Since his career began in 1992, Quentin Tarantino has been one of the most successful and exciting figures in Hollywood. For almost 30 years, he has written and directed some of the most interesting, surprising, and polarizing movies put onto film. Love him or not, he’s a filmmaker that does things his way, with incredible results. His vision is his own, and it shows in every one of his movies.
Writing credits aside, he has released eight movies to date (if you count Kill Bill as one film, which I do), with his ninth film, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, on the way. In anticipation of his latest, I wanted to look back at the films of Tarantino and rank them. It was a difficult task, but I pulled it off. Enjoy!
8. Jackie Brown (1997)
With Pulp Fiction a huge success, Tarantino decided to follow that film up with an adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel “Rum Punch.” The film starred Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Robert De Niro, and Michael Keaton. The film has an amazing cast, and it worked as a comeback vehicle for stars Grier and Forster. It’s a Tarantino film through and through, but sadly, it’s also a film that is ultimately overstuffed and never really lands the way it should. Some subplots go nowhere, and there is not enough time spent with the titular character of the film. It’s a good movie, but one that is somewhat forgettable.
7. Death Proof (2007)
Released as one part of a double feature in the film “Grindhouse,” Death Proof stars Kurt Russell as a stuntman who murders young women in staged car accidents using his car. Like all the films on this list, the movie boasts an incredible screenplay and great characters. The action is pretty cool (if you are into car chases), and the cast is made up of strong, badass female characters. But while all that is great, it’s just not that good of a movie. Tarantino films are generally dialogue-heavy, but most of the time, it’s used to drive the plot. Here, it’s used to fill out the movie. It’s a fun movie, but not his best work.
6. Kill Bill: Volume 1 & 2 (2003 & 2004)
Kill Bill is one hell of a film experience, and watching both volumes back to back is a testament to how great Tarantino is as a filmmaker. Sure, there are tonal differences between the two, but it’s still better to view as a whole. The story of the Bride who swears revenge on a team of assassins is full of blood and violence, and it’s incredibly well done. Some scenes are way over the top, but that’s what makes this film so good. It’s also the film that took Tarantino into the next phase of his career.
5. The Hateful Eight (2015)
Originally conceived as a sequel to Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight is Tarantino’s second attempt at doing a western. Through a twist of fate, eight strangers find themselves seeking shelter from a blizzard at a stagecoach stopover located on a mountain pass. Soon though, they learn that they may not make it to their destinations.
This film has a stellar cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins and tons of other great actors. It’s one the most claustrophobia films on the list, with the cast crammed into a small cabin for the majority of the story, which adds to the uneasiness of it. It’s a film full of great twists and genuinely tense moments, and one that is definitely worth the watch.
4. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Tarantino’s first film as a director is a thriller about a group of criminals getting together to pull a heist, with oddly hilarious and violent results. With a great cast and a phenomenal soundtrack, Reservoir Dogs is the film that first-time filmmakers wish they could make. And it still holds up incredibly well. It also has some of the most iconic scenes in film history, including one involving the song “Hooked on a Feeling” and terrifying performance by Michael Madsen. If you haven’t seen this yet, get on it.
3. Django Unchained (2012)
With the help of German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), freed slave Django (Jaime Foxx) sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal plantation owner, while also taking out some of the South’s most wanted criminals in the process. While it’s not the easiest film on this list to watch, it’s one of the best Tarantino has to offer. It’s a story that is not afraid to show us the horrors of our past and highlight the brutality that took place during the American slave trade. But, it also manages to frame a story in this setting that is triumphant and ultimately a very entertaining film.
2. Inglorious Basterds (2009)
It’s a Tarantino movie about killing Nazis!!
Brad Pitt is Lieutenant Aldo Raine, who rounds up a crew of Jewish-American soldiers during WWII to spread fear among the German soldiers by hunting, killing and scalping them. They end up joining forces with a German actress and undercover agent Bridget von Hammersmark to bring down the leaders of the Third Reich.
Most filmmakers tend to stay away from the horrors of WWII and the Holocaust, but not Tarantino. He puts his unique spin on the time period, making it one of the most fascinating movies he has ever made. And this film introduced the world to Christoph Waltz, playing one of the greatest villains of all time. It’s beautifully shot, the cast is incredible, it’s insanely violent, and there are dead Nazi’s everywhere. It’s pretty much perfect.
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
When thinking of iconic movies from the ’90s, Pulp Fiction is a film that instantly comes to mind. While Reservoir Dogs put Tarantino’s name out there, this film took him to a whole new level. With its non-linear story structure, it introduced audiences to a unique style of storytelling. It has an incredible story, colorful characters, and a retro vibe that people gravitated to. It also jump-started the career of John Travolta and made Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson household names. It’s truly a movie that only Tarantino could make, and it’s still the one that encompasses everything that makes him unique.
And there you have it, an incredible career ranked. Don’t forget to check out Once Upon a Time In Hollywood when it releases Friday, June, 26th.