Tarantino is back with his ninth film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Getintothis’ Peter Guy lists his greatest works and offers up tickets to each of FACT’s season of movies by the legendary director.
Love him or loathe him, there’s few directors operating in Hollywood who have created so many defining moments in contemporary cinema.
Quentin Tarantino‘s filmography reads like a hit list of modern day classics riddled with iconic characters, timeless soundtracks, insatiable gore, memorable dialogue and a style which is definitively his own.
Blasting into worldwide cinematic consciousness in 1992 his theatrical debut Reservoir Dogs became the one of the most talked about films of its generation.
From Mr Blonde to Mr White, the endlessly quotable script, the super-cool score and that scene involving a policeman’s ear, Tarantino had made his indelible mark on audiences across the globe for more than two decades.
With his tenth directorial film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood opening on August 15, Liverpool’s Picturehouse at FACT are showing his previous films during the next few weeks – and we’ve teamed up with them to offer readers the chance to see each one.
Follow us on Twitter – and simply RT each day’s competition to be in with a chance to win. If you’re not on Twitter, just share this post on Facebook.
But before then, here’s a look back at his films – and where we rank them.
9. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Peak Tarantino in silly mode. Brad Pitt is wooden, the cast hammy while the script is absolute trash with a largely forgettable storyline save for an excruciatingly tense opening scene which sees a Jewish family hiding from Nazis under floorboards.
Best character: Standartenführer Hans Landa – Christoph Waltz won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and it’s fair to say he carries the entire film.
8. Django Unchained (2012)
Similarly to Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained is another goofy comic-book opus which lacks subtly and trades on tiresome stereotypes. Scenes are stitched together culminating in a farcically violent climax which is plain dumb. The liberal use of the ‘n’ word is less shocking, more childish and it was little wonder that Spike Lee boycotted it.
Best character: Dr. King Schultz – Christoph Waltz once again steels the show with his mischievous German dentist-turned-bounty hunter.
7. Death Proof (2007)
The much-maligned Grindhouse experiment with cohort Robert Rodriguez spawned two films Planet Terror and Death Proof. In truth neither lived up to their respective director’s high standards yet the latter had moments of brilliance. The dialogue heavy first of Death Proof unravelled into a full tilt revenge flick laced with slasher violence.
Best character: Stuntwoman Zoë Bell playing herself. Fun fact – she also plays Uma Thurman‘s stunt double in Kill Bill.
6. Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)
While the second installment of the Bride’s revenge flick lacks the punch of the first chapter, there’s still plenty to devour here with Uma Thurman on tremendous form and a particularly memorable action sequence with Daryl Hannah’s Elle Driver in a trailer – including the latter having her eye plucked out.
Best character: Pai Mei played by Liu Chia-hui – the Bride’s unforgiving martial arts master is as funny as he is wicked.
5. The Hateful Eight (2015)
Sure it was too long, however, Tarantino‘s last film was a strong return to form. Peppered with beguiling characters, fizzing dialogue, a wonderful Ennio Morricone score and some of his nastiest violence committed to celluloid this one is worthy of rewatching to remind yourself of just how good it is.
Best character: Daisy Domergue – Jennifer Jason Leigh is superb as the captured criminal who is frequently abused and assaulted yet refuses to be bludgeoned by her male counterparts.
4. Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)
A revelation mixing samurai cinema, Blaxploitation films from the 70s and the traditional Western, Kill Bill finds Uma Thurman in a career peak as the Bride sporting her iconic yellow jumpsuit while picking off a team of assassins named the Deadly Vipers. Characteristic of Tarantino, there’s oodles of memorable scenes, often married to a scintillating soundtrack. The anime -style sequence introducing her first enemy: the yakuza boss O-Ren Ishii played brilliantly by Lucy Liu is tremendous – and a new element to Tarantino’s films while the sword fight choreography is simply breathtaking.
Best character: The Bride. It has to be.
3. Jackie Brown (1997)
Perhaps the one film which divides Tarantino fans the most. Well, this writer loves it. Far from as explosive as his earlier offerings, Jackie Brown is a more measured film which relies on a cracking story reinterpreting Elmore Leonard‘s novel Rum Punch.
From Robert De Niro and Bridget Fonda‘s stoned dopes through to Samuel L Jackson‘s terrifying gun-smuggler Ordell each character is beautifully conceived while the relationship between Robert Forster‘s Max Cherry and leading lady Pam Grier (as Jackie) is smouldering and sensual.
Best character: Jackie Brown – Grier is sublime as the woman who finds strength through sheer desperation.
2. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Just look at that poster. Few debut films can conjour up that many iconic images. That many colourful characters. That many quotable lines. That much blood. This kind of film would rank among most directors as their finest work by a countrymile – not Tarantino, he’s that good.
Best character: Tough one, as Tim Roth‘s Mr Orange, Michael Madsen‘s psychotic Mr Blonde and Harvey Keitel‘s Mr White are all sensational – yet Steve Buscemi‘s slime ball Mr. Pink pips them all. He won’t tip us for saying so.
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Tarantino’s second outing as a director resulted in the perfect film.
Groundbreaking direction, a story line which kept your mind darting backwards and forwards desperate to piece the compelling drama together, cinematography which was effortlessly cool, screenwriting in which literally every single scene is as quotable as it is memorable, a soundtrack which became as iconic as the film itself and an ensemble cast who delivered extraordinary performances.
Best character: There’s simply too many – every character from washed up hitman John Travolta as Vincent Vega, demonic Samuel L. Jackson as Jules, Uma Thurman‘s devilish as Mia Wallace, Harvey Keitel’s ruthless yet pragmatist Winston Wolfe, big bad boss man Ving Rhames as Marsellus Wallace and past-it boxer Bruce Willis as Butch Coolidge. There’s many more we could add, Pulp Fiction is that good.
- The full series of Tarantino films at Picturehouse at FACT can be seen here.