There is no question that Quentin Tarantino is among the most iconic and beloved American movie directors of all time. Going from being a movie-obsessed video store employee to one of Hollywood’s most legendary directors, Tarantino and his storytelling has shaped not only the movie industry but the cultural sphere as a whole, capturing the love for violence and pop culture like no other director has before.
When it was announced that Tarantino was releasing his ninth project, Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood (2019), it left everyone thinking, “has Tarantino really only made eight other movies?” With a relatively small number of major title releases, the movies he has created carry a staggering weight with them—but not all Tarantino movies are created equal. To reflect on the career of one of America’s most celebrated directors, we have made a ranked list of each Tarantino movie.
9. THE HATEFUL EIGHT (2015)
In Tarantino’s rendition of a Western whodunnit, we find eight complete strangers held up in a Wyoming haberdashery as they wait out a storm. Full of post-Civil war tension, personal grievances, and general claustrophobia, these strangers eventually turn loose on each other, meeting the quota for the buckets of blood that Tarantino movies promise.
8. DJANGO UNCHAINED (2012)
With yet another stellar delivery of complex, multidimensional characters by both Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz, Django was a revenge-filled epic packed full of spaghetti Western tropes and gags juxtaposed by the classic Tarantino bloodbaths. Though this movie seems a bit out of the realm of other Tarantino movies, it secured the legendary writer and cast two Academy Awards® for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor.
7. DEATH PROOF (2007)
This high-octane, vehicular horror-slasher was a fast-paced story following Kurt Russel, who played a murderous stuntman. When he crosses the wrong group of women (including real-life stuntwoman Zoë Bell, who played Uma Thurman’s double in Kill Bill), he finds he is in over his head. Though Death Proof is full of some of the craziest car stunts on camera, it seems a bit erratic and oversaturated, even by Tarantino standards.
6. KILL BILL: VOL. 1 & 2 (2003, 2004)
Just like Tarantino, we are counting Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 as one movie. Showing his absolute love of filmmaking, Tarantino created one of the best action movies of all time without failing to develop a brilliant storyline and cast of characters that capture the sheer energy and spirit of the director. And how could we forget the performance by another Tarantino all-star, Uma Thurman as The Bride.
5. ONCE UPON A TIME...IN HOLLYWOOD (2019)
While dancing around one of the most horrific incidents in Hollywood’s history, Tarantino is able to create the most emotionally honest and fun movie of his career. Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood plays into the prolonged transitional period in the movie industry and gives us a glimpse into the lives of the people caught in the middle. Margot Robbi’s Sharon Tate is a charmingly somber depiction of the late star, and the friendship between DiCaprio’s fictional Rick Dalton and Pitt’s Cliff Booth locks in the core of this hyper-nostalgic movie.
4. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009)
While generating the most mass appeal of any Tarantino movie, Inglourious Basterds finds the perfect balance between high-pressure verbal sparring and the gratuitous violence we have come to expect from his movies. Basterds was also responsible for introducing America to Christoph Waltz, who took home an Oscar® for his performance as the delightfully evil Colonel Landa, not to mention equally incredible performances by Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent and so many others.
3. RESERVOIR DOGS (1992)
Tarantino’s debut to the world is a perfect example of a filmmaker who arrived with a fully formed voice as both a writer and director. Reservoir Dogs is mostly talk and introduces us to the brilliance that is Tarantino dialogue—even Buscemi’s monologue about tipping the waitress showed us that Tarantino is able to make even the most mundane conversation an unforgettable moment.
2. JACKIE BROWN (1997)
Landing just between the generation-defining Pulp Fiction (1994) and the action-packed hit Kill Bill (2003), Jackie Brown became one of the most underrated and underappreciated Tarantino movies. While his movies are chock full of blood, guts, and violence, don’t be fooled: Tarantino movies are almost always a love story (in one way or another). As we follow Pam Grier’s titular character, we witness one of Tarantino’s most human movies—and probably the best ending to a movie ever crafted.
1. PULP FICTION (1994)
Is anyone actually surprised that Pulp Fiction made the top of the list? We aren’t! With a surprisingly low budget, Tarantino created a pop culture phenomenon that brought us timeless characters that single-handedly revived John Travolta’s acting career and forever defined Samuel L. Jackson as a legendary badass. In arguably the most iconic cult movie of the millennium, Tarantino was able to deliver this collage of art house movies, crime-dramas, and hilarious schtick that would redefine the formula, language, and rhythm of moviemaking forever.