After Tarantino met Lawrence Bender at a Hollywood party, Bender encouraged Tarantino to write a screenplay. In January 1992 Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs hit the Sundance Film festival. The film garnered critical acclaim and the director became a legend in the UK and the cult film circuit. Reservoir Dogs was 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.
Tarantino's screenplay True Romance was optioned and eventually released in 1993. The second script that Tarantino sold was Natural Born Killers, which was revised by Dave Veloz, Richard Rutowski and director Oliver Stone. Tarantino was given story credit, and wished the film well. 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.
After Pulp Fiction he directed episode four of Four Rooms, "The Man from Hollywood", a tribute to the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode that starred Steve McQueen. Four Rooms was 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 third feature film was Jackie Brown (1997), an adaptation of Rum Punch, a novel by Elmore Leonard. A homage to blaxploitation films, it starred Pam Grier, who starred in many of that genre's films of the 1970s. He had then planned to make the war film Inglorious Bastards, but postponed it 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 next project would be Grindhouse, which he co-directed with 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.
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 (for which Tarantino had once written a script) and Hell Ride (written & directed by Kill Bill star Larry Bishop). Tarantino is credited as "Special Guest Director" for his work directing the car sequence between Clive Owen and Benicio del Toro of Robert Rodriguez's 2005 neo-noir film Sin City.
Tarantino has been quoted as saying "When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, 'no, I went to films.'"
Pulp Fiction won the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at the 1994 Cannes film festival. That film earned Tarantino and Roger Avary Oscars for Best Original Screenplay, and was also nominated for Best Picture.
In 2005 Quentin Tarantino won the Icon of the Decade award at the Sony Ericsson Empire Awards.
Tarantino has expressed interest in filming a much more faithful adaptation of the book Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis.
Also, Tarantino 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".
On June 21, 2008 at the Provincetown International Film Festival Tarantino confirmed that a full length version of "Kill Bill" will be released and will hopefully contain an extended "anime" section that detailed the development of Lucy Liu's character. In addition, he also confirmed that "Grindhouse" will be released on DVD in its original movie theater format.
The episode was delayed in being shown in the UK as the broadcast date coincided with the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London and it was felt that the depiction of a suicide bomber could 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 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. He also 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.
Election isn't one of "Quentin Tarantino presents...", but Tarantino loved the film so much that he still helped the DVD release of the film in some way; his quote "The Best Film Of The Year" is on this film's United States DVD cover.
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'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. He has also cited as his favorite films Blow Out, One-Eyed Jacks, For a Few Dollars More, Bande à part, Breathless, Le Doulos, They Live By Night, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Ride in the Whirlwind, The Searchers, 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 an appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (1992), he told him that his all time favorite James Bond Film is From Russia with Love. 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 Gerardo de León 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."
He often incorporates a scene in which music is heard to fade out completely before fading back in again (Diegetic music):
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 the depressing of a car's pedals, as seen in Pulp Fiction).
Tarantino frequently casts actors he has worked with on previous movies:
|Actor|| My Best Friend's Birthday|
| Reservoir Dogs|
| Pulp Fiction|
| Four Rooms|
| Jackie Brown|
| Kill Bill: Vol. 1|
| Kill Bill: Vol. 2|
| Death Proof|
|Samuel L. Jackson|
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. 2 Budd (Michael Madsen) buries the Bride wearing her cowboy boots. She slips a razor out of the boots and cuts the ropes off her hands.
In every movie, one or two characters have a Zippo lighter:
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. In Death Proof, the Twisted Nerve title theme, featured in Kill Bill: Vol. 1, can be heard as a ringtone. 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). The name 'Alabama' was used in "Reservoir Dogs" as Harvey Keitel's former female partner in crime, and in Tarantino's screenplay for "True Romance", in which it was the lead female character's name.
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 principal 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. In the final Four Rooms segment (which Mr. Tarantino directed), Jennifer Beals's Angela character is seen sipping from a violet-colored soft-drink cup with a Big Kahuna Burger logo on it.
The cereal Fruit Brute (not fictional, but discontinued in 1983) is featured in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Kill Bill, Vol. 1. 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.) Also, a character from Jackie Brown, Sheronda has a cup with the Acuna Boys logo on it as well.
The Big Kahuna Burger and Red Apple labels and ad design were done by Jerry Martinez, an old Tarantino buddy and current Miramax employee. Mr. Martinez says that if viewers watch closely during Mr. Tarantino's "Four Rooms" sequence, an electric sign with a logo for Jack Rabbit Slims can be seen. Robert Rodriguez designed a label for a bottle of "Jose Quentin Tequila" for the scenes inside the Titty Twister saloon in From Dusk Till Dawn. (The slogan on the tequila label reads, "Drink with Quentin... and die.")
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", "ass may be dumb/ain't no dumb ass").
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. Also Mr. Blonde's entrance in Reservoir Dogs in which he is sipping on a drink and Mr. White makes mention of fries. The breakfast before the heist in "Reservoir Dogs" is another example.
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." (A line taken originally said by one of Da Fellas in Spike Lee's School Daze). Yet another example is when Tim Roth´s character tells Samuel L. Jackson´s in Pulp Fiction: "If you don´t take your hand off that case, then I´ma unload in your fucking face." "No way Jose/Say it ain't so." In Kill Bill Vol. 2, Michael Madsen's character Budd says to a tied and injured Beatrix (Uma Thurman) "Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey" to wake her up.
Almost all of his movies except Reservoir Dogs one character is seen smoking a bong, snorting cocaine, or injecting heroin.
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, 1973'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 path of the righteous man and defender is beset on all sides by the iniquity of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper, and the finder of lost children. And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious anger, who poison and destroy my brothers; and they shall know that I am the Lord when I shall lay my vengeance upon thee.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 is heavily influenced by the 1973 Toshiya Fujita film Lady Snowblood, in addition to some shots being virtually identical to those in Branded to Kill. 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."
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.|
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".
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 cinematography. Prior to this, Tarantino was a vocal supporter of using traditional film.
Tarantino is also friends with The RZA, who composed the musical score for Kill Bill: Volume 1.
Tarantino is a friend of Japanese director Takashi Miike, whom he asked to perform a cameo in Eli Roth's film Hostel. As a favor for Miike doing so, Tarantino appears in the opening action sequence of Miike's movie Sukiyaki Western: Django, released in August 2007.
In a Playboy interview, he talked of smoking cannabis and using ecstasy while filming Kill Bill.
For his 45th birthday, he shared a joint party in Las Vegas with Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas.
He was thanked in the liner notes of Nirvana's final studio album In Utero although the spelling of his name is incorrect. The album came out in September of 1993, which leads one to suspect Kurt Cobain had been impressed with Reservoir Dogs.