Taking a look at the entire Quentin Tarantino filmography collection, and ranking them on what makes them so good.
Written by Blake Hall
This is the first in a series of many to come in which I review the entire filmography of my favorite filmmakers; ranking them from least favorite to favorite.
Quentin Tarantino is one of the most iconic and unique directors in film. When watching one of his films, you know you are in the hands of someone who passionately loves cinema. His films are contagious and are a primary source of why I love cinema as much as I do. His catalog is one of the most consistent you’ll find in a director. Here is my ranking of Quentin Tarantino from least favorite to favorite! Whether you’ve seen only one of his classics, all of them, or none at all, this list is for you and why they deserve the watch!
9. DEATH PROOF (2007)
Generally considered the only dud Tarantino made. While I’ll agree that it’s his most loudly flawed film, I still think it’s awesome. Unusual for Tarantino, the dialogue can be clunky at times and scenes drag on way too long. However, it ultimately has a fun grind house vibe to it. Kurt Russell is a great psychotic villain and the final 20 minutes might be my single favorite car chase sequence in film. Tarantino’s passion for 70’s grind house flicks overrides the heavy flaws for me. Even though it’s uneven, it’s a great time.
8. KILL BILL VOL. 2 (2004)
While Kill Bill Vol. 1 is more of an homage to Hong Kong action flicks, this feels like a neo-western. Even though the overall atmosphere of this one is a little more to my taste, I feel that it is a slightly weaker film as a whole. This is mostly down to the fact I always end up finding the ending to be a bit anticlimactic. While it’s still immersive, I find it to be a bit too drawn out. While these kind of scenes are usually Tarantino’s strong point, I felt that he went a little overboard here; especially considering The Bride is more of an archetype than a fleshed out three dimensional character. Having said that, it is truly a great experience as a whole. The first hour is especially top tier Tarantino.
7. KILL BILL VOL. 1 (2003)
I consider this to be the slightly better Kill Bill film. This is just an absolute joy to watch. It constantly oozes of style and constant film homages; particularly to b-movies and Hong Kong action flicks. It has a great concept and a consistently cool atmosphere. The fighting scenes are completely bonkers but it’s aware of its ridiculousness. Despite the fact I feel it doesn’t hit the high masterful moments of the upcoming ranked films on the list, it’s just a great time. You never want it to end.
6. DJANGO UNCHAINED (2012)
I believe Tarantino invented a new sub-genre here: the blaxploitation western. And goodness what an excellent film it is. One of Tarantino’s very best from a storytelling perspective; primarily down to the emotional connection it develops with Django and his situation. Despite the fact I feel it’s slightly too long and I miss the more unique pacing that his other films have, it’s ultimately one of Tarantino’s most entertaining works to date. It’s disturbing, hilarious, exciting and an all around strong cinematic experience.
5. THE HATEFUL EIGHT (2015)
You know a film is great when it’s nearly 3 hours long and primarily set in one room, yet you aren’t bored for a second. That’s exactly how I feel about this one. A who-done-it type of story is right up Tarantino’s alley; it plays out like a Clue game at times. Like any great Tarantino film, there is an underlying tension that anything could go down at any given moment. I also think it’s the best cinematography work in a Tarantino film to date. Two decades later and he’s still got it.
4. JACKIE BROWN (1997)
Jackie Brown is a tragically underrated classic. The most mature, nostalgic and subtle film in Tarantino’s filmography. As much as I’m a fan of his over-the-top style, part of me wishes he made more films in this vein. It has the feel of a neo-noir straight out of the 70s but with Tarantino’s unique directorial style. It may be the least signature film in his catalog but it’s top tier cinema. I could hang out with these characters all day and never be bored.
3. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009)
Oh man this film is an absolute winner. I love everything Tarantino has made but this is the most brilliant he’s been since the 90’s. Everything about this just bleeds love for cinema and exciting filmmaking. From the extremely intense opening scene, the bar scene, the insane finale, amongst many others; you are always completely immersed. It’s masterful scene after masterful scene. It’s bloody, brutal, hilarious, and downright awesome.
2. RESERVOIR DOGS (1992)
My favorite directorial debut of all time? With the possible exception of Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men, I certainly think so. With this, Tarantino immediately rose from obscure screenwriter to being one of the most exciting filmmakers of the 90’s. I can’t think of many films in general I love more than this one. The main draw, of course, is the dialogue. It’s untouchable. Quentin’s unique approach is heavily prominent here. Every character, despite being archetypal criminals, feels relatable and human. Whether they are talking about pop culture or tipping, they are always easy to connect with.
Aside from the wonderful dialogue, it’s all in the memorable characters and scenes. Every character is played to perfection, from Harvey Keitel to Steve Buscemi to Tim Roth. It’s an excellent cast and diverse personalities make for endlessly engrossing conflict. The entire film is great scene after great scene.
Reservoir Dogs is low budget and minimal, and that in itself is a huge part of the charm. It develops consistent conflict, dashing back and forth in time to get as much cinematic value as possible out of each moment. It’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen and is effortlessly cool. A timeless and endlessly re-watchable classic.
1. PULP FICTION (1994)
There are so many reasons why film is my strongest passion. I love them as an escape into a unique world. I love them because they can evoke emotions. I love them because they can make me think about things in a unique way. Above all, I love film because they are capable of taking you on a unique experience like nothing else. I know it’s the obvious choice, but this is absolutely my favorite Quentin Tarantino film. It’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. This just shows how good the man is at articulating his ideas onto screen and ensuring that we are completely immersed from start to finish. It’s masterful scene after masterful scene. It just never loses momentum.
Seeing this as a sophomore in high school was an experience I’ll never forget. Through its sheer unpredictable factor, immersive dialogue, characters, filmmaking techniques, etc.; it opened me up to a completely new way of looking at cinema that has stuck with me every since. It taught me that cinema isn’t about the story itself but it’s all in how the story is told. The way everything is presented is so perfect and original. It’s a beautiful blend of being violent, darkly hilarious and laid back; often enough all three at once. It’s clear that Tarantino loves film like nothing else and it’s contagious.
Watching this is a feeling of being in film lover heaven. It’s great scene after great scene. I don’t think I could ever tire of watching it.
Have a different ranking of Quentin Tarantino films? Let us know in the comments!