Quentin Tarantino's Films Ranked From Best to Worst
Quentin Tarantino stormed Hollywood in the first half of the 90s with back to back hits with "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction", and since then he's proven time after time why he's one of the greatest auteurs working in Hollywood today.
Whenever Tarantino comes out with a new film it's always an exciting time for movie goers, so on celebration of the upcoming release of Tarantino's latest film "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" I've decided to rank, rate and review all of Tarantino's films from best to worst.
9. Death Proof (2007)
★ Masters of Cinema Rating - 2½ Stars ★
I understand what Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino tried to achieve with their double grindhouse features "Planet Terror" and "Death Proof" but I don't think they hit the nail as hard as they thought they would. Grindhouse exploitation films are very much a product of their time and don't really work today, causing both films to come off as a little bit pretentious, with "Planet Terror" coming out on top in my opinion because it doesn't take itself as seriously as "Death Proof" and it really benefits from it's tongue in cheek and meta humour.
Written, shot & directed by Quentin Tarantino, "Death Proof" heavily references those 70s grindhouse films it's inspired by and even resembles those exploitation and car chase flicks in both look and feel, by employing various tricks such as jump cuts, stained appearance, scratched frames and unadulterated action. The screenplay fills the void between its action sequences with inconsequential conversations that brim with Tarantino's wordplay but lack the effectiveness of his other films.
Death Proof is considered by many to be Quentin Tarantino's weakest film and even though it may not be as sophisticated as his finest works, it's definitely still entertaining. Despite a few shortcomings, Tarantino's ode to sexploitation, slasher and muscle car flicks does exactly what it set out to do. "Death Proof" is an unabashedly wild, thrilling and amusing ride.
8. Jackie Brown (1997)
★ Masters of Cinema Rating - 3 Stars ★
The third film directed by Quentin Tarantino is only film to be adapted from pre-existing material instead of a self-written screenplay, and although it manages to work as his homage to the blaxploitation films of the 1970s, "Jackie Brown" unfortunately lacks the flamboyance and kinetic wit of "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction". "Jackie Brown" is one of Tarantino's less impressive works.
"Jackie Brown" carries an entirely different feel when compared to his earlier works and isn't as stylish and fancy as one expects a Tarantino film to be. The story is character driven but the characters themselves lack an interesting dimension that Tarantino tends to pump into his own writing. Nevertheless, the plot is consistently moving, the twists are expertly executed and it is entertaining for the most part.
"Jackie Brown" takes a slightly more conventional route with its storytelling is crafted in a restrained manner, and although it packs in usual Tarantino's trademarks, much of its presence is low-key in comparison to his other work. Lacking the charisma and briskness Tarantino built his career on. "Jackie Brown" isn't disappointing but it isn't as magical as his best works either.
7. The Hateful Eight (2015)
★ Masters of Cinema Rating - 3½ Stars ★
A wickedly gripping, strangely alluring downright hysterical blend of "The Thing" and "Reservoir Dogs". "The Hateful Eight" is the eighth film by Quentin Tarantino and is another showcase of his ability as a storyteller. Shot in glorious 70mm with gorgeous cinematography by the great Robert Richardson, right from the get go the film looks and feels very grand. The film is all the more strengthened by an outstanding ensemble, and also happens to be the first Tarantino film to feature an original soundtrack, composed by none other than the legendary Ennio Morricone in what is his first composition for a western in over 34 years.
And yet, despite getting most things right, "The Hateful Eight" is marred by a few drawbacks. First, the story doesn’t live up to the grand canvas it makes use of. Second, its 167 minutes of run-time isn’t justified as many moments feel drawn out, the film could have benefited a lot from a tighter edit. Third, it could've done without Tarantino's narration in the middle, it really just felt unnecessary and forced. Fourth, the first half isn't an easy sit and almost feels like a chore. Fifth, applying slow-mo technique when a character is speaking is never a sensible choice. And there’s one more!
Quentin Tarantino’s "The Hateful Eight " is a vicious, violent, vibrant, vindictive and venomous western spewing poisonous hatred all over its frames and is another biting critique of America's blood-soaked history, and is possibly the bleakest film he’s made to date. The narrative scores high marks in quality but it’s also blemished with few shortcomings that could’ve been avoided. Starting on a slow note, the film does manage to redeem itself with a nail-bitingly tense second half and finishes on a satisfactory note yet the whole experience of sitting through this western epic isn’t as rewarding as some of Tarantino’s finest works. Nevertheless, "The Hateful Eight" is an ingeniously directed, skilfully scripted, gorgeously photographed, patiently edited, methodically scored & superbly performed film.
6. Kill Bill: Vol 2 (2004)
★ Masters of Cinema Rating - 4 Stars ★
I think almost all of us ventured into "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" anticipating the same breakneck, thrilling and action-packed roller-coaster ride that "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" offered and was left underwhelmed by what "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" had in store for them as Quentin Tarantino does a U-turn by applying brakes on the action and filling the plot with more dialogue, backstories and emotional complexities, thus turning this saga into a revenge dish that tastes better when experienced together.
"Kill Bill: Vol. 2" may not be as enjoyable & gratifying as Vol. 1 but what it lacks in relentless carnage and unabashed spectacle, it makes up in deeper examination of its characters and their motivations. While I was one of those viewers who felt cheated by its lacklustre final standoff during my first watch, I've only come to appreciate it more n more with every subsequent viewing as Tarantino turns what should have been an epic confrontation into an unexpectedly tragic and heartbreaking farewell. People will always be divided over which is the better volume but as a whole.
5. Kill Bill: Vol 1 (2003)
★ Masters of Cinema Rating - 4 Stars ★
"Kill Bill" is his homage to numerous film genres, namely spaghetti westerns, kung fu flicks, Chinese wuxia, Japanese samurai cinema and even anime, and "Kill Bill Vol. 1" is an absolute revenge bloodbath. The entire picture is expertly structured from start to finish and is jam-packed with compelling characters, each gifted with a distinct quality. From the very beginning to the very end, this feature is one bloody affair that comes loaded with both style and substance.
The action is beautifully stylised, brilliantly choreographed and barbarically bonkers in the blood-splattered sequence before the final showdown. The Editing splits the film into five segments which is then pieced together in non-chronological order yet the transition from one chapter to the next is incredibly smooth.
"Kill Bill: Vol. 1" is the most harmonious blend of Tarantino's filmmaking trademarks and is a film that works on all levels. Although it only covers the first half of the Bride's blood-soaked revenge saga, it effectively paves the groundwork for the next volume, and succeeds at standing on it's own two feet standalone movie too. There isn't really much to complain about it for even its over-the-top action and exaggerated blood-filled violence end up working in its favour and the film as a whole is a pure example of a cinephile's own enthusiasm, passion & love for cinema.
4. Django Unchained (2012)
★ Masters of Cinema Rating - 4½ Stars ★
"Django Unchained" is the seventh film by Quentin Tarantino and is a downright enjoyable, unabashedly entertaining and immensely satisfying extravaganza that finds the reputed filmmaker paying homage to classic spaghetti westerns in his own stylised fashion while also toying with America's horrible past with slavery in an amusing but counterattacking manner to deliver a pulp masterpiece that is brutal, bloody and hilarious as hell from start to finish and is destined to please not only Tarantino's aficionados but majority of film audiences.
Each frame of "Django Unchained" overflows with Tarantino's patented ingredients and is an ideal blend of all his trademarks. Passionately written and enthusiastically directed, the story packs in a remarkable set of characters, all of whom are brilliantly illustrated on the film's canvas by its talented cast. The film also celebrates Tarantino's infamous lust for exaggerated blood-filled violence & spectacular wordplay, all illustrated on screen in bold, brazen & blatant style. There are several homages & parodies to be found here, but that KKK mockery is a standout for me.
Its 165 minutes of narrative may seem daunting at first but its run-time is never felt for the most part. The film begins with a terrific sequence that introduces the two key characters and from there on, it moves forward with a rock-n-roll vibe that keeps getting better. The dialogue carries a playful tone, the humour is pure Tarantino and the stylised gun violence is exhilarating. The soundtrack makes heavy use of existing spaghetti western tracks (notably the ones from Ennio Morricone & Luis Bacalov) in addition to few original compositions, all of which sync seamlessly with the accompanying scenes, as is the case in every Tarantino flick.
Overall "Django Unchained" is an absolute riot from beginning to end that showcases the best of Quentin Tarantino in the most direct manner possible. Excessively stylish yet extremely sophisticated in all departments, this western exhibits an incredible sense of fun throughout its run-time despite its provocative subject matter and delivers a roller-coaster ride that stays true to its genre's staples at all times. Easily one of the best films of its year and definitely one of the finest in Tarantino's filmography, "Django Unchained" is an instant classic that makes ingenious use of all its resources to piece together a film that is perfectly balanced in all aspects and winning on all levels.
3. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
★ Masters of Cinema Rating - 5 Stars ★
"Reservoir Dogs" is one of the strongest debuts any filmmaker has ever made in the history of cinema and finds Tarantino playing with storytelling aspects that carve out his own distinctive narrative style. A marvellous feat of originality, the film borrows different elements from different movies yet blends them together in a manner that bears Tarantino's signature all over it. Tarantino's writing is possibly the best thing about it, be it the plot progression, character developments, non-linear narration, numerous pop culture references or clever use of wit, it all gels with each other seamlessly.
Despite being shot on a modest budget, the technical aspects don't slouch in the slightest. The production team does a fantastic job to accommodate all the set pieces into minimum locations. The cinematography exhibits some new, innovative tricks to capture every sequence and makes some exquisite use of camera angles, long takes and panning shots whilst the editing is another highlight that provides its non-linear narrative with a really smooth flow and consistent pace.
"Reservoir Dogs" is still one of the greatest achievements of indie filmmaking which, even after two decades, remains one of Tarantino's finest efforts. "Reservoir" Dogs casts a spell on its audience that's effect is felt long after the story has concluded on the screen. An original, inventive & ageless masterpiece that's bursting with a reinvigorating passion and is also notable for launching the careers of many, best of them being Tarantino himself who in the following years would go on to script an unmatched legacy of his own. "Reservoir Dogs" is a milestone of gripping, clever and quality storytelling.
2. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
★ Masters of Cinema Rating - 5 Stars ★
"Inglourious Basterds" finds Quentin Tarantino in sublime form as he blends the genres of war and spaghetti western into one stylish, violent and vengeful cinematic delight that brims with Tarantino's patented wordplay, fascinating characters, uninhibited violence, outstanding cast and excellent performances to deliver a thrilling ride that enthrals, entertains and satisfies in all aspects, and keeps getting better with every subsequent viewing.
Tarantino's direction is terrific while his screenplay is a piece of literary genius in its own right. Adding enough meat on every character's bone, he manages to carve out many suspenseful moments from the most unexpected corners and while his usual elements, such as pop culture references, dark humour, blood-soaked violence are in tact, the writer-director also removes the veil of hypocrisy to show that all humans, regardless of their labels, are capable of intense cruelty. And by setting his narrative in a fictional alternate history, he frees himself from following the fact formula and plays as per his wishes.
Making a lasting impression right from the opening segment, Christoph Waltz brings his ingeniously written character to life as per the exact demands of the screenplay and delivers an absolutely impeccable performance that easily goes down as one of decade's best. The character of Hans Landa is one of Tarantino's finest creations and Waltz only gets better in that role as the story progresses. Melanie Laurent is another revelation and plays her part with stunning finesse and just like Waltz, her input is devoid of any faults.
"Inglourious Basterds" is another original, sophisticated and downright captivating extravaganza from Quentin Tarantino that, like few of his earlier flicks, requires a little getting used to. Jam-packed with vibrant flavours and accomplished in nearly every aspect of filmmaking, the movie brilliantly exhibits just how far this master storyteller has come over the years in tightening his grip around his craft. One of the best films of the 2000s and certainly amongst the finest from Tarantino's filmography, "Inglourious Basterds" is a slow burner but it has all the ingredients of an instant classic.
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
★ Masters of Cinema Rating - 5 Stars ★
After winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes, "Pulp Fiction" was a force to be reckoned with straight from its time of release for it opened many realms that were previously thought to be non-existent and in the long run, didn't just influence cinema but other mediums as well. Everything about it was different from the norm and it still remains one of the most original and groundbreaking films to ever grace the silver screen.
"Pulp Fiction" is Quentin Tarantino's sophomore effort and it is even better than his debut feature "Reservoir Dogs" which was a milestone in itself. Tarantino has injected the script with extensive pop culture references, a vast line-up of idiosyncratic characters and explosive dialogue. Its wicked fusion of violence and humour turns it into an endlessly enjoyable, wildly entertaining and thoroughly refreshing ride that's still in a league of its own.
With its surprisingly powerful combination of unconventional structure, stylish direction, remarkable screenplay, stellar performances, energetic pace, mesmerising soundtrack and Tarantino's ingenious mix of violence and humour, "Pulp Fiction" succeeds as a delicious piece of pop culture that thrills and amuses in a highly unusual manner and is rightly counted amongst the greatest movies ever made. Immortal for its contribution to cinema and pop culture, an unsurpassed milestone in independent filmmaking, and a landmark moment in cinematic history that permanently engraved Tarantino's name in the annals of filmmaking, "Pulp Fiction" is essential viewing in every sense of the word.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article, I certainly enjoyed looking back at all the films of one of my favourite filmmakers. If you liked the content and want to see more stuff like this then consider picking up come merch from my store, it goes a long way towards supporting this page. Thank you!