually Shosanna, and she is seeking vengeance for the slaughter of her Jewish family. His crush on her, and the premiere of his film, play a crucial part in the main plot of the film.
Contradictory to his status as a Nazi and a sniper who killed a few hundred American soldiers within three days, Fredrick is a surprisingly meek and gentle individual. He showed Shoshanna extreme kindness and respect throughout the whole film, despite her very dismissive and hostile attitude towards Fredrick. However, it was also apparent that Zoller was an entitled person, believing Shoshanna would be instantly grateful for his services, and not being able to entertain even for a second why she would not want to be with him. Indeed, it seemed his fame rose to his head, as even though he claimed he was to an extent put off by his murderous actions in war, he still used them to maintain why he could not be 'said no to', revealing he himself subscribed to the heroic image Goebbels had painted of him.
Shosanna first runs into Fredrick outside of her theater at night. She is immediately put off by his flirting (due to that fact that he is a German soldier), but it is mostly harmless in the end. Fredrick appears to be a huge movie buff, but it isn't enough to impress Shosanna.
The next day, she runs into him again while she is eating in a bistro. Fredrick tells her about his famous achievements in the war, while she uncomfortably listens. Fredrick reveals he's killed hundreds of people, and hence, he is considered a war hero. This causes Shosanna to ditch him angrily. Fredrick is left behind, confused by her sudden change of mood. This is not enough to discourage him, however.
Shosanna is eventually taken by him to meet with high ranking Nazi officials, and after some persuading, convinces them to premier the propaganda film about his war exploits "Nation's Pride", at her theater. Using these series of coincidences to her advantage, Shosanna plots to blow her theater up, and take all of the top Nazi officials out. At the premier, Fredrick is blissfully unaware of Shosanna's plan as he watches his feature film.
Near the end of the film, he gets up to visit her, interrupting her plan. He claims he isn't fond of the killing, and that he would rather "annoy" her. Shosanna tries to get him to leave, but Fredrick forces his way inside. Fredrick threatens her and asserts his dominance by saying he, because of his status, is a person you can't say no to. With nothing else to do to prevent Fredrick from doing anything worse (such as forcing himself upon her), Shosanna convinces him that she wants to sleep with him, but instead reaches into her purse, pulls out a gun, and shoots Fredrick. Feeling a bit of remorse, she approaches his body, but Fredrick is not deceased yet, and he shoots her in return. Shosanna's body falls over next to his, and they both die. Because of him, Shosanna never had the chance to avenge her family by killing Hans Landa.
Well, that's just what Joseph Goebbels thought. So he did. It's called "Nation's Pride", and guess what, they wanted me to play myself, so I did. They have posters for it in kiosks all over Paris. That's another reason for all the attention.
~ Fredrick talking about his movie, hinting at his unhealthily proud nature.
I thought I'd come up here and do what I do best... annoy you. And from the look on your face, it would appear I haven't lost my touch.
Despite being a Nazi, Zoller is arguably Tarantino's most sympathetic villain. Throughout the film he is mostly harmless, and genuinely friendly. Although he is a Nazi war hero, he is caught up in the nationalist rhetoric, feels like he genuinely helped his country, and seems no more villainous than most "war heroes". It is not until the end when he ends up interfering Shosanna's plans, that he finally becomes a real threat. Even then, he does not hurt Shosanna until she shoots him first. However, every aspect of his character, and how genuine his kindness is, is up to interpretation: also making him Tarantino's most morally ambiguous villain.
His film "Nation's Pride" was not entirely filmed, but all of the clips seen in the film were directed by Eli Roth, who also plays Donny Donowitz in the film.