Love him or hate him, director Quentin Tarantino has made a mark on modern cinema with his string of hit films, starting in 1992 with “Reservoir Dogs” and most recently with 2019’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” With his stylistic depiction of violence on screen and brilliantly written conversation scenes, Tarantino’s films have a distinct feel that makes him one of the most recognizable modern directors. In honor of his 60th birthday on March 27, here are all of his films ranked.
10. Death Proof (2007)
Tarantino’s worst film is 2007’s “Death Proof,” one half of a double feature with Robert Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror.” Although it is by far Tarantino’s lowest-rated film on almost every review aggregate site, including both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb, it is by no means a bad film. Kurt Russell gives a good performance as a murderous stuntman, but the story is ultimately forgettable and lacks the punch that every other Tarantino film has.
9. The Hateful Eight (2015)
“The Hateful Eight” is by no means a bad movie, with fantastic casting including Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Their engrossing performances are further highlighted by Tarantino’s deft writing skills that make every conversation in the movie intriguing. The tension that sustains and oscillates throughout the film makes it really fun to watch. The reason for its low placement, however, is that it feels aimless in its messaging and veers off the tracks in its last act. Is it rewatchable and entertaining? For sure. Is it one of his best? Not really.
8. Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)
“Kill Bill Volume 2” does lots of things right serving as the direct sequel to “Kill Bill: Volume 1.” It continues Beatrix’s story of getting revenge against Bill and expands on the backstories of the characters. There are some super exciting parts in this movie, especially revolving around eyes and coffins. What puts this movie behind its predecessor though is that it feels devoid of the awesome action moments and simplicity that “Kill Bill: Volume 1” was chock full of. It is not a bad sequel at all but definitely is the lesser of the pair.
7. Jackie Brown (1997)
Tarantino’s most underrated film is “Jackie Brown,” his third feature-length film that for some reason has failed to gain the same popularity that his other early works have. “Jackie Brown” has an amazing cast with excellent performances from lead Pam Grier, frequent Tarantino collaborator Jackson and an Academy Award-nominated performance from Robert Forster. The plot of “Jackie Brown” is incredible and keeps the viewers guessing through the runtime. Likewise, the film has a killer soundtrack with hits like “Across 110th Street” capturing the vibe of the film.
6. Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)
“Kill Bill: Volume 1” is an amazing movie filled with a simple revenge plot that is given a unique style taking from genres such as martial arts, spaghetti westerns and even anime. From the very first fight scene, Uma Thurman asserted herself as an action-hero badass which lasts until the final act, where she takes on the Yakuza and their leader, O-Ren Ishii, played by the brilliant Lucy Liu. There is not one boring or slow moment in this film, and that is a testament to Tarantino’s talents as a director with his wide array of influences.
5. Django Unchained (2012)
Tarantino is one the few directors who can make revisionist history films work and “Django Unchained” is a shining example of this. From Jamie Foxx’s icy cool performance as a freed slave on the path of revenge to Christoph Waltz’s charming portrayal of a bounty hunting dentist and Leonardo DiCaprio’s terrifying evil slave owner, Calvin Candie. “Django Unchained” is an iconic film that deservedly earned Tarantino his second Academy Award.
4. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
Tarantino’s last movie, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” is the least urgent of his movies. Lots of things are happening but the movie flows through a malaise pacing that makes it the perfect hangout movie. You get invested immediately in this 1960s Hollywood landscape featuring DiCaprio playing a washed-up actor trying to get his mojo back. It’s an earnest performance filled with a lot of heart. Brad Pitt plays Cliff Booth, a stuntman who is effortlessly cool. These two friends are such ridiculous but endearing characters that you want to see more of by the end. It may be recency bias, but “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has only gotten better as the years have gone on.
3. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Few directors, if any, have made as much noise with their first feature-length film as Tarantino did with “Reservoir Dogs” in 1992. With a brilliant plot of a diamond heist gone wrong and many twists and turns to boot along the way, “Reservoir Dogs” set the tone for every future Tarantino film. From its opening scene where characters debate tipping to its portrayal of graphic violence on-screen and its 1970s soundtrack, it is a truly great introduction to the mind of Tarantino.
2. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
“Inglourious Basterds” is one of the best in Tarantino’s filmography for a multitude of reasons. The opening scene is a masterclass in tension, bringing the fantastic acting performance by Waltz as Hans Landa to the forefront. Waltz and Tarantino is a match made in heaven due to Waltz’s ability to command a scene and Tarantino’s way of complementing those skills with amazingly written dialogue. Multiple scenes will have you on the edge of your seat and marveling at one of the best ensembles put to film including Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Eli Roth, Mélanie Laurent, Diane Kruger and Daniel Brühl.
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
No one could accuse Tarantino of having had a sophomore slump as his second feature, “Pulp Fiction,” is one of the greatest films ever made. It brought Tarantino his first Academy Award, won the Palme D’Or at Cannes and is the eighth highest-rated film ever on IMDb. “Pulp Fiction” has been talked about by film fans since its release and for good reason — it captures all of Tarantino’s talents with a wickedly sharp script, humorous performances and a story line that weaves through time with ease. “Pulp Fiction” manages to stand out, even in a sea of diamonds.