Every Quentin Tarantino Movie Ranked
Every Quentin Tarantino Movie Ranked: “So thank God for tape recorders, because in the old pen-and-paper days, this would be the act of a desperate man, trying to keep up with Quentin Tarantino, who talks like he’s being paid by the word and starts every sentence in the middle of the previous one.” wrote Roger Ebert after an interview with the young filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, whose new film, a certain Pulp Fiction, was about to receive a Palme d’Or within a few days.
Yes, he is an incessant talker, a man-child who has seen all the cinema in the world, and one who truly loves to bring back what made his favourite movies great in the first place. Quentin Tarantino is Pastiche personified. He claims he steals from every movie, but he is no plagiarist, he is just someone who loves movies way too much, so much that he revives cinematic styles because the art form must survive.
Quentin Tarantino, in his own way, mixes the most commonly known ingredients of film culture and prepares a truly original dish, every single time. As he has made it official that he will retire after making a perfect ten, we have ranked Tarantino’s nine films from the one we least liked to his best.
9. Death Proof | 2007
Death Proof takes the core of the exploitation films it so often references and makes of it a thing of its own, and yet nothing about it, except the aesthetics and the abundance of raw car action, is faithful to the generic formula of carsploitation flicks, which is to be expected of a Tarantino film. The plot revolves around Stuntman Mike, a bloodthirsty lunatic with a Death Proof car, constantly on the hunt for beautiful ladies to track down and crash and murder.
An exciting literal thrill ride, filled to the brim with exhilarating car action sequences, scorching hot scenes of ladies dancing, far too many shots of feet and classic rock tunes galore, with a unique visual style, unique even for a Tarantino film, which is saying something, and a light and fun tone that goes nicely with all the gory bloody action the film keeps pumping on and on.
8. Kill Bill: Vol. I and II | 2003, 2004
This brilliant duology opens with a scene of its main character, The Bride, getting shot in the head, followed immediately by Nancy Sinatra’s iconic tune, “My Baby Shot Me Down”. From that point on, it’s nothing but non-stop action.
A tale of roaring, rampaging revenge, with a few assassinations here and there, a one-woman army onslaught, ruthless kung-fu training, and more stimulating action than you could ever hope for. The plot revolves around the character of The Bride, an ex-assassin who is out for revenge against the members of her former clan and their leader, Bill, for having murdered her friends and fiancé.
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Quentin Tarantino delivers two marvelous pieces of cinematic genius here, with a distinctive visual style, random switches to black and white for minutes at end, an original and strange set of characters, each with their own little quirks, a lively and bouncy score, ranging from classic 50s rock to Spanish acoustic guitar solos, and a satisfying ending to top it all off.
7. The Hateful Eight | 2015
The screen’s a stage and all men and women are merely players. Or to put it more accurately – Tarantino’s players. Strangely enough, he develops full-blown characters, each with a sense of the world and off course, a sense of greed. Moreover, he makes sure that his players each have an entrance and an exit so that they ring true to the Shakesperean phrase.
Probably Tarantino’s most bleak and self-indulgent film to date, The Hateful Eight feels more staged than most of the director’s work and thankfully it works wonders. Expertly written and wonderfully acted, the film ultimately stretches its B-movie aesthetics with exhilarating moments of absolute claustrophobia.
6. Jackie Brown | 1997
Jackie Brown doesn’t feel like a Tarantino movie, even though it has all the usual elements like foot fetish, Samuel L Jackson saying “nigger”, and people pulling triggers rather impulsively. It’s the least stylized Tarantino movie. There are no over the top characters or long conversations on trivial things. Instead, we have an ordinary 40-year-old black woman going against a mean-ass motherfucker.
Jackie Brown is the most grounded character Tarantino has written. The composure with which she handles the life-and-death situation, is astounding. The film stands out because it’s about normal people who are just tired of this world. They’ve had it enough. They just want to get out of their shitty lives, and they’ll do anything for it.
Samuel L Jackson as Ordel is terrifying. Every time he’s in the frame, you know someone is going to die. It’s a great performance that SLJ delivers with ease, ‘cause for that motherfucker, it’s just another Tuesday. Jackie Brown proves that there is a room for silence and sadness in a Tarantino movie.
5. Once Upon A Time in Hollywood | 2019
The ninth film from Quentin Tarantino is his weirdest and most fascinating. He’s picked a combination of the most mainstream stars to make his most indulgent and niche film yet! I have seen this film twice now on opening weekend and am still taking it all in. This isn’t a movie with much of a plot, it’s more of a “hang out with these characters & experience a few days in their lives” experience. Thank God, the actual characters are well written and gripping, with dynamic presence, as is the wonderful setting of 1969 Hollywood that’s fully realized.
It’s a cliché to say that you’re transported to a time and place, but that’s exactly what happens. So much so that I found myself reading up on Hollywood in the 60s after. Leonardo DiCaprio is back after his Oscar win in a surprising and touching performance that was totally worth the wait. Be prepared to see him in a manner you haven’t before and he nails it, as is to be expected. Brad Pitt is oozing charisma in every frame he’s in and reminds you of why he’s one of the biggest stars of the last couple of decades. While I expected to love Leo, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Brad’s performance. Margot Robie has the required impact in her part, and the film is speckled with pleasant cameos from other notable actors.
This film has multiple memorable scenes that’ll stay with me for a long time. It’s a drama with a healthy dose of well-earned laughs and some typical QT style action. The film is a complete sensory experience, and the sights and sounds of 1969 Los Angeles are wonderfully captured. Whether you love or hate this film (I see it is among his most divisive), it’ll certainly be a unique experience. I loved simply spending time with these characters in this time and place, and it didn’t bother me that the film wasn’t typically structured or had any semblance of a coherent story/plot with forward momentum. Shots linger, conversations drag on and there’s much joy to be found in the smaller details.
4. Reservoir Dogs | 1992
Have you ever emptied the bottles of highly viscous acrylic colours into a single barrel to witness their battle for dominance of shade? They don’t know each other, their conflict remains in their effort to paint the barrel with themselves and they intermingle with each other’s existence. Such are the characters sketched by the master Quentin Tarantino in his debut film, which went on to become a cult classic in independent cinema. In a heist gone haywire, the remaining colours face two vital questions on which their future stands:
1. Who’s the rat?
2. How to get medical assistance for their partner?
The events lead to a Mexican standoff as the bosses arrive, leaving only two colours alive, barely on their feet. The substance of this mystery drama lies in its style, successfully laying the foundations for Tarantino’s niche. The colours in the warehouse are distanced from the truth, stabbed by their ignorance and left dysfunctional with their innocence. None of them has a coherent line of thought, which makes for an interesting plot.
In this story of seemingly harmless conversations, belief and betrayal, anger and struggles, torture and violence, and a set of pop culture references, the colours remain vulnerable throughout their presence on the screen. They have a hope of things falling into place. But that doesn’t come without its fair share of insecurities. They aren’t provided with a level play field, for each of them has ascribed his loyalty to his own cause. And when you don’t think straight, you can’t walk straight or when you can’t walk straight, you can’t think straight. Reservoir Dogs is a dish of engaging dialogues and unpredictable plot twists, best served cold.
3. Django Unchained | 2012
Quentin Tarantino has always been notorious for the wildly entertaining elements, filled with enough drama to keep us hooked. Django Unchained is one of the shining examples of how all of his creative genius, whether borrowed or original, isn’t without its share of fascinating themes related to human nature.
There are enough bloodbaths and graphic imageries here to make our blood boil with rage; not just for its sheer existence, but for how vital it is to the narrative and his method of narration. Even when his antics get a little immature to provoke the viewer, they fuse just perfectly with the vision he has. And as aforementioned, the themes of revenge, redemption and freedom, are tied concisely within the narrative, which decides the resulting character arcs. With that, Tarantino infuses his usual antics with outrageously hilarious dialogues fuelled by just as effective delivery.
His characters speak his tongue and get us intrigued with every repeated dialogue. Since the story is based in the western terrains, the usage of different accents adds another flavour to his recipe, which is already filled with highly energetic and moody music tracks. Django’s journey works more as a symbol of how the mentality of being in the chains needs to be lifted, to seek freedom. Perhaps only then one shall be free.
2. Inglourious Basterds | 2009
I was 17 when I first watched Inglorious Basterds. It’s the film I lost my Tarantino virginity to. It was during my journey of becoming a “film buff” and checking off must watch films and directors. The idea of a two-and-a-half-hour-long wartime drama that was heavily subtitled wasn’t appealing at the time but somehow, based on the reviews and cast, I mustered the courage to do it. I fell in love with this film instantly and my liking for it has only grown over time. That first scene is magnificent, yes, and 17-year-old me had simply never seen anything like it. It was my introduction to all the Tarantino tropes.
I was so thoroughly engrossed and invested, it truly felt like the film flew by. It’s a technical marvel, wonderfully written and masterfully acted. And how can one write about this film without mentioning what it gifted us through Christoph Waltz? Despite later catching up on most of QT’s films, many of which are great, nothing could recapture the rush of experiencing his magic for the first time through this one. Bring it on, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood!
1. Pulp Fiction | 1994
It shouldn’t be a surprise for the fans to guess what tops the list of Quentin Tarantino films, ranked. His 2nd film Pulp Fiction changed everything. It marked the beginning of Tarantino-esque in the truest sense. It has put QT on the map as an important American filmmaker. So, what is Pulp Fiction about? It sure is tough to describe Pulp Fiction. It is also unfair to do so. As the opening note of the film defines ‘Pulp’, the film is indeed a shapeless mass of matter and it must be consumed as one.
How much do dialogues weigh in when you are judging a movie? Pulp Fiction is a film driven by dialogues and incessant talking. There are not just great scenes which also happen to have amazing dialogues, these are scenes created so that the people in it can talk about things irrelevant to what the scene is leading to.
It’s a talkative movie by the most talkative film director. When Jules and Vincent are driving to Brett’s to get the briefcase, the conversation about the metric system and the mayonnaise on fries is the driving force of the scene. It doesn’t have anything to do with the violence that follows, but it is subtly part of the dialogues which happens in the middle of the violence. Tarantino gets his hitmen to talk about normal things such as the foot massage or how American food joints function outside of America. It is a great character introduction in itself and has a backstory to it without giving any details. Pulp Fiction is a masterclass in screenwriting, that breaks some obvious rules to create new important ones.