The 10 Best Quotes from All 10 Quentin Tarantino Movies

Movies


There are few certainties in life; possibly only three: death, taxes, and Quentin Tarantino movies having great dialogue. He’s been writing and directing feature films for more than three decades now, with his upcoming film The Movie Critic being hotly anticipated, and apparently his final movie, too. That one’s set to be his tenth feature film, so long as Kill Bill – which was released in two volumes – is counted as a single four-hour movie.



He’s written some films he didn’t end up directing (like True Romance and From Dusk till Dawn), with the following only taking into account the films he both wrote (or co-wrote) and directed. It can be hard to single out just one great example of dialogue from each, but that’s what’s been attempted here. The following goes through his filmography chronologically, and picks a stand-out quote from each, all adding up to show Tarantino’s undeniable talent for writing excellent and unique dialogue.



10 “You shoot me in a dream, you better wake up and apologize.”

‘Reservoir Dogs’ (1992)

Image via Miramax Films

Quentin Tarantino’s no stranger to the crime genre, and seemed particularly interested in exploring it throughout his first decade or so as a feature film director. Reservoir Dogs is one of his best in this regard, and also feels up there with his most brutal and harsh, which is saying something. It revolves around a heist gone wrong, but doesn’t show much of said heist, instead focusing on the preparations made for it and its aftermath, and the way the robbers who survive it begin to believe one of them may have been an undercover cop.


Reservoir Dogs may be an early showcase of Tarantino’s willingness to push boundaries regarding violence, but it also demonstrates his love of fast-talking and frequently witty characters. The opening scene in a diner is a treasure trove of great quotes, including Mr Pink’s (Steve Buscemi) rant about tipping, but the standout line here probably goes to Harvey Keitel’s Mr. White… though this line was essentially taken (or “borrowed”) from 1938’s Angels with Dirty Faces, when James Cagney’s character stated: “You slap me in a dream, you better wake up and apologize.”

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9 “The truth is…you’re the weak, and I am the tyranny of evil men. But I’m trying, Ringo. I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd.”

‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994)

Pulp Fiction - 1994 (2)
Image via Miramax Films


There’s a good argument to be made that Pulp Fiction is Tarantino’s best-written film, with it also being notable for being one where he had a co-writer: Roger Avary, whose contributions netted him a “story by” credit. As such, this ambitious and decade-defining crime/dark comedy movie that tells several stories in one just so happens to have many quotable lines of dialogue (and though there’s more to screenwriting than just dialogue, it’s the dialogue that tends to shine when it comes to the films of Quentin Tarantino).

Samuel L. Jackson gets a ton of the most memorable lines, with his whole “Ezekiel 25:17” monologue being deservedly iconic. But it’s perhaps Pulp Fiction’s final scene (not its last one chronologically, though) that feels the best-written and delivered, where Jackson’s character reflects on what he’d said earlier. He admits he “just thought it was a cold-blooded thing to say” before killing someone, but then talks about his change of heart/mind. Coming at the end of a bloody and fast-paced movie, it’s surprisingly introspective and maybe even moving, and contrasts excellently with the much more explosive and grisly ending of Reservoir Dogs.


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8 “My ass may be dumb, but I ain’t no dumbass.”

‘Jackie Brown’ (1997)

Jackie Brown - 1997
Image via Miramax Films

Though it retains some of the style and flavor of his other 1990s movies, Jackie Brown is a novel change of pace for Quentin Tarantino, and notable for being the only film of his based on something someone else wrote (Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch). It’s also a little slower-paced and surprisingly non-brutal, having a more mature narrative that centers on characters who are mostly middle-aged.


This all results in the dialogue being a little less showy and in-your-face compared to other Tarantino films, but the writing is still excellent, on account of both Leonard and Tarantino being obviously talented writers. And, like in Pulp Fiction, Samuel L. Jackson gets to shine pretty brightly in Jackie Brown, memorably talking about AK-47s early on and also dropping the line: “My ass may be dumb, but I ain’t no dumbass” later in the film.

Jackie Brown

Release Date
April 10, 1997

Runtime
154

Main Genre
Crime

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7 “I can tell you with no ego, this is my finest sword. If on your journey, you should encounter God, God will be cut.”

‘Kill Bill Vol. 1’ (2003)

Kill Bill Vol. 1 - 2003 (1)
Image via Miramax Films


As Jane Austen might’ve said had she been alive during the 2000s, “it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single volume of Kill Bill cannot be watched without also watching the second half immediately following.” That being said, the two halves do contrast; Kill Bill Vol. 1 is rightfully thought of as the most action-heavy half of the overall story, while 2004’s second volume slows the pace down a little and has a reduced amount of bloodshed, talking the talk while the first volume walks the walk.

While the action might be the most memorable aspect of Kill Bill Vol. 1, it does also find some time to drop a few good lines of dialogue here and there. Perhaps the most peaceful portion of the film occurs around the middle, when Uma Thurman’s the Bride visits Hattori Hanzo (Sonny Chiba), and convinces him to make her a sword for her revenge mission. Declaring his sword to be so great that it could cut God, Chiba delivers the above dialogue in Japanese and it sticks in the mind, also serving to build anticipation for the Bride putting this very fine sword to good use in the relentless action-filled climax of the film.


Kill Bill Vol. 1

Release Date
October 10, 2003

Runtime
111 minutes

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6 “I’ve killed a hell of a lot of people to get to this point, but I have only one more. The last one. The one I’m driving to right now. The only one left. And when I arrive at my destination, I am gonna kill Bill.”

‘Kill Bill Vol. 2’ (2004)

Kill Bill Vol. 2 - 2004 (2)
Image via Miramax Films

Tarantino considers Kill Bill to be one epic movie, but it was released in two halves, with Kill Bill Vol. 2 coming out in 2004. Its approach to focusing on dialogue and tension over action is emphasized from the very first scene, given the Bride monologues to the camera memorably while informing the audience of how close the story is to wrapping up.


She even drops the title of the movie, and it’s a testament to Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman that they make it work… and indeed, she makes good on this promise by eventually killing Bill. If one wasn’t excited to see Tarantino’s epic reach a conclusion before, then this opening scene is likely to do the trick, with Thurman’s delivery also being complemented by the swelling and perhaps even bombastic use of music.

Kill Bill Vol. 2

Release Date
April 16, 2004

Runtime
136

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5 “This car is 100% death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you REALLY need to be sitting in my seat.”

‘Death Proof’ (2007)

Death Proof - 2007 (2)
Image via Dimension Films


Despite having the word “Death” in its title, Death Proof doesn’t rank too high among Quentin Tarantino’s movies when it comes to body counts. It’s a movie where there’s a lot of talking, and then some shocking violence, and then a lot more talking when things pivot to another group of characters, and then there’s a fantastic car chase right near the end before the movie abruptly (and quite hilariously) just finishes.

That might not make it sound great, and maybe Death Proof isn’t all that great… but as a throwback to grindhouse cinema, it does the job and is at least very impressive during its most memorable sequences. It’s also a good showcase for Kurt Russell’s ability to play a great villain (a whole 10 years before he did so in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), and he probably gets the best dialogue in the film… including the above line, which comes with a complimentary title drop to boot.

Death Proof

Release Date
July 21, 2007

Runtime
127 minutes


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4 “You know somethin’, Utivich? I think this just might be my masterpiece.”

‘Inglourious Basterds’ (2009)

Inglourious Basterds - 2009
Image via Universal Pictures

Death Proof was good for what it was, and represented something a little different within Tarantino’s filmography… but at the same time, his next movie, Inglourious Basterds, felt a bit like a return to form. It has the same kind of effortless technical proficiency and crackling dialogue as his best movies, but also feels different for the filmmaker genre-wise, representing his unique approach to making an uncompromising, intense, and consistently entertaining war movie.


It’s also pretty easy to see that Quentin Tarantino himself was proud of his efforts, with the final line of the film being Brad Pitt’s character saying “I think this just might be my masterpiece.” In the film, he’s of course referring to a swastika he’s just carved into the forehead of the terrifying SS officer Hans Landa, but outside that context, it’s probably Tarantino saying, “Yeah, Inglourious Basterds was pretty good, hey?” And if it hadn’t been such a great film, this would come off as cocky and laughable; at worst, it just comes off as a bit cocky, but he did kind of earn it, what with how great the entire thing it is.

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3 “Gentlemen, you had my curiosity, now you have my attention.”

‘Django Unchained’ (2012)

Django Unchained - 2012 (2)
Image via Columbia Pictures


After remixing history to thrilling effect with Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino did something somewhat comparable with Django Unchained, which was a movie about a freed slave getting revenge and rescuing his still enslaved wife from a monstrous plantation owner. It’s once again a very violent affair, though the violence against slaves is appropriately hard to watch, while the violence against the slavers is funny and even cathartic, owing to how cartoonish it can be.

Also comparable to Inglourious Basterds is how wonderfully detestable the main villain is, here being played by Leonardo DiCaprio at his most scenery-chewing. His character, Calvin Candie, is one of those antagonists you love to hate, and DiCaprio really makes the most of all the lines he gets to deliver, including the famous/infamous: “Gentlemen, you had my curiosity, now you have my attention.”


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2 “Yeah, Warren, that’s the problem with old men. You can kick ’em down the stairs and say it’s an accident but you can’t just shoot ’em.”

‘The Hateful Eight’ (2015)

The Hateful Eight - 2015 (2)
Image via The Weinstein Company

Living up to its title in a way that makes for some surprisingly horrifying scenes, The Hateful Eight might rival Reservoir Dogs in terms of how nasty and sadistic it can be, though it’s perhaps even harder to find redeemable qualities in anyone here. That’s by design, of course, with this slow-burn blend of mystery and Western genres being about eight people who find themselves confined in a cabin during a blizzard, all the while distrusting each other and waiting for seemingly inevitable violence to erupt.


Due to mostly being contained within one location, The Hateful Eight feels the most like it could be performed on a stage of any Tarantino movie, and the great dialogue also adds to this feeling. Like in Death Proof, Kurt Russell gets various opportunities to shine and deliver some excellent quotes, including the above-mentioned one said before the carnage erupts, which uncomfortably acknowledges the feeling within the confined space that people there want certain others dead.

The Hateful Eight

Release Date
December 25, 2015

Runtime
182

Main Genre
Western

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1 Cliff Booth: “And you were on a horsey! Yeah… you are?” Tex: “I’m the Devil. And I’m here to do the Devil’s business!” Cliff Booth: “…Nah, it was dumber than that. Something like Rex.”

‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ (2019)

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - 2019 (3)
Image via Sony Pictures Releasing

After two very bloody Westerns, Quentin Tarantino switched gears a little for his next film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is really only violent at the very end and is probably one of his most comedic efforts overall. There’s not too much by way of narrative, either, with a good deal of the film simply presenting an idealized version of life in Hollywood in the late 1960s, mostly with a focus on a struggling actor and his loyal stuntman/best friend.


The final act does get a bit more intense and obviously violent, but it retains something of a comedic tone, especially because Brad Pitt’s character gets into a confrontation with a trio of would-be murderers while on LSD. He recognizes them and surprisingly calmly puts them down, with the “Nah, it was dumber than that. Something like Rex” line being up there as one of the biggest laughs of the movie, even if it’s most likely to elicit laughter of the nervous variety.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Release Date
July 24, 2019

Runtime
165

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