Tarantino Reveals His Top 20 Movies (Since Reservoir Dogs)

Published 6 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 6:27 am,

With Inglourious Basterds opening in theaters everywhere this Friday, August 21st, it will mark Quentin Tarantino’s sixth movie (if you count the Kill Bills as one movie). Compared to some other directors that’s not that many movies – particularly considering the talent Tarantino has for both writing and directing.

Anyone who knows anything about Tarantino will know that he’s not only a filmmaker but a truly avid and well-versed film fan. He’s revealed his almost encyclopedic knowledge of movies on several occasions, including during TV, print and online interviews, to commentary tracks and film discussion documentaries (a notable example of the latter is the recent Not Quite Hollywood – wow, does he know his stuff). Many of Tarantino’s favorite films are obscure and older movies (Rio Bravo I believe is his favorite of all time) that many of us may not have seen or even heard of.

So, bringing things a bit more up-to-date, what are Tarantino’s favorite movies of the last couple of decades or so? Well, the man himself has recorded a little video where he reveals his favorite movies of the last 17 years. Why that specific number, you ask? Well, that’s how long he’s been making movies, with his first directorial effort, Reservoir Dogs, being made in 1992. The list is very interesting: for example, there isn’t a Best Picture winner anywhere on it, which just furthers Tarantino’s reputation as a lover of cinema and not just what’s universally popular. Take a look:


Wow, what an eclectic list of movies Tarantino’s chosen as his top 20. I’m happy to say I’ve seen 14 out of the 20, and the ones I haven’t seen are as a result of me just not having had the opportunity to watch them. I fully do plan to catch up with them though – now that one of my favorite directors rates them so highly.

There’s a few choices on there that are really popular with a lot of movie goers (Fight Club, The Matrix, Shaun of the Dead), but for the most part his choices aren’t predictable. It’s interesting that he notes that The Matrix has dropped on his list because the second and third movies ruined the mythology for him – I share in that frustration, QT, I really do. I’m also glad to see Unbreakable (my favorite M. Night Shyamalan movie), Joint Security Area and Friday get a mention – three movies that often go overlooked or underrated.

oldboy1 Tarantino Reveals His Top 20 Movies (Since Reservoir Dogs)

Hey QT, No love for Oldboy?

I, for one, really enjoyed this video. Him referring to Shyamalan as “Shamalamadingdong” cracked me up 😛 It’s great to see what a filmmaker thinks of his peers’ work, and which movies he ranks above others. There are plenty of other movies that could have been on that list (Oldboy, Donnie Darko and Mulholland Drive would be on mine for sure), with Oldboy being a particularly strange omission, since Tarantino himself pushed for it to win the Palm d’Or at Cannes when he served as President of the Jury back in 2003. But as I’m sure Tarantino will agree with, it’s hard to put these lists together fairly – whenever I do, I always feel bad for leaving certain movies out.

This was fun: let’s hop more of our favorite directors put together these lists.

Do you agree or disagree with any of the choices out of Tarantino’s top 20? Which movies would you put on your list?

Inglourious Basterds opens in theaters this Friday, August 21st, 2009.

Source: Sky Movies (via InContention) and YouTube

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  1. Nice list! And, yes, I think UNBREAKABLE is one ofthe best movies ever made. So sublime and understated it is vastly underappreciated.

  2. I would have put “The End of Evangelion”, “Gojira”, “Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris”, “Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children Complete”, “Watchmen”, “The Dark Knight”, “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”.

  3. Wow I’ve only seen about 15 of those movies and only even liked 5 of them and only two of them are great in my opinion the rest kind of suck. I thew up a little in my mouth when I saw the word talent next to Tarantino. I only liked one of his movies so far, but I will say Bastards looks good.

  4. T2’s from 1991, one year before Reservoir Dogs. I think Unbreakable’s quite good, but pretty dark. And Team America’s definitely not in my top 20. Pulp Fiction’s in my top 5, and tour de force Lord Of The Rings would also be somewhere in the top 20.

  5. Friday and Team America are weird choices but then again, Tarantino is a weird guy

  6. Unbreakable is truthfully a “super-hero” film done in the real world. Check.

  7. Battle Royale is really an awesome film!
    However, I prefer Battle Royale 2 for it’s political message and enjoy it much better.
    Tarantino’s got a point with Supercop/Police Story 3, I still love that film.

  8. I was also glad to see a Jackie Chan film on there but I would definitely place Legend of the Drunken Master above Supercop 3. That movie is just insanely good.

    Cool to see praises for M Night’s early work, now I have to go re-watch unbreakable :)

  9. Team America, pull the strings!!!!
    Pull da strings!!!!!

  10. Wow I love that such an acclaimed filmmaker has mentioned Unbreakable, people seem to have forgotten his other movies even though they used to say that they loved them. Also I’m glad for Night cause Tarantino is one of is favorite directors and Pulp Fiction was one of the inspirations for Unbreakable, so that’s pretty cool. Also Reservoir Dogs is in is top 5 or ten movies.

  11. I can’t believe he puts Team America in his top 20. I mean, yeah it has it’s moments, but one of the best movies made in the last 17 years?

    Unbreakable’s an awesome film, but, in my opinion, knowing its a super hero movie going in hurts it a lot. I went in knowing nothing absolutely nothing about it other than it starred Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson, and I think that’s why it’s one of my favorite movies.

    I was surprised, too, at the lack of Oldboy, since a good number of the movies on the list are foreign ones.

  12. Unbreakable was the only movie on the list that i thought belonged there.

  13. I cannot believe he didn’t include The Dark Knight. I know it’s hugely popular, but from a filmmaking point of view, I don’t see how any director couldn’t include it in their favorite movies from the past 20 years.

  14. WOW! I’ve never even heard of most of those movies,but being that Tarantino is one of my favorite directors,I would say I’ll have to trust his movie prowess. (if you had the knowledge of movies that he has you’d know what I mean)

  15. Great list. Thank god he said unbreakable, came as a huge surprise but is def waranted. I saw it in the cinema by myself when i was 14, went straight to the music store and bought the soundtrack by james newton howard (sic) and then waited a couple of months and bought the video. Sublime film ,beautifully shot, scored and acted.

    As for the other movies, well. Audition is fantastic, so is battle royale (greatest film, prob not), not a huge ‘the host’ fan, although it was fun. The Matrix i completely agree with. Dazed and Confused totally, Dogville is INCREDIBLE.

    Hate Fight Club, haven’t seen Friday, Team America is okay.

    Lost in Translation is Awesome, The Insider Def belongs.

    The only real ommision for me would by ‘the thin red line’, my favourite film of all time.

  16. I’ll agree with three on his list, maybe four.

    Team America is NOT, derserving of anyones top 20 list.
    With that, Fight Club (which is my number one of all time) obviously deserves the list. Unbreakable without a doubt deserves the list. And matrix also does, but I share the same opinons as Tarrintino about 2 and 3 ruining the 1st’s mythology. Shaun of the Dead was also hilarious, and I’ll put it up there because I thought it was funny, but I think the reason I thhink it’s so funny is because the media kind of tells me it’s funny. May just be me.

    His list was pretty cool though.

  17. The Dark Knight is not perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It might make a top 100 list!

  18. Uhm, this is his list. Instead of attacking QT for liking movies you don”t like, or not liking movies you like, why not just post your own top 20 list?