With Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time in Hollywood now in theaters, many film fans have been looking back on the filmmaker's amazing career. His movies like Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds still receive a lot of praise. But one of Tarantino's films that seems to rise in popularity with each new year is Jackie Brown.
Based on the novel Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard, it stars Pam Grier as a flight attendant who, facing years in prison, decides to make a plan to win back her freedom and get rich. It is Tarantino's most intimate film, filled with great characters and, of course, plenty of quotable lines. Here are the best quotes from Jackie Brown.
10 Smart Move
I sure hope you didn't do anything stupid, Jackie.
Early on in the film, we see Jackie with her back up against the wall. After coming back from a flight, she is cornered by ATF Agent Ray Nicolette who finds out she is transporting tens of thousands of dollars in cash. From that point, Ray thinks he has Jackie in his pocket and that she will help him get her boss, arms dealer Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson).
Like everyone else, Ray underestimates Jackie and fails to see that she is the smartest person in the room. After the sting operation goes wrong and the money goes missing, Ray confronts Jackie but again fails to realize that she doesn't make stupid moves.
9 Reading Habits
He moves his lips when he reads. What does that tell you?
Ordell Robbie is one of the most entertaining characters Samuel L. Jackson has ever played and he gives one of his best performances in this movie. Ordell is a dangerous man who isn't afraid to kill anyone who threatens to get in his way of early retirement. However, he is also not the smartest guy around.
Ordell's persona as a badass gangster is inflated. Even Melanie, his stoner girlfriend, doesn't have any respect for him. As she discusses how easy it would be to rip Ordell off, she makes this hilarious biting observation and it just adds to Ordell's hilarious depiction as a faux-gangster.
8 Car Trouble
When you robbed banks, did you forget where your car was then too?
One of the funniest aspects of the movie is the relationship between Melanie (Bridget Fonda) and Louis (Robert De Niro). Melanie is one of Ordell's several girlfriends while Louis is an old friend of Ordell's who was just released from prison. Louis and Melanie start off with a flirtatious relationship before they each grow increasingly annoyed with each other.
Things come to a boil during the climactic money-swap sequence. As Louis and Melanie attempt to make their getaway, Louis frantically searches for their car in the mall parking lot while Melanie constantly insults his stupidity. It is a hilarious scene with a pretty shocking twist.
7 Get Rich
Half a million dollars will always be missed.
Despite the fact that the movie centers around arms dealers and police operations, at the center of Jackie Brown is a very touching love story. Tarantino does not often delve into such things in his movies, but the relationship between Jackie and her older bail bondsman, Max Cherry (Robert Forster) is the highlight of the film.
These two find a mutual trust in one another which is why Jackie decides to trust Max with her plan. He knows stealing that much money could never be as easy as Jackie seems to think, but he also knows he just can't say no to her.
6 Big Favor
I ain't ridin' in no trunk for no minute, man.
One of the funniest sequences in Jackie Brown comes early when Ordell visits an associate he bailed out of prison named Beaumont (Chris Tucker). As the two friends chat, Ordell insists Beaumont return his favor by riding in the trunk of his car on a potentially dangerous gun deal.
Jackson and Tucker have fantastic chemistry in this extended scene as the two go back and forth. It is the perfect display of Tarantino's expert ability to turn what could be a short and mundane conversation into a long and compelling exchange.
I put a cherry on top. Booh-yah! What the f*** did Ordell ever do for us, huh?
The reason Jackie's ambitious plan succeeds is that she knows how to play everyone perfectly. Even when it comes to Max, for much of the movie we don't quite know if she's using him or not. But though she is really only after the money, revenge is a nice bonus.
As she puts the finishing touches on her master plan, she hands off the fake money bag to Melanie, with a little extra prize. Is she playing Melanie? Yes, but she also sympathizes with the girl. And Grier's delivery is fantastic.
4 Not Messing Around
Shut your raggedy-ass up, and sit the f**k down!
Tarantino has said that a big reason he did Jackie Brown was to pay homage to Pam Grier's past films like Foxy Brown which influenced him so much growing up. In doing so, he also gave Grier another great starring role that allowed her to once again play a cinematic badass.
Jackie might be an intellectual, but she is not afraid to get tough when she needs to. After seeing how easily Ordell killed Beaumont, he visits Jackie after she is released from jail. But Jackie isn't Beaumont and she is not going to be pushed around.
3 Gun Man
When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherf***ker in the room, accept no substitutes.
Samuel L. Jackson has had a long career filled with great performances, but as Ordell in Jackie Brown, he might give his best performance ever. Not only does Jackson seem perfectly suited for the childish yet cold-blooded gangster, but he also seems to be having a blast in the part.
In one memorable sequence, Ordell forces Louis to watch a ridiculous gun advertisement video with him. Ordell likes to show off his line of work and seems to be knowledgeable about the whole thing. But the fact that Ordell is taking such a silly video seriously shows that we might not be the criminal mastermind he pretends to be.
2 Simple Question
Ordell: Is she dead, yes or no?
Louis: Pretty much.
Given how big of a star De Niro was at the time of this film, his role is relatively small. Regardless, he is amazing and hilarious in the movie as his pathetic ex-con who is just not fitting in with the world outside of prison.
De Niro perfectly balances Louis' dangerous nature with his stupidity. After randomly shooting Melanie over the parking lot incident, Louis has to awkwardly explain to Ordell what happened. It is a hilarious moment of Louis being matter-of-fact about the whole thing while realizing he probably went too far.
1 End Of A Friendship
What the f*** happened to you, man? S**t, your ass used to be beautiful!
De Niro and Jackson have amazing chemistry in this movie and we almost wish the entire thing focused on the odd friendship between Ordell and Louis. They seem to genuinely like and respect each other which makes their final moment so interesting.
After Louis kills Melanie, Ordell also discovers that the money bag he delivered is far less than he was expecting. Realizing that Louis has made a mess of things, Ordell shoots him. His final words are perfectly sorrowful and ridiculous.