Quentin Tarantino – From Worst to Best

Quintin Tarantino

QT on set with some of the cast of The Hateful Eight

List compiled by Eddie on 3/06/2016

With the recent release of The Hateful Eight we’ve now been treated to (aptly) eight Quentin Tarantino films that have all in their unique ways entertained us, shocked us and showcased to us the gift QT has for his craft as both a director and a writer.

Over the course of 8 feature length films, a couple of guest directing gigs and even a couple of episodes of C.S.I and a singular E.R venture, QT has stamped his voice onto the industry with his original way with both the written word and skill behind the camera, not to mention his ability to draw performances out of struggling or no named actors (here’s looking at you John Travolta).

It could be argued that QT has never made an irremediably bad film and while there were suggestions that the highly intelligent director (whose I.Q rates well above average) and one time video story employee would stop making feature films after his 10th movie, there’s hope that for many years yet this original talent will continue to work in the industry that needs him more than ever.

For consistency sake, guest directing jobs that QT has worked on in the films Sin City and Four Rooms are not included in the below list while his somewhat mysterious first feature from 1987 that was a D.I.Y effort, My Best Friends Birthday has also been excluded.

Happy reading and happy watching!

Death Proof

Making sure to get those feet just right in the filming of Death Proof

8. Death Proof (2007)

A homage to old school Grindhouse, Death Proof  (which was a part of the Grindhouse double bill experiment with Robert Rodriguez) is a light yet enjoyable film that was also QT’s biggest Box Office and critical flop. There’s small moments of genuine brilliance here but only the most dedicated of QT fans could defend Death Proof when compared to his filmography overall.

Bare feet shown – Yes

7. Jackie Brown (1997)

How does one follow up the 1 and 2 double hit of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, if you’re Tarantino it’s with this Pam Grier lead thriller that also features one of Tarantino’s most star studded cast’s. Reception upon release for Jackie Brown was somewhat muted but in the proceeding years that’ve followed it’s found itself a small yet vocal fan base.

Bare feet shown – Yes

6. The Hateful Eight (2015)

A love letter to westerns of old, The Hateful Eight is arguably Tarantino’s most dialogue heavy and dialogue focused feature that spreads itself over 5 chapters. A majority of these chapters are fantastic but as the run time continues to tick and the narrative drives itself into a corner, The Hateful Eight becomes an enjoyable if somewhat lacking entry into the directors loaded canon.

Bare feet shown – No

5. Kill Bill: Vol 1 + 2 (2003/2004)

Arguments may be made as to why the Kill Bill volumes aren’t separated on this list, Kill Bill was made and directed by Tarantino as one 4 hour long film that was then split for financial reasons by the Weinstein’s. Kill Bill which takes many of its ideas and even scenarios from the legends of Japanese cinema, is a violent tale of revenge and samurai swords that is both gleefully fun and highly intense. Style over substance for sure, the Kill Bill adventure is a highly enjoyable one.

Bare feet shown – Yes

Reservoir Dogs

The swag was strong in QT’s debut Reservoir Dogs

4. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Who would’ve thought that a low budget movie set almost entirely within an abandoned warehouse and where most of the interesting scenarios play out off screen would’ve launched the career of one of the modern era’s greatest filmmakers? Gathering what would’ve been then a dream cast, Tarantino’s feature length debut showcases what’s best about the filmmaker, scripting, characters and stories and to this day this low budget grunge filled crime film is a real blast.

Bare feet shown – No

3. Inglorious Basterds (2009)

QT does World War 2 and boy does he do it well. Introducing the world to Christoph Waltz, a scalp loving Brad Pitt and an alternative ending to the terrible war, Inglorious is an epic war time yarn that is brutal and bloody but also a heck of a lot of fun.

Bare feet shown – Yes

2. Django Unchained (2012)

A film that is both brutal and funny and also far too close to home for some, Django Unchained saw QT team up with Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz to great effect. Django, which was a huge box office and critical success, saw QT at his best since his early beginnings and one can only hope that he acts upon his desire to direct three Western films.

Bare feet shown – Yes

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Little needs to be said of Pulp Fiction. QT (and no doubt Roger Avary) created the rare type of film that has seeped into pulp culture of all kinds as both a lauded and loved film from critics and audiences alike. Reviving the career of John Travolta and in some ways Samuel L. Jackson, creating a unique McGuffin filled narrative and giving airplay to gimps the world over, Pulp Fiction is an out and out Palme d’Or winning masterpiece of the likes we will perhaps never see again.

Bare feet shown – Yes

Pulp Fiction

Just one of many iconic images from Pulp Fiction, a cinematic masterpiece

How does list compare to your thoughts? Perhaps there’s another #1 on your mind or is there an underrated gem in Tarantino’s filmography? If so we’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

For The Movie Guy’s other director lists see below

Steven Spielberg

Dario Argento

Terrence Malick

Ridley Scott

The Coen Brothers

Martin Scorsese

John Carpenter

Tim Burton

David Fincher

63 responses to “Quentin Tarantino – From Worst to Best

  1. Solid list Eddie, really great work. I am a huge Tarantino fan for sure 🙂 My favourite is Inglorious Basterds. It never gets old, and there are so many reasons to love it!

  2. Ooh, I like Jackie Brown a bit more than you, but I think you can argue for pretty much any order as long as Deathproof is at the bottom

  3. I haven’t watched Jackie Brown and Death Proof, but I am in full agreement with the list as far as the Top 6 goes. I might switch Django for Inglorious, but it really depends on my mood.

  4. Watching The Hateful Eight tonight, so I’ll have to see where it belongs on the list. Agree Pulp Fiction is at the top just for the influence it’s had over the past 20 years (wow – now I feel old), but Kill Bill II is my favorite.

      • Definitely agree with your ranking. I’ve loved everything he’s done, but this definitely wasn’t his best work. One of his more interesting ones for sure, but I don’t think it all came together the same way Pulp Fiction or Inglorious Basterds did. (I didn’t think it was as insane as his other films . . . until Sam Jackson told his story, and then it never stopped being insane.)

  5. Wow great list man! Mostly agree but would put Jackie Brown and Reservoir Dogs in the top 3. Didn’t love Django as much as most people did. Definitely agree Pulp Fiction is a game-changer

  6. Great list. I would not have Django so high up though. The first two acts are fantastic but the final act bloodbath bored me. And while I love Pulp Fiction Inglorious Basterds is my top pick. Flawless movie.

  7. Pulp fiction my favorite by far but the second one would of been Inglorious Basterds. I would of put Jackie brown last it was too long and I was not crazy about it. Nicely done for the list.

  8. Quentin Tarantino is a MASTERCLASS! One has to admire his artistic ability and his AMBITION (Just like Orochimaru #Naruto #Ambition) … … Tarantino is a self-made man! His upbringing was on self-education and working at a pornographic theater! I have deep respect for the man and his ability to bring his ideas and his BADASSness to the screen. Even making the Scientology crazed – Travolta – looking good in Pulp Fiction (Just beware of Battlefield Earth)

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  11. Great ranking, although I’d invert Pulp Fiction and Django 🙂 To me, Django is Tarantino’s real masterpiece. It was the first film in which he had to mask all of his references. No one could speak about film because they simply weren’t around at the time 🙂 Tarantino relied on the audience’s knowledge to fill in the pastiche. Great stuff!

  12. 1. Reservoir Dogs was an astounding piece of work……………probably the best crime caper flick of all time in my books – Tim Roth, with his flashback stuff was truly outstanding! I took my mum to see it and she said it reminded her of ‘those crime films of the ’40s’ (her era-film noir) and to me, QT couldn’t get a better rap than that!
    2. Pulp Fiction – purely outstanding cinema………except for the ‘creep’/Ving Rhames bit and it fell a bit flat with QT and the body sequence, otherwise No: 1
    3. Inglorious Basterds – purely for the opening nail-biting sequence, which still shatters me even though I’ve watched it numerous times and Fassbender in the bar playing the guessing game! Astonishing! Made Fassbender a star!
    4. Kill Bills……….etc. etc. etc.

    Great post!

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