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Quentin Jerome Tarantino (born March 27, 1963) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and actor. In the early 1990s he was an independent filmmaker whose films used nonlinear storylines and aestheticization of violence. His films include Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), Kill Bill (Vol. 1, 2003; Vol. 2, 2004), Death Proof (2007) and Inglourious Basterds (2009). His films have earned him Academy, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Palme d'Or Awards and he has been nominated for Emmy and Grammy Awards. In 2007, Total Film named him the 12th-greatest director of all time.

Early life

Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennesseemarker, the son of Connie McHugh Zastoupil, a health care executive and nurse, and Tony Tarantino, an actor and amateur musician born in Queens, New Yorkmarker. Tarantino's father is Italian American and his mother is of Irish and Cherokee Native American ancestry. He attended Narbonne High School in Harbor City, Californiamarker for his freshman year before dropping out of school at age 15. Quentin and his childhood friend, Adam Olis, began to make movies in his backyard using cheap animations. He attended acting school at the James Best Theatre Company in Toluca Lakemarker. At age 22, he held employment at the Video Archives, a now defunct video rental store in Manhattan Beachmarker where he and fellow movie buffs like Roger Avary spent all day discussing and recommending films to customers.

Film career

After Tarantino met Lawrence Bender at a Hollywood party, Bender encouraged Tarantino to write a screenplay. He directed and co-wrote a movie called "My Best Friend's Birthday" in 1987. The final reel of the film was almost fully destroyed in a lab fire that broke out during editing but its screenplay would go on to be the basis for True Romance. In January 1992, Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs hit the Sundance Film festival and was an immediate hit. The film garnered critical acclaim. Reservoir Dogs was a dialogue-driven heist movie that set the tone for his later films. Tarantino wrote the script in three and a half weeks and Bender forwarded it to director Monte Hellman. Hellman helped Tarantino to secure funding from Richard Gladstein at Live Entertainment (which later became Artisan). Harvey Keitel read the script and also contributed to funding, took a co-producer role, and a part in the movie.

Tarantino's screenplay True Romance was optioned and eventually released in 1993. The second script that Tarantino sold was Natural Born Killers, which was revised by Dave Veloz, Richard Rutowski and director Oliver Stone. Tarantino was given story credit, and wished the film well. 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 Amsterdammarker to work on his script for Pulp Fiction.After Pulp Fiction he directed episode four of Four Rooms, "The Man from Hollywood", a tribute to the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode that starred Steve McQueen. Four Rooms was a collaborative effort with filmmakers Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, and Robert Rodriguez. The film was very poorly received by critics and audiences. He appeared in and wrote the script for Robert Rodriguez's From Dusk Till Dawn, which saw mixed reviews from the critics yet led to two sequels, for which Tarantino and Rodriguez would only serve as executive producers.

Tarantino's third feature film was Jackie Brown (1997), an adaptation of Rum Punch, a novel by Elmore Leonard. An homage to blaxploitation films, it starred Pam Grier, who starred in many of that genre's films of the 1970s. He had then planned to make the war film provisionally titled Inglorious Bastards, but postponed it 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), Jidaigeki (Japanese period cinema), Spaghetti Westerns and Italian horror or giallo. It was based on a character (The Bride) and a 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, Kill Bill Vol. 2 had an evening screening, while it was also shown on the morning of the final day in its original 3-hour-plus version with Quentin himself attending the full screening. Tarantino then went on to be credited as "Special Guest Director" for his work directing the car sequence between Clive Owen and Benicio del Toro of Robert Rodriguez's 2005 neo-noir film Sin City.

The next film project was Grindhouse, which he co-directed with Rodriguez. Released in theaters on April 6, 2007, Tarantino's contribution to the Grindhouse project was titled Death Proof. It began as a take on 1970s slasher films, but evolved dramatically as the project unfolded. Ticket sales were low despite mostly positive reviews.

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 (for which Tarantino was credited as an executive producer but with the movie set for release in 2009 he is no longer associated with the project) and Hell Ride (written and directed by Kill Bill star Larry Bishop).

Tarantino said, "When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, 'no, I went to films.'"

Tarantino's summer 2009 film Inglourious Basterds was the story of a group of guerrilla U.S. soldiers in Nazi occupied France during World War II. Filming began in October 2008. The film opened Friday, August 21, 2009 to very positive reviews and the #1 spot at the box office worldwide. It went on to become Tarantino's highest grossing film, both in the United Statesmarker and worldwide.


Reservoir Dogs was given the Critic's Award at the 4th Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival in 1993.

Pulp Fiction won the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. The film was nominated for seven Oscars, winning one for Best Original Screenplay, which was shared jointly by Tarantino and co-writer Roger Avary.

In 2005 Quentin Tarantino won the Icon of the Decade award at the Sony Ericsson Empire Awards.

On August 15, 2007, Philippinemarker president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo presented Tarantino with a lifetime achievement award at the Malacañangmarker Palace in Manilamarker.


Before Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino had considered making The Vega Brothers. The film would have starred Michael Madsen and John Travolta reprising their roles of Vic (Mr. Blonde) from Reservoir Dogs and Vincent from Pulp Fiction. Tarantino would eventually re-envision the film to star Madsen and Travolta as the twin brothers of Vic and Vincent Vega, but in 2007, because of the age of the actors and the onscreen deaths of both characters, he claimed that the Vega Brothers project (which he intended to call Double V Vega) is "kind of unlikely now".Tarantino divulged information about possible anime prequels to the Kill Bill films. These would probably center around the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, Bill or The Bride before the events of the first two films.

In a recent interview with The Telegraph he mentioned an idea for a form of spaghetti western set in America's Deep South which he calls "a southern." Stating that he wanted "to do movies that deal with America's horrible past with slavery and stuff but do them like spaghetti westerns, not like big issue movies. I want to do them like they're genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it's ashamed of it, and other countries don't really deal with because they don't feel they have the right to".

Tarantino confirmed at the 2008 Provincetown International Film Festival that a full length version of Kill Bill will be released and will hopefully contain an extended "anime" section that detailed the development of Lucy Liu's character.

On October 1, 2009, it was revealed while being interviewed on an Italian TV Show after being asked about the success of the two Kill Bill films, Tarantino addressed the hostess by claiming "You haven't asked me about the third one" then asking the woman to ask the question would he be making a third Kill Bill film, which he replied "Yes", and claiming "The Bride will fight again!"

On October 3, 2009, at the Morelia International Film Festival, Quentin Tarantino announced that Kill Bill 3 would be his ninth film, and would be released in 2014. He said he intends to make another unrelated film before that date as his eighth film. He confirmed that he wanted ten years to pass between the Bride's last conflict, to give her and her daughter a period of peace.


Tarantino directed the fifth season finale to the hit show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, which first aired May 19, 2005. The highly rated episode, entitled "Grave Danger", shared a very similar situation from Tarantino's second Kill Bill film: CSI Nick Stokes is captured and buried alive in a Plexiglas coffin while an Internet camera broadcasts the whole thing to CSI headquarters. (In Kill Bill Vol. 2, the Bride was also captured and buried alive in a coffin.)

The episode was delayed in being shown in the UK as the broadcast date coincided with the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London and it was felt that the depiction of a suicide bomber could cause offense. This double-length episode was released on DVD on October 10, 2005. Tarantino was nominated for an Emmy for this episode.

Tarantino directed an episode of ER called "Motherhood" that aired May 11, 1995, an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, and an episode of then-girlfriend Margaret Cho's show, All American Girl. He was featured as a guest judge on the televised singing competition American Idol for one episode during its third season. His reputation for creating memorable movie soundtracks was cited as qualifying him for the role.

Tarantino directed the season 20 (1994–1995 season) episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by John Travolta (musical guest: Seal), which featured a sketch called "Quentin Tarantino's Welcome Back, Kotter", a hybrid of the 1970s sitcom, Welcome Back, Kotter and Tarantino's film Reservoir Dogs. He also hosted an episode of SNL in season 21 (1995–1996 season) with musical guest The Smashing Pumpkins.

Tarantino was originally slated to direct an episode of the X-Files, but was prevented from doing so by the Directors Guild of Americamarker. The episode, titled "Never Again," featured Scully heading to Philadelphia while Mulder was on vacation, to talk to a man who claims his tattoo is talking to him. The episode was written specifically for Tarantino to direct. The DGA contended that Tarantino, who is not a member, failed to compensate the union for lost revenue as a result of his directorial work on ER.


Although Tarantino is best known for his work behind the camera, he appeared in his own films Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Death Proof as minor characters and Desperado, and co-starred alongside George Clooney in From Dusk Till Dawn. He has also appeared on the small screen in the first and third seasons of the TV show Alias. Tarantino once played an Elvis impersonator on an episode of The Golden Girls. He played cameo roles in Desperado (directed by his friend Robert Rodriguez), and Little Nicky (as a crazy, blind, apocalypse preacher). In 1998, he turned his attention to the Broadwaymarker stage, where he starred in a revival of Wait Until Dark. In November 2006, an episode of the Sundance Channel's Iconoclasts features Quentin Tarantino interviewing and spending time with singer Fiona Apple. Tarantino appeared briefly in the beginning of Spike Lee's film Girl 6. Tarantino had substantial screen-time in Grindhouse's double-features, Death Proof and Planet Terror, where he respectively takes on the roles of Warren, a bartender, and Rapist No. 1, an infected member of a rogue military unit. He starred as Johnny Destiny in the film Destiny Turns on the Radio. In 2007 he had a small role as Ringo in the Takashi Miike film Sukiyaki Western: Django.In the 2009 film Inglourious Basterds Tarantino acted a minor role of a German soldier first to be scalped by the titular Basterds. He never plays the role of a protagonist, but sometimes does fit himself in some small characters.


In recent years, Tarantino has used his Hollywood power to give smaller and foreign films arguably more attention than they would otherwise have received. These films are usually labeled "Presented by Quentin Tarantino" or "Quentin Tarantino Presents". 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 January. He presented 2006's The Protector, and is a producer of the (2007) film Hostel: Part II. in 2008 he produced the Larry Bishop helmed Hell Ride, a revenge biker film.

Election isn't one of "Quentin Tarantino presents...", but Tarantino loved the film so much that he still helped the DVD release of the film in some way; his quote "The Best Film Of The Year" is on this film's United States DVD cover.

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, dir. Bruce McDonald), Mighty Peking Man (1977), Detroit 9000 (1973), The Beyond (1981, dir. Lucio Fulci) and Curdled (1996).

Influences and style of film-making

In the 2002 Sight and Sound Directors' poll, Tarantino revealed his top-twelve films: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Rio Bravo; Taxi Driver; His Girl Friday; Rolling Thunder; They All Laughed; The Great Escape; Carrie; Coffy; Dazed and Confused; Five Fingers of Death; and Hi Diddle Diddle. In 2009, he named Kinji Fukasaku's violent action film Battle Royale as the only film released since he became a director that he wished he had made.

In August 2007, while teaching a four-hour film course during the 9th Cinemanila International Film Festival in Manilamarker, Tarantino cited Filipinomarker directors Cirio Santiago, Eddie Romero, and Gerardo de León as personal icons from the 1970s, citing De Leon's "soul-shattering, life-extinguishing" movies on vampires and female bondage, particularly Women in Cages. "It is just harsh, harsh, harsh," he said, and described the final shot as one of "devastating despair".

Tarantino's different style of film making earned him many accolades worldwide. According to Tarantino, a recurring hallmark in all his movies is that there is a different sense of humour in all his movies, which gets the audience to laugh at things that aren′t funny.

African American culture

The influence of African American culture is apparent in much of Tarantino's work. His references to blaxploitation films and soul music are complimentary tributes.

Tarantino has been criticized for a too familial attitude towards other cultures. Spike Lee questions the use of racial epithets in his films, particularly the word "nigger". In an interview for Variety discussing Jackie Brown, 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?" Samuel L. Jackson, who has appeared in films directed by both directors, defended Tarantino's use of the word. At the Berlin Film Festival, where Jackie Brown was being screened, Jackson responded to Lee's criticism by saying:

Tarantino has defended his use of the word, 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".

Personal life

Tarantino worked in a video rental store prior to becoming a filmmaker, paid close attention to the types of films people liked to rent, and has cited that experience as inspiration for his directorial career.

Tarantino has been romantically linked with numerous entertainers, including actress Mira Sorvino, directors Allison Anders and Sofia Coppola, actresses Julie Dreyfus and Shar Jackson and comedians Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho. There have also been rumors about his relationship with Uma Thurman, whom he has referred to as his "muse". However, Tarantino has gone on record as saying that their relationship is strictly platonic. He has never married and has no children. Tarantino recently stated "I'm not saying that I'll never get married or have a kid before I'm 60. But I've made a choice, so far, to go on this road alone. Because this is my time to make movies."

One of Tarantino's closest friends is fellow director Robert Rodriguez. Their biggest collaborations have been From Dusk Till Dawn (written by Tarantino, directed by Rodriguez), Four Rooms (they both wrote and directed segments of the film), Sin City and Grindhouse. It was Tarantino who suggested that Rodriguez name the final part of his El Mariachi trilogy Once Upon a Time in Mexico, as an homage to the titles Once Upon a Time in the West and Once Upon A Time In America by Sergio Leone. They are both members of A Band Apart, a production company that also features directors John Woo and Luc Besson. Rodriguez scored Kill Bill: Volume 2 for one dollar, and the favor was returned in kind, with Tarantino directing a scene in Rodriguez's 2005 film Sin City for the same fee.

He was thanked in the liner notes of Nirvana's final studio album In Utero although the spelling of his name is incorrect. Tarantino returned the favor by thanking Nirvana on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, along with the message "RIP Kurt". It was thought that Cobain and his wife Courtney Love turned down an offer to act in Pulp Fiction as Lance & Jody. However Tarantino denied this rumor and claimed he had no real connection to Love and Cobain other than the fact that Kurt liked Reservoir Dogs.


Feature films
Year Film Other notes
1992 Reservoir Dogs Nominated - Independent Spirit Award for Best Director
1994 Pulp Fiction Palme d'or
Independent Spirit Award for Best Director
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Direction
Nominated - Directors Guild of America Award
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Director

1997 Jackie Brown
2003 Kill Bill
2004 Kill Bill Vol.2
2007 Grindhouse: Death Proof
2009 Inglourious Basterds
Other projects
Year Title Notes
1987 My Best Friend's Birthday
1995 Four Rooms segment "The Man from Hollywood"
1995 ER Season 1; Episode 24: "Motherhood"
2004 Jimmy Kimmel Live April 20, 2004
2005 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Episodes "Grave Danger: Vols. I & II"
Nominated - Emmy Award for Best Directing - Drama
Sin City Special guest director
Possible umpcoming projects
Year Title Notes
TBA Kill Bill: Vol. 3

Year Film Other notes
1987 My Best Friend's Birthday unfinished first film
1992 Past Midnight uncredited re-write
Reservoir Dogs
1993 True Romance
1994 Pulp Fiction with Roger Avary
Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay
BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay
Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay

Natural Born Killers story credit, wrote original draft
1995 Crimson Tide uncredited re-write
Four Rooms segment "The Man from Hollywood"
1996 From Dusk Till Dawn
The Rock uncredited script polish
Curdled uncredited Gecko Brothers news report
1997 Jackie Brown adapted from Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch
2003 Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003), Vol. 2 (2004)
2005 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation "Grave Danger: Vols. I & II" story credit
Nominated - Writers Guild of America Award
2007 Grindhouse: Death Proof
2009 Inglourious Basterds Tarantino views that script as his masterpiece; "Some of the best writing [he's] ever done."

Year Film Role Other notes
1987 My Best Friend's Birthday Clarence Pool
1992 Reservoir Dogs Mr. Brown
1994 Pulp Fiction Jimmie Dimmick
Sleep With Me Sid
1995 Destiny Turns On the Radio Johnny Destiny
Four Rooms Chester Rush segment "The Man from Hollywood"
Desperado Pick-up Guy
1996 From Dusk Till Dawn Richie Gecko Nominated - Golden Raspberry Award Worst Supporting Actor
Girl 6 Q.T.
1997 Jackie Brown Default Answering Machine voice
2000 Little Nicky Crazy Priest
2001 Alias McKenas Cole
2002 BaadAsssss Cinema Himself documentary
2003 Kill Bill Crazy 88 member
2004 Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession Himself documentary
2005 The Muppets' Wizard of Oz Himself as Kermit's director
2007 Grindhouse: Planet Terror Rapist #1
Grindhouse: Death Proof Warren the Bartender
Sukiyaki Western: Django Mystery Man Ringo
2008 Not Quite Hollywood Himself documentary
2009 Inglourious Basterds Soldier within a film "Nation's Pride", first scalped victim shown cameo

Year Film Other notes
1987 My Best Friend's Birthday
1992 Past Midnight
1993 Iron Monkey 2001 U.S. release
1994 Killing Zoe
1995 Four Rooms
1996 From Dusk Till Dawn
1998 God Said, 'Ha!'
1999 From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money
2002 From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter
2002 Hero 2004 U.S. release
2005 Daltry Calhoun
Freedom's Fury
The Protector 2006 U.S. release
2007 Grindhouse
Hostel: Part II
2008 Hell Ride

See also


  2. Keitel heard of the script through his wife, who attended a class with Lawrence Bender (see Reservoir Dogs special edition DVD commentary).
  5. Quentin Tarantino Talks Kill Bill 3: The Bride Will Fight Again!,, October 1, 2009, accessed October 2, 2009
  6. Tarantino Teases 'Kill Bill Volume 3'
  7. Tarantino wants to 'Kill Bill' again
  8. The Golden Girls: Season Four (1988-89).
  9. How the directors and critics voted.
  10. Quentin Tarantino and Mira Sorvino are history.
  11. Coppola and Tarantino Share Suite.
  12. I'm the One That I Want.
  17. Bowles, Scott (2003-10-06). "Tarantino goes for the 'Kill'", USA Today, Gannett Company.

Further reading

  • Greene, Richard and K. Silem Mohammad, editors. Quentin Tarantino and Philosophy. Chicago: Open Court Books, 2007. ISBN 0812696344.

External links

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