Quentin Tarantino’s movies are all part of the same universe, but on two levels: the stories set in the “real world” (like Pulp Fiction), and the films the characters watch in that world (like Kill Bill) - which can make it a little difficult to keep track of the timeline. Tarantino’s filmmaking career began in 1992 with Reservoir Dogs, a crime film that set the basis for his visual and narrative style, as well as the type of violence fans have since come to expect from his movies.
That was the beginning of a successful (and often controversial) career for Tarantino, who has since directed nine more movies from different genres, such as the martial arts two-parter Kill Bill and tense western The Hateful Eight. He has also written movies that were directed by others and are not part of his shared universe, except for Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk till Dawn, which falls into the second level of his universe. Tarantino’s movies have jumped from present to past, and if you want to watch them in chronological order (not release order), here’s how it should go.
It’s worth noting that some Tarantino movies don’t have a specific time setting, so it’s assumed that they take place around the time they were released. Others, like Inglourious Basterds and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, are set in specific years. Those that fall into the “movies within this universe” category can be tricky to place, but following the “release year as setting” rule makes it easier. That said, here’s the timeline of Tarantino’s movies:
- Django Unchained - 1858
- The Hateful Eight - 1877
- Inglourious Basterds - 1941/1944
- Once Upon A Time In Hollywood - 1969
- Reservoir Dogs - 1992
- Pulp Fiction - 1994
- Jackie Brown - 1995
- From Dusk Till Dawn - 1996
- Kill Bill: Volume 1 - 1998 or 1999/2002 or 2003
- Kill Bill: Volume 2 - 2003 or 2004
- Death Proof - 2007
There’s some confusion among fans regarding the time settings of From Dusk Till Dawn, both Kill Bill movies, and Death Proof, as the character Earl McGraw (played by Michael Parks) appears in all of them, including Death Proof’s Grindhouse sibling Planet Terror. McGraw met his fate due to the Gecko Brothers in From Dusk Till Dawn, but he appeared in the wedding flashback in Kill Bill, prompting fans to theorize that Kill Bill was set before 1996. This actually has a very simple explanation: From Dusk Till Dawn, Kill Bill Volume 1 and 2, Death Proof and even Planet Terror are all part of the second level of Tarantino’s universe, meaning they are movies that the characters from the rest watch. McGraw didn’t die – he’s just an actor reprising his role.
This timeline is an interesting way to watch all Quentin Tarantino movies, and it’s funny to see that the four most “recent” ones are all from the second level of his shared universe. Tarantino's next project remains unknown, as he’s constantly shifting from one idea to the other, but the most talked about one is a Star Trek movie, which would most likely not be part of his shared universe – unless it’s part of the second level. Only time will tell, but for now, this universe begins in 1858 and ends in 2007.