Quentin Tarantino is perhaps the most well known and popular director of this generation. His iconoclastic films revel in everything pop culture, violence, and movies. Tarantino is a true cinephile and it shows in each of his films. From the very beginning of his career, Quentin has paid homage to some of the finest films and filmmakers of all time and by doing so, he has in turn created countless amount of classic movies that will define an all new era of cinema! Down below we ranked all 9 of QT’s feature films, including Once Upon a Time in Hollywood!
9. DEATH PROOF (2007)
It’s a shame to rank this film at the very bottom, because it’s really not all that bad, but with as impressive of a filmography as Quentin’s, his worst film is better than most people’s best. Death Proof is by far Tarantino’s most adventurous film – an exploitation movie centered around a crazed stuntman that’s shot in gritty film that plays out like a low-budget B-movie ought to be right down Tarantino’s alley; and maybe it is. But, for all the excitement and innovation that comes from making a movie like this, especially in 2007, it lacks something. It has no aim. He doesn’t dazzle us with any of the typical Tarantino tropes that he’s become so well known for and doesn’t really give us a real story to latch on to. However, he does give us something pretty unique and entertaining for the time being. But, like Tarantino himself said, if this is the worst movie that he ends up making his career then we’re more than fine with that!
8. ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (2019)
Tarantino’s latest film is easily his most disappointing for me. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, QT’s homage to the final days of the Golden Age of Hollywood, clocks in at 2 hours and 45 minutes but really provides nothing in terms of plot and expects the viewer to be ok with watching scene after scene with absolutely no payoff whatsoever. The film truly has no purpose, and that can be ok, only when a director gives us a real character arc and doesn’t do so for 2-and-a-half hours. Here, every scene has a steady build-up that inevitably leads nowhere – making it feel like a never-ending thought process on how to lead up to the 3rd act, which I’ll admit is awesome and would have worked better alone as a short film. The amazing characters and performances from Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt are stellar and for that reason alone is totally worth checking out at least once! And hell, even though this isn’t one of my favorites of his, Tarantino’s worst films are better than most directors best films!
7. DJANGO: UNCHAINED (2012)
Tarantino’s ultimate Blaxploitation film is an awesome crossover into the Western genre, a genre Tarantino has toyed with in practically all of his films prior, but never jumped into fully. What Quentin did with Django: Unchained was give the black community a Western hero that re-tells history by having him slay all the shitty ass slave owners we all want to see suffer. For that reason, Django is one of the most satisfying movies in Tarantino’s filmography and the awesome characters played by Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Samuel L Jackson make it all the better!
6. THE HATEFUL EIGHT (2015)
One of the most visually stunning films of Tarantino’s, The Hateful Eightis a paranoia-fueled epic centered on an amazing cast. Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, and Tim Roth are just a few of the names on this massive cast that lend their talents to this revisionist Western. The Hateful Eight is a real slow-burn and at times, it feels a little slow. However, the lengthy scenes and dialogue lend themselves to build up the suspense as much as possible, which keeps you constantly wondering who it is that’s telling the truth and who isn’t.
5. KILL BILL VOL. 1 & 2 (2003-2004)
Even though it’s two different movies, we feel we ought to review Kill Bill as one full film, since that’s the way Quentin intended it. As a whole, Kill Billis a movie that’s grown on me with each viewing and really is as ‘Tarantino’ as Tarantino gets. It checks off all the characteristics of a great Tarantino movie – excessive gore and violence, intricately outlined storylines, and timeless characters. For that reason, Kill Billis one of the most essential movies in QT’s filmography. The way he constructs the full, what would have been, 4-hour film into a two-part epic is mesmerizing, although the pacing does get a bit stiff, especially towards the end of Vol. 2. Nonetheless, Tarantino again creates an epic homage to an older era that in and of itself becomes its own classic staple in a new generation of cinema.
4. PULP FICTION (1994)
I’m sure you guys are using all types of vulgarities by seeing Pulp Fiction at this point in the list, but it isn’t because it’s bad or anything – we just think its hype gets in the way of seeing some of his other films for the gems that they are. Pulp Fiction is the ultimate ‘Tarantino’ film where we see him come into his true form for the first time. From his pop culture references to his taste for violence to the intricate storytelling, he manages to pack it all into one neat little movie that properly introduces Tarantino to the world. Pulp Fiction created a whole new wave for filmmakers and independent cinema in the 1990s to the point that it’s become impossible to find a film that’s come out at any point after Pulp Fiction that hasn’t garnered some influence from it. No film over the last 30 years is more quoted, parodied, or loved like Pulp Fiction.
3. JACKIE BROWN (1997)
The immediate follow-up to Pulp Fiction has been a film that’s lived in the former’s shadow for so long. Perhaps the most criminally underrated film of Tarantino’s, Jackie Browndelivers on all fronts; something some of his most popular films haven’t done been able to achieve. The only film that Quentin adapted from a novel, Jackie Brownis an intricate crime thriller starring Pam Grier playing a bad-ass flight attendant who transports cash from Mexico to LA for local gun lord Ordell. Tarantino weaves together a fairly tricky plot in a way that never feels like it’s going too slow. With only a few noticeable ‘Tarantino’ stylistic flourishes, those of which reminisce Brian DePalma, Quentin works with such a great script and cast that he doesn’t need to use excessive amounts of style like its predecessor Pulp Fiction to achieve ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’. For that reason, Jackie Brown is one of the most satisfying and intriguing films in QT’s filmography, making it a true must-see film of Quentin’s for any fan!
2. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009)
“This just might be my masterpiece”, the final words spoken by Brad Pitt in this film couldn’t be any more of a parallel to Tarantino, himself. After Death Proof, Tarantino’s filmography took a slight turn stylistically where he traded in his pop-culture obsession for period pieces that re-write history. Inglourious Basterdsis by far QT’s most suspenseful film and no matter how many times you see it or how well you know the outcome, you’ll still find yourself digging your fingernails into yourself every time you watch it. Brad Pitt and Christoph Waltz both give legendary performances, with the latter possibly giving the best performance of his whole career as Hans Landa, AKA the Jew Hunter.
1. RESERVOIR DOGS (1992)
Here’s our hot take of the year: Reservoir Dogs is our absolute favorite Tarantino film to date! But, if you keep up with our rankings, you know just how partial we are to the early, independent works to major filmmakers! Tarantino made a smash with his debut Reservoir Dogs, one of the most creative heist films in recent history. The ensemble cast including Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Laurence Tierney, Chris Penn, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen play a group of thieves who are setting up a jewel heist that goes terribly wrong due to an undercover cop among them. Tarantino’s brilliance is on full display as he pulls off a heist film, without actually ever showing the heist and doing so in his typical non-linear format. Furthermore, Tarantino executes such an exciting film without relying on any excessive flourishes of style that usually help garner attention from viewers in his other films. Here, we see just how masterful Tarantino is behind the lens in his most bare-bones execution, proving that he doesn’t need huge budgets or extravagant to pull off a masterpiece. Taking influence from Kubrick’s The Killing, Tarantino makes the ultimate heist film that only gets more and more entertaining with each viewing and still holds up as one of his greatest works over the past 27 years!