Best Known For
Quentin Tarantino jolted onto the Hollywood scene with his screenplay for True Romance, before directing the early 1990s films Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.
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In 1992, audiences at the Sundance Film Festival were entranced by Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino's ultraviolent crime caper gone wrong. He drew inspiration for the project from such classic heist films as Rififi and City on Fire. The independent film helped to make Tarantino one of the most talked-about figures in Hollywood. While not a big hit in the United States, it became a popular title on video and did well overseas.
With Pulp Fiction (1994), Tarantino created an unpredictable thrill ride filled with violence and pop culture references. In one story in the film, John Travolta played Vincent Vega, a hit man assigned to look after his boss' girlfriend (Uma Thurman)—a role that helped resuscitate his then-flagging career. Another part examined Vega's partnership with fellow hit man Jules Winnfield (played by Samuel L. Jackson). And yet another storyline involved Bruce Willis as a boxer. Tarantino managed to successfully interweave all these different stories to make a fascinating film. "His mind works like the Tasmanian Devil on a bullet train. It's so fast that very few people can keep up with his references," actor Eric Stoltz, who played a drug dealer in the film, explained to Los Angeles magazine.
Pulp Fiction was both a commercial and critical success. In the United States, it earned over $108 million at the box office, becoming the first independent film to do so. Pulp Fiction won the prestigious Palme d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1994 and received seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. For his work on the film, Tarantino took home the award for Best Original Screenplay, an honor he had to share with former collaborator Roger Avary. The two had a falling out over the writing credits for the film.
Known for his temper, Tarantino got into a public disagreement with director Oliver Stone. Stone directed Natural Born Killers (1994) and rewrote parts of Tarantino's script. Enraged by the rewrites, Tarantino fought to have his name taken off the film. Stone told the press that the changes were an improvement over the original, which had poor character development. In a related incident, Tarantino slapped one of the producers of Natural Born Killers when he ran into him at Los Angeles restaurant.
In 1995, Tarantino wrote and directed one of the four stories featured in Four Rooms. The other three were handled by other rising independent filmmakers Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, and Robert Rodriguez. After the release of Four Rooms, Tarantino and Rodriguez collaborated on From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Tarantino wrote the screenplay for the film and starred opposite George Clooney, playing criminals who end up battling vampires. Rodriguez directed the film, which received negative reviews from critics.
Tarantino soon tackled Jackie Brown (1997), a crime thriller starring Pam Grier as a stewardess who gets caught smuggling money for an arms dealer (played by Samuel L. Jackson). A tribute to the blaxploitation films of the 1970s, the film was adapted from an Elmore Leonard novel.
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