From The Hateful Eight (2016) to Pulp Fiction (1994), we rank all Quentin Tarantino movies, arguably, the greatest director of our generation.
Some filmmakers are interested in capturing the world they see. Other filmmakers intend to create a world of make believe. The iconic Quentin Tarantino obviously belongs to the second category. He’s directed nine films in a span of nearly three decades. But in many ways he’s one of the most popular American filmmakers. His visual trademarks and unique writing have garnered him fans across the world. In fact, he is one of the filmmakers to have earned a coveted adjective: Tarantino-esque.
The story behind Tarantino’s rise is a legendary tale for the cinephiles. At the age of 22, Tarantino landed the job of a video-store clerk. He became a film expert while working there. Soon, he thought he’d learned enough about movies to make one. Later, he exclusively focused on scriptwriting. The success of his scripts True Romance and Natural Born Killers pushed him to quit his job, and to find the necessary connection to finance his directorial debut Reservoir Dogs (1992).
Very quickly then, here’s my ranking of all Quentin Tarantino movies. I’ll also be adding a memorable dialogue from each film. Because all his movies are too friggin’ cool not to.
9. Death Proof (2007)
It’s better than safe, it’s death proof.
The only movie on this list to seem average and B-rated. Death Proof is one half of the double feature Grindhouse, the first part being Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror. Though it features a lot of classic Tarantino elements, including a mix of genres, the film seems too half-arsed and all over the place.
The car stunts are all very cool, and Kurt Russel gave a great performance as the mysterious Stuntman Mike, but in the end, it’s the only time in his career where Tarantino fell short.
8. The Hateful Eight (2016)
Move a little strange, you’re gonna get a bullet. Not a warning, not a question…. a bullet.
160 minutes of slow burning tension. The tale of eight misfits brought together by a cruel twist of fate and crammed together inside a seemingly inescapable cabin is already a great set-up, but it’s the twists and turns of the narrative that keep you hooked until the end.
It’s a homage to all of Tarantino’s previous films, with Sam Jackson, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, Michael Madsen, Zoë Bell, Walton Goggins and Bruce Dern, frequent Tarantino collaborators all featuring in this film. The Hateful Eight is essentially the most Tarantino movie till date.
7. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
When you come to the end of the line, with a buddy who is more than a brother and a little less than a wife, getting blind drunk together is really the only way to say farewell.
Tarantino continues his penchant for revising history, and sprinkling it with dark humour in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It’s a slow-burn drama about Rick Dalton, a TV and movie actor in the twilight of his career. The film’s central focus is on the camaraderie existing between Rick and his stunt double Cliff Booth. While with Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino revisited broader historical atrocities, in ‘Hollywood’ he zeroes-in on a sensationalized crime in Los Angeles. Tarantino’s narrative is meandering, but his supreme style and the performances by a great ensemble cast keep us hooked.
6. Kill Bill (2003 – 2004)
“Superheros have an alter-ego. And the reason Superman stands out is that he was born Superman. Each morning he wakes up as Superman. His alter-ego is Clark Kent. Just like you were born Beatric Kiddo. You are a born killer.”
Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 provide for some of the most iconic imagery and moments in Tarantino’s filmography. Starring Uma Thurman in her career-defining role as The Bride, it told the story of a bride rejected at the altar slowly enacting revenge on everyone who did her dirty, leading up to the eponymous Bill himself.
The storyline seems weird, but the movie is Quentin Tarantino at his audacious best. The fight scenes with The Bride wielding her katana are some of the best choreographed sequences in Tarantino’s career.
5. Django Unchained (2011)
I like the way you die, boy.
Quentin Tarantino’s take at a spaghetti Western yielded scintillating results, with Django Unchained winning the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, along with a Best Supporting Actor Award for Christoph Waltz. Django Unchained takes a look at some of the most horrifying times of American History, giving us a brutal look of slave trade going on in the 1850s.
The movie is almost 3 hours long, but you never notice as this movie keeps you hooked with Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson keeping us entertained for the entire duration.
4. Jackie Brown (1997)
A good cop will never let you know he knows you’re full of shit.
Jackie Brown had the misfortune of being Tarantino’s next film after Pulp Fiction (1994). After making possibly the coolest movie ever made, audiences were presented with a far more grounded storyline, with a considerably slower pace than Pulp Fiction.
The film is Tarantino’s least notable film, which is a shame, because most fans missed out on what was arguably one of Tarantino’s most intelligent, if not fast paced and entertaining, movies.
3. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
If you shoot me in a dream you better wake up and apologize.
Reservoir Dogs introduced Quentin Tarantino to the world, with his signature non-linear narratives, prolonged dialogues and lots and lots of blood. Bringing together a stellar cast, many of which would frequently collaborate in future projects, this movie gets off to a running start and doesn’t stop.
Whenever people think of Reservoir Dogs, the image above is what comes to mind. Tarantino’s production company, A Band Apart, even uses this image as its logo. Reservoir Dogs will forever remain one of the greatest directorial debuts in cinema.
2. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
We ain’t in the prisoner-takin’ business, we in the Nazi-killin’ business, and business is boomin’.
Inglourious Basterds will always have a special place in my heart. It was the first Tarantino film I ever watched as a young, adolescent teen. At the time, it confused me when Tarantino decided to change the course of history with this movie, but today I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tarantino managed to take two of the most tragic horrifying moments in human history, World War II and the Holocaust and mould it in his own fun, bloody vision. All the props go to Christoph Waltz who stole the show with his performance of ‘The Jew Hunter’, Hans Lauda. Inglourious Basterds remains one of the most entertaining movies I’ve ever watched.
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Say what again… say what again… I dare you… I double dare you, motherfucker!
Oh, where to begin. From the conversation about a Royale with Cheese, to the apartment shootout, to the dance at Jack Rabbit Slims, the mysterious glowing briefcase, the wallet with ‘bad motherfucker’ on it. Pulp Fiction has its own version of cool that the world accepted with no hesitation whatsoever.
From the non-linear storyline to characters like Vincent Vega, Jules Winnfield, Mia Wallace, Marsellus Wallace and Butch Coolidge, 25 years on, Pulp Fiction is still an integral part of pop culture. There was no other option to take top spot. Tarantino has confirmed that his next film will be his last film. We can hope that the acclaimed filmmaker would leave the industry with a memorable swan song. But for now, Pulp Fiction will be his best, and undoubtedly one of the greatest American movies ever made.
There we are! That’s my ranking of all Quentin Tarantino movies. So do we have any new Tarantino movies coming up? When asked at the Rome Film Festival last year, he responded he has “no idea” what his next film will be. Could it be “Kill Bill 3”? “Why not?” He also talked about working on a comedy Western at the fest. The idea behind ending his directorial career with ten films is fascinating. Tarantino is of the opinion that a director’s quality gets worse with time. So he’d rather retire when he is at the top of his game. Of course, Tarantino may go beyond the idea of a 10-movie legacy. Whatever he chooses, there’s no denying that he’s one of the most unique filmmakers in cinematic history who’s chosen to go beyond the conventional. What is your favourite Tarantino movie?
(Additional writing by Arun Kumar)