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Best Quentin Tarantino Films

Updated on September 21, 2014
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A former video store clerk turned indie film director darling, Quentin Tarantino is growing into a cinematic iconoclast. Tarantino is producing, writing and directing films with the same energy, fervor and wild imagination as when he first got into the game.

Quentin continues to play by his own rules, making the kind of films that he himself would like to watch and yet never alienating his audience. With every new Quentin Tarantino movie, I brace myself during the opening credits because I know that I'm in for something special. By the time the credits roll, Tarantino will have managed to insert his very essence into every scene, bit of dialogue, and thrilling action sequence, and the final product never reeks of self-indulgence.

As Quentin Tarantino approaches and takes hold of the age that makes some other artists stale and bereft of ingenuity, no one could ever accuse Quentin of being "square." He continues to explore different genres of film and turning them inside out to create his unique vision.

He also takes great pride in the movie soundtracks that accompany his films and most end up as best selling soundtracks. We have highlighted some of the songs from each soundtrack for many of the Tarantino films highlighted here.

Guest Article by Brooklyn77

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10. Sin City (2005)

Tarantino Contributes a Scene to this Graphic Novel

Sin City is a crime film based on the graphic novels by Frank Miller and directed by Robert Rodriguez. Sin City is the story of three different people caught up in violent corruption in a nihilistic world . It has a brilliant cast including Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Benicio Del Toro and Michael Madsen.

As a long-time friend and business partner of Rodriguez's, Tarantino directed one of the scenes in this film.

9. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Quentin Tarantino as Actor Instead of Director

Before there was "Grindhouse," Robert Rodriquez and Quentin Tarantino teamed up on From Dusk Till Dawn, a difficult to classify film starring George Clooney, Tarantino, Harvey Keitel and Juliette Lewis.

The film is difficult to classify because it dramatically switches genres halfway through the movie. The first half of this film is excellent and as I was watching it, I thought it might have to be considered one of the truly great gangster/crime films. However, about halfway through the film it completely shifts gears into a B-movie style horror comedy vampire/zombie film.

Literally, if I were to rate the first half of the film I would give it five stars as a highly tense, suspenseful crime spree film with shocking elements. Clooney and Tarantino are two brothers on the run from the law and Tarantino is absolutely marvelous as the crazed, off balance brother.

Unfortunately, if I were to rate the second half of the film in the Mexican Roadhouse, I would give it 2 stars as a horror comedy vampire/zombie film. The scenes are purposely exaggerated to unbelievable levels and the storyline completely disappears. However, I will say that Selma Hayek's song & dance scene within the Roadhouse is absolutely mesmerizing. One becomes transfixed in a trance as Hayek weaves her spell. Sadly thought, the rest of the second half of this film is average at best.

I do hope everyone sees this film for the brilliant first half up to the end of Salma Hayek's scene

Tarantino Films Natural Born Killers
Tarantino Films Natural Born Killers

8. Natural Born Killers (1994)

And so Begins the Trend of Crime-Related Reality TV

Unlike most of the films on this list, Natural Born Killers was not directed by Quentin Tarantino. Instead, Tarantino wrote the story that was adapted by Director Oliver Stone in this feature film. Like other Tarantino scripts, this film was a unique original.

In the film, we have a backstage pass into the lives of a modern-day Bonnie & Clyde crime duo. Unlike the originals though, this gangster couple is brutally violent and with little remorse. And yet, somehow we learn to understand and empathize with these cold-blooded killers, which is a real tribute to Stone and Tarantino. Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis are excellent as the heartless couple.

Besides being a crime action drama, this film is also a statement about media in this country. Robert Downey, Jr brilliantly portrays a "Jerry Springer-style" news correspondent whose ambition helps to build this crime couple into news superstars. Then, we have a front row seat to watch how the media changes both the reporter and the reported!

In a most ironic of twists, the film was released in August 1994, just two months after the most famous crime-related reality TV event in this genres short history, the OJ Simpson White Bronco car chase. Stone and Tarantino could not have known of that event while making this film but clearly life and art were imitating one another in 1994.

7. Death Proof (2007)

A Lesser Known Quentin Tarantino Gem

Labeling a Tarantino film as a favorite is like asking someone to choose their favorite child. If forced by gunpoint, I would pick this Tarantino movie, Death Proof. It was originally released as part two of a Grindhouse pairing with Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror.

Tarantino's film, the superior of the two, was eventually re-released and distributed as its own title. While some Tarantino fans and critics might consider Deathproof a minor work, I humbly get down on my hands and knees and beg to differ. As sleek and gripping as Reservoir Dogs, this Tarantino movie manages to seamlessly delivery two different films within a relatively sparse space. First, Death Proof is a B-movie tale of psychopath, Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell), and his diabolical and muscle car as he wreaks havoc on hapless women. Second, it is a well-tuned revenge flick featuring a bevy of hot, sassy stunt-girls as they deliver justice on Stuntman Mike.

This undiscovered Quentin Tarantino movie is a unique and wily action crime drama that is a must see film for any true Tarantino fan.

6. Jackie Brown (1997)

Tarantino Takes on an Elmore Leonard Classic

Jackie Brown is the only film that Quentin Tarantino has directed for which he did not also write the script. However, this film is no less special than the rest of his projects. If anything, his first effort following Pulp Fiction proved that he had his timing down and could evenly pace a film without the unique stylings of his own scripted films.

Jackie Brown is a fun gangster film with classic storytelling having been adapted from an Elmore Leonard novel. Like Get Shorty, one of Leonard's other great novels adapted to the screen, this Tarantino film combines classic gangster intrigue with well-timed humor. The film revolves around six people all chasing a multimillion dollar score.

Quentin Tarantino has assembled an outstanding cast for this film including Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Bridget Fonda, Robert Forster and Pam Grier. But it is Grier that really shines in this Tarantino film to showcase her talents to a wider audience.

Kill Bill Tarantino Films
Kill Bill Tarantino Films

4.& 5. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) & Vol. 2 (2004)

Tarantino Blends Martial Arts with Westerns in These Classics

Upon hearing both the title and the premise of Quentin Tarantino's two-part homage to the Kung-Fu genre and his vicious vixens, I surely thought he had lost his mind. But, once again, he pulls it off and gives us something completely unique that has become a martial arts classic.

Part I is a stylized, fast-paced Tarantino movie that rivals the martial arts choreography of the Bruce Lee movies. As one of the ultimate revenge movies, it appeals to film geeks while also satisfying adrenaline crazed action movie junkies.

In Kill Bill, Vol. 1, The Bride (Uma Thurman) has left Bill's (David Carradine) employ as a hit woman to settle down and get married to a young man. Unfortunately, Bill is jealous and sends a squad of goons to gun them down at the wedding rehearsal. After waking from a 4-month coma, The Bride vows revenge on Bill and begins this two volume revenge saga.

Kill Bill, Vol. 2 is my personal favorite of the two Tarantino movies. It is much longer on drama and backstory and is more of a dusty Western than a Kung-Fu fighting film. In KB2, Quentin Tarantino has created a bit of a tribute to Sergio Leone and throws in several Leone quotes for effect.

While KB2 is an excellent film, it does not stand on its own and requires that you see Vol.1 to understand the characters. But by allowing for that requirement, KB2 is able to delve much deeper into character development, particularly the rich characters played by Thurman and Carradine.

KB2 is every bit as engaging as Vol. 1 but it is a much deeper film that creates a deep and lasting impression in our psyche.

Check out the Kill Bill vol. 2 Soundtrack

Quentin Tarantino put together a great sequel soundtrack for Kill Bill vol. 2. Some of my favorites include Goodnight Moon by Shivaree, Malcolm McLaren's cover of Santana's About Her and Satisfied Mind by Johnny Cash.

3. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

An Amazing Debut for Quentin Tarantino

In his directorial debut, Quentin Tarantino flexed his muscle and shocked the world with Reservoir Dogs. In fact, it may be the best Directorial debut of all time.

Reservoir Dogs is a taut, feisty, and clever exercise of whodunit crime Noir that exhibits his masterful use of music and dialogue. He also hides much of the action (the heist gone awry) in order to create a more powerful impact of imaginative imagery.

Tarantino also toys with our emotion through much of the film such as the now classic Michael Madsen song-and-dance routine that ends with his victim begging for mercy, doused in gasoline. It is a violent film and yet the violence serves a purpose to set the tone and texture of desperation surrounding these five strangers that have come together in this botched job.

If you like Reservoir Dogs, you also have to See The Usual Suspects

2. Pulp Fiction (1994)

The Most Unique Gangster Film You Will Ever See

Oft imitated, yet never duplicated, "Pulp Fiction" managed to single-handedly resurrect the career of John Travolta and garnered Quentin Tarantino a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

This movie is one for film majors to study for its unusual non-linear storytelling and its widely varying ensemble of high-powered stars. While it is a gangster movie at heart, it is in no way typical of most gangster films. The scene at Jack Rabbit Slim's between Mia (Uma Thurman) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta) is a classic that harkens back to romantic comedies starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn.

Pulp Fiction also helped to revitalize the movie soundtrack in a big way. By interweaving dialog from the movie with a perfectly curated line-up of songs, this Tarantino soundtrack was also a massive hit.

Sample songs from the Best Tarantino Movie Soundtrack

Pulp Fiction was probably Tarantino's best film and best movie soundtrack. This soundtrack is outstanding from start to finish. My favorite songs on the soundtrack are You Never Can Tell by Chuck Berry, Son of a Preacher Man by Dusty Springfield and Comanche by The Revels.

1. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Quentin Tarantino Rewrites History in This Stunning Film

In his latest movie, Quentin Tarantino rounds up some badass Jews and puts them under the tutelage of ruthless hillbilly, Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt). They take their fight straight to world's most notorious villains: the Nazis. The end result is not only fun and wildly entertaining, but also sweeping, elegiac, and strangely beautiful.

Tarantino gifts us with an outstanding cast, including Christophe Waltz as the Nazi Col. Hans Landa, who won Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his tour de force performance. The film also includes outstanding performances from Pitt, Diane Kruger and Eli Roth.

For me, this film is a throw-back harkening back to those cool war movies of the 1960s that I loved as a kid, such as The Dirty Dozen and Ice Station Zebra.

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    • profile image

      Niktravelfit 3 years ago

      Great lens!

    • profile image

      Film_addict 3 years ago

      Where is Django ?? :(

    • eightieschild profile image

      eightieschild 4 years ago

      So, where is True Romance then? Best Tarantino movie ever! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great lens about a great film-maker. Very nice work.

    • BernardSinai LM profile image

      BernardSinai LM 5 years ago

      Great. I love his type of film making. He is definitely worth watching. Thanks.

    • HughSmulders LM profile image

      HughSmulders LM 5 years ago

      Nice lens. I like Tarantino's movies, you always find something new there. They have style

    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 5 years ago

      Great lens on Quentin Tarantino. My favorite is Inglourious Basterds.

    • Rankography profile image
      Author

      Rankography 5 years ago

      @ImpartialGreg: Thanks Greg, but this is actually a blended average ranking based on all the movie rankings at Rankography movies. Therefore, they were presented in Ranked order.

    • ImpartialGreg profile image

      ImpartialGreg 5 years ago

      Great lens! Shouldn't you present them in chronological order though???

    • profile image

      shaunjay 5 years ago

      "The Protector" was my fav Tarantino flick!

    • profile image

      lftypjk900 5 years ago

      reallly enjoyed your lens on Quentin Tarantino.

    • marlene3 profile image

      marlene3 5 years ago

      Excellent Lens! So much great information about Quentin Tarantino! Well done, I seen just about ALL of them. Thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens and fun to read! You did a great job! One big Squidoo thumbs up vote left for you :)

    • desa999 lm profile image

      desa999 lm 5 years ago

      Nice lens on a great and very talented guy. Well done

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 5 years ago

      very cool lens about a great writer/director, blessed:)rob

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      I haven't seen all of his movies, however I feel he really knows how to bring out the best in an actor (or actress). Every movie I have seen has been riveting and strange, sometimes making me feel completely at odds with who is the 'bad' person(s) in the movie.