Virtually all of Quentin Tarantino's output is highly beloved and celebrated. Even among his nine brilliant works, Pulp Fiction stands out as especially impactful. The 1994 feature is an undeniable masterpiece from start to finish. Its performances from veteran actors like John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson are breathtaking, and the unique structure involving intertwining narratives keeps the audience engaged throughout its two and a half hour run time.
Those looking for a similar fix after watching Pulp Fiction would be wise to check out any of the ten films listed below. Some are more directly related than others, but they all share at least one element with Tarantino's seminal sophomore effort.
10 Dragged Across Concrete
S. Craig Zahler's knack for natural dialog will immediately remind audiences of Tarantino's trademark stylings. He also has a clear reverence for grindhouse cinema, evidenced by the sometimes outlandish gore effects present in the film.
The brutal, unfair drama mixed with hyperbolic B-movie level violence seems like it wouldn't work, but the combination is effective in Dragged Across Concrete. The almost three hour run time gives the movie time to breathe as tension ramps up. This is Zahler's third full-length feature, and his prior two films, Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99 are also modern classics.
Guy Ritchie's Snatch is all style. Obviously there's some substance, but Ritchie is best known for his style, which is at the forefront of his second movie. Before he brought Sherlock Homes and a live-action Aladdin to the big screen, he was making fast-paced, quick-witted black comedies centered around London's gritty criminal underworld.
Serious offenses are treated like games, and the audience eats up every ounce of it. Jason Statham also became familiar to movie goers through this feature and the director's first film, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.
It's important to know a major source of Tarantino's inspiration - Blacksploitation films. Besides Spaghetti Westerns, the beloved filmmaker takes a lot of cues from genres that are otherwise held in low regard.
Shaft is considered the crown jewel of the era, but other notable entries include Foxy Brown and Dolemite. The director sees the value in these pieces, viewing them as art. His love of them has elevated their status in pop culture, giving them an audience that would have skipped out on them if it wasn't for his praise.
7 Sin City
Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino have a well documented friendship. They each directed one of the two films for the Grindhouse double-feature, and Tarantino even guest directed a scene for Sin City, an adaptation of Frank Miller gritty graphic novels.
This movie takes its fantastical noir setting seriously, unlike Pulp Fiction's nonchalant attitude towards violence and crime. Like the 1994 film, the movie is an anthology, telling several stories that occasionally intersect. It was a success on all fronts, but the 2014 sequel, A Dame to Kill For, did not fare as well either critically nor commercially.
6 Boondock Saints
This cult classic follows tough twins as they decide to cull Boston of organized crime through violence. They get a taste for it after killing two mobsters in self-defense. Willem Dafoe plays an eccentric FBI agent hot on their trail during the spree.
The movie flopped upon release, but found a sizable and dedicated following on home video. It may be an irrational power fantasy to follow these two men as they clean up the city streets with guns, but what better place is there to live out an impossible wish than film?
Danny Boyle's Trainspotting is a black comedy with an emphasis on the "black." Addiction is generally never treated as a laughing matter in films - and those that do treat it as such are not worth anybody's time - but this 1996 film is especially bleak even by those standards.
At the same time, it doesn't treat the disease in a melodramatic way, instead presenting realistic characters in the Scottish setting. The subject matter is dark and depressing, but the film moves with such an incredibly frenetic energy, making it simultaneously upsetting and wildly entertaining from start to finish.
4 Bad Lieutenant
Harvey Keitel's character in Bad Lieutenant goes on a 90-minute downward spiral, engaging in almost every vice imaginable. The protagonist is wholly irredeemable but what elevates his debauchery is the sexual assault case he is investigating.
The victim, a nun, knows who committed the heinous crime against her but refuses to give them up. Not a single moment is easy to digest, but it is one of the '90s most gripping crime dramas, and that's no small feat. Abel Ferrara is known for some outlandish films, but Bad Lieutenant is generally considered one of his best.
3 In Bruges
Martin McDonagh cut his teeth writing plays for years before crafting his first feature film. As a result, his stories are tight knit with excellent dialog that waste no lines on the screenplay. In Bruges is his first full length effort, and he came out of the gate swinging.
This black comedy about two hitmen is darkly comic, injecting humor into the morbid subject matter. This juxtaposition would only become further exacerbated in his later two films, Seven Psychopaths and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Along with Pulp Fiction, Martin Scorsese's epic mafia film often ranks among the greatest films ever made, and it's easy to see why when viewing this 1990 masterpiece. It follows the true story of Henry Hill and his rise in an organized crime family before his eventual entrance into witness protection.
Ray Liotta stars and is supported by Joe Pesci and Robert De Nero at their peak. Scorsese's upcoming mobster flick, The Irishman, will reunite the latter two, but let's see if they can recapture the magic they had together in Goodfellas.
Takeshi Kitano made a name for himself in Japan as a comedian before making his transition into hard hitting crime films that were hard to watch. The international community immediately realized his genius with his 1993 opus, Sonatine.
The movie distinguishes itself by focusing a significant portion of the run time on the gangsters waiting and playing around on an Okinawa beach. While these parts are laid back, the tension ramps up when stakes are established. Nearly all of Kitano's filmography are home runs, but Sonatine stands out for its idea of Yakuza lounging about.