Tarantino’s debut begins at a diner, with the director himself (playing Mr Brown) leading an endlessly quotable scene where the multicolour-monikered crew riff on the meaning of Madonna lyrics and tipping etiquette.
QT’s script leaves us hanging on every word Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr White (Harvey Keitel) et al exchange, and we barely realise nearly ten minutes have passed...
Until the screen cuts to black and our crew cross a car park in ultra-stylised slo-mo to K Billy’s Super Sounds Of The 70s.
The suited and booted slo-mo walk soundtracked by ‘Little Green Bag’ was and still is the epitome of cool.
But now when we watch the crooks head off to a heist that goes haywire, we remember this as the start of Tarantino’s assault on the expectations of mainstream cinema - non-linear storytelling, insatiable dialogue and shamelessly graphic content brimming with style.
Praised as one of the greatest debut films, Reservoir Dogs was shot in a mere 35 days!
Spaghetti Western meets martial arts epic (and countless genres in between) in QT’s two-volume masterpiece, Kill Bill Vol. 1 & Vol.2.
About as far removed as you could get from his first three films, this genre-bending, roaring rampage of revenge takes us with Beatrix Kiddo, a.k.a The Bride (Uma Thurman), on a colossal quest for payback against her former cohort: the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.
None more colossal than the climactic Showdown At The House Of Blue Leaves, where she battles O Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) and her Yakuza mob, the Crazy 88.
Drawing from his love of Kung Fu movies and Hong Kong action cinema, QT constructs a gloriously kinetic battle sequence that shuns CGI and douses the screen in technicolor action.
Just don’t forget to breathe...
QT pays self-confessed tribute to the unfinished Bruce Lee classic, Game Of Death. Not just in The Bride’s iconic black and yellow racing stripe jumpsuit, but through the look, feel and structure of the battle scene.
Deprived of the usefully multilingual members of his Nazi-nixing squadron, Aldo Raine (played to deadpan perfection by Brad Pitt) and associates riskily infiltrate the climactic German film premiere as Italian chaperones to Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger).
Problem is, they’re armed with a less-than-amateur grasp on the Italian language.
That spells trouble when they encounter the chilling and charming polyglot, SS Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), whose awareness of the facade is all-too-obvious.
Stealing the show (and bagging a Best Supporting Actor Oscar), Waltz quite literally waltzed away to huge acclaim for giving us a villain for the ages - a spine-chilling but equally charming Nazi who terrifies even while silently eating strudel...
Tarantino was actually close to abandoning Inglourious Basterds, out of fear that the role of Landa was ‘unplayable’.
All that changed with the audition of Waltz - the rest, as they say, is history.
If off-kilter narratives and attention-demanding dialogue are two parts of the Quentin Tarantino playbook, an expertly-curated soundtrack is another - and if there’s an ultimate example of this, it has to be Pulp Fiction.
As we watch these stories from the Los Angeles underworld interweave - featuring evangelical hitman Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson), and prizefighter Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) - they are punctuated with iconic musical moments.
None more iconic than when contract killer Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and mobster’s moll Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) shake a tail feather to Chuck Berry’s ‘You Never Can Tell’.
QT crowbars his love of surf-pop, rock’n’roll and soul from the 60s and 70s into his early films, despite the modern-day settings.
When Vincent and Mia twist and shout at Jack Rabbit Slim’s, we could be forgiven for thinking we’d been transported to the 50s, instead of a seedy 90s Los Angeles.
And it’s that blur between modern and more innocent times that makes his films feel ageless.
Vincent Vega is the alleged brother of Reservoir Dogs’ torturer, Vic Vega, a.k.a. Mr Blonde.
When it comes to villains and making his audiences feel their malice, Tarantino isn’t one to cut corners. Whether it’s the ear-slicing sequence from Reservoir Dogs, or the buried alive scene from Kill Bill Vol. 2, the message truly gets across.
The climax of Django Unchained sees Django (Jamie Foxx) and associate Dr Schulz (Christoph Waltz) trying to outwit slave owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo Dicaprio) into liberating his wife.
Truth is, Candie is silently wise to the scheme, but still ekes out every single second of a slow-burning, menacing monologue. He ratchets up the intimidation before exploding with rage at the conspirators - and an unfortunate brandy glass...
In the infamously improvised rage, Dicaprio severed his hand on the glass but kept sternly in character; to the concern of the crew but to the delight of the director.
Waltz won another Best Supporting Actor Oscar and remained the only Tarantino performer to earn an acting accolade from the Academy until Brad Pitt triumphed for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood this year.
In your wildest dreams, could you ever imagine Brad Pitt taking on Bruce Lee in not-so-friendly hand-to-hand combat onscreen?
You don’t have to… Quentin Tarantino did it for us in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
In a wistful flashback, down-on-his-luck stuntman Cliff Booth scores a long-overdue job on set. but it all goes pear-shaped when he rubs up the master of martial arts (played by Mike Moh) in the wrong way and is challenged to a duel.
Can the downtrodden Cliff come out unscathed?
Bruce Lee vs. Brad Pitt…
Need we say more?
Ever the provocateur, Tarantino landed himself in hot water with the family of Bruce Lee over the scene. They took serious issue with the arrogant and confrontational portrayal of the kung fu king and kicked back at QT in the press. And the press duly sat back as the director and family fired shots back-and-forth.
The lesson? If you come out fighting at the outspoken Quentin Tarantino, expect it to go beyond 12 rounds...