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The Tarantino List: Ranking Of The Director’s Greatest Films



The Tarantino List: Ranking of The Director's Greatest Films

If you know Tarantino. You know he often takes the concept of what makes a good movie (or even a movie in general) and turns it on its head. Well, we’re going to try ranking Tarantino films.

Overwhelmingly, his films are cinematic masterpieces. They’re well-crafted works of art that grip the viewer for hours and leave them wanting more. Some of them may be more rambling but still compelling pieces of cinema.

But, whatever your opinions, there’s no doubt that Tarantino can bring it when it comes to making movies. Whether as a screenwriter, director, or producer.

So what better way to honour them than with a subjective, but still fact-based approach to ranking all 16 of Tarantino’s films?

You may not agree with everything I put here in my rankings. I imagine my #1 choice might be rather controversial. But, I hope you at least understand my method. Especially as someone who studied film extensively in college (and almost ended up going to film school). And what’s better than a little spirited debate?

So, without further ado, here’s our ranking of Quentin Tarantino’s movies.

16. Four Rooms

More of a short piece of a puzzle than anything else. But it still shows the same Tarantino flair that many of his other, more classic movies. Longer dialogue, fun conversations that suddenly turn randomly violent and hostile (“Who drank out of this bottle last?”). Plus, long tracking shots that follow characters and conversations. There’s plenty of cursing that seems gratuitous but somehow also works perfectly in the flow of dialogue.

It all screams “Tarantino” but doesn’t scream it long enough. It would rank higher but, unfortunately, there’s not enough to go on here to warrant a higher ranking.

15. Sin City

Sin City is a good movie, maybe even an excellent movie, but is it really…a Tarantino movie?

It certainly has a similar feel to some of his movies. Even though Tarantino’s scene (Clive Owen and Benicio Del Toro talking in the car) is quite short. It’s enveloped within the darker, Frank Miller/Robert Rodriguez-style universe. His scene stands out for being very Tarantino-esque and fitting in remarkably well within the context of the movie.

You have the ultra-violence (Del Toro’s character’s head is impaled AND his throat is slit!). The back-and-forth, pseudo-philosophical dialogue between two characters. Specifically, two characters sitting and talking in a car. Have you ever noticed how often crazy stuff goes down in cars in Tarantino movies?.

If this were to be extrapolated into a full-length movie in this style, it might rank higher on the list. But then again, if it were a full-length movie it might just be Pulp Fiction with darker lighting. Not that that’s a bad thing but still.

14 & 13. Death Proof (Grindhouse)

Hey, speaking of crazy stuff that goes down in cars…!

These two are kind of/sort of considered different movies. Depending on where you are, but for the most part, they get grouped since they are thematically similar.

But…what are the themes? Yes, there is a lot of examination of female empowerment. Still, it’s grouped with the grindhouse/slasher aesthetic. Where Stuntman Mike does all kind of nastiness to the ladies up front before finally getting his comeuppance in the end.

So while this movie may be fun and a homage to schlock-cinema of the past. Its themes veer off the road (pun intended), and we are left with a confusing sense of incompletion.

Do we just enjoy the gore part early on and revel in carnage? Or do we take it seriously as a pseudo-arthouse flick that examines the role of women in society? Perhaps at least, the ability of women to fight back against violence and oppression? Or are we even supposed to be taking this movie that seriously to begin with, and instead are we just going to enjoy it for the crazy slash fest that it is?

Until those points are settled, it’s hard to rank Death Proof higher than this. Not that it’s bad, but that we don’t know where to go with it.

12. Natural Born Killers

Here’s a hot take: Natural Born Killers is perhaps the most significant missed opportunity in the last thirty years of cinema.

Had Tarantino himself been allowed to direct his script, this could have been one of the most influential, thought-provoking pieces of cinema ever to gain a wide release.

It is, at its heart, a critical analysis/satire and commentary on so many issues that societies of today still struggle with. How the ills of society can affect two (originally) innocent people. Then turn them into heartless murderers and criminals (see: Breaking Bad).

How the voyeuristic nature of society – American or otherwise – has come to fetishise mass violence. How it turns the perpetrator of brutal crimes into celebrities who are worshipped and even copycatted. Just look at all the school shootings of recent years, countless serial killers, even Hunger Games to some degree.

How even the people that have sworn to protect the innocent, are often guilty themselves. Like Detective Scagnetti, who pursues murderers while also being one.

It could have been The Boondock Saints before The Boondock Saints was a thing, except much better written and with a stronger message. But it’s not.

There was a tightrope that needed to be walked by whoever directed this script. Teetering between the nihilistic message and satirical commentary. Then the outright brutal violence that’s layered over the top.

The director chosen to walk this line was Oliver Stone, a man who is known for his ability to be careful and subtle about…nothing.

Instead of being the brilliant satire that it could have been, Natural Born Killers instead lives on as a brutal gorefest much like Death Proof.

Still, instead of shining a light on society’s ills it instead spawned a whole wave of copycat violence and helped usher in an era. Where violence is glorified and people will do anything. No matter how vile, to get attention. Which, if you think of it, pretty much entirely misses the freaking point of the movie.

What could have been eh?

11. The Hateful Eight

This might seem like a low ranking for a movie that grossed over $150 million worldwide. It featured a great ensemble cast, and finally earned Ennio Morricone an Academy Award for Best Original Score. Morricone only winning one Oscar during his massively influential career is a crime if you ask me.

But the thing about The Hateful Eight is that it’s… okay? Like it’s certainly not bad. But…you put Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern (that’s 5 Oscar nominations among them, just to name a few actors).

Plus a slew of other Tarantino Repertory Theatre favourites in there and…it’s fine? You take all those great actors, and you have them spend most of the time in a cabin killing each other?

And in the end, the critical consensus (and certain viewer opinions) are that, “Yeah, that was OK. But maybe it was a bit too slow and long and a bit too over the top for my taste.”

The biggest issue with The Hateful Eight is, really, that by this point in his career, Tarantino was starting to go through the motions a bit. He’d rely on all of his old tips and tricks, rather than do anything new and daring as he did in the past. Or at least get weird and original like he was at this best (he would get that mojo back in subsequent years, though…stay tuned).

The Hateful Eight was one of the movies where people started questions whether Tarantino had “it” anymore. Or if he was become less director and more Radio DJ, playing his Number One Hits over and over and hoping people didn’t notice.

It’s not a bad movie by any measure, it’s just…not his best work.

10. From Dusk Till Dawn

It might raise an eyebrow to rank From Dusk Till Dawn this high. Still, the reason I slotted it right above The Hateful Eight is that, while it might not have been as technically sound as some of Tarantino’s better screenplays. It was certainly an original concept and got everyone’s attention.

While The Hateful Eight was “fine, but not too fun,” FDTD is really fun and original, which made up for some of its technical flaws.

Even though Tarantino himself did not direct the movie, that went to his frequent collaborator Robert Rodriguez. It certainly smacks of Tarantino at his early peak. Everyone knew he could get weird, but it wasn’t until FDTD that people started to realise just how weird he could get.

All of the Tarantino trademarks are there. The winding, seemingly boring conversations that somehow end with people getting suddenly and brutally murdered. Plus, a fun and different acting turn from George Clooney.

There’s a clever twist that seemed to come out of nowhere if you weren’t paying attention along the way. Watch the scene where Clooney’s character confronts Tarantino’s about killing the hostage. Tell me you don’t see the demonic twists coming…it’s all there.

Even after the technical mastery of his early work. It was here where Tarantino started to show what he could do to keep your attention and have a blast doing it.

Really, that’s why this movie is ranked as high as it is: it’s just fun. It’s not perfect, it’s weird as anything, but it’s fun and you enjoy the ride. And isn’t that what Tarantino – or any filmmaker – wants?

9. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The most recent addition into the Tarantino canon. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood relies on Tarantino’s more recent love for changing history to better suit his narrative. While also proving that he had gotten his mojo back after seemingly losing some interest in movies like The Hateful Eight.

It’s hard to place this movie in the rankings of Tarantino’s work because it is so new. So it is hard to determine how well it will hold up over time. But critical acclaim accrued upon its arrival. Especially since it was a quality effort from the beloved Tarantino, and his first movie in almost four years. Plus, its elegant homages to old Hollywood and, among other things, a haunting meditation on getting older. And not being quite the man you used to be, makes this movie impossible to drop below #9 on the rankings.

While Brad Pitt finally earned his elusive Oscar for this movie. It’s possible to argue that DiCaprio was equally deserving of an Oscar for his portrayal of Rick Dalton. The former superstar who just can’t quite come to grips with not being number one anymore. Whether he deserved it more than Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of The Joker is…a matter for another article.

Instead, Pitt – who, interestingly, also embodies the star who doesn’t shine as brightly as he used to – got his win. We got another great Tarantino movie, and history gets rewritten so that Sharon Tate doesn’t die and everyone goes home happy.

8. Kill Bill: Vol. 2       7. Kill Bill: Vol. 1

It’s hard to separate these two movies, and they come so close to each other in terms of rankings that I’m going to talk about both of them at the same time.

Both movies are a return to original form for Tarantino. Plus, kind of mirroring Once Upon a Time, they signalled a return to theatres for the director after a multi-year break.

Both are a fun and bloody romp featuring a strong female lead (not always Tarantino’s strong suit) in which she exacts revenge on those who wronged her. Volume 2 is a little more talk-heavy and plot-oriented, and explains The Bride’s backstory and motivations.

While Volume 1 is more action-based and more of a thrill ride. It fits into Tarantino’s more trademarked “Let’s throw all these genres of film together and blend them and make it amazing!” style that we’ve come to know and love.

Volume 1 ranks higher than Volume 2. While Volume 2 is better at explaining the backstory and showing the Bride’s, progression:

1) we’d already seen the action piece in the first movie, so going backward kind of slowed the whole thing down, and

2) my goodness was that ending a letdown. Yes, the Five-Point Exploding Heart Technique was deadly. A homage to old martial arts movies of yesteryear. And was expertly foreshadowed a la Chekhov’s Gun but we expected a bigger pop.

I mean, the entire plot of both movies, over four hours of cinema, ended with a guy getting poked in the chest. Then having a nice little conversation, and then walking away and dying? Not with a bang, but with a whimper indeed.

That, combined with the thrill ride that was Volume 1 (and the fact that, hey, Tarantino was back!) makes Volume 1 the winner in this showdown.

Honestly, I thought about dropping Volume 2 to #9, but Volume 2 has stood the test of time in a way that Once Upon a Time hasn’t had the chance to quite yet.

6. Jackie Brown

I kept going back and forth with this one as far as where to put it. But ultimately I settled with #6 on the list because it’s one of the best written and acted entries in the Tarantino canon. But it doesn’t quite match the same level of excitement and adrenaline high that the movies ranked higher do.

Yes, it paid homage to movies and genres of the past. Specifically the blaxploitation genre, and in so doing, reinvigorated Pam Grier’s career and kept fanning the flames on the career of Samuel L. Jackson. One could argue that Tarantino is almost responsible for Jackson becoming the megastar he did.

It was slower and more deliberately paced than most of his other movies, being that it was more a character-driven love story (!!) than most of his other films. And it was well-received critically, so much so that it could be argued this movie should be ranked higher.

But here’s the thing about Jackie Brown and why it’s at #6 on this list. This might spark some controversy. When you think about Quentin Tarantino movies, and if I were to ask you to name your top three Tarantino films, I bet you’re not thinking Jackie Brown. It’s a great film that is well-written and well-acted…but when you think “Tarantino,” I bet your mind is going somewhere else.

It’s a great movie but it doesn’t stand out among his work, and that has to count for something.

5. True Romance

One of Tarantino’s earliest efforts and again, not one that he directed, that honour went to Tony Scott.

True Romance gets the slight nod over Jackie Brown. It is a similarly well-acted, well-written story that combines quality with just a little more oomph than Jackie Brown.

It’s essentially the script that, after Reservoir Dogs, put Tarantino on the map as one of the next great filmmakers. An honour he more than earned in the years that followed.

It also established that “Tarantino style”. Where goofy things happen, violence happens, you laugh more than you expect but there’s also a more significant theme that makes you think.

While True Romance did not achieve the same kind of financial success as Tarantino’s other movies on this list. It’s hard to imagine that at that time someone of Quentin Tarantino’s reputation would be a super-bankable name.

Don’t forget, Reservoir Dogs which is still to come on this list is the least financially successful movie that Tarantino made. Yet it is one of the mostly fondly remembered and copied films among critics and filmmakers over the last 30 years.

True Romance may not have been that monetarily successful compared to other films, but it laid the groundwork for what was to come later on. And when you look to the genesis of one of the great directors of our time, you have to look at where he started in order to give credit for where he ended up.

4. Django Unchained

When a movie earns widespread critical acclaim. Then earns more money than any other movie you’ve ever made. Then wins two of the four Academy Awards you’ve even won for you movies, that movie needs to be up high on the list.

That is why, despite the film being almost three hours long – and there’s plenty that could be cut to trim it down. And it’s a little more uneven than some of Tarantino’s other works. Not to mention the disconcerting number of times that the N-word is used by white characters. There’s no way Django Unchained can fall lower than #4 on this list.

Here we have Tarantino hitting all of his high notes. Great acting, including yet another scenery-chewing star turn by Leonardo DiCaprio. Somewhat gratuitous yet incredibly fun amount of gory violence. Historical revisionism at its best (well, maybe save for one movie…we’ll get there). And a strong message about the ridiculousness of white supremacy (best illustrated by the darkly hilarious “bag scene”). And the heinous nature of slavery.

It’s all there, it’s all fun, and it made money. Plus it is still the most Oscar honoured movie in Tarantino’s canon. Which is a little crazy to think about…only four Oscars won by one of our greatest living directors?

3.  Reservoir Dogs

The OG. Reservoir Dogs put Tarantino on the map. Tarantino showed us that a brilliant artist was on the rise. Someone who was going to take everything we knew about filmmaking and shake it up, make it better, and guide us in a weird, fun, violent new direction.

In other words, with Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino showed us that he, indeed, was not just going to bark all day; he was going to bite.

From the first scene, we got a preview of the insane, hilarious, pseudo-philosophical discussions that Tarantino would be serving up for years to come (plus, does this guy like criminals hanging out in diners or what?).

It established the Tarantino Repertory Theatre of actors that would keep coming back time and time again for his movies. Think Keitel, Roth, Madsen, Buscemi, plus appearances by Tarantino himself.

It established that sometimes really bad things happen when you’re riding in a car and not prepared (you might get shot!). And that maybe you can’t trust everyone you work with on a job with other criminals.

Of course, the movie had its unsteady moments. And you can tell this was a Director feeling his way around, but the writing was already top-notch, and the twists and turns were there for everyone to see.

This was the movie that started the genesis of Tarantino, and there was no turning back after that.

2. Pulp Fiction

I’m sure that some of you are sitting there right now, seeing Pulp Fiction at #2 on the list of greatest Tarantino movies, and are feeling stunned. Or angry, maybe even as angry as Jules was when he confronted Brett and his associates. But hear me out.

First, there is no doubt that Pulp Fiction is one of the greatest movies of all time. The opening is Tarantino at his best. Foolish buddy talk, some exposition, some more buddy talk, then threats screamed at a high level followed by sudden and gruesome violence.

Then it’s on to the date scene, complete with flirting and dancing and then a horrifying overdose. On and on we go.

The film is immensely quotable. It’s brilliantly acted, it tells a good story (really, a series of stories). Tt features one of the all-time greatest MacGuffins (the briefcase), you name it.

The brilliance of the story was rewarded when it won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. And really, one could argue it deserved to win Best Picture over Forrest Gump, but perhaps Hollywood did not see Tarantino as ready yet.

So why does Pulp Fiction not take the #1 spot on this list?

It’s a couple of things, and it was close. The first is that, while the non-linear narrative of the story is well-done and interesting and original…it can be argued that, maybe, it’s not entirely necessary (ducks and hides from angry fans).

I mean, does it really add anything to the story? It doesn’t really take away anything from the movie, but it can be argued that this particular flourish was done for the sake of doing it.

The other reason it’s #2 on this list? Because when I look at the movie that ended up at #1, I just feel like the other movie has no holes.

It hasn’t necessarily been around as long as Pulp Fiction, but in the end I think it’s just…a little more complete.

So you should’ve figured out our number one by now…

1. Inglorious Basterds

There are many reasons why Inglourious Basterds is the greatest Quentin Tarantino movie of all time.

First, even besides the brilliant script. And the kind of dialogue and speaking parts that we’ve become accustomed to and learned to love. Inglorious Basterds is probably Tarantino’s funniest movie in spots. Which considering the subject matter is unexpected.

All the scenes involving Brad Pitt are hilarious, but yet all carry a real sense of danger. In a way, Brad Pitt’s Aldo Raine is Tarantino’s greatest hero character. Even though he is still very much an anti-hero. Yes, most people would agree that killing Nazis would have been beneficial to history, but the fact is he was still a murderer.

But he was a relatable antihero. He and his band of Basterds were ones we could laugh at and laugh with. And ultimately – in Tarantino’s greatest act of historical revisionism. Root for when they assisted with the murdering of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi brethren.

Even with all that said, it’s a good chance we might still think of Inglourious Basterds as one of Tarantino’s greatest movies. If maybe not greater than Pulp Fiction. But Basterds takes the top spot for one major reason:

Showcasing Christoph Waltz

If Hans Landa isn’t in a class by himself as the greatest movie villain of all time, then I’m sure it wouldn’t take long to call roll for that class. Maybe Anthony Hopkins’s portrayal of Hannibal Lecter matches it?

If so, that’s the only one I can think of that can go toe-to-toe with the character of Hans Landa. Landa is, without a doubt, one of the trickiest characters to accurately portray. Especially in a way that makes him seem like an actual human being and not like an over-the-top cartoon villain, but Waltz pulled it off.

He made Landa into a threatening, charming, funny, educated, sadistic villain who could hit any note at any time. Sometimes in succession. Think of the scene at the beginning where he interrogates the farmer and ends up killing the family in hiding. Wow, that is one of the most excellent, most tense and well-acted scenes in any movie (Tarantino or otherwise).

It could be argued that it’s not even the best scene featuring Landa in the movie. See also: the scene where he eats dinner with Shoshanna, one of the most legitimately terrifying clips I’ve ever seen.

Needless to say, Christoph Waltz won an Oscar for his portrayal of Landa (and won a second Oscar for supporting role n Django).

It was a close competition. But since Inglourious Basterds features one of the single greatest villains in movie history, it edges out Pulp Fiction for #1 on this list.

There you have it, a comprehensive ranking of Quentin Tarantino’s greatest films. We hope that you enjoyed this list, we hope it made you think, re-evaluate your opinions, and hopefully not get too angry.

Do you have a different opinion on these rankings? Do you agree or disagree with our list or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.

Check out more of our movie lists HERE.

Read IMDB information about Inglorious Basterds HERE.

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Hogwarts Houses For MCU Characters



MCU Harry Potter houses image
Marvel Studios & Warner Bros.

Since its conception, Hogwarts houses have been a deciding factor in getting to know people. How someone answers “what Hogwarts house are you in?” can tell you a lot about a person. But where do some of our favourite MCU characters shape up when faced with the sorting hat?

Tony Stark/Iron Man- Ravenclaw

While Tony could be argued for almost any of the houses, Ravenclaw suits him best. Most of his development comes from the pursuit of knowledge. Aside from being one of the smartest characters in the MCU, he is constantly learning and improving upon his technology. He tends to approach large problems from a strategic and pragmatic standpoint, especially in his later films. Admittedly he can be brave and somewhat self-servingly ambitious. But who he is at the end of his arc and the way that he solves problems points to Iron Man being in Ravenclaw.

Steve Rogers/Captain America- Gryffindor

Is it even a question? Steve Rogers is definitely a Gryffindor. From day one, he has always strived to do what’s right. And he subtly wants a bit of glory for it too. He’s a natural leader and has always rushed into danger without a thought. He is undoubtedly driven by bravery and righteousness and is through and through a Gryffindor.

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow- Hufflepuff

Natasha is tricky. She could truthfully swing in any direction. It may seem strange to put a spy in Hufflepuff, but if nothing else, Natasha is loyal. She cares deeply for those close to her and has shown that she’s willing to die for them. Her characterization throughout the MCU has been lacking, but her solo film has shown her to be fiercely loyal.

Bruce Banner/The Hulk- Ravenclaw

Another Ravenclaw. Similar to Tony, Bruce is very intelligent. While he seems to be less inclined to want to fight battles than Tony is, he is constantly learning. His relationship with the Hulk can even be characterized this way. By a desire to learn how to control him, then to understand him, then to become him. His arc is one that is driven by knowledge.

Thor- Gryffindor

Thor is always looking to prove himself. Even though he can lift the hammer, he is constantly looking for validation that he is worthy. He’s not usually afraid of much, and when he is, he faces it anyway. What makes Thor a Gryffindor though is his desire to be the hero. He’s not in Slytherin because he doesn’t desire to rule. He’s not ambitious, he just wants validation.

Peter Parker/Spiderman- Gryffindor

Peter is another hard one. He’s intelligent like Bruce and Tony, which could throw him into Ravenclaw. He’s loyal to his friends, which could put him into Hufflepuff. But at his core, Peter is in Gryffindor. The proof is in one of his first lines in the MCU. In Civil War, he tells Tony, “if you can do the things I do, and you don’t, then bad things happen because of you. (paraphrased)” He feels that because he’s special, he has to act. And unlike Steve and Thor, Peter is almost always afraid. He faces his challenges in spite of that. And while he wants to have a normal life, and a typical High School experience, he selflessly puts himself on the line. Once again, Peter is not looking for recognition, he’s just trying to do the right thing.

Dr Strange- Ravenclaw

Lots of Ravenclaws in the MCU. For Dr Strange, there really isn’t any other option. He is completely driven by the pursuit of knowledge. And while recognition came with that, we see with his journey into the mystic arts that his true motivation comes from learning. He’s a very similar character to Tony Stark, and both of them are textbook Ravenclaws.

Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch- Hufflepuff

Like Natasha, Wanda is driven by her relationships. She is faithfully loyal to her brother, then Vision, then her family. She is definitely motivated to protect and care for those she loves. Including creating an entire alternate reality to be with them! Wanda is brave and intelligent, but at her core, she is loyal.

Loki- Slytherin

Finally, a Slytherin. Once again, was there any other option? Loki is characterized by his cunning and ambition. He wants to rule. And he doesn’t get there by rushing into battle. He gets there by being sneaky and clever. Loki is a Slytherin through and through.

Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel- Slytherin

This may not feel like the obvious choice for Carol, but she definitely portrays characteristics of a Slytherin. She’s the best, and she wants people to know it. She’s confident and clever, and she likes attention. We don’t know her very well yet, but from what we’ve seen, she seems to relish in the attention her efforts provide. She is good, helpful, and ambitious.

T’Challa/Black Panther- Hufflepuff

T’Challa is also driven by loyalty. But while he is protective of those he loves, his true loyalty is to Wakanda. He’s not king because of ambition, he’s king out of duty. Everything he does is through the lens of “what is best for Wakanda?” While it’s a bit unconventional, his loyalty to Wakanda characterizes him as a Hufflepuff.

Scott Lang/Ant-Man- Gryffindor

At first, it appears that Scott would be in Hufflepuff. After all, he is very motivated by his relationship with his daughter. But if he were truly 100% driven by that, he would have made different choices. He would not have betrayed Hope and Hank and teamed up with Captain America without their permission. He also would not have stolen from his company and landed in jail in the first place. But both of those above decisions do characterize him as a Gryffindor. He wants to be in the action, and he doesn’t always consider the consequences. Scott isn’t really looking for recognition and is not that ambitious, but he does want to be involved in the big events. He wants to help people, and he bravely faces battles. Sometimes without discretion.

Do you agree with our picks for these MCU characters in Hogwarts Houses? If not or if we’ve missed any out, leave us a comment below.

Check out our review of Black Widow HERE.

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