10 Memorable Quentin Tarantino Movie Scenes

Published 1 year ago by This is a list post.

10 Most Memorable Quentin Tarantino Scenes

Memorable Tarantino List Although the term auteur is seldom tossed around in today's filmmaking landscape, due in large part to the amount of collaboration that now exists in Hollywood, there's no denying that if any one director could fall into that category it would be Quentin Tarantino. From the music to dialogue to very specific camera moves, a film is almost instantly recognizable as a Tarantino "flick," even if his name wasn't plastered all over the opening credits. And so, as we consider how many more films Tarantino has up his sleeve before retiring – a sentiment he only recently began discussing in public – and anxiously await the release of his latest flick, Django Unchained, we're also looking back on his career thus far and listing our "10 Most Memorable Quentin Tarantino Scenes." Note: This list is in no particular order. Picking just 10 was hard enough.

Ezekiel 25:17 - Pulp Fiction

Memorable Tarantino List - Marsellus Wallace Look Like At this point in his career, Samuel L. Jackson and foul language are inextricably linked, to the point that he is willing to parody his own persona (Snakes on a Plane anyone?). While some might debate when that connection first was established, we think this scene from Pulp Fiction might be an ideal candidate. In the scene, Jackson's gangster enforcer, Jules, is interrogating poor young Brett (Frank Whaley), asking him a question that doesn't make sense at first, but eventually becomes clear. Unfortunately, the imposing presence of Jules, combined with the barrel of a loaded gun, were too much for Brett, who says the word "What" a few too many times. Luckily for us, his nervousness provides Jackson's character the fuel necessary to deliver his iconic biblical monologue - a quote that (spoiler alert) comes up in another scene that made this list.

The Bride vs. The Crazy 88 - Kill Bill

Memorable Tarantino List - Bride v 88 We featured this scene on our list of top martial arts scenes so it makes sense that it also be included here. Unlike many of the scenes that made this particular list, however, this is perhaps the most bloody. In fact, this scene from Volume 1 of Kill Bill features more blood and gore than Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction combined. As The Bride takes on Oren Ishii's entourage, appropriately named "The Crazy 88," she uses her Hattori Hanzo sword to make swift work of every single one of them, slicing through limbs and torsos like they're butter. And while many of the Crazy 88 are simply katana fodder, it is Gogo Yubari – a young school girl that brandishes a bladed ball and chain – that is the pièce de résistance. No stylized Tarantino dialogue needed here, just some good old fashioned martial arts violence.

Perrier vs. Col. Landa - Inglourious Basterds

Memorable Tarantino List - Inglourious Opening At the start of Inglourious Basterds, few people knew who Chrisoph Waltz was. But by the end of the movie (if not this scene), they would never be able to forget him. Not only does this scene allow Waltz to show off his mastery of several languages, it outed him as a venerable tour de force and future Oscar-winner, playing a villain so effortlessly it's scary. Nearly every scene featuring Waltz's character is worth mentioning – he's just that good – but the opening gets the nod for its ability to set the tone for the entire film without featuring a familiar face. Hence why it was our favorite movie moment of 2009 Once the dust had settled, and Hans Landa had said goodbye to Shoshanna, we were hooked. But more importantly Tarantino was hooked on Waltz, and has since added him to his rotating troupe of actors.

Sicilian Story - True Romance

Memorable Tarantino List - Sicilian Story Though True Romance was only written by Quentin Tarantino (it was directed by the late Tony Scott) this scene deserves some recognition because A) it features film legends Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper and B) it epitomizes one of Tarantino's many calling cards: the useless fact monologue. Many of the scenes that made this list, for example, feature monologues of a similar nature, with a character spewing out knowledge that, in the context of the film makes great sense. We don't know if a guy has 17 tells and a woman has 20, but that's not the point. A good Tarantino conversation is usually equal parts observational and comedic – exaggerating a potentially true statement to the point the audience will, at the very least, chuckle. As was mentioned, this type of scene pervades each and every Tarantino film, but it's always fun to look at earlier examples for comparison.

Tipping Scene - Reservoir Dogs

Memorale Tarantino List - Tipping Scene Before Steve Buscemi was ruling the Boardwalk Empire he was Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs, the comical member of the film's colorful heist team who, in this scene, explains why he doesn't believe in tipping. It's an entertaining scene on a very basic level (who hasn't used the world's smallest violin on occasion?) but it's also a thought-provoking commentary on minimum wage employment. It might be weird to look at the scene now and see Nucky Thompson cracking wise, but back then Buscemi was a bit player. Speaking of bit players, this scene also marks the start of a trend for Tarantino: putting himself in his movies. Distracting? Maybe, but it's another calling-card for a director with a rolodex full of them.

Royale with Cheese - Pulp Fiction

Memorable Tarantino List - Royale with Cheese There's no escaping the impact of this scene, which arguably features one of Tarantino's most memorable lines of dialogue/phrases in a film brimming with iconic monologues. We dare you to find anyone who doesn't know what a Quarter Pounder with cheese is called in France, and if you do find such a person they've likely never seen or heard of Pulp Fiction. This scene ticks many of requisite boxes for a Tarantino flick – from the pop culture references to witty banter – and all it's missing is some violence and foul language. In terms of the larger narrative, the scene is a complete throwaway - a chance for Tarantino to showcase his knack for (once again) spewing out useless facts - yet somehow we'll never forget that Royale with cheese...

Superman Monologue - Kill Bill

Memorable Tarantino List - Superman Monologue For a film that's called Kill Bill some might argue that the inevitable confrontation between heroine Beatrix Kiddo and Bill is a little anti-climactic. That is, if they don't know Tarantino. In the film, Tarantino created a villain that is almost an extension of himself - a character that is prone to protracted musings on life, but has a deep dark center just waiting to come out. Bill's Superman monologue, for example, is both his way of explaining Beatrix's inability to escape who she is and an expose on the character of Superman at the same time. And all the while he's playing mind games with Beatrix – providing the audience with a tantalizing appetizer before the actual sword fighting goes down. That final showdown is great as well, but a certain fondness for the Man of Steel wins the spot on our list.

Mr. Blonde vs. Officer Nash - Reservoir Dogs

Memorable Tarantino List - Mr Blonde Dancing Linking action and music is one of Tarantino's strong suits, as evidenced by this scene from Reservoir Dogs. His ability to find music that works on many levels is part of what makes him so talented - even if sometimes his musical choices call a bit too much attention to themselves. So, of those great musical cues, this one ended up making the list because of the imagery, the comedic undertones, and the sheer horror of watching Michael Madsen's character torture a poor police officer. It's now nearly impossible to hear the song "Stuck in the Middle with You" by Stealer's Wheel and not think of Mr. Blonde cutting off Officer Nash's ear.

Guess Who Game - Inglourious Basterds

Memorable Tarantino List - Card Game The game is simple: each player must put a card with the name of a famous character from pop-culture on their forehead and then ask questions in order to figure out "who they are." However, when used in this scene from Inglourious Basterds, the game takes on a whole new meaning. Tension building is a subtle art, and Tarantino does it almost effortlessly in several scenes from this film, including the film's opening (which also made this list). We, the audience, know that the Nazi soldier is bound to find out he's in the company of frauds, but that doesn't make the scene any less of a nail-biter. And whereas in a traditional, non-Tarantino film, this scene would play out with minimal casualties for the good guys, that is unfortunately (or fortunately) not the case here. Thankfully, this brief role was only the beginning for actor Michael Fassbender.

Jules vs. Ringo - Pulp Fiction

By the end of Pulp Fiction two things were clear: Tarantino is not a fan of traditional narrative structures and his characters, while most of the time masochists, are quite entertaining to watch. Book-ending the entire disjointed story, the finale in the diner features a wonderfully poignant monologue from Samuel L. Jackson, who up until that point had been a laser-focused, foul-mouthed killer, teasing us with that mysterious briefcase. It also reacquaints the audience with the characters of Honey Bunny and Pumpkin, the two would-be robbers who opened the film. Tarantino always goes out with a bang, so to speak, but it's tough to beat Pulp Fiction's style. And who wouldn't want a wallet that says "Bad MotherF#$%er" on it?

Honorable Mentions

  Memorable Tarantino List - Django Unchained Even with a list that encapsulates a large portion of Quentin Tarantino's career there were still plenty of memorable scenes - and whole films - that inevitably didn't make the list. With Django Unchained arriving in theaters, who knows whether or not one or two scenes from that film will make their way onto our list. Either way, here are some scenes that deserve HONORABLE MENTION:
  • Vince and Mia's Dance - Pulp Fiction
  • Robert De Niro and Bridget Fonda "Quickie" - Jackie Brown
  • The Car Chase - Death Proof
  • The Theater Massacre - Inglourious Basterds
  • Marsellus Wallace's Pride Speech - Pulp Fiction
  • Vampire Tarantino - From Dusk Till Dawn
Django Unchained hits theaters on December 25, 2012. Follow me on Twitter @ANTaormina
TAGS: inglourious basterds, kill bill, pulp fiction, reservoir dogs, true romance

22 Comments

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  1. Love a bit of Tarrantino nostalgia, adore all of his movies, not mentioned-

    Mexican stand off scene in Dogs
    Rosanna Arquette listing her piercings in Pulp
    Tarrantinos joke in Desperado

    But you cant beat the Uncut version of the Crazy 88 scene in Kill Bill, gallons of blood!!

    • Haha I love that joke in Desperado. Also because of everything that transpires around QT in that movie. “…is that happening right now?”

      • He didn’t check out…….and you……..you checked out just fine lol

        Quality movie

  2. For the next one, do a ’10 Original Tarantino scenes’…

    Ooof. I’m going to pay for that level of blasphemy.

  3. I really like Aldo Raine’s opening speech and the “fake Italian” bit in Inglourious Basterds.

    Two parts from Pulp Fiction that make me crack up are when Mia OD’s and Vince frantically drives her to Lance’s house and when poor Marvin gets shot.

    Tarantino’s cameo as Jimmy is classic too.

    • “Say bye bye to your nazi balls” lol i for one love the exchange between pitt, novack and walts. “Thats a bingo!…. is that how you say it?” Pitt: “you just say bingo…”

      • The look on Pitt’s face through that entire table scene is priceless.

  4. Correction: Jules’ wallet doesn’t say “Bad Ass Mother#$%%#r”. It says “Bad Mother$%&*(r” only.

  5. My honorable mentions would be…

    1. intro of the bear jew in Inglourious Basterds. and the interigation of the captured Nazi soldiers. That scene is filled with suspence, humor, violence, and a real insight to how the Basterds operate.

    2. Mexican Stand-off in Resevoir Dogs

    3. Christopher Walkens scene in Pulp Fiction. When he shows up you imagine it to be a funny scene, its christopher walken after all. But he plays it very serious and well. You are drawn into the story and it captures your attention. You never see the humor in it until long after the scene is over and you play it back in your mind.

    • I dunno, I saw the humor pretty quickly. Not that that’s a bad thing.

      • Yeah as soon as he says he hid the watch in his ass, it’s pretty obvious, great scene tho

  6. IMHO, the Chris walken scene about the watch is easily my fav scene in pulp fiction.
    Then it’s the conversation about the foot massage. I still use that speech with friends.

    In inglorious I’ve loved that first scene with waltz.

    In Jackie brown, I thought that first long one shot of Pam Greer was great.

    In kill bill, the scene with mike madsen after he shoots Beatrix.

    I could keep going but I won’t, haha

  7. i really dont understand what’s so good about him or his movies, to me they all suck. they are uneven in pace, the action is excessively over the top (to an extent where it’s unwatchable due to how stupid it looks) and he adds those stupid ‘chapter x’ cuts that make it seem like he’s making a movie for 5 year olds. not only that but he adds boring and informative bits of dialogue to ‘make the characters seem human’ which imo does nothing but waste time, not really show anything and come across as out of place/weird.

    hate his movies and the movies the other 2 stooges make, they suck at what they do yet they make millions from brain dead viewers that have little to no taste in cinema.

    • *rolling eyes* Well, the good news is: You don’t have to watch them :). The rest of us will. ;)

    • I’m not a fan of a lot of Tarantino’s work but the chapter stuff and the monologues are things he’s taken from popular and obscure movies he loved growing up.

      Hell, the first time I saw chapter titles used in a movie was in Monty Python’s Meaning Of Life, which is a frankly underrated and very funny movie and definitely not for 5 year olds.

      I found it ironic the first time I saw Pulp Fiction that one of Jackson’s funniest monologues was the burger scene in the apartment in a movie released after his hilarious scene in Coming To America where he tries to hold up a burger joint.

      Mr Pink is also my fave Steve Buscemi role after Rex in Airheads.

    • I don’t think you are watching his movies in the right frame of mind. You are expecting realistic serious modern dramatic movies. He is a student of old movies. He is taking A list actors and huge budgets and paying homage to those schlocky, cheezy but immensley entertaining movies of the 40s 50s and such. He should have probably been a director in the 1950s. That’s the kind of movies that he makes. They are almost but not quite parodies.

  8. My favorite Pulp scene is when Marvin is shot in the face. It’s out of nowhere and Travolta’s response is just awesome, “I shot Marvin in the face.”

  9. Great list, but I feel like the scene in Inglourious Basterds where Landa shows up when Shoshanna’s at the café is a glaring omission.

  10. Personally i love the scene in True romance when Christian Slater goes to tell off Drexler. That scene too me is one of the most badass scenes written by Tarantino.

  11. I’ve always loved the long shot where he follows Bruce Willis into the apartment in Pulp Fiction

  12. Little Known Fact

    Tarantino wrote some of the Dialogue for the film Crimson Tide

    If you recall the “Who Best Drew Silver Surfer?” argument by two midshipmen

    Gotta be Up there

  13. Freaking LOVE Quentin Tarantino…great article guys!! :)

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