Director, champion of film stock, god of dorm rooms. There are few directors who bring out as much kneejerk devotion as Quentin Tarantino. It’s all but guaranteed that when he comes out with a new movie, it’s already headed for people’s “Best Of” lists for the year. So, when it comes down to it, which are the best and worst of Tarantino’s films?
The ranking below is meant to be an objective look, informed by multiple sources, including but not limited to, the Rotten Tomatoes critics scores and IMDb user rankings listed. I include these as well-known examples of quality and consensus. The attached store (out of 100) is also included as a way to show just how far critical and public opinion deviates from one movie to the next.
The attached opinions, on the other hand, are biased as hell.
9. Death Proof (68/100)
Rotten Tomatoes: 67% | IMDb Score: 7.1
It’s been awhile but I remember enjoying this more than Planet Terror (which, by the way would get a 73/100 score). I feel like Planet Terror depended more on a familiarity with the “grindhouse” genre whereas Death Proof felt more Tarantino-ey and accessible. Regardless, Death Proof scored the lowest in nearly every factor we consider.
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8. The Hateful Eight (76/100)
Rotten Tomatoes: 75% | IMDb Score: 7.9
I can’t say much about this one since I still haven’t seen it but I remain fascinated by the 70mm Roadshow tour the movie went on. The medium became the message as Tarantino et al became the industry’s most outspoken champions in the fight for physical film projection. As far as the ranking goes, users were more positive than critics, who praised its technical filmmaking while being a bit underwhelmed by the story.
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7. Jackie Brown (78/100)
Rotten Tomatoes: 87% | IMDb Score: 7.5
When we hosted a poll asking what everyone’s favourite Tarantino movie was, only one person wrote in because their top pick wasn’t on the ballot. Friend of the podcast Mike had this to say in defense of Jackie Brown.
It should be noted that as far as the ranking goes, Jackie Brown only came in 0.03 points behind the next entry.
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6. Kill Bill: Volume 1 (78/100)
Rotten Tomatoes: 85% | IMDb Score: 8.1
Considering how many of the Kill Bill movies’ iconic images are from Volume 1, I was a little surprised to see that it fell this far below Volume 2.
5. Kill Bill: Volume 2 (81/100)
Rotten Tomatoes: 84% | IMDb Score: 8.0
In most factors, the movies were basically neck and neck but some user groups simply showed a preference for Volume 2 over the first installment.
4. Inglourious Basterds (83/100)
Rotten Tomatoes: 89% | IMDb Score: 8.3
Probably my personal #2 Tarantino movie, Inglourious Basterds was historical fantasy unlike anything I’d seen before. It’s also the movie that introduced many of us to Christoph Waltz, for which which we will eternally grateful.
3. Django Unchained (86/100)
Rotten Tomatoes: 88% | IMDb Score: 8.4
A somewhat surprising #3, I don’t remember Django Unchained being that well-received when it came out. My own experience was one of discomfort (which I think was the point) and disappointment about who was left alive (which probably wasn’t and made me ask myself some tough questions). Critics and users obviously thought differently as the consensus puts it firmly among Tarantino’s (and recent history’s) greats.
2. Reservoir Dogs (88/100)
Rotten Tomatoes: 90% | IMDb Score: 8.4
For my money, Reservoir Dogs is the best Tarantino movie out there. It’s got all the snap and pop and violence of any of Tarantino’s best with (at least somewhat) less of the problematic stuff from the #1 entry.
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1. Pulp Fiction (91/100)
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% | IMDb Score: 8.9
While Reservoir Dogs put up a good fight, Pulp Fiction scored highest in every factor we consider. There are plenty of reasons why the tight, shocking, and funny movie persists as one of the best movies ever.
Be sure to stay tuned for our upcoming podcast about Pulp Fiction, coming soon to your earholes.
So what do you think? Does this pretty much jive with your list? Leave us a comment either here or on Facebook and Twitter to let us know where this is either an absolutely perfect ranking or completely out to lunch.