Quentin Tarantino Biography

Quentin Tarantino Biography on Monsters and Critics


"Quentin Jerome Tarantino" (born March 27, 1963) is a Palme d'Or-winning American film director, actor, and an Oscar winning screenwriter. He rose to fame in the early 1990s as an auteur indie filmmaker whose films used postmodern nonlinear storylines, and stylized violence interwoven with often-obscure cinematic references. His films include "Reservoir Dogs" (1992), " Pulp Fiction" (1994), "Jackie Brown" (1997), "Kill Bill" (Vol. 1 2003, Vol. 2 2004) and " Death Proof" featured in " Grindhouse" (2007).


Early life

Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of Connie (née McHugh), a nurse and health care executive who worked for a home medical organization, and Tony Tarantino, an actor and amateur musician. Tarantino's father is Italian American and his mother had part Cherokee Native American ancestry. Shortly after Quentin's birth, his mother married musician Curt Zastoupil, with whom Quentin would form a strong bond. In 1971, the family moved to El Segundo, in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, where Tarantino attended Hawthorne Christian School. At the age of 14, he wrote his first script, "The Amazing Adventures of Mr. Lee". Dropping out of Narbonne High School in Harbor City, California at the age of sixteen, he went on to learn acting at the James Best Theatre Company. This proved to be influential in his movie-making career.

Film career

Tarantino's screenplay "True Romance" was optioned and eventually released in 1993. After Tarantino met Lawrence Bender at a Hollywood party, Bender encouraged Tarantino to write a film. The end product was "Reservoir Dogs" (1992), a dialogue-driven heist movie that set the tone for his later films. Tarantino wrote the script in three and a half weeks and Bender forwarded it to director Monte Hellman. Hellman helped Tarantino to secure funding from Richard Gladstein at Live Entertainment (which later became Artisan). Harvey Keitel read the script and also contributed to funding, took a co-producer role, and a part in the movie.

The second script that Tarantino sold was "Natural Born Killers". Director Oliver Stone made a number of changes that Tarantino disagreed with. As a result, Tarantino disowned the script. Following the success of "Reservoir Dogs", Tarantino was approached by Hollywood and offered numerous projects, including "Speed" and "Men in Black". He instead retreated to Amsterdam to work on his script for "Pulp Fiction", which won the "Palme d'Or" (Golden Palm) at the 1994 Cannes film festival.

The success of "Pulp Fiction" also helped to revive the career of John Travolta. "Pulp Fiction" earned Tarantino and Roger Avary Oscars for Best Original Screenplay, and was also nominated for Best Picture.

After "Pulp Fiction" he directed episode four of "Four Rooms", 'The Man from Hollywood', a tribute to an "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" episode that starred Steve McQueen. "Four Rooms" is a collaborative effort with filmmakers Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, and Robert Rodriguez. The film was very poorly received by critics and audiences. He also starred in and wrote the script for Robert Rodriguez's "From Dusk Till Dawn", which saw mixed reviews from the critics yet led to two sequels, for which Tarantino and Rodriguez would only serve as executive producers.

Tarantino's next film was "Jackie Brown" (1997), an adaptation of "Rum Punch", a novel by his mentor Elmore Leonard. A homage to blaxploitation films, it also starred Pam Grier, who starred in many of that genre's films of the 1970s. In 1998, he turned his attention to the Broadway stage, where he starred in a revival of "Wait Until Dark".

He had then planned to make the war film "Inglorious Bastards". However, he postponed that to write and direct "Kill Bill" (released as two films, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), a highly stylized 'revenge flick' in the cinematic traditions of "Wuxia" (Chinese martial arts), "Jidaigeki" (Japanese period cinema), Spaghetti Westerns and Italian horror or giallo. It was based on a character (The Bride) and a plot that he and "Kill Bill's" lead actress, Uma Thurman, had developed during the making of "Pulp Fiction".

In 2004, Tarantino returned to Cannes where he served as President of the Jury. "Kill Bill" was not in competition, but it did screen on the final night in its original 3-hour-plus version. The Palme d'Or that year went to Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11".

Tarantino is given credit as 'Special Guest Director' for his work directing the car sequence between Clive Owen and Benicio del Toro of the 2005 neo-noir film "Sin City". In 2005, Tarantino announced his next project would be "Grindhouse", which he co-directed with Robert Rodriguez.

Released in theaters on April 6, 2007, Tarantino's contribution to the "Grindhouse" project was titled "Death Proof". It began as a take on 1970s slasher films, but evolved dramatically as the project unfolded. Ticket sales performed significantly below box office analysts' expectations despite mostly positive critic reviews.

He has stated his next film will 'probably' be "Inglorious Bastards", which is a World War II film, but that he needed to spend another year working on the script before filming. Reportedly, one of the scripts he wrote for "Inglorious Bastards" would, if filmed complete, make for an 8 hour long film. Also, Quentin has divulged information about possible anime prequels to the "Kill Bill" films. These would probably center around the DiVAS, Bill or The Bride before the events of the first two films. In a recent interview with "The Telegraph" he mentioned an idea for a form of spaghetti western set in America's Deep South which he calls 'a southern.' Stating that he wanted 'to do movies that deal with America's horrible past with slavery and stuff but do them like spaghetti westerns, not like big issue movies. I want to do them like they're genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it's ashamed of it, and other countries don't really deal with because they don't feel they have the right to'.

There have also been rumors of a film about two characters from "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction", Vic and Vincent Vega. This would be "The Vega Brothers" but this has only been hinted at, along with April Fools rumors posted on the internet about "Pulp Fiction 2: The Valley Of Darkness". In 2007 he claimed that the Vega Brothers project (which he intended to call "Double V Vega") is 'kind of unlikely now.'

Among his current producing credits are the horror flick "Hostel" (which included numerous references to his own "Pulp Fiction"), the adaptation of Elmore Leonard's "Killshot" (which Tarantino had once written a script for) and "Hell Ride" (written & directed by "Kill Bill" star Larry Bishop). In 2005 Quentin Tarantino won the Icon of the Decade award at the Sony Ericsson Empire Awards.

On August 15, 2007, Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo congratulated Tarantino after handing over to him a lifetime achievement award at the Malacañang Palace in Manila. Tarantino was forced to take a pedicab to the palace after a flood-induced traffic jam caused by Typhoon Sepat trapped his limousine on streets of the country's capital, Manila.


Tarantino directed the fifth season finale to the hit show "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation", which first aired May 19, 2005. The highly rated episode, entitled 'Grave Danger', shared a very similar situation from Tarantino's second "Kill Bill" film: CSI Nick Stokes is captured and buried alive in a Plexiglas coffin while an Internet camera broadcasts the whole thing to CSI headquarters. (In "Kill Bill V.2", the Bride was also captured and buried alive in a coffin.)

The episode was delayed in being shown in the UK as the broadcast date coincided with the terrorist attacks in London and it was felt that the underground theme in the episode would cause offense. This double-length episode was released on DVD on October 10, 2005. Tarantino was nominated for an Emmy for his role in this episode.

Tarantino also directed an episode of "ER" called 'Motherhood' that aired May 11, 1995, an episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live", and an episode of then-girlfriend Margaret Cho's show. Tarantino was also featured as a guest judge on the televised singing competition "American Idol" for one episode during its third season. His reputation for creating memorable movie soundtracks was cited as qualifying him for the role.

Tarantino also directed the season 20 (1994-1995 season) episode of the NBC sketch show "Saturday Night Live" hosted by John Travolta (musical guest: Seal), which featured a sketch called 'Quentin Tarantino's "Welcome Back, Kotter" a hybrid of the 1970s sitcom, 'Welcome Back, Kotter' (which starred John Travolta) and Tarantino's film Reservoir Dogs and hosted an episode of SNL in season 21 (1995-1996 season) with musical guest, The Smashing Pumpkins.

Tarantino was originally slated to direct an episode of the X-Files, but was prevented from doing so by the Directors Guild of America. The episode, titled 'Never Again,' features Scully heading to Philadelphia (with Mulder on vacation) to talk to a man who claims his tattoo is talking to him. The episode was written specifically for Tarantino to direct. As a result, both the tone and character dynamic stand out as being slightly out of step with the series. The DGA contended that Tarantino (who is not a member) failed to compensate the union for lost revenue as a result of his directorial work on ER.


Although Tarantino is best known for his work behind the camera, he starred in his own movies "Reservoir Dogs", "Pulp Fiction" and "Death Proof" as minor characters, and co-starred alongside George Clooney in "From Dusk Till Dawn". He has also appeared on the small screen in the first and third seasons of the TV show "Alias". Tarantino once played an Elvis impersonator on an episode of "The Golden Girls" (as a non-speaking extra. He can, in fact, barely be seen). He also played cameo roles in "Desperado" (directed by his friend, Robert Rodriguez), and "Little Nicky". In November 2006, an episode of the Sundance Channel's Iconoclasts features Quentin Tarantino interviewing and spending time with singer Fiona Apple. Tarantino also has a brief appearance in the beginning of Spike Lee's film Girl 6. In April 2007, Tarantino has substantial screen-time in "Grindhouse"s double-features, "Death Proof" and "Planet Terror", where he respectively takes on the roles of Warren, a bartender, and The Rapist, an infected member of a rogue military unit. He also starred as Johnny Destiny in the film Destiny Turns on the Radio.



Tarantino's movies are renowned for their sharp dialogue, splintered chronology, and pop culture obsessions. His films have copious amounts of both spattered and flowing blood that are graphically violent in an aestheticized sense. His depictions of violence have also been noted for their casualness and macabre humour, as well as for the tension and grittiness of these scenes.


In the 2002 "Sight and Sound" Directors' poll, Tarantino revealed his top-twelve films: "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", "Rio Bravo", "Taxi Driver", "His Girl Friday", "Rolling Thunder", "They All Laughed", "The Great Escape", "Carrie", "Coffy", "Dazed and Confused", "Five Fingers of Death", and "Hi Diddle Diddle". A previous top-ten list also included "Blow Out", "One-Eyed Jacks", "For a Few Dollars More", "Bande à part", "Breathless" (the 1983 remake), "Le Doulos", "They Live By Night", "GoodFellas" and "The Long Goodbye".

Tarantino also credits Martin Scorsese's "Mean Streets", Stanley Kubrick's "The Killing", and George A. Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" as strong influences. He is also a huge fan of the Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku, whose influence can be found in "Kill Bill". He owns a rare 35 mm copy of "Manos: The Hands of Fate", which he cites as his favorite 'comedy.' He is known as a Godzilla fan. He has also been a supporter of Kevin Smith's work, being that Smith hit success with "Clerks." around the time Tarantino released "Pulp Fiction". Tarantino also cited Smith's "Chasing Amy" as his favorite movie of 1997. In one of the Train Wreck making-of shorts for Smith's "Clerks II", we see that he invited Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez to a private screening of the film at the View Askew offices.

In August 2007, while teaching a four-hour film course during the 9th Cinemanila International Film Festival in Manila, Tarantino cited Filipino directors Cirio Santiago, Eddie Romero, and Gerry de Leon as icons of his in the 1970s.

He could hardly contain himself from raving over De Leon's 'soul-shattering, life-extinguishing' movies on vampires and female bondage, particularly 'Women in Cages.'

'It is just harsh, harsh, harsh,' he said, and described the final shot as one of 'devastating despair.'

He has been quoted as saying that "Rio Bravo" is his favorite movie. He said 'When I'm getting serious with a girl, I show her Rio Bravo, and if she doesn't like it, it's over.'


Tarantino often makes references to and features music from cult movies and television. He often features a character singing along to a song from the soundtrack: Mr. Blonde, 'Stuck in the Middle With You' - Stealers Wheel; Butch, 'Flowers on the Wall' - The Statler Brothers; Mia Wallace, 'Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon' - Urge Overkill; Elle Driver, 'Twisted Nerve' - Bernard Herrmann; Max Cherry, 'Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)' - The Delfonics; Jackie Brown, 'Across 110th Street' - Bobby Womack; Butterfly, 'Down In Mexico' - The Coasters; Jungle Julia and her friends, 'Hold Tight' - Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich.

He often incorporates a scene in which music is heard to fade out completely before fading back in again (Diegetic music):

"Reservoir Dogs" (the ear scene) - Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen) walks to his car, then back inside (Stuck in the Middle With You - Stealers Wheel)

"Pulp Fiction" (the gimp scene) - Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) escapes upstairs and then returns with a katana (Comanche - The Revels)

"Jackie Brown" (Beaumont Livingston's death) - Beaumont Livingston (Chris Tucker) is in the trunk of a car driven by Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson). The radio is playing and the car drives off before performing a U-turn and heading back toward the camera.

"Death Proof" (revving the engine) - while more of a jarring halt than a fade out, 'Hold Tight' goes dead when Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) swerves his '70 Nova into the right lane of the highway, kills his headlights, and revs his engine, waiting for his moment to strike

Criticism - racial epithets

Tarantino has come under criticism for his use of racial epithets in his films, particularly the word "nigger/nigga" in "Pulp Fiction", "Jackie Brown", "Death Proof", and "Reservoir Dogs", most notably from black American director Spike Lee. In an interview for "Variety" discussing "Jackie Brown", Lee said: 'I'm not against the word... and I use it, but Quentin is infatuated with the word. What does he want? To be made an honorary black man?' Samuel L. Jackson, who has appeared in films directed by Tarantino and Lee, defended Tarantino's use of the word. At the Berlin Film Festival, where "Jackie Brown" was being screened, Jackson responded to Lee's criticism by saying, 'I don't think the word is offensive in the context of this film. ... Black artists think they are the only ones allowed to use the word. Well, that's bull. "Jackie Brown" is a wonderful homage to black exploitation films. This is a good film, and Spike hasn't made one of those in a few years.' Lee later dismissed Jackson's statement as 'an example of the house nigger defending the massa'.

An oft-cited example is a scene in "Pulp Fiction" in which a character named Jimmie Dimmick, portrayed by Tarantino himself, rebukes Samuel L. Jackson's character, Jules Winnfield, for using his house as 'dead nigger storage', followed by a rant that uses the word profusely. Lee makes direct reference to this in his film "Bamboozled" when Thomas Dunwitty, a white executive who admires black athletes and entertainers and has married a black woman, states: 'Don't get offended by my use of the quote-unquote N-word. I got a black wife and three biracial children, so I feel I have the right. I don't give a damn what that prick Spike Lee says. Tarantino is right, nigger is just a word.'

Tarantino has defended his use of the word, arguing that black audiences have an appreciation of his blaxploitation-influenced films that eludes some of his critics, and, indeed, that "Jackie Brown", another oft-cited example, was primarily made for 'black audiences:'

Borrowing or plagiarism?

Tarantino has also been criticized for using concepts, scenes and dialogue from other films. For example, the climax of "Reservoir Dogs" is similar to that of Ringo Lam's "City on Fire". Stanley Kubrick's "The Killing" is a direct influence on the fractured narrative structure (Lionel White, author of the novel "Clean Break" which "The Killing" was based on, was given a dedication in the end credits of "Reservoir Dogs") while the idea of the color-coded criminals is taken from "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three". The infamous ear-cutting scene in Reservoir Dogs resembles a scene in Sergio Corbucci's 1966 Spaghetti Western classic "Django", in which a man's ear is cut off and fed to him before he is shot dead.

The Don Siegel version of "The Killers" played an influence on "Pulp Fiction", and the events of the adrenaline-injection scene closely resemble a story related in Martin Scorsese's documentary "American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince". The line about going 'to work on homes here with a pair of pliers and a blow torch' is similar to 'You know what kind of people they are. They'll strip you naked and go to work on you with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch' from another Don Siegel film, 1971's "Charley Varrick".

The dancing scene in the diner is inspired by a scene in Godard's 'Band of Outsiders', the film which Tarantino named his production company after, though it bears very little resemblance to it at all. The misquoted bible verse Samuel Jackson recites in "Pulp Fiction" can also be found in the movie "Karate Kiba" (a 1970s Japanese action film starring Sonny Chiba, also known as "The Bodyguard"), which Tarantino has mentioned in interviews with "The New York Times" and "Positif". The title crawl of the movie contains the line:

The cases of plagiarism/homage are carefully documented in Mike White's two short documentary films, "Who Do You Think You're Fooling?" and its sequel "You're Still Not Fooling Anybody".

The intro titles to "Jackie Brown" are a careful homage to the intro titles to "The Graduate".

"Kill Bill Vol. 1" is heavily influenced by the 1973 Toshiya Fujita film "Lady Snowblood". The fighting scene where The Bride duels as back lit silhouettes is almost a direct copy of a similar scene in the 1998 Hiroyuki Nakano film "Samurai Fiction". The "Superman" monologue delivered at the end of "Kill Bill Vol. 2" was inspired by a passage from Jules Feiffer's 1965 book, "The Great Comic Book Heroes", which Tarantino confirmed in a 2004 interview with "Entertainment Weekly".

Much debate has been sparked on when such references cease to be tributes and become plagiarism. Tarantino, for his part, has always been open and unapologetic about appropriating ideas from films he admires. When confronted about using ideas from dozens of movies, he stated, 'I lift ideas from other great films just like every other great filmmaker.'

On September 22nd 2007, Tarantino joked about using ideas from others whilst guest announcing on British TV Show Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway when he claimed he'd stolen a concept from Byker Grove, a TV show which made Ant & Dec popular in the early 1990s.

Personal life

Tarantino worked in a video rental store prior to becoming a filmaker, paid close attention to the types of films people liked to rent, and has cited that experience as his inspiration for his directorial career. Tarantino has been romantically linked with numerous entertainers, including Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino, directors Allison Anders and Sofia Coppola, French actress Julie Dreyfus, and comediens Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho. There have also been rumors about his relationship with Uma Thurman, whom he has referred to as his 'muse'. However, Tarantino has gone on record as saying that their relationship is strictly platonic. He has also been allegedly linked to actress Shar Jackson. He has never married and has no children.

One of Tarantino's closest 'friends' is fellow director Robert Rodriguez (the pair often refer to each other as brothers). Their biggest collaborations have been "From Dusk Till Dawn" (written by Tarantino, directed by Rodriguez), "Four Rooms" (they both wrote and directed segments of the film), "Sin City" and "Grindhouse".

It was Tarantino who suggested that Rodriguez name the final part of his "El Mariachi" trilogy "Once Upon a Time in Mexico", as a homage to the titles "Once Upon a Time in the West" and "Once Upon A Time In America" by Sergio Leone. They are both members of A Band Apart, a production company that also features directors John Woo and Luc Besson. Rodriguez scored "Kill Bill: Volume 2" for one dollar, and the favor was returned in kind, with Tarantino directing a scene in Rodriguez's 2005 film "Sin City" for the same fee.

Rodriguez was also responsible for introducing Tarantino to digital film. Prior to this, Tarantino was a vocal supporter of using traditional celluloid film. Tarantino is good friends with The RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan. They are often seen together in the VIP room of nightclubs. RZA composed the musical score for "Kill Bill". Tarantino spat at Chris Connelly on the red carpet during the 1997 Oscars. He mistakenly thought Connelly edited a story in "Premiere" magazine about his estranged biological father.

Tarantino is a friend of Japanese Director Takashi Miike, whom he asked to perform a cameo in Eli Roth's film "Hostel". As a result of Miike doing so, Tarantino is performing in the opening action sequence of Miike's next Movie "Sukiyaki Western: Django", scheduled for release in August 2007.

In a recent "Playboy" interview, he jokes of smoking cannabis and using ecstasy while filming "Kill Bill" and his willingness to physically beat people who he has disagreements with. In 1997, he was sued by a US film producer for $5,000,000. Tarantino allegedly attacked this producer in a restaurant, slammed him against the wall, and punched him. Tarantino later dismissed the alleged assault, claiming 'a bitch slap don't hurt nobody'. Tarantino was angered by comments made by this producers's partner in a book on the making of the film "Natural Born Killers", where Tarantino was portrayed as hyperactive, disloyal, and nerdy. Hamsher published a note to her from Tarantino, in which the director made a clumsy attempt to hit on her while in Italy to promote "Pulp Fiction".


In the opening credits to "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction", he omits his own credit as writer and director. Characters in nearly all of his movies have aliases. Examples include Honey Bunny and Pumpkin from "Pulp Fiction", the heist crew in "Reservoir Dogs", and many different characters in "Kill Bill". Most of his movies feature a 'Mexican standoff' scene, in which three or more characters are simultaneously pointing guns at each other. This is a reference to typical spaghetti westerns, especially those directed by Sergio Leone.

He often uses an unconventional storytelling device in his films, such as retrospective, with frequent flashbacks("Reservoir Dogs"), non-linear ("Pulp Fiction"), 'chapter' format ("Kill Bill", "Four Rooms"), or time-twisting ("Jackie Brown" in the sequence showing what all the main characters did at the money drop in the mall or in Death Proof when he shows the car accident one time per character involved in it). He also guest directed a scene in "Sin City", which uses a similar layout. (In the "Reservoir Dogs" DVD commentary with Quentin Tarantino, he mentions that he hates it when people say that most of his methods are 'flashbacks'. Flashbacks are recollections of an individual person, but the non-linear style he uses is just a different way of telling you the story and giving you the information, like a book.)

There are a variety of camera angles and types of shots that are considered typical of a Tarantino movie. He often frames characters with doorways and shows them opening and closing doors, and he often films characters from the back. He uses widely-imitated quick cuts of character's hands performing actions in extreme closeup, a technique reminiscent of Brian De Palma.

He also uses a long closeup of a person's face while someone else speaks off-screen (closeup of The Bride while Bill talks, of Butch while Marsellus talks, Ted's face when Chester talks in "Four Rooms"). Although he did not invent it, Tarantino popularized the trunk shot, which is featured in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, and Kill Bill. In Grindhouse (Death Proof feature), Tarantino's traditional shot looking up at the actors from the trunk of a car is replaced by one looking up from under the hood. Often he will shoot a character's feet during a key moment (such as hitting the pedals on a car, like in "Kill Bill").

His lead characters usually drive General Motors vehicles or an old white Honda Civic. Cigarette smoking by main characters is a recurring element of Tarantino's movies, a notable exception being The Bride in the "Kill Bill" series. In his films, he uses the name of a fictional cigarette brand called Red Apple. Briefcases and suitcases play an important role in many of his films.

In every movie, one or two characters have a Zippo lighter:

Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) and Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) in 'Reservoir Dogs'.

Vincent Vega (John Travolta) in 'Pulp Fiction'.

Ordell (Samuel L. Jackson) in 'Jackie Brown'.

Norman (Paul Calderon) in 'Four Rooms: The Man from Hollywood'.

Budd (Michael Madsen) in 'Kill Bill'.

Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) in 'Death Proof'.

Seth Gecko (George Clooney) in 'From Dusk Till Dawn'.

Jackie Boy (Benico Del Toro) in 'Sin City'.

Tarantino often makes minor connections between his films, usually by reusing names, locations, and fictional brand names and business. An example of this is Tarantino's assertion that John Travolta's character in "Pulp Fiction", Vincent Vega, and Michael Madsen's character in "Reservoir Dogs", Vic Vega, are brothers. Harvey Keitel's character in "Reservoir Dogs", Larry Dimmick/Mr. White, is also said to be related to Tarantino's character in "Pulp Fiction", Jimmie Dimmick. Larry could also be short for Clarence; as Mr. White mentions being involved with a woman named Alabama, this could be a nod to where the characters Clarence and Alabama from True Romance ended up. Also, in 'Grindhouse,' there is an ad for a non-existent Mexican restaurant called 'Acuna Boys,' a name given a fleeting mention in 'Kill Bill, Vol. 2.' (Characters in his addition to the movie, 'Death Proof,' are seen drinking sodas from cups with the restaurant's logo on them.) The three movies "Reservoir Dogs" , "Pulp Fiction" and Death Proof all contain references to a fictional fast food chain called Kahuna Burger . The character Sheriff Earl McGraw appears in both 'Kill Bill, Vol. 1' and 'Death Proof,' as well as 'From Dusk Till Dawn' (written, but not directed by Tarantino) and 'Planet Terror' (written and directed by Robert Rodriguez).

Almost all of his films are set in Los Angeles ("Death Proof" and "Kill Bill" being notable exceptions, although "Kill Bill" had a minor scene taking place in Los Angeles).

Tarantino is also known to go out of his way to avoid placement of real products and/or places in his movies, often placing fake or long-since discontinued products in scenes when the situation calls for it. An ad for Jack Rabbit Slim's, the restaurant at which characters in "Pulp Fiction" dine, is heard shortly before Bruce Willis/Butch enters his apartment and kills John Travolta's character, Vincent Vega, and Red Apple cigarettes, the brand smoked by Bruce Willis/Butch and Mia Wallace (she reaches for the pack before Vincent gives her one) in "Pulp Fiction" has a prominent billboard in the subway in "Kill Bill". Although Robert Rodriguez directed "Planet Terror" in "Grindhouse", El Wray is tossed a pack of Red Apple cigarettes. In Death Proof, Abernathy asks Kim to get her a pack of Red Apple 'Tans' when she goes into the store. Big Kahuna Burger has been referenced in several of Tarantino's films. In "Reservoir Dogs," Michael Madsen's Mr. Blond character shows up at the warehouse, the principle setting of the film, holding a soft drink from the burger joint. In "Pulp Fiction", Samuel Jackson's character, Jules Winnfield, makes small talk about Big Kahuna Burger with Brett and his associates upon noticing food from there in the apartment. In "From Dusk Till Dawn," Seth Gecko brings burgers from Big Kahuna Burger to the motel. Stuntman Mike from Death Proof also mentions Big Kahuna Burger in passing. The cereal Fruit Brute (not fictional, but discontinued in 1983) is featured in "Reservoir Dogs", "Pulp Fiction", and "Kill Bill (Vol 1)". There is also a connection between the boots worn by Vic Vega and the boots that Uma is buried with, along with the razor blade used in both scenes.

While in general film characters are rarely shown using the bathroom, Tarantino often includes a toilet scene (e.g. Tim Roth in "Reservoir Dogs", John Travolta and Uma Thurman in "Pulp Fiction", Christian Slater in "True Romance", Juliette Lewis in "From Dusk Till Dawn", Uma Thurman in "Kill Bill Vol. 1" and Daryl Hannah in "Kill Bill Vol. 2"). In "Death Proof", both Vanessa Ferlito and Rosario Dawson mention that they have to go to the toilet.

Tarantino uses biracial characters in some of his movies. In "Pulp Fiction", Jules Winfield (Samuel L. Jackson) mentions a half-black, half-Samoan named Antwan 'Tony Rocky Horror' Rockamora, and in "Kill Bill Vol. 1", O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) is half-Japanese, half-Chinese-American, and her best friend in the film, Sofie Fatale (Julie Dreyfus), is half-Japanese, half-French. Drexl (Gary Oldman) in "True Romance" is white, likes to think he is black, and claims that his mother was an Apache.

He often includes characters dressed in black suits with white shirts and black ties: the thieves in "Reservoir Dogs", John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in "Pulp Fiction", Pam Grier in "Jackie Brown" (without a tie), the Gecko brothers in "From Dusk Till Dawn", the crazy 88s in "Kill Bill Vol. 1". It is stated on the fact commentary on the Pulp Fiction DVD that he uses the black suits as the standard outfit that his characters wear in the way that other directors have certain outfits for their characters, like Leone's main characters wearing dusters usually.

Every movie he has directed contains at least one instance of the Wilhelm scream sound effect. Many of his films feature the line, 'All right ramblers, let's get rambling,' or a variation thereof ('hard drinkers/drink hard', 'vampire killer/kill some vampires','motherfuckers/fuck mothers').

Tarantino always incorporates food/drink in scenes of importance or whenever a major event is about to occur. Examples include the Big Kahuna burger scene and the breakfast pastry being heated in the bathroom scene before Butch finds Vincent in 'Pulp Fiction', and many scenes in both 'Kill Bill' volumes. One that is of immediate importance is in Volume II when the Bride tracks down Bill. He makes a sandwich, has a couple drinks, and then shoots the bride with the drug-tipped dart.

His films often contain lines of dialogue in which a character rhymes when introducing himself, for instance, 'My name is Buck, and I'm here to fuck' (Which is actually taken from the Tobe Hooper film 'Eaten Alive,' when Robert England's character Buck introduces himself at the beginning of the movie.) In other instances the name introduced is not the character's name (when Jules Winnefield said 'My name's Pitt, and your ass ain't talking your way out of this shit,' and when the bartender tells Vincent Vega 'My name is Paul, and that shit's between y'all.') These latter instances are actually common phrases in the Black American community meant to be said in jest.

In almost all of his movies there is a close-up of a female characters bare feet/soles.

In Kill Bill Vol II Budd tells Bill that he pawned his samurai sword years ago. In Pulp Fiction Bruce Willis uses a samurai sword he finds in the pawn shop to kill rapists in the basement (though this isn't a physical link, as The Bride later finds Budd's sword in his trailer during her conflict with Daryl Hannah's character).

In Reservoir Dogs Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) pulls a razor out of his cowboy boot when he tortures the cop in the chair. In Kill Bill vol II Budd (Michael Madsen) buries the Bride with his cowboy boots on her. She slips a razor out of the boots and cuts the ropes off her hands.

Presented by...

In recent years, Tarantino has used his Hollywood power to give smaller and foreign films arguably more attention than they would otherwise have received. These films are usually labeled 'Presented by Quentin Tarantino' or 'Quentin Tarantino Presents'. The first of these productions was in 2001 with the Hong Kong martial arts film "Iron Monkey" which made over $14 million in the United States, seven times its budget. In 2004 he brought the Chinese martial arts film "Hero" to U.S. shores. It ended up having a #1 opening at the box office and making $53.5 million. In 2006 the latest 'Quentin Tarantino presents' production, "Hostel", opened at #1 at the box office with a $20.1 million opening weekend, good for 8th all time in the month of January. He also presented 2006's "The Protector", and is a producer of the (2007) film "Hostel: Part II".

In addition, in 1995, Tarantino formed Rolling Thunder Pictures with Miramax as a vehicle to release or re-release several independent and foreign features. By 1997, Miramax shut down the company due to 'lack of interest' in the pictures released. The following films were released by Rolling Thunder Pictures: "Chungking Express" (1994, dir. Wong Kar-Wai), "Switchblade Sisters" (1975, dir. Jack Hill), "Sonatine" (1993, dir. Takeshi Kitano), "Hard Core Logo" (1996), "Mighty Peking Man" (1977), "Detroit 9000" (1973), "The Beyond" (1981) and "Curdled" (1996).

Tarantino is currently writing a book about the history of independent films from the Philippines, titled 'Bamboo Gods, Iron Men and Wonder Women'.



Feature films

"Reservoir Dogs" (1992)

"Pulp Fiction" (1994)

"Jackie Brown" (1997)

"Kill Bill" (2004)

"Death Proof" (2007)

Possible future projects

"Inglorious Bastards"

"Come Drink With Me"

Shorts and TV

"My Best Friend's Birthday" (1987)

"ER" (1995) Season 1; Episode 24: "Motherhood" (Director)

"Jimmy Kimmel Live" (2004) 20 April 2004

"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (2005) "Grave Danger: Vols. I & II"

Collaborative films

"Four Rooms" (segment 'The Man from Hollywood') (1995)

"Sin City" (2005) (Special Guest Director)

"Grindhouse" (film "Death Proof") (2007)


"My Best Friend's Birthday" (1987) (unfinished first film)

"Past Midnight" (1992) (uncredited re-write)

"Reservoir Dogs" (1992)

"True Romance" (1993)

"Pulp Fiction" (1994)

"Natural Born Killers" (1994) (story credit, wrote original draft)

"It's Pat" (1994) (uncredited re-write)

"Crimson Tide" (1995) (uncredited re-write)

"Four Rooms" (segment 'The Man from Hollywood') (1995)

"The Rock" (1996) (uncredited re-write)

"From Dusk Till Dawn" (1996)

"Curdled" (1996) (uncredited Gecko Brothers news report)

"Jackie Brown" (1997) (adapted from Elmore Leonard's novel "Rum Punch")

"Kill Bill" (Vol. 1 (2003), Vol. 2 (2004))

"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (2005) "Grave Danger: Vols. I & II" (story credit)

"Hostel" (2006) (uncredited re-write)

"The Book With No Name" (as Anonymous) (2006)

"Grindhouse" ("Death Proof" segment) (2007)

"Inglorious Bastards" (TBA)


"My Best Friend's Birthday" (1987) as Clarence Pool.

"Reservoir Dogs" (1992) as Mr. Brown.

"Pulp Fiction" (1994) as Jimmie Dimmick.

"Sleep With Me" (1994) as Sid.

"Destiny Turns On the Radio" (1995) as Johnny Destiny.

"Four Rooms" (segment 'The Man from Hollywood') as Chester Rush.

"Desperado" (1995) as Pick-up Guy.

"From Dusk Till Dawn" (1996) as Richie Gecko.

"Girl 6" (1996) as Q.T.

"Jackie Brown" (1997) as Default Answering Machine voice.

"Little Nicky" (2000) as Deacon.

"Alias" (television series) (2001) as McKenas Cole.

"BaadAsssss Cinema" (2002) (documentary)

"Kill Bill" (2003) as a Crazy 88 member.

"Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession" (2004) (documentary)

"The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" (2005) as Kermits Director.

"Grindhouse" (2007) as Rapist #1 (Planet Terror)/Warren the Bartender (Death Proof).

"Sukiyaki Western: Django" (2007) as Mystery Man Ringo.


"My Best Friend's Birthday" (1987)

"Past Midnight" (1992)

"Iron Monkey" (1993) (2001 U.S. release)

"Killing Zoe" (1994)

"Four Rooms" (1995)

"From Dusk Till Dawn" (1996)

"Curdled" (1996)

"God Said, 'Ha!'" (1998)

"From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money" (1999)

"From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter" (2000)

"Daltry Calhoun" (2005)

"Freedom's Fury" (2005)

"Hostel" (2006)

"Killshot" (2007)

"Grindhouse" (2007)

"Hell Ride" (2007)

"Hostel: Part II" (2007)


"Iron Monkey" (1993) (2001 U.S. release)

""Hero"" (2002) (2004 U.S. release)

"Hostel" (2005)

"The Protector" (2005) (2006 U.S. release)

"Hostel: Part II" (2007)

External links

(The Unbearable Lightness of Being Cool: Appropriation and Prospects of Subversion in the Works of Quentin Tarantino)

(Anatomy of a Tarantino Film) at BrokenProjector

(Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez discuss their double feature, 'Grindhouse' on Charlie Rose) April 5, 2007

(FilmFocus Interview)

('I call the shots here' by Quentin Tarantino. March 4, 2007)

(Quentin Tarantino 12-minute video discussion of "Death Proof" on stv.tv/movies)

("Who Do You Think You're Fooling?" A documentary about "Reservoir Doge")

("You're Still Not Fooling Anybody" A documentary about "Pulp Fiction")

(The official anti-Tarantino website)

(Quentin Tarantino Movie Forums)


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article about Quentin Tarantino.