French postcard by La Cinémathèque française. Photo: Dennis Hopper. Caption: Quentin Tarantino for Robert Longo's work Bodyhammer Glock, 2006.
Spanish postcard by Record Vision / Ballantine's / Cine Company. Photo: Michael Madsen as Mr. Blonde, Quentin Tarantino as Mr. Brown, Harvey Keitel as Mr. White, Chris Penn as 'Nice Guy' Eddie, Lawrence Tierney as Joe Cabot, Tim Roth as Mr. Orange, Steve Buscemi as Mr. Pink and Edward Bunker as Mr. Blue in Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino, 1992). Caption: Picture of the family: the Reservoir Dogs complete. They are seven gangsters who only know each other by their nicknames. Reunited in a robbery, they are held in check by the cops. There is only one certainty, and that is that someone has betrayed them.
French postcard, no. C 583. John Travolta in Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994).
British postcard by Heroes Publishing LTD, London, no. SFC 3308. Pam Grier in Jackie Brown (Quentin Tarantino, 1997).
Hungarian postcard by Est Media, Budapest. Uma Thurman as The Bride in Kill Bill, Vol. 2 (Quentin Tarantino, 2004). Caption: Aprilis 29 - Töl a Mozikban. (In the cinema from 29 April).
A Neo-Noir about a failed heist
Quentin Jerome Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennesse, in 1963. He was the only child of Connie McHugh and aspiring actor Tony Tarantino, who left the family before his son's birth. Quentin grew up in Los Angeles, and his stepfather Curtis Zastoupil encouraged Tarantino's love of cinema.
The summer after his 15th birthday, Tarantino was grounded by his mother for shoplifting Elmore Leonard's novel 'The Switch' from Kmart. He was allowed to leave only to attend the Torrance Community Theater, where he participated in such plays as 'Two Plus Two Makes Sex' and 'Romeo and Juliet'. Later, Tarantino attended acting classes at the James Best Theatre Company, where he met several of his eventual collaborators.
During his five years at Video Archives, he began writing screenplays. In 1987, he completed his first, True Romance, with his co-worker, Roger Avary who would later also become a director. Tarantino tried to get financial backing to film the script. After years of negotiations, he decided to sell the script, which wound up in the hands of director Tony Scott.
During this time, Tarantino wrote the screenplay for Natural Born Killers. Again, he was unable to come up with enough investors to make a film and gave the script to his partner, Rand Vossler. Tarantino then used the money he made from True Romance to begin pre-production on Reservoir Dogs, a Neo-Noir about a failed heist. Reservoir Dogs received financial backing from LIVE Entertainment (now Lionsgate) after Harvey Keitel agreed to star in the film.
Word-of-mouth on Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino, 1992) began to build at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival, which led to scores of glowing reviews, making the film a cult hit. While many critics and fans were praising Tarantino, he developed a sizable number of detractors. Claiming he ripped off the obscure Hong Kong thriller Lung foo fung wan/City on Fire (Ringo Lam, 1987), the critics only added to the director/writer's already considerable buzz. In 1993, Tarantino wrote and directed his next feature, Pulp Fiction, which featured three interweaving crime storylines. The big-budget production True Romance (Tony Scott, 1993) was also released that year.
British postcard, no. PC0457. Photo: poster for Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino, 1992). Caption: Let's go to work.
British postcard, no. C050. Harvey Keitel as Mr. White Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino, 1992). Caption: "If some asshole starts to think he is Charles Bronson break his nose on the butt of your gun."
British postcard, no. C049. Photo: Tim Roth as Mr. Orange in Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino, 1992). Caption: Mr. Orange. "If they hadn't done what I told them not to do... they'd still be alive."
French postcard by Sonis, no. C. 492. Photo: Bac Films. Uma Thurman on the French poster for Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994). Caption: Affiche du film.
British postcard by Memory Card, no. 78. Samuel Jackson, John Travolta, Bruce Willis, and Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994). Caption: lobby card.
American postcard by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution. Photo: Touchstone Home Video. Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994). Caption: "He was dead before he ever stepped into the ring." The Boxer.
An homage to the blaxploitation films of the 1970s
In 1994, Quentin Tarantino was elevated from a cult figure to a major celebrity. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994) won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, beginning the flood of good reviews. Before Pulp Fiction was released, Oliver Stone's bombastic version of Natural Born Killers (1994) hit the theatres. Tarantino distanced himself from the film and was only credited for writing the basic story. Pulp Fiction soon eclipsed Natural Born Killers in both acclaim and popularity.
Made for eight million dollars, the film eventually grossed over 100 million dollars and topped many critics' top ten lists. Pulp Fiction earned seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay (Tarantino and Avary), Best Actor (John Travolta), Best Supporting Actor (Samuel L. Jackson), and Best Supporting Actress (Uma Thurman). It won one, for Tarantino and Avery's writing.
After the film's success, Tarantino was everywhere, from talk shows to a cameo in the low-budget Sleep With Me (Rory Kelly, 1994). He directed a segment of the anthology film Four Rooms (Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Chuck Jones, 1995) and acted in Robert Rodriguez's sequel to El Mariachi (Robert Rodriguez, 1992), Desperado (Robert Rodriguez, 1995), and the comedy Destiny Turns on the Radio (Jack Baran, 1995), in which he had a starring role. Tarantino also kept busy with television, directing an episode of the NBC TV hit ER (1995) and appearing in Margaret Cho's sitcom All-American Girl (Terry Hughes, 1995).
The latter half of the 1990s saw Tarantino continue his multifaceted role as an actor, director, screenwriter, and producer. In 1996, he served as the screenwriter and executive producer for the George Clooney schlock-fest From Dusk Till Dawn (Robert Rodriguez, 1996).
The following year he renewed some of his earlier acclaims as the director and screenwriter of Jackie Brown (Quentin Tarantino, 1997), an homage to the blaxploitation films of the 1970s. The film was an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel 'Rum Punch'. It won him the raves that had been missing for much of his post-Fiction career. In 1999, he was back behind the camera as the producer for From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (Scott Spiegel, 1999).
French postcard by Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, Paris, 1997. Photo: Traverso. Caption: Quentin Tarantino, Festival de Cannes 1994.
British postcard by Pyramid Posters, Leicester, no. PC9577. Photo: Miramax Film Corp. John Travolta and Samuel Jackson in Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994). Caption: Guns B&W.
Vintage postcard, no. PP 137. Photo: George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino in From Dusk Till Dawn (Robert Rodriguez, 1996).
French promotion card by BacFilms. Robert Forster in Jackie Brown (Quentin Tarantino, 1997).
French postcard, no. 655. Samuel L. Jackson as Ordell Robbi in Jackie Brown (Quentin Tarantino, 1997).
French postcard, no. 654. Photo: Robert De Niro as Louis Gara Jackie Brown (Quentin Tarantino, 1997).
French postcard by Sonis, no. C 867. Photo: Miramax / A Band Apart / BAC Films. Bridget Fonda as Melanie Ralston in Jackie Brown (Quentin Tarantino, 1997). Caption: Christmas Day.
A story simply too far-reaching to be contained in a single film
Quentin Tarantino laid relatively low in the early years of the new millennium. In late 2002, the hype started to build around his fourth feature, Kill Bill (Quentin Tarantino, 2003). Though originally envisioned to be a single release, Kill Bill was eventually separated into two films entitled Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) and Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004) when it became obvious that the story was simply too far-reaching to be contained in a single film.
A kinetic homage to revenge movies of the 1970s, Kill Bill Vol. 1 featured Uma Thurman as a former assassin known as 'The Bride'. While the first film in the pair was an eye-popping homage to Asian cinema and all things extreme, the outrageous violence of Kill Bill Vol. 1 stood in stark contrast to the dialogue-driven second installment that concluded the epic tale of revenge and betrayal.
The gambit of separate releases paid off, as both earned a combined sum of more than 130 million dollars domestically. In the wake of the Kill Bill films, rumors abounded concerning Tarantino's next feature. In 2005, Tarantino did step back into the director's chair to helm a segment of Robert Rodriguez's eagerly anticipated comic book adaptation Sin City (Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino (special guest director), Robert Rodriguez, 2005). A longtime friend of Rodriguez, Tarantino agreed to take part in the filming of Sin City, not only to repay the versatile filmmaker for providing soundtrack music for the Kill Bill films but also to try his hand at digital filmmaking.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine at AllMovie: "After this, the two directors joined forces again, for one of the most ballyhooed and hotly anticipated pictures of 2007: Grindhouse (Robert Rodriguez, Eli Roth, Quentin Tarantino, 2007). A no-holds-barred elegy to the sleazy, seedy, often half-dilapidated inner-city theaters of the 1970s that would churn out similarly sleazy movies, Tarantino and Rodriguez divided Grindhouse into two portions: the first half, Death Proof (2007), directed by Tarantino, starred Kurt Russell in homage to the high-octane auto thrillers of the '70s.
Merging low-brow thrills with blunt, existential dialogue, the Tarantino segment garnered the lion's share of the film's considerable critical praise, although the three-hour-plus Grindhouse ultimately failed to connect with audiences, much to the dismay of The Weinstein Company, who released it." Separate versions of Death Proof (Qunetin Tarantino, 2007) and Planet Terror (Robert Rodriquez, 1997) were then prepped for European release, with Tarantino's effort screened in competition at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
British postcard by Pyramid Posters, Leicester, no. PC 9471. Photo: Miramax Films / A Band Apart. Uma Thurman (montage) in Kill Bill (Quentin Tarantino, 2003). Caption: The 4th film by Quentin Tarantino. "Revenge is a dish best served cold".
Hungarian postcard by Est Media, Budapest. David Carradine as Bill in Kill Bill, Vol. 2 (Quentin Tarantino, 2004). Caption: Aprilis 29 - Töl a Mozikban. (In the cinema from 29 April).
Hungarian postcard by Est Media, Budapest. Daryl Hannah as Elle Driver in Kill Bill, Vol. 2 (Quentin Tarantino, 2004). Caption: Aprilis 29 - Töl a Mozikban. (In the cinema from 29 April).
German postcard by Edgar Medien. Photo: Buena Vista International. Uma Thurman in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (Quentin Tarantino, 2004). Caption: The bride is back to finish her work.
A viscerally bloody, chronologically fractured whodunit full of betrayal and biting wit
In 2009 Quentin Tarantino issued Inglorious Basterds, a sprawling World War II epic about a band of Jewish American soldiers fighting an Apache resistance behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied France. The film, starring Brad Pitt, was a hit around the world and garnered Tarantino nominations from the Writers Guild, the Directors Guild, the Hollywood Foreign Press, and the Academy for his screenplay and his direction.
He took three years to craft his follow-up, the revisionist Western Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino, 2012), a film about the revenge of a former slave (Jamie Foxx) in the U.S. South in 1858. The slave teams up with a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to get his wife away from a sadistic plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). Django Unchained was another international box office hit, grossing over $425 million worldwide against its $100 million budget, becoming Tarantino's highest-grossing movie to date. It also earned a number of year-end awards including a second Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Tarantino.
Tarantino's eighth film was the Western The Hateful Eight (Quentin Tarantino 2015), starring Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Bruce Dern, as eight strangers who seek refuge from a blizzard in a stagecoach stopover sometime after the American Civil War. The original score was Italian composer Ennio Morricone's first and only for a Tarantino film, his first complete Western score in thirty-four years.
Daniel Gelb at AllMovie: "It's a viscerally bloody, chronologically fractured whodunit full of betrayal and biting wit. It's profane, protracted, violent, and yet another achievement in a career full of inspired filmmaking. After teasing what he could do with the Western genre in the good but not great Django Unchained, Tarantino's second consecutive Civil War-era picture is a fully realized epic. (...) Despite its three-hour runtime, its hold on the audience's attention never wavers. Tarantino's trademark dialogue (never known for its brevity) keeps us riveted inside Minnie's Haberdashery, and the stellar cast manages to bring out the deadpan hilarity in the script."
Tarantino's ninth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019), turned out to be one of his best. It recounts an alternate history of events surrounding the Tate–LaBianca murders in 1969, and Leonard DiCaprio and Brad Pitt star as a fading actor and his stuntman. Providing a sense of intrigue during the long 161-minute runtime, the epic weaves in and out of tense moments and comedic relief.
Travis Norris at AllMovie: "Hollywood is a great behind-the-scenes look into the end of an era. The film touches on the pursuit of perfection: how it is never obtainable yet always worth striving for. These are words that seem to drive Tarantino, and it is apparent while watching a film like this. A fun and genuine ride, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood is a must-see." The film earned 10 Academy Award nominations and won best supporting actor for Brad Pitt and best production design.
Since 20018, Quentin Tarantino is married to Israelian singer Daniella Pick. In June 2021, the director confirmed his plans to retire after his tenth film on the TV show Real Time With Bill Maher on which he appeared to promote his novel 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood', based on his ninth film of the same name. He believes it is better to bid adieu when one is at their peak. But what will Quentin Tarantino's final film be?
German postcard by Edgar Medien AG, no. 6.689. Image: Buena Vista / Miramax. Rosario Dawson in Sin City (Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino (special guest director), Robert Rodriguez, 2005). Caption: Shall we go to me?
German postcard by Edgar Medien AG, no. 7.687. Image: Buena Vista / Miramax. Bruce Willis in Sin City (Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino (special guest director), Robert Rodriguez, 2005). Caption: Your stupid talk really gets on my nerves!
German postcard by Edgar Medien AG, no. 7.690. Image: Buena Vista / Miramax. Clive Owen in Sin City (Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino (special guest director), Robert Rodriguez, 2005). Caption: For you, I will kill, baby!
German postcard by Edgar Medien AG, no. 7.692. Image: Buena Vista / Miramax. Benicio Del Toro in Sin City (Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino (special guest director), Robert Rodriguez, 2005). Caption: The other one is already dead!
French postcard by Télérama 'l'hebdomadaire culturel français'. Photo: Patrick Swirc / Télérama.
Sources: Stephen Thomas Erlewine (AllMovie), Daniel Gelb (AllMovie), Travis Norris (AllMovie), Wikipedia, and IMDb.
This post was last updated on 7 October 2021.