Quentin Tarantino: The Unmissable Guide

In honour of his latest release, we bring you the ultimate guide to Quentin Tarantino’s eight movies to date – and the one about to come: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, in ODEON cinemas 14 August.



Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019)

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is undoubtedly one of Tarantino's best. Part thriller, part comedy, part drama, part tragedy, his ninth outing is an ode to Hollywood's Golden Age, spliced with the rapid-fire dialogue and compelling characters the director is so famed for.

Set in 1969 Los Angeles, at a time when the Manson Family was making its presence felt, the plot weaves together multiple storylines including that of Margot Robbie’s actress/model Sharon Tate, and Leo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton, a fading TV actor looking to make a comeback through movies.

Handled with surprising sensitivity, this is another triumph for Quentin Tarantino and, like his prior movies you can read more about below, simply not to be missed!

Fast fact: Quentin’s latest received a whopping six-minute standing ovation when it premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. 

 

 

Content Alert! Quentin Tarantino is not known to be the most family-friendly director, so please be aware that some of the best scenes picked on this page can contain strong language and images!  

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Reservoir Dogs

Tarantino’s debut feature is an oft-imitated masterpiece about a jewellery heist gone horribly, violently wrong. If you made it through the ‘ear scene’, you’ll know that these Dogs bite as well as bark.

Best scene: Back at the hideout, as the thieves squabble over the bungled bank heist, the camera pulls back to reveal loose cannon Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen), watching unseen and sharklike, sucking on a soda, radiating silent menace. It’s a true temperature-drop moment that eclipses the infamous ear-slicing scene.

Memorable quote: “I don’t wanna kill anybody. But if I gotta get out that door, and you’re standing in my way, one way or the other, you’re gettin’ outta my way!”

Fast fact: Tarantino shot Reservoir Dogs in just 35 days. 


Pulp Fiction (1994)

John Travolta and Samuel L.Jackson

Told out of order, Pulp Fiction skilfully blends countless compelling plot threads into an overarching storyline that’s so cool, it’s painful (and quotable as heck). Quite simply, it’s the greatest B-movie ever made.

Best scene:  Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) is the wife of a gangster but far from the submissive wallflower stereotype of that role, she is strong, smart, unafraid and outspoken. Her ‘date’ with Vincent (John Travolta) is set up by her husband, and what a memorable evening it is, memorable for many reasons, five dollar shakes, a dance contest, an overdose, and Mia’s unflinching wisdom. 

Memorable quote: “You read the Bible, Brett?” 

Fast fact: The f-word is used a whopping 265 times.


Jackie Brown (1997)

Jackie Bronw's cast

This slick-and-sly crime thriller sees former blaxploitation queen Pam Grier playing the Jackie Brown of the title, a flight attendant who tops up her pitiful income by smuggling cash for gun runner Sam Jackson (a QT fave). More restrained than his first two movies but no less entertaining, this is the film that proved Tarantino was here to stay. 

Best scene: In a half-lit motel room, Samuel L. Jackson’s gun-runner tries to find out how much Pam Grier’s flight attendant has spilled to the authorities. Then, in a classic QT turnaround, Brown cocks a gun at her aggressor’s groin and the dynamic shifts as she starts setting the terms.

Memorable quote: “My ass may be dumb but I ain’t no dumbass!”

Fast fact: Jackie Brown is a loose adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch, one of the few QT films not based on original material.


Kill Bill Vol.1 & Vol.2 (2003/2004)

Uma Thurman

Tarantino’s fourth film gave us two for the price of one, with Kill Bill’s hefty running time seeing it divided into volumes, released one year apart. The karate-kicking plot can be boiled down to this: you don’t mess with Uma Thurman! 

Best scene Kill Bill Vol 1: The tear-up between Uma Thurman’s Bride and the Crazy 88 yakuza gang is hardly subtle, but Tarantino’s virtuoso control of the ultra-violence still takes the breath away. Even in black-and-white – a change demanded by squeamish US censors – it’s probably modern cinema’s most claret-soaked scene.

Best scene Kill Bill Vol. 2: No film-maker has so vividly captured the sobbing, panting terror of being nailed into a coffin and feeling the dirt rain down on the lid.

Memorable quote:  Bill's thoughts about Superman...Watch below!

Fast fact: The Bride’s yellow jumpsuit is a homage to martial arts master Bruce Lee.

Death Proof (2007)

Kurt Russell

Ask a fan to list QT’s films and this is the one they’ll likely debate most. But that only serves to prove how strong the director’s work is, as Death Proof is actually a cracking serial-killer-thriller with Kurt Russell manically magnificent.

Best scene: We didn’t feel a flicker of pity for Kurt Russell’s monstrous Mike McKay as his latest would-be female victims turn the tables. As the ex-Hollywood stuntman sits nursing a bullet wound with whisky, the trio rear-end his hot-rod, ram him off the road and literally punch him to death. It’s the roughest of justice.

Memorable quote: “Fair lady, your chariot awaits!”

Fast fact: The film was physically scratched to achieve its ‘dirty’ look.


Inglorious Basterds (2009)

Brad Pitt

In this rip-roaring WW2 drama – which takes its name from the 1978 Italian film, The Inglorious Bastards – Tarantino runs through his entire box of tricks. Interwoven narratives. A plan going bad. A film-within-a-film. Epic dialogues. Female feet. Check, check, check and check again!

Best scene: Tarantino’s mastery of quiet dread was underlined by this opener from the director’s WWII epic. As SS colonel Hans Landa, Christoph Waltz is the definition of a smiling assassin, sipping a glass of milk and explaining his extermination tactics, while a family of Jews cowers beneath the floorboards.

Memorable quote: “You probably heard we ain’t in the prisoner-takin’ business: we in the killin’ Nazi business. And cousin, business is booming.”

Fast fact: Christoph Waltz won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Col. Hans Landa. He would win the same award again in 2013 for another Quentin Tarantino movie: Django Unchained, and he's the only actor in any Tarantino's film who has ever won an Oscar.


Django Unchained (2012)

Jamie Foxx, Leonardo Di Caprio and Christoph Waltz

Equal parts funny and violent, Tarantino’s take on the Western genre follows Jamie Foxx’s freed slave as he attempts to locate his missing wife, with help from Christoph Waltz’s German bounty hunter. Benefitting from Leo DiCaprio playing very much against type, for many this is the director’s finest work since Pulp Fiction.

Best scene: In a desperate attempt to save his wife from Leo DiCaprio’s psychotic plantation owner, Django finds himself in a nightmarish bidding war. The scene hinges on DiCaprio’s career-best performance, so impassioned that he didn’t even stop filming after cutting his hand for real.

Memorable quote: “I like the way you die boy!”

Fast fact: Quentin Tarantino originally offered Will Smith the role of Django. 


The Hateful Eight (2015)

Hateful Eight poster

Known for being an actor’s director, Tarantino has never had any trouble securing the services of big-name stars. Frozen thriller The Hateful Eight is case in point with a smorgasbord of talent on display. 

Best scene: Tarantino’s Spaghetti Western transforms into an Agatha Christie whodunnit, as a mystery hand pours a vial of poison into the coffee pot. A horrible slow-burn scene ensues, before Kurt Russell’s bounty hunter vomits a flume of blood over the table. 

Memorable quote: “Let’s slow it down. Let’s slow it way down!”

Fast fact: QT almost pulled the plug on the film after a complete script was leaked online. 

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