Quentin Jerome Tarantino (born March 27, 1963) is an American film director, actor, and Oscar-winning screenwriter. He rapidly rose to fame in the early 1990s as a stylish auteur whose bold use of nonlinear storylines, memorable dialogue, and bloody violence brought new life to familiar American film archetypes.
He is the most famous of the young directors behind the independent film revolution of the 1990s, well-known for his public persona as a motor-mouthed, geeky hipster with an encyclopedic knowledge of both popular and art-house cinema.
Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee to Tony Tarantino, an actor and musician of Italian descent, and Connie McHugh, who was of half-Irish and half-Cherokee Indian extraction. Shortly after Quentin's birth, his mother married musician Curt Zastoupil, with whom Quentin would form a strong bond.
He started kindergarten in the San Gabriel Valley area in 1968. In 1971, the family moved to El Seundo, in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, where Tarantino attended Hawthorne Christian School. Dropping out of Narbonne High School in Harbor City, California at the age of sixteen, he went on to learn acting at the James Best Theatre Company.
At the age of 22, he wrote his first script, Captain Peachfuzz and the Anchovy Bandit. In 1984, Tarantino started working the counter at the Video Archives, a noted Manhattan Beach video store; there he befriended Roger Avary, a fellow employee with whom he would later collaborate. He continued to study acting at Allen Garfield's Actors' Shelter in Beverly Hills, but began to concentrate mainly on sceenwriting.
The sale of True Romance (eventually released in 1993) garnered him attention. He met Lawrence Bender at a Hollywood party and Bender encouraged Tarantino to go write a film. The end product was Reservoir Dogs (1992), a stylish, witty, and blood-soaked heist movie that set the tone for his later films. The script was read by director Monte Hellman who helped secure funding from Live Entertainment and also Tarantino's directorship of the film. Harvey Keitel heard of the script through his wife, who attended a class with Lawrence Bender (see Reservoir Dogs special edition DVD commentary for the full story). He read the script and also contributed to funding, took an Executive Producer role, and a part in the movie.'
Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney are the Gecko brothers
in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Following the success of Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino was approached by Hollywood and offered numerous projects, including Speed and Men in Black. He instead retreated to Amsterdam to work on his script for Pulp Fiction. When finally released, the film won the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at the 1994 Cannes film festival and, along with Steven Soderbergh's Palme d'Or winner sex, lies, and videotape, and Michael Moore's Roger and Me revolutionised the independent film industry by showing that such films could also do well at the box office. Pulp Fiction was a complexly plotted film with a similarly brutal wit. It featured many critically acclaimed performances, and was noted for reviving the career of John Travolta. Pulp Fiction also earned Tarantino and Avary Oscars for Best Original Screenplay, and it was also nominated for Best Picture.
After Pulp Fiction he directed episode four of Four Rooms, "The Man from Hollywood", a remake of an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode that starred Steve McQueen. Four Rooms is a collaborative effort with filmmakers Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell and Robert Rodriguez.
Tarantino's next film was Jackie Brown (1997), an adaptation of Rum Punch, a novel by his mentor Elmore Leonard. A homage to blaxploitation films, it also starred Pam Grier, who starred in many of that genre's films of the 1970s. In 1998, he turned his attention to the Broadway stage, where he starred in a revival of Wait Until Dark.
He had then planned to make the war film Inglorious Bastards. However, he postponed that to write and direct Kill Bill (released as two films, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), a highly stylized "revenge flick" in the cinematic traditions of Wuxia (Chinese martial arts), Japanese film, Spaghetti Westerns and Italian horror or giallo. It was based on a character (The Bride) and plot that he and Kill Bill's lead actress, Uma Thurman, had developed during the making of Pulp Fiction.
In 2004, Tarantino returned to Cannes where he served as President of the Jury. Kill Bill was not in competition, but it did screen on the final night in its original 3-hour-plus version. The Palme d'Or that year went to Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, despite Tarantino's urging that the award go to Oldboy.
Tarantino is given credit as "Special Guest Director" for his work directing the car sequence between Clive Owen and Benicio Del Toro of the 2005 neo-noir film Sin City.
On February 24, 2005 it was announced he would direct the season finale of CSI. The two-hour episode, "Grave Danger", was aired on May 19 to stellar ratings and reviews. He also directed an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Although Tarantino is best known for his work behind the camera, he has also appeared on the small screen in the first and third seasons of the TV show Alias.
In 2005, Tarantino announced his current project is Grind House, which he is co-directing with Robert Rodriguez. He has stated he will "probably" follow that with Inglorious Bastards, a remake of an Italian World War II film, but that he needed to spend another year working on the script before filming, making a 2006 release extremely unlikely. There are also unconfirmed rumors that he signed on to direct a Jimi Hendrix biopic.
Among his current producing credits are the horror flick Hostel (which included numerous references to his own Pulp Fiction), the adaptation of Elmore Leonard's Killshot (which Tarantino had once written a script for) and Hell Ride (written & directed by Kill Bill star Larry Bishop).
In 2005 Quentin Tarantino won the Icon Of The Decade award at the Empire Awards.
Quentin Tarantino suited up
Tarantino's movies are renowned for their sharp dialogue, splintered chronology, and pop culture obsessions. Often they are viewed as graphically violent, and certainly in his key films, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, there are copious amounts of both spattered and flowing blood. However, what affects people most is the casualness, and even macabre humour, of the violence, as well as the tension and grittiness of these scenes.
Fictional brands such as Red Apple cigarettes and Big Kahuna Burgers from Pulp Fiction have shown up in several movies, including Four Rooms, From Dusk Till Dawn, Kill Bill and even Romy and Michele's High School Reunion. The director is also known for his love of breakfast cereal, and many of his movies feature brands such as Fruit Brute (a monster cereal similar to Franken Berry, Count Chocula, and Boo Berry that was discontinued) in Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, and Kaboom in Kill Bill.
Tarantino is widely known as a director who is very much a "film-geek", with an astonishing, encyclopedic knowledge of movies, film criticism, and film history. Particularly, he has a vast knowledge of foreign films, genre films and little-known pieces of cinema. He is a declared lover of exploitation films, Hong Kong action cinema, Spaghetti Westerns, giallo horror, French New Wave, and British cinema. His love of those genres is mirrored in his works — all of his films regularly quote other movies and genres in their styles, stories and dialogue. He once summed it up by saying, "I never went to film school; I went to films."
In the 2002 Sight and Sound Directors' poll, Tarantino revealed his top-twelve films of all-time: 1.The Good, the Bad and the Ugly , 2.Rio Bravo , 3. Taxi Driver, 4. His Girl Friday, 5. Rolling Thunder, 6. They All Laughed, 7. The Great Escape, 8. Carrie, 9. Coffy, 10. Dazed and Confused, 11. Five Fingers of Death and 12. Hi Diddle Diddle.
A previous top-ten list of Tarantino's also included Blow Out, One-Eyed Jacks, For a Few Dollars More, Bande a part, the remake of Breathless, Le Doulos, They Live By Night and The Long Goodbye.
Tarantino also credits Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver and Mean Streets, as well as George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead as strong influences.
Tarantino has come under criticism for his use of racial epithets in his films, particularly the word nigger in Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, most notably from black American director Spike Lee. In an interview for Variety, Lee said: "I'm not against the word... and I use it, but Quentin is infatuated with the word. What does he want? To be made an honorary black man?"
An oft-cited example is a scene in Pulp Fiction in which a character named Jimmie Dimmick, portrayed by Tarantino himself, rebukes Samuel L. Jackson's character, Jules Winnfield, for using his house as "dead nigger storage", followed by a rant that uses the word profusely. Lee makes direct reference to this in his film Bamboozled when the character Thomas Dunwitty states: "Please don't get offended by my use of the quote-unquote N word. I got a black wife and three biracial children, so I feel I have a right to use that word. I don't give a damn what Spike says, Tarantino is right. Nigger is just a word."
Tarantino has defended his use of the word by arguing that black audiences have an appreciation of his blaxploitation-influenced films that eludes some of his critics, and, indeed, that Jackie Brown, another oft-cited example, was primarily made for "black audiences:"
Tarantino has also been criticized for borrowing ideas, scenes, and lines of dialogue from other films. For example, the general plot of Reservoir Dogs seems to be culled from Ringo Lam's City on Fire and Stanley Kubrick's The Killing, while the idea of the color-coded criminals is taken from The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. The infamous ear-cutting scene in Reservoir Dogs was copied from a movie named Django made in 1966 by the Italian director Sergio Corbucci.
The Don Siegel version of The Killers played an influence on the opening and ending sequences of Pulp Fiction, and the events and dialogue of the adrenaline-injection scene closely resemble a story related in Martin Scorsese's documentary American Boy: A Profile of: Steven Prince. The line about 'going to work on him with a blow torch and pair of pliers" is from the Don Siegel movie called Charlie Varrick made in 1971.
Meanwhile, the story of True Romance is practically the same as that of Terrence Malick's Badlands, while several plotlines, characters and scenes of Kill Bill Vol. 1 seem to be taken from Lady Snowblood. In addition, Kill Bill appears to have been made based on the works of the late Hong Kong director Chang Cheh. 
The Superman monologue delivered at the end of Kill Bill Vol. 2 was copied almost verbatim from Jules Feiffer's 1965 book, The Great Comic Book Heroes. 
Much debate has been sparked on when such references cease to be tributes and become plagiarism. Tarantino, for his part, has always been open and unapologetic about appropriating ideas from films he admires.
One other criticism of Tarantino is that some of Tarantino's dialogue can be found in other films. The verse Samuel Jackson quotes in Pulp Fiction can also be found in the movie Karate Kiba (a 1970s Japanese action film starring Sonny Chiba, also known as The Bodyguard). In this movie the narrator has the following lines:
Classic Quentin Tarantino: Pulp Fiction
Trunk shot in Jackie Brown
In recent years, Tarantino has used his Hollywood power to give smaller and foreign films more attention than they would otherwise have received. These films are usually labeled "Presented by Quentin Tarantino." The first of these productions was in 2001 with the Hong Kong martial arts film Iron Monkey which made over $14 million in the United States, seven times its budget. In 2004 he brought the Chinese martial arts film Hero to U.S. shores. It ended up having a #1 opening at the box office and making $53.5 million. In 2006 the latest "Quentin Tarantino presents" production, Hostel, opened at #1 at the box office with a $20.1 million opening weekend, good for 8th all time in the month of January. He will also be the producer of the (2007) film Hostel 2.
In addition, in 1995, Tarantino formed Rolling Thunder Pictures with Miramax as a vehicle to release or re-release several independent and foreign features. By 1997, Miramax shut down the company due to "lack of interest" in the pictures released. The following films were released by Rolling Thunder Pictures: Chungking Express (1994, dir. Wong Kar-Wai), Switchblade Sisters (1975, dir. Jack Hill), Sonatine (1993, dir. Takeshi Kitano), Hard Core Logo (1996), Mighty Peking Man (1977), Detroit 9000 (1973), and Curdled (1996).
Quentin doing what he does best
A - Z FILMS INDEX
A - Z ACTORS INDEX
A taste for adventure capitalists
Solar Cola - a healthier alternative
This website is Copyright © 1999 & 2006 NJK. The bird logo and name Solar Navigator are trademarks. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are hereby acknowledged. Max Energy Limited is an educational charity.