Revenge is a recurring theme in a lot of Quentin Tarantino’s movies. His most recent movies have been historical revenge fantasies, with some choice sequences in Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained attesting to that fact. His most blatant revenge story, however, was Kill Bill.
This two-part martial arts epic stars Uma Thurman as an ex-assassin who is beaten, shot, and left for dead by her old gang. When she awakens from her coma, she draws up a list and comes after them. So, here are the greatest Kill Bill quotes about vengeance.
10 “We have unfinished business.”
These four words pretty much sum up the whole movie. Beatrix Kiddo was left with a bullet in her head at her own wedding by her old work buddies, so it’s fair to say that after that, she had unfinished business with every single one of them. One by one, she finished that business by tracking them down and killing them.
The fact that her heart continued to beat after being shot in the head shows that she had unfinished business with life, too. Unfinished Business was the title of a critically panned Vince Vaughn movie a few years ago, but it would’ve made a good alternative title for Kill Bill.
9 “To get even? Even Steven? I would have to kill you...”
Like many of Tarantino’s films, Kill Bill has a nonlinear narrative structure. So, the first person that the Bride checks off her kill list in the movie isn’t actually the first person she kills, chronologically. But the Vernita kill scene sets the tone for the rest of the movie.
Vernita says, “You have every right to want to get even.” But then the Bride explains to her, “To get even? Even Steven? I would have to kill you, go up to Nikki’s room, kill her, then wait for your husband, the good Dr. Bell, to come home and kill him. That would be even, Vernita. That’d be about square.”
8 "I roared and I rampaged and I got bloody satisfaction.”
When Quentin Tarantino was forced to split Kill Bill into two separate movies, he decided to see it as a “glass half full” situation, because it gave him the opportunity to play around with the format. So, Vol. 1 ends with a cliffhanger and a flash-forward to the events of Vol. 2, and Vol. 2 begins with a voiceover narration recapping the events of the first movie.
She explains how she got into a coma and says, “when I woke up, I went on what the movie advertisements referred to as a roaring rampage of revenge. I roared and I rampaged and I got bloody satisfaction.”
7 “When fortune smiles on something as violent and ugly as revenge...”
The Bride is quite fortunate in her valiant pursuit of vengeance, as she explains here: “When fortune smiles on something as violent and ugly as revenge, it seems proof like no other that not only does God exist, you’re doing his will.”
As she points out with this line, the Bride doesn’t believe that there’s anything particularly noble about seeking revenge. However, she feels that she has to do it. Also, she has found that if something convenient happens on your quest for revenge, it's a sign that somebody or something wants you to succeed with your vengeful crusade.
6 “Revenge is never a straight line.”
Hattori Hanzo is the guy who trained Bill and later came out of retirement to make a sword for the Bride to use to exact her revenge on the people who wronged her (including Bill). But although he supports her quest for revenge and forges the sword that she uses, he does warn her about the dangers of getting wrapped up too deeply in your revenge and losing sight of why you’re doing it in the first place.
“Revenge is never a straight line. It’s a forest. And like a forest, it’s easy to lose your way...to get lost...to forget where you came in.” He’s a wise man.
5 “Those of you lucky enough to still have their lives, take them with you! However, leave the limbs you’ve lost. They belong to me now.”
The House of Blue Leaves sequence in Kill Bill is one of the most breathtaking action sequences in film history. The way that it’s intentionally inconsistent, with the format switching back and forth between color and black-and-white and the song on the soundtrack constantly changing, is a breath of fresh air.
Most action scenes use the factory settings, with perfect calibration and a meticulously considered look, to the point that they’re interchangeable. But the big action set piece in Kill Bill is shot and choreographed in the most Kill Bill way possible. There’s no mistaking it for an action scene in any other movie.
4 “Before this tale of bloody revenge reaches its climax, I’m going to ask you some questions.”
Bill, played by David Carradine, is one of Quentin Tarantino’s most outspoken and articulate characters. When the Bride finally catches up with him, he gives her this whole monologue about revenge.
“Now, when it comes to you, and us, I have a few unanswered questions. So, before this tale of bloody revenge reaches its climax, I’m going to ask you some questions, and I want you to tell me the truth. However, therein lies the dilemma. Because, when it comes to the subject of me, I believe you are truly and utterly incapable of telling the truth – especially to me, and least of all, to yourself. And when it comes to the subject of me, I am truly and utterly incapable of believing anything you say.”
3 “That woman deserves her revenge. And we deserve to die.”
Michael Madsen has appeared in a few of Quentin Tarantino’s movies. They’re a perfect fit for each other, since Madsen’s stilted line delivery style matches Tarantino’s pontificating dialogue writing style. His Kill Bill character Budd sums up the central conflict of the movie in this one line, which he first utters in a flash-forward at the end of Vol. 1 and then again when his story arc is fleshed out in Vol. 2.
It’s pretty simple: the Bride deserves to have her revenge and her former co-workers at the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad deserve to die. He also adds that she, too, deserves to die, so he’ll just see how things work out.
2 “When I arrive at my destination, I am gonna kill Bill.”
At the beginning of Kill Bill Vol. 2, the Bride recaps the events of the first movie in voiceover narration. It plays over a black-and-white image of the Bride driving a car with a determined look. She explains that she was shot in the head by her old hit squad, slipped into a coma, and emerged with a thirst for revenge.
She’s down to the last person on her kill list at this point: “I have only one more. The last one, the one I’m driving to right now. The only one left. And when I arrive at my destination, I am gonna kill Bill.”
1 “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”
This isn’t just the best-known quote about revenge from Kill Bill; this might be the best-known quote about revenge, period. It’s the epigraph (which is a fancy word for a quote that appears at the beginning of a book or movie to signify its theme) that opens the movie, attributed simply as an “Old Klingon Proverb.”
While the Klingon lexicon might not have been where the quote first appeared, they have been known to say it. The expression doesn’t really have any meaning. If revenge was served warm, would it really be revenge? Still, it sounds really cool and it does accurately describe the nature of the Bride’s revenge in the film.