Quentin Jerome Tarantino (born March 27, 1963) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and actor. In the early 1990s he was an independent filmmaker whose films used nonlinear storylines and aestheticization of violence. He is known for his absurdly encyclopedic knowledge of film history. His films have earned him Academy, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Palme d'Or Awards and he has been nominated for Emmy and Grammy Awards. In 2007, Total Film named him the 12th greatest director of all-time. Known for being very excited about his movies in interviews, using many different sources of inspiration with his work and having many Shout Outs. Notable for his witty dialog and frequently using the same actors in his movies. He also likes womens' bare feet.
- Reservoir Dogs -- A heist film that skips the heist, jumping back and forth between the set-up and the calamitous aftermath of a jewelry store robbery. This film uses a nonlinear narrative that became a trademark of Tarantino's.
- Pulp Fiction -- Various tales of sex, violence, drugs, and redemption intersect in the underworld of LA. This film put Tarantino on the map and had tremendous influence on the way films were made for the next decade.
- The ER episode "Motherhood", arguably one of the best of the series, features his trademark motifs.
- Four Rooms (segment "The Man from Hollywood") -- A group of Hollywood power players hire the bellhop to serve as an impartial hatchet-man to preside over an ill-advised dare. Contains a particularly impressive Oner.
- Jackie Brown -- A just-making-it flight attendant collaborates with a bail bondsman to pull a heist on an arms dealer. This is generally considered to be Tarantino's most disappointing film due to comparisons to Pulp Fiction, though it has its following. Loosely adapted from the novel Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard, and a subtle homage to the Blaxploitation films of the 1970s.
- Kill Bill, Vols. 1 & 2 -- An Action Girl, Left for Dead, goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- A scene in the Sin City movie, specifically, Dwight driving to the tar pits.
- The CSI episode "Grave Danger" -- which is highly regarded as the best two-part episode of the entire series and features a lot of his motifs while staying within the confines of a CSI episode.
- Death Proof -- A pastiche of exploitation and musclecar films of the 1970's: A serial-killing stuntman targets young women, using his Cool Car as the murder weapon. This was Tarantino's half of the double-feature collaboration Grindhouse.
- Inglourious Basterds (sic) -- A group of Jewish-American Nazi-killers and a Jewish-French cinema-owner hatch separate plots to kill Adolf Hitler at the premiere of a high-profile German propaganda film.
- Django Unchained -- Tarantino's take on the Western, or "Southern" as he's calling it. Follows a freed slave as he is mentored by a German bounty hunter (played by Christoph Waltz of Basterds fame) to save his wife from an evil plantation owner. As of May 2011, the script is finished and a few actors have signed on, namely Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, the aforementioned Christoph Waltz, Kurt Russell, Sacha Baron Cohen, Don Johnson, and Samuel L. Jackson.
- The Hateful Eight -- an intimate "chamber western" referencing the classic detective fiction of Agatha Christie, Greek tragedy, Shakespearean and Jacobean theatre and grand opera, set as Tarantino says "six or eight or twelve years after the Civil War". The story explores America's racial animus via an intense focus on the actions and viewpoints of the individual characters rather than the grand dramatic vistas of Django Unchained. The film literally climaxes with the Lynching of its Action Girl protagonist Daisy Domergue, prompting more polarised debate than usual about Tarantino's female characters or the weighting of race versus gender.
Wrote but did not direct:
- True Romance -- A hipster with a screw loose marries a Hooker with a Heart of Gold, steals a cache of cocaine, and flees to Hollywood with the mob and police in pursuit. Directed by Tony Scott, who gave the film a happy ending.
- Natural Born Killers -- Serial-murdering lovers on the lam allegedly illustrate something about violence, media, and the American psyche. Directed by Oliver Stone, who altered the story so much that Tarantino disowned his version.
- From Dusk till Dawn -- A pair of hardened criminals (Tarantino and George Clooney) abduct a preacher and his family, then get ambushed by vampires in Mexico. Directed by Robert Rodriguez.
- Crimson Tide -- Uncredited, but rewrote or added many scenes to include his signature pop culture references.
His film roles include:
- Mr. Brown in Reservoir Dogs.
- Jimmie in Pulp Fiction. You'll recognize him when he asks what sign does not appear over his garage. Tarantino was going to play either Jimmie or Lance the drug dealer. He decided on Jimmie so he could be behind the camera during the adrenaline shot scene.
- Johnny Destiny in Destiny Turns On The Radio, his only major role.
- A gangster in Desperado. He tells a classic joke and then gets shot.
- Famous Hollywood director Chester Rush in Four Rooms.
- Richard Gecko in From Dusk till Dawn, brother of the main character and one of his largest roles.
- His smallest role is Jackie Brown, where he just plays a voice on an answering machine.
- Little Nicky, where he plays an evangelist.
- He appears as a corpse in Kill Bill, Episode 1.
- Planet Terror as an infected soldier that attempts to rape one of the main characters.
- Warren in Death Proof, the bar owner.
- Sukiyaki Western Django, a Japanese Western with a very similar modus operandi to his own works, directed by Takashi Miike.
- Sid in Sleep With Me, where he goes on a filibuster on the Ho Yay in Top Gun.
- Inglourious Basterds as a dead Nazi being scalped. Also seen from behind in Nation's Pride as the American soldier who says, "I implore you, we must destroy that tower!" His hands also strangle Bridget von Hammersmark.
- The Hateful Eight narrator at the start of Chapter Four
- Killing Zoe, the directorial debut of former writing partner Roger Avary. Avary had previously written a script titled The Open Road, which was the basis for True Romance, and Pandemonium Reigns, which became "The Gold Watch" story in Pulp Fiction.
- Chungking Express (Tarantino founded Rolling Thunder Pictures specifically to provide Wong Kar-wai's film with a US release)
- Sonatine by Takeshi Kitano
- Switchblade Sisters (initially released in 1975)
- Hard Core Logo
- The Mighty Peking Man (initially released in 1977)
- Detroit 9000 (initially released in 1973)
- The Beyond
- Rolling Thunder (Initially released in 1977)
Each of his films is packed chock-full of references to other films: here is a far from complete list.
Common tropes of his Signature Style:
- Action Girl: Taratino's appreciation for tough chicks is one of his personal fondnesses. The Bride (and almost all of the female characters from Kill Bill), the second group of women from Death Proof, Jackie Brown and Shoshanna Dreyfus, are all examples. Action Girls are also referred to in other films.
- Anachronic Order
- Awesome, Dear Boy: Tarantino is a director example. He makes movies because he has fun making them, and he is always proud of the end result.
- Author Appeal:
- His infamous foot fetish.
- Strong women are often featured prominently in his films.
- Author Tract: Some people think that Tarantino is speaking through his characters when they deliver opinions on various subjects.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: The bank robbers in Reservoir Dogs and the hitmen in Pulp Fiction wear identical black suits.
- Berserk Button: Although a generally nice and friendly guy, do not cross the line when invading his privacy, especially if you're a paparazzi.
- Black Comedy
- Brand X: Big Kahuna Burger, Red Apple cigarettes, Acuna Bros. Tex-Mex. He also has a tendency to revive dead brands from his own childhood like "Fruit Brute" cereal.
- Captain Obvious: Tarantino enjoys scattering dialogues around that make jokes about obvious things.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Tarantino's dialogue is infamously heavy on profanity, and he's not afraid of dropping n-bombs.
- Code Name: Reservoir Dogs, taken from The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. Later followed by Kill Bill.
- Doing It for the Art: All of them, but Grindhouse is the biggest standout.
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Most of his films walk this line. Probably most obvious in Kill Bill, where it's repeatedly lampshaded. In Inglourious Basterds, where it is lampshaded in a subtle, creepy way: there is a scene where Germans are watching a Nazi propaganda movie about a German sniper who killed massive numbers of Allied troops while behind enemy lines. They are laughing and enjoying themselves watching people from our side get slaughtered. While you're laughing and enjoying yourself watching people from their side get slaughtered.
- Evil Versus Evil
- Food Porn: Most of his movies have delicious foods being eaten onscreen.
- Foot Focus: Tarantino has a very obvious foot fetish -- and it shows in his work.
- George Lucas Throwback: Most of his films are throwbacks to the various genres of Grindhouse / Exploitation Film from the 70s and 80s.
- Gorn: Parodied in an episode of The Simpsons featuring a Reservoir Dogs parody episode of The Itchy and Scratchy Show directed by Tarnatino (voiced by Dan Castellaneta on the episode. Originally, the Simpsons producers did want the real Tarantino to voice himself, but for reasons unknown the Tarantino cameo never happened); Tarantino appears on screen and rants, "See, what I'm trying to say in this cartoon is that violence is everywhere! It's even in breakfast cereal!" at which point Itchy chops off his head.
- Halfway Plot Switch: From Dusk till Dawn and Death Proof both change gears jarringly.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: With Robert Rodriguez, whom he has referred to as his brother. D'awww.
- Large Ham: And damn proud of it!
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: In spite of having copious amounts of violence and drugs in his films, Tarantino reportedly despises both in Real Life. Also, in every film with his involvement, NO rapist gets away with his life by the final frame, even and especially if they are played by him (As is in the case of Planet Terror and From Dusk till Dawn.)
- Mexican Standoff: featured in a number of his works, including Inglourious Basterds, in which the participants stop to argue about whether their position constitutes a Mexican Standoff.
- Noble Demon: since in most of Tarantino's movies almost every single character is a ruthless murderous criminal, there's usually at least one of these to give the audience someone to vaguely support.
- N-Word Privileges: Some of Tarantino's white characters have them. Some don't, but use the word anyway, as racists.
- Rape as Drama
- Reference Overdosed: Tarantino fills his films with references, especially to other movies, to the point that come critics have accused him of being derivative. Even his production company is named Bande à Part, after the famous Godard film.
- Rule of Cool: He more or less bases entire movies around something that just sounds damn cool (to him).
- Samuel L. Jackson: Appears in many of Tarantino's movies, but Jules is arguably his defining role.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: Characters will often engage in discussions about various trivia that do not seem to have any bearing on the plot. Sometimes they actually do, and other times they're more for character or effect.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Music tends to be classic pop and rock hits from the '60s and '70s. Or even really obscure stuff, from the '60s and '70s. Inglourious Basterds, in particular, features a scene with an awesomely anachronistic pop soundtrack.
- The Oner
- The Verse: Various films Tarantino has worked on feature callbacks to other works, showing they are in the same universe. Various product and company names are referenced, such as Big Kahuna Burger and Red Apple cigarettes. Reservoir Dogs was supposed to imply that Alabama from True Romance went on to become Mr. White's old accomplice, but the ending of True Romance was changed, making this unlikely. Victor Vega from Reservoir Dogs and Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction are supposed to be brothers, and a spin-off film about them was planned but never made. The sheriff killed at the beginning of From Dusk till Dawn appears in Kill Bill and both halves of Grindhouse (the first of which has him surviving The End of the World as We Know It, thus making continuity difficult to establish). Lee Donowitz of True Romance, reportedly, is the son of Donny Donowitz of Inglourious Basterds.
- Trunk Shot: One of his most famous trademarks, appearing in all his films.