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Reservoir Dogs (1992): Rarely has a first film been so lauded as Tarantino’s crime drama. The honour-among-thieves tale not only established the writer-director-actor’s film-geek bona fides but solidified a rotating cast of top-tier actors who would go on to collaborate with Tarantino for the rest of his career (Michael Madsen, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth and Steve Buscemi).
Pulp Fiction (1994): While Reservoir Dogs put Tarantino on cineastes’ radars, it was his Palme d’Or winning masterpiece that launched a thousand imitators. What was in that glowing gold briefcase? Likely Tarantino’s perfect screenplay, the tightness and crackling energy of which he has yet to fully recreate.
Jackie Brown (1997): It took three years for Tarantino to film a full-length follow-up to Pulp Fiction, and the result was not treated too kindly upon release. Yet in the years that followed, this Elmore Leonard adaptation has garnered a more glowing re-assessment, with critics singling out its twisty narrative and stellar turns from Pam Grier and Robert Forster, further cementing Tarantino’s habit of resurrecting forgotten stars from his grindhouse past.
Four Rooms (1995): A sort of failed experiment between Tarantino and fellow early-’90s hot shots Robert Rodriguez, Allison Anders and Alexandre Rockwell, Tarantino’s contribution consisted of his short film The Man From Hollywood. The darkly comic segment starred an uncredited Bruce Willis, as well as Pulp Fiction vets Paul Calderon, Tim Roth and Tarantino himself.
Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003): Originally envisioned as a blood-soaked epic, Tarantino wisely cut Kill Bill in half, kicking off with a Shaw Bros.-inspired tale of chopsocky revenge, mixed with heavy splashes of yakuza-movie violence and even a gloriously perverse anime sequence. Although every one of his films is loaded with cinematic call-backs, this is likely the one where nearly every frame can be traced to one influence or another.
Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004): The second half of Tarantino’s saga is more of a Spaghetti Western, with Uma Thurman’s assassin battling a washed-up cowboy and being buried alive before taking down the titular villain in his south-of-the-border lair.
Four Rooms (1995): A sort of failed experiment between Tarantino and fellow early-’90s hot shots Robert Rodriguez, Allison Anders and Alexandre Rockwell, Tarantino’s contribution consisted of his short film The Man From Hollywood. The darkly comic segment starred an uncredited Bruce Willis, as well as Pulp Fiction vets Paul Calderon, Tim Roth and Tarantino himself.
Inglourious Basterds (2009): Considered by many to be Tarantino’s finest, most ambitious effort, this riff on the men-on-a-mission war film is also his most blatant love letter to the medium of cinema itself. Consider Michael Fassbender’s film critic-turned-spy, or the fact that the climax takes place in a theatre set ablaze thanks to a stockpile of old film reels. Oh, and it also features Jewish gore master Eli Roth turning Hitler’s body into a pile of bloody flesh. Fun for everyone!
Death Proof (2007): Another failed experiment with Rodriguez, Tarantino made this pseudo-slasher as part of the pair’s Grindhouse double bill. The two films together — plus faux trailers and commercials — may have been too much to ask of audiences not used to the sleaze cinemas of the 1970s, but when viewed separately, Death Proof holds up as a sly, if talkative, take on the genre.

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