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Tarantino at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con
Quentin Jerome Tarantino
March 27, 1963
Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
Daniella Pick (m. 2018)
Quentin Jerome Tarantino (//; born March 27, 1963) is an American filmmaker and actor. His films are characterized by nonlinear storylines, aestheticization of violence, extended scenes of dialogue, ensemble casts, references to popular culture and a wide variety of other films, soundtracks primarily containing songs and score pieces from the 1960s to the 1980s, alternate history, and features of neo-noir film.
He began his career as an independent filmmaker with the release of Reservoir Dogs in 1992, which was funded by money from the sale of his script True Romance. Empire deemed Reservoir Dogs the "Greatest Independent Film of All Time". His second film, Pulp Fiction (1994), a comedy crime film, was a major success both among critics and audiences. He also wrote the screenplay for and starred in the vampire film From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Tarantino paid homage to the blaxploitation films of the 1970s with Jackie Brown (1997), an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch.
Kill Bill, a highly stylized "revenge flick" in the cinematic traditions of kung fu films, Japanese martial arts, and spaghetti westerns, followed six years later, and was released as two films: Volume 1 in 2003 and Volume 2 in 2004. Tarantino next directed the exploitation slasher film Death Proof in 2007, as part of a double feature with Robert Rodriguez, released in the tradition of grindhouse cinema of the 1970s under the collective title Grindhouse. His long-postponed Inglourious Basterds, which tells an alternate history of Nazi Germany, was released in 2009 to positive reviews. After that came critically acclaimed Django Unchained (2012), a western film set in the Antebellum South. His eighth film, The Hateful Eight (2015), was released in its roadshow version in 70 mm film format, with opening "overture" and halfway-point intermission. His ninth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, an alternate history of the Tate–LaBianca murders, was released in 2019.
Tarantino's films have garnered both critical and commercial success as well as a dedicated cult-following. He has received many industry awards, including two Academy Awards, two BAFTA Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and the Palme d'Or, and has been nominated for an Emmy and five Grammys. In 2005, he was included on the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world. Filmmaker and historian Peter Bogdanovich has called him "the single most influential director of his generation". In December 2015, Tarantino received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the film industry.
In 2018, he married Israeli model-actress-singer Daniella Pick with whom he has a son, Leo, born in February 2020.
Tarantino was born on March 27, 1963, in Knoxville, Tennessee, the only child of Connie Pender and Tony Tarantino, an actor and producer. His father is of Italian descent, and his mother has Irish ancestry. Quentin was named for Quint Asper, Burt Reynolds' character in the CBS series Gunsmoke. Tarantino's mother met his father during a trip to Los Angeles, where Tony was a law student and would-be entertainer. She married him soon after, to gain independence from her parents, but their marriage was brief. After the divorce, Connie Tarantino left Los Angeles and moved to Knoxville, where her parents lived. In 1966, Tarantino and his mother moved back to Los Angeles.
Tarantino's mother married musician Curtis Zastoupil soon after arriving in Los Angeles, and the family moved to Torrance, a city in Los Angeles County's South Bay area. Zastoupil encouraged Tarantino's love of movies, and accompanied him to numerous film screenings. Tarantino's mother allowed him to see movies with adult content, such as Carnal Knowledge (1971) and Deliverance (1972). After his mother divorced Zastoupil in 1973, and received a misdiagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma, Tarantino was sent to live with his grandparents in Tennessee. He remained there less than a year before returning to California.
At 14 years old, Tarantino wrote one of his earliest works, a screenplay called Captain Peachfuzz and the Anchovy Bandit, based on Hal Needham's 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit starring Burt Reynolds. The summer after his 15th birthday, Tarantino was grounded by his mother for shoplifting Elmore Leonard's novel The Switch from Kmart. He was allowed to leave only to attend the Torrance Community Theater, where he participated in such plays as Two Plus Two Makes Sex and Romeo and Juliet.
Later, Tarantino attended acting classes at the James Best Theatre Company, where he met several of his eventual collaborators. While at James Best, Tarantino also met Craig Hamann, with whom he later collaborated to produce My Best Friend's Birthday.
Throughout the 1980s, Tarantino worked a number of jobs. He spent time as a recruiter in the aerospace industry, and for five years, he worked at Video Archives, a video store in Manhattan Beach, California. Former Buffy the Vampire Slayer actor Danny Strong described Tarantino as "such a movie buff. He had so much knowledge of films that he would try to get people to watch really cool movies."
After Tarantino met Lawrence Bender at a Hollywood party, Bender encouraged him to write a screenplay. His first attempted script, which he described as a "straight 70s exploitation action movie" was never published and was abandoned soon after. Tarantino co-wrote and directed his first movie, My Best Friend's Birthday, in 1987. The final reel of the film was almost completely destroyed in a lab fire that occurred during editing, but its screenplay later formed the basis for True Romance.
In January 1992, Tarantino's neo-noir crime thriller Reservoir Dogs—which he wrote, directed, and acted in as Mr. Brown—was screened at the Sundance Film Festival. It was an immediate hit, with the film receiving a positive response from critics. The dialogue-driven heist film set the tone for Tarantino's later films. Tarantino wrote the script for the film in three-and-a-half weeks and Bender forwarded it to director Monte Hellman. Hellman helped Tarantino to secure funding from Richard N. Gladstein at Live Entertainment (which later became Artisan, now known as Lionsgate). Harvey Keitel read the script and also contributed to the funding, taking a role as co-producer and also playing a major part in the picture.
Tarantino's screenplay True Romance was optioned and the film was eventually released in 1993. The second script that Tarantino sold was for the film Natural Born Killers, which was revised by Dave Veloz, Richard Rutowski and director Oliver Stone. Tarantino was given story credit and in an interview stated that he wished the film well, but later disowned the final film. The film engendered enmity, and the publication of a "tell-all" book titled Killer Instinct by Jane Hamsher—who, with Don Murphy, had an original option on the screenplay and produced the film—led to Tarantino physically assaulting Murphy in the AGO restaurant in West Hollywood, California in October 1997. Murphy subsequently filed a $5M lawsuit against Tarantino; the case ended with the judge ordering Tarantino to pay Murphy $450. Tarantino was also an uncredited screenwriter on both Crimson Tide (1995) and The Rock (1996).
Following the success of Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino was approached by Hollywood and offered numerous projects, including Speed and Men in Black, but he instead retreated to Amsterdam to work on his script for Pulp Fiction.
Tarantino wrote, directed, and acted in the black comedy crime film Pulp Fiction in 1994, maintaining the estheticization of violence for which he is known, as well as his non-linear storylines. Tarantino received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, which he shared with Roger Avary, who contributed to the story. He also received a nomination in the Best Director category. The film received another five nominations, including for Best Picture. Tarantino also won the Palme d'Or for the film at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. The film grossed over $200 million and was met with critical acclaim.
In 1995, Tarantino participated in the anthology film Four Rooms, a collaboration that also included directors Robert Rodriguez, Allison Anders, and Alexandre Rockwell. Tarantino directed and acted in the fourth segment of "The Man from Hollywood", a tribute to the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "Man from the South". He re-teamed with Rodriguez later in the year with a supporting role in Desperado, while in 1996 From Dusk till Dawn was finally released with Rodriguez directing and Tarantino starring alongside Keitel, George Clooney, and Juliette Lewis.
Tarantino's third feature film was Jackie Brown (1997), an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch. A homage to blaxploitation films, it starred Pam Grier, who starred in many of the films of that genre in the 1970s. It received positive reviews and was called a "comeback" for Grier and co-star Robert Forster. Leonard considered Jackie Brown to be his favorite of the 26 different screen adaptations of his novels and short stories.
In 1998, Tarantino made his major Broadway stage debut as an amoral psycho killer in a revival of the 1966 play Wait Until Dark, which the critics gave unfavorable reviews, but his star power ensured a nearly sold-out production for its limited, 16-week Broadway run.
Throughout the 1990s, Tarantino had a number of minor acting roles, including in Eddie Presley (1992), The Coriolis Effect (1994), Sleep With Me (1994), Somebody to Love (1994), All-American Girl (1995), Destiny Turns on the Radio (1995), Desperado (1995), From Dusk till Dawn (1996), and Girl 6 (1996). He also starred in Steven Spielberg's Director's Chair, a simulation video game that uses pre-generated film clips.
Tarantino had next planned to start Inglourious Basterds, as it was provisionally titled, but postponed this to write and direct Kill Bill, a highly stylized "revenge flick" in the cinematic traditions of Wuxia (Chinese martial arts), Jidaigeki (Japanese period cinema), spaghetti westerns and Italian horror. It was originally set for a single theatrical release, but its 4-hour plus running time prompted Tarantino to divide it into two movies. Volume 1 was released in late 2003 and Volume 2 was released in 2004. It was based on a character called The Bride and a plot that he and Kill Bill's lead actress Uma Thurman had developed during the making of Pulp Fiction.
In 2002, while in negotiations with Lucy Liu for Kill Bill, the two helped produce the Hungarian sports documentary Freedom's Fury. When Tarantino was approached about a documentary surrounding the Blood in the Water match he said, "This is the best story I've ever been told. I'd love to be involved".
In 2004, Tarantino attended the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, where he served as President of the Jury. Although Kill Bill was not in competition, Vol. 2 had an evening screening, and was also shown on the morning of the final day in its original 3-hour plus version, with Tarantino himself attending the full screening. Tarantino went on to be credited as "Special Guest Director" in Robert Rodriguez's 2005 neo-noir film Sin City, for his work directing the car sequence featuring Clive Owen and Benicio del Toro.
In May 2005, Tarantino co-wrote and directed "Grave Danger", the fifth season finale of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. For this episode, Tarantino was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series at the 57th Primetime Emmy Awards.
Tarantino's next film project was Grindhouse, which he co-directed with Rodriguez. Released in theaters on April 6, 2007, Tarantino's contribution to the Grindhouse project was titled Death Proof. It began as a take on 1970s slasher films, but evolved dramatically as the project unfolded. Ticket sales were low despite mostly positive reviews.
Tarantino's film Inglourious Basterds, released in 2009, is the story of a group of Jewish-American guerrilla soldiers in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. Filming began in October 2008. The film opened on August 21, 2009, to very positive reviews and reached the #1 spot at the box office worldwide. It went on to become Tarantino's highest-grossing film until it was surpassed by Django Unchained three years later. For the film, Tarantino received his second nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
In 2011, production began on Django Unchained, a film about the revenge of a former slave in the U.S. South in 1858. The film stemmed from Tarantino's desire to produce a spaghetti western set in America's Deep South. Tarantino called the proposed style "a southern", stating that he wanted "to do movies that deal with America's horrible past with slavery and stuff but do them like spaghetti westerns, not like big issue movies. I want to do them like they're genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it's ashamed of it, and other countries don't really deal with because they don't feel they have the right to". The film was released on December 25, 2012. During an interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy about the film on Channel 4 News, Tarantino reacted angrily when, in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, he was questioned about an alleged link between movie violence and real-life violence, and informed Guru-Murthy he was "shutting [his] butt down". Tarantino further defied the journalist, saying: "I refuse your question. I'm not your slave and you're not my master. You can't make me dance to your tune. I'm not a monkey."
In November 2013, Tarantino said he was working on a new film and that it would be another Western. He stated that it would not be a sequel to Django. On January 12, 2014, it was revealed that the film would be titled The Hateful Eight. Production of the western would most likely have begun in the summer of 2014, but after the script for the film leaked in January 2014, Tarantino considered dropping the movie and publishing it as a novel instead. He stated that he had given the script to a few trusted colleagues, including Bruce Dern, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen.
On April 19, 2014, Tarantino directed a live reading of the leaked script at the United Artists Theater in the Ace Hotel Los Angeles. The event was organized by the Film Independent at LACMA, as part of the Live Read series. Tarantino explained that they would read the first draft of the script, and added that he was writing two new drafts with a different ending. The actors who joined Tarantino included Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Amber Tamblyn, James Parks, Walton Goggins, and the first three actors to be given the script before the leak, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen. In October 2014, Jennifer Jason Leigh was in talks to play the female lead in the film. Leigh, Channing Tatum, and Demián Bichir joined the cast in November.
The Hateful Eight was released on December 25, 2015, as a roadshow presentation in 70 mm film format theaters, before being released in digital theaters on December 30, 2015. Tarantino narrated several scenes in the film. He edited two versions of the film, one for the roadshow version and the other for general release. The roadshow version runs for three hours and two minutes, and includes an overture and intermission, after the fashion of big-budget films of the 1960s and early 1970s; the general release is six minutes shorter and contains alternate takes of some scenes. Tarantino has stated that the general release cut was created as he felt that some of the footage he shot for 70 mm would not play well on smaller screens. The film has received mostly positive reviews from critics, with a score of 74% on Rotten Tomatoes.
On July 11, 2017, it was reported that Tarantino's next project would be a film about the Manson Family murders. In February 2018, it was announced that the film's title is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and that Leonardo DiCaprio would play Rick Dalton, a fictional star of television westerns, with Brad Pitt as Dalton's longtime stunt double Cliff Booth. Tarantino wrote the screenplay for the film. Margot Robbie also starred as real life actress Sharon Tate, portrayed as Dalton's next-door neighbor. Among the film's supporting cast were Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, Michael Madsen and Al Pacino. Filming took place in the summer of 2018. In wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations, Tarantino severed ties to The Weinstein Company permanently and sought a new distributor after working with Weinstein for his entire career. The film first officially premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where it was in competition for the Palme d'Or. It received positive reviews at the Festival, with praise directed at the performances of DiCaprio, Pitt and Robbie, although reactions were mixed regarding the ending of the film. It received a seven-minute standing ovation, although it did not win in any category. Sony Pictures distributed the film, which was theatrically released on July 26, 2019.
In recent years, Tarantino has used his Hollywood power to give smaller and foreign films more attention than they might have received otherwise. These films are often labeled "Presented by Quentin Tarantino" or "Quentin Tarantino Presents". The first of these productions was in 2001, with the Hong Kong martial arts film Iron Monkey, which made over $14 million in the United States, seven times its budget. In 2004, he brought the Chinese martial arts film Hero to U.S. shores. It ended up having a No. 1 opening at the box office and making $53.5 million. In 2006, another "Quentin Tarantino presents" production, Hostel, opened at No. 1 at the box office with a $20.1 million opening weekend. He presented 2006's The Protector, and is a producer of the 2007 film Hostel: Part II. In 2008, he produced the Larry Bishop-helmed Hell Ride, a revenge biker film.
In addition, in 1995, Tarantino formed Rolling Thunder Pictures with Miramax to release or re-release several independent and foreign features. By 1997, Miramax had shut down the company due to poor sales. The following films were released by Rolling Thunder Pictures: Chungking Express (1994, dir. Wong Kar-wai), Switchblade Sisters (1975, dir. Jack Hill), Sonatine (1993, dir. Takeshi Kitano), Hard Core Logo (1996, dir. Bruce McDonald), The Mighty Peking Man (1977, dir. Ho Meng Hua), Detroit 9000 (1973, dir. Arthur Marks), The Beyond (1981, dir. Lucio Fulci), and Curdled (1996, dir. Reb Braddock).
Early on in his career, Tarantino considered filming comic book adaptations. In the early 1990s, while fresh from his critical success with Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino came to Constantin Productions with a script for a Silver Surfer film, but was turned away. Following the release of Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino considered making a film adaptation of Luke Cage, but chose to make Pulp Fiction instead. In the late 1990s, he was offered to direct a film adaptation of Green Lantern before there was even a script, but Tarantino declined the offer. In 1999, Quentin Tarantino was also linked to a live-action Iron Man film, as director and writer.
Before Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino had considered making The Vega Brothers. The film would have starred Michael Madsen and John Travolta reprising their roles of Vic (Mr. Blonde) from Reservoir Dogs and Vincent from Pulp Fiction. In 2007, because of the age of the actors and the onscreen deaths of both characters, he claimed that the film—which he intended to call Double V Vega—is "kind of unlikely now".
In 2009, in an interview for Italian television, after being asked about the success of the two Kill Bill films, Tarantino said, "You haven't asked me about the third one", and implied that he would be making a third Kill Bill film with the words, "The Bride will fight again!" Later that year, at the Morelia International Film Festival, Tarantino announced that he would like to film Kill Bill: Volume 3. He explained that he wanted ten years to pass between The Bride's last conflict, in order to give her and her daughter a period of peace. In a 2012 interview for the website We Got This Covered, Tarantino said that a third Kill Bill film would "probably not" happen. He also said that he would not be directing a new James Bond film, saying that he was only interested in directing Casino Royale at one point.
Sometime in that same year he was asked about the Kill Bill films, he has stated that he was a huge fan of Simon Pegg, and sought to adapt the Len Deighton novels into a film starring Pegg, Kate Winslet, Michael Caine, and Anthony Hopkins.
In a late 2012 interview with the online magazine The Root, Tarantino clarified his remarks and described his next film as being the final entry in a "Django-Inglourious Basterds" trilogy called Killer Crow. The film will depict a group of World War II-era black troops who have "been fucked over by the American military and kind of go apeshit. They basically – the way Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) and the Basterds are having an 'Apache resistance' – [the] black troops go on an Apache warpath and kill a bunch of white soldiers and white officers on a military base and are just making a warpath to Switzerland."
A long-running rumor in the industry is that Tarantino is interested in filming a new version of Bret Easton Ellis's 1985 novel Less Than Zero. His friend Roger Avary adapted The Rules of Attraction, another novel by Ellis, to film in 2002, and since both he and Tarantino like the works by Ellis, Tarantino has been eyeing the possibility of adapting Less Than Zero. Ellis confirmed in a 2010 interview that Tarantino had been "trying to get Fox to let him remake it". In 2012, when asked whether Less Than Zero would be remade, Ellis once again confirmed that Tarantino "has shown interest" in adapting the story. At the San Diego Comic-Con in 2014, Tarantino revealed he is contemplating a possible science-fiction film. In November 2014, Tarantino said he would retire from films after directing his tenth film.
In November 2017, Tarantino and J. J. Abrams pitched an idea for a Star Trek film with Abrams assembling a writers room. If both approve of the script, Tarantino will direct and Abrams will produce the film. Mark L. Smith was hired to write the screenplay the same month. In January 2020, Tarantino stated the film might be made, but he would not direct it.
In the 2012 Sight & Sound directors' poll, Tarantino listed his top 12 films: Apocalypse Now, The Bad News Bears, Carrie, Dazed and Confused, The Great Escape, His Girl Friday, Jaws, Pretty Maids All in a Row, Rolling Thunder, Sorcerer, Taxi Driver and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, with the last being his favorite. In 2009, he named Kinji Fukasaku's violent action film Battle Royale as his favorite film released since he became a director in 1992. He is also a fan of the 1981 film Blow Out, directed by Brian De Palma, which led to his casting of John Travolta in Pulp Fiction. Tarantino praised Mel Gibson's 2006 film Apocalypto, saying, "I think it's a masterpiece. It was perhaps the best film of that year." Tarantino has also labeled Rio Bravo as another one his favorites numerous times. He listed the Australian suspense film Roadgames (1981) as another favorite film. Tarantino is also a noted fan of Elaine May's 1987 film Ishtar, despite its reputation as being a notorious box-office flop and one of the worst films ever made.
In August 2007, while teaching in a four-hour film course during the 9th Cinemanila International Film Festival in Manila, Tarantino cited Filipino directors Cirio H. Santiago, Eddie Romero and Gerardo de León as personal icons from the 1970s. He referred to De Leon's "soul-shattering, life-extinguishing" movies on vampires and female bondage, citing in particular Women in Cages; "It is just harsh, harsh, harsh", he said, and described the final shot as one of "devastating despair". Upon his arrival in the Philippines, Tarantino was quoted in the local newspaper as saying, "I'm a big fan of RP [Republic of the Philippines] cinema."
Tarantino's films often feature graphic violence, a tendency which has sometimes been criticized. His film Reservoir Dogs was initially denied United Kingdom certification because of his use of torture as entertainment. Tarantino has frequently defended his use of violence, saying that "violence is so good. It affects audiences in a big way".
Tarantino has also occasionally used a nonlinear story structure in his films, most notably with Pulp Fiction. He has also used the style in Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill, and The Hateful Eight. Tarantino's script for True Romance was originally told in a nonlinear style, before director Tony Scott decided to use a more structured approach. Critics have since referred to the use of this shifting timeline in films as the "Tarantino Effect".
Actor Steve Buscemi has described Tarantino's novel style of filmmaking as "bursting with energy" and "focused". According to Tarantino, a hallmark of all his movies is that there is a different sense of humor in each one, which gets the audience to laugh at things that are not funny. However, he insists that his films are dramas, not comedies.
Tarantino has stated that the celebrated animation-action sequence in Kill Bill (2003) was inspired by the use of 2D animated sequences in actor Kamal Haasan's Tamil film Aalavandhan. He often blends esthetic elements, in tribute to his favorite films and filmmakers. In Kill Bill, he melds comic strip formulas and esthetics within a live action film sequence, in some cases by the literal use of cartoon or anime images.
Tarantino often creates his own products and brands that he uses across his films to varying degrees. His own fictional brands, including "Acuña Boys Tex-Mex Food", "Big Kahuna Burger", "G.O. Juice", "Jack Rabbit Slim's", "K-Billy", "Red Apple cigarettes", "Tenku Brand Beer" and "Teriyaki Donut", replace the use of product placement, sometimes to a humorous degree.
On the biopic genre, Tarantino has said that he has "no respect" for biopics, saying that they "are just big excuses for actors to win Oscars. ... Even the most interesting person – if you are telling their life from beginning to end, it's going to be a fucking boring movie." However, in an interview with Charlie Rose, he said, "There is one story that I could be interested in, but it would probably be one of the last movies I [ever make] ... My favorite hero in American history is John Brown. He's my favorite American who ever lived. He basically single-handedly started the road to end slavery and ... he killed people to do it. He decided, 'If we start spilling white blood, then they're going to start getting the idea.'"
Tarantino has stated in many interviews that his writing process is like writing a novel before formatting it into a script, saying that this creates the blueprint of the film and makes the film feel like literature. About his writing process he told website The Talks, "[My] head is a sponge. I listen to what everyone says, I watch little idiosyncratic behavior, people tell me a joke and I remember it. People tell me an interesting story in their life and I remember it. ... when I go and write my new characters, my pen is like an antenna, it gets that information, and all of a sudden these characters come out more or less fully formed. I don't write their dialogue, I get them talking to each other."
Tarantino is also known for his use of music in his films, including soundtracks that often use songs from the 1960s and 70s. In 2011, he was recognized at the 16th Critics' Choice Awards with the inaugural Music+Film Award.
In 2013, a survey of seven academics was carried out to discover which filmmakers had been referenced the most in essays and dissertations on film that had been marked in the previous five years. It revealed that Tarantino was the most-studied director in the UK, ahead of Christopher Nolan, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.
Tarantino has stated that he does not believe that violence in movies inspires acts of violence in real life. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre accused him of being insensitive to the event. In an interview with Terry Gross, he expressed "annoyance" at the suggestion that there is a link between the two, saying, "I think it's disrespectful to [the] memory of those who died to talk about movies ... Obviously the issue is gun control and mental health." Soon after, in response to a Hollywood PSA video titled "Demand a Plan", which featured celebrities rallying for gun control legislation, a pro-gun group used scenes from Tarantino's film Django Unchained to label celebrities as "hypocrites" for appearing in violent movies.
In 1997, Spike Lee questioned Tarantino's use of racial slurs in his films, especially the word "nigger" and "gooks", particularly in Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown. In a Variety interview discussing Jackie Brown, Lee said, "I'm not against the word ... And some people speak that way". Tarantino responded on Charlie Rose by stating:
As a writer, I demand the right to write any character in the world that I want to write. I demand the right to be them, I demand the right to think them and I demand the right to tell the truth as I see they are, all right? And to say that I can't do that because I'm white, but the Hughes brothers can do that because they're black, that is racist. That is the heart of racism, all right. And I do not accept that ... That is how a segment of the black community that lives in Compton, lives in Inglewood, where Jackie Brown takes place, that lives in Carson, that is how they talk. I'm telling the truth. It would not be questioned if I was black, and I resent the question because I'm white. I have the right to tell the truth. I do not have the right to lie.
In addition, Tarantino retaliated on The Howard Stern Show by stating that Lee would have to "stand on a chair to kiss [his] ass". Samuel L. Jackson, who has appeared in both directors' films, defended Tarantino's use of the word. At the Berlin Film Festival, where Jackie Brown was being screened, Jackson responded to Lee's criticism by saying, "I don't think the word is offensive in the context of this film ... Black artists think they are the only ones allowed to use the word. Well, that's bull. Jackie Brown is a wonderful homage to black exploitation films. This is a good film, and Spike hasn't made one of those in a few years."
Tarantino has defended his use of the word, arguing that black audiences have an appreciation of his blaxploitation-influenced films that eludes some of his critics, and indeed, that Jackie Brown was primarily made for "black audiences".
Django Unchained was the subject of controversy because of its use of racial slurs and depiction of slavery. Reviewers have defended the use of the language by pointing out the historic context of race and slavery in America. Lee, in an interview with Vibe magazine, said that he would not see the film, explaining, "All I'm going to say is that it's disrespectful to my ancestors. That's just me ... I'm not speaking on behalf of anybody else." Lee later tweeted, "American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them." Writing in the Los Angeles Times, journalist Erin Aubry Kaplan noted the difference between Tarantino's Jackie Brown and Django Unchained: "It is an institution whose horrors need no exaggerating, yet Django does exactly that, either to enlighten or entertain. A white director slinging around the n-word in a homage to '70s blaxploitation à la Jackie Brown is one thing, but the same director turning the savageness of slavery into pulp fiction is quite another".
At the 73rd Golden Globe Awards in 2016, Tarantino received criticism after using the term "ghetto" while accepting the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score on behalf of composer Ennio Morricone, saying, "Wow, this is really cool. Do you realize that Ennio Morricone, who, as far as I am concerned, is my favorite composer – and when I say "favorite composer", I don't mean movie composer, that ghetto. I'm talking about Mozart. I'm talking about Beethoven. I'm talking about Schubert." His use of the word seemed to be taken as a racial slight by award presenter Jamie Foxx, who, after Tarantino left the stage, walked up to the microphone and sternly said, "ghetto?"
On October 18, 2017, Tarantino gave an interview discussing sexual harassment and assault allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein. Tarantino admitted to knowing about accusations against Weinstein since the mid-1990s, when his girlfriend Mira Sorvino told him about her experience with Weinstein. Tarantino confronted Weinstein at the time and received an apology. Tarantino said: "What I did was marginalize the incidents, I knew enough to do more than I did."
On February 3, 2018, in an interview with The New York Times, Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill actress Uma Thurman revealed that Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her, which she reported to Tarantino. Tarantino claimed that he confronted Weinstein, as he had previously when Weinstein made advances on his former partner, demanded he apologize and banned him from contact with Thurman for the rest of production.
Thurman described how she had been in a serious car accident on the set of Kill Bill because Tarantino had insisted she perform her own driving stunts. Thurman was told by a crew member that the car had been reconfigured and may not be safe to drive. Thurman strongly objected to doing the stunt but Tarantino would not accept her objections. The stunt resulted in Thurman's legs being jammed under the car, and her neck being violently whipped backwards from the force of the crash, causing permanent injuries to her neck and knees. Two weeks later, Thurman tried to get the footage of the crash from Tarantino, but Miramax, the company that oversaw the production, said they would only hand it over to her if she signed a document "releasing them of any consequences of [her] future pain and suffering." She did not sign the document, and it was only in 2018 that Tarantino handed over the footage: "Quentin finally atoned by giving it to me after 15 years, right? Not that it matters now, with my permanently damaged neck and my screwed-up knees." Tarantino defended himself, saying that he did not force her to do the stunt herself, having checked the car by driving down the road of the shoot, then assuring her it was safe, upon which she agreed to do so. Though Thurman found the incident "negligent to the point of criminality," she did not believe Tarantino had "malicious intent" and that Tarantino expressed regret; rather she placed the blame on Weinstein and other producers.
In February 2018, audio resurfaced of a 2003 interview on The Howard Stern Show during which Tarantino defended Roman Polanski over his 1977 sexual abuse case. Tarantino told Howard Stern: "He didn't rape a 13-year-old. It was statutory rape. That's not quite the same thing ... He had sex with a minor, all right. That's not rape. To me, when you use the word rape, you're talking about violent, throwing them down." He said that the victim, Samantha Geimer, was "down to party with Roman" and "wanted to have it".
After the statements drew international attention, Tarantino issued an apology, stating, "Ms Geimer was raped by Roman Polanski. When Howard brought up Polanski, I incorrectly played devil's advocate in the debate for the sake of being provocative ... So, Ms Geimer, I was ignorant, and insensitive, and above all, incorrect."
As a child, Tarantino was a fan of the early eras of Marvel Comics, particularly those that were written by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and is an admitted fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to this day.
Tarantino has said that he plans to retire from filmmaking when he is 60, in order to focus on writing novels and film literature. He is skeptical of the film industry going digital, saying, "If it actually gets to the place where you can't show 35 mm film in theaters anymore and everything is digital projection, I won't even make it to 60." He has also stated that he has a plan, although "not etched in stone", to retire after making his tenth movie: "If I get to the 10th, do a good job and don't screw it up, well that sounds like a good way to end the old career."
In February 2010, Tarantino bought the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. Tarantino allowed the previous owners to continue operating the theater, but stated he would make occasional programming suggestions. He was quoted as saying: "As long as I'm alive, and as long as I'm rich, the New Beverly will be there, showing films shot on 35 mm." Starting in 2014, Tarantino took a more active role in programming film screenings at the New Beverly, showing his own films as well as prints from his personal collection.
In an interview with AXS TV at the time of The Hateful Eight's release, Tarantino was asked if he had religious beliefs and his response was, "I think I was born Catholic, but I was never practiced ... As time has gone on, as I've become a man and made my way further as an adult, I'm not sure how much any of that I believe in. I don't really know if I believe in God, especially not in this Santa Claus character that people seemed to have conjured up."
On June 30, 2017, Tarantino became engaged to Israeli singer Daniella Pick, daughter of musician Svika Pick. They met when Tarantino was in Israel to promote Inglourious Basterds in 2009. They married on November 28, 2018, in a Reform Jewish ceremony in their Beverly Hills Home. On August 21, 2019, it was announced that the couple was expecting their first child. He lives with his wife in Ramat Aviv Gimel, Israel. On February 22, 2020 their son, Leo, was born in Israel. 
As a director:
|Year||Title||Release studio||Rotten Tomatoes||Metacritic||Box Office Mojo|
|1992||Reservoir Dogs||Miramax||91% (69 reviews)||79 (24 reviews)||$2,859,750 (Worldwide)|
(136th highest-grossing film of 1992)
|1994||Pulp Fiction||92% (101 reviews)||94 (24 reviews)||$214,179,088 (Worldwide)|
(12th highest-grossing film of 1994)
|1997||Jackie Brown||87% (82 reviews)||64 (23 reviews)||$74,727,492 (Worldwide)|
|2003||Kill Bill: Volume 1||85% (235 reviews)||69 (43 reviews)||$180,949,045 (Worldwide)|
(27th highest-grossing film of 2003)
|2004||Kill Bill: Volume 2||84% (241 reviews)||83 (41 reviews)||$152,159,461 (Worldwide)|
(36th highest-grossing film of 2004)
|2007||Grindhouse: Death Proof||Dimension Films||
|2009||Inglourious Basterds||89% (326 reviews)||69 (36 reviews)||$321,455,689 (Worldwide)|
(20th highest-grossing film of 2009)
||86% (281 reviews)||81 (42 reviews)||$425,368,238 (Worldwide)|
(16th highest-grossing film of 2012)
|2015||The Hateful Eight||The Weinstein Company||74% (324 reviews)||68 (51 reviews)||$155,760,117 (Worldwide)|
(49th highest-grossing film of 2015)
|2019||Once Upon a Time in Hollywood||Sony Pictures Releasing||85% (515 reviews)||83 (61 reviews)||$374,341,301 (Worldwide)|
(23rd highest-grossing film of 2019)
Tarantino has built up an informal "repertory company" of actors who have appeared in multiple roles in films that he has directed. Most notable of these is Samuel L. Jackson, who has appeared in six films directed by Tarantino, and a seventh that was written by him, True Romance. Other frequent collaborators include Uma Thurman, whom Tarantino has described as his "muse"; Michael Madsen, James Parks, and Tim Roth, who respectively appear in five, four, and three films; and Zoë Bell, who has acted or performed stunts in seven Tarantino films. Other actors who have appeared in several films by Tarantino include Michael Bacall, Michael Bowen, Bruce Dern, Harvey Keitel, Michael Parks, Kurt Russell, and Craig Stark, all of whom appear in three films each. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt have each appeared in two Tarantino films, the second of which, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, they appear in together. Like Jackson, Pitt also appeared in the Tarantino-penned True Romance.
Several actors have been nominated for Academy Awards for their roles in Tarantino's films. Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, and John Travolta were each nominated for Pulp Fiction (for Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Actor, respectively); Robert Forster was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Jackie Brown and Jennifer Jason Leigh earned a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Hateful Eight. Christoph Waltz won Best Supporting Actor in 2010 for Inglourious Basterds and again in 2013 for Django Unchained. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt were nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, for their roles in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with Pitt winning.
Editor Sally Menke, who worked on all Tarantino films until her death in 2010, was described by Tarantino in 2007 as "hands down my number one collaborator". Editing duties since her death have been taken over by Fred Raskin.
Tarantino has also had a long partnership and collaboration with Lawrence Bender, who produced all his directorial efforts from Reservoir Dogs through Inglourious Basterds, except for Death Proof. Robert Richardson has been director of photography for all films from Kill Bill: Volume 1 through Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, except for Death Proof.
|Actor/actress||Reservoir Dogs (1992)||Pulp Fiction (1994)||Jackie Brown (1997)||Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)||Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)||Death Proof (2007)||Inglourious Basterds (2009)||Django Unchained (2012)||The Hateful Eight (2015)||Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)|
|Samuel L. Jackson|
†: as stuntwoman
Throughout his career, Tarantino and his films have frequently received nominations for major awards, including for seven Academy Awards, seven BAFTA Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, two Directors Guild of America Awards, and sixteen Saturn Awards. He has four times been nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, winning once for Pulp Fiction in 1994. In addition to his recognition for writing and directing films, Tarantino has received four Grammy Award nominations and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination.
In 2005, Tarantino was awarded the honorary Icon of the Decade at the 10th Empire Awards. He has earned lifetime achievement awards from two organizations in 2007, from Cinemanila, and from the Rome Film Festival in 2012. In 2011, Tarantino was awarded the Honorary César by the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma.
|Year||Film||Academy Awards||Palme d'Or||BAFTA Awards||Golden Globe Awards||Saturn Awards|
|2003||Kill Bill: Volume 1||5||1||7||2|
|2004||Kill Bill: Volume 2||2||7||3|
|2007||Grindhouse: Death Proof||1||4|
|2015||The Hateful Eight||3||1||3||1||3||1||5|
|2019||Once Upon a Time in Hollywood||10||2||1||10||1||5||3|