Watch: Quentin Tarantino’s Best Visual Film References… in Three Minutes!

Watch: Quentin Tarantino’s Best Visual Film References… in Three Minutes!

It is a well known fact that Quentin Tarantino is a self-proclaimed
cinephile.  But the writer/director’s love for cinema is most obviously
expressed through his own films.  In addition to showing his characters
spending a great deal of time discussing cinema, Tarantino’s films are
jam-packed with homages and visual references to the movies that have
intrigued him throughout his life. 

Many
filmmakers pay homage, but Tarantino takes things a step further by
replicating exact moments from a variety of genres and smashing them
together to create his own distinct vision.  Just like ‘Kill Bill: Vol 2
(2004) draws on ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly‘ (1966) and ‘Samurai
Fiction
‘ (1998), Tarantino’s work often reflects Spaghetti Westerns and
Japanese cinema–both new and old.  His unique way of referencing other
films allows him to bend genre boundaries and shatter the mold of what
we expect to experience.  While his methods are often criticized and he
is accused of "ripping off" other filmmakers, it seems that Tarantino is
simply writing love letters to the art he is ever so passionate about. 
From German silent-cinema to American B
movies, the following video uses split-screen to demonstrate a few of
the hundreds of visual film references over the course of Tarantino’s
career.
Tarantino Films:
‘Reservoir Dogs’ (1992)
‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994)
‘Jackie Brown’ (1997)
‘Kill Bill: Vol. 1’ (2003)
‘Kill Bill: Vol. 2’ (2004)
‘Death Proof’ (2007)
‘Inglourious Basterds’ (2009)
‘Django Unchained’ (2012)
Referenced Films (in order of appearance):
‘City on Fire’ (1987)
‘Django’ (1966)
‘Band of Outsiders’ (1964)
‘8 1/2’ (1963)
‘The Warriors’ (1979)
‘Psycho’ (1960)
‘Kiss Me Deadly’ (1955)
‘The Flintstones’ (1960-66)
‘Superchick’ (1973)
‘The Graduate’ (1967)
‘Citizen Kane’ (1941)
‘Goke, Body Snatcher From Hell’ (1968)
‘Lady Snowblood’ (1973)
‘City of the Living Dead’ (1980)
‘Black Sunday‘ (1977)
‘Game of Death’ (1978)
‘Miller’s Crossing’ (1990)
‘Death Rides a Horse’ (1966)
‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ (1974)
‘Samurai Fiction’ (1998)
‘Blade Runner’ (1982)
‘The Searchers’ (1956)
‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ (1968)
‘Five Fingers of Death’ (1972)
‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ (1966)
‘Convoy’ (1978)
‘The Bird With the Crystal Plumage’ (1970)
‘Unforgiven’ (1992)
‘The Searchers’ (1956)
‘Metropolis’ (1927)
‘Django’ (1966)
‘Gone With the Wind’ (1939)
‘The Great Silence’ (1968)
‘A Professional Gun’ (1968)

Jacob T. Swinney is an industrious film editor and filmmaker, as well as a recent graduate of Salisbury University.

VIDEO ESSAY: ON THE QT # 1: RESERVOIR DOGS

ON THE QT # 1: RESERVOIR DOGS

Press Play launches its new director series On the Q.T., about Quentin Tarantino, with a look at his debut Reservoir Dogs (1992). Although it earned plenty of acclaim, the film also sparked two kinds of controversy. One had to do with the movie's content: its profanity, racial epithets, blood, and torture merged art house and grindhouse traditions in a fresh and unsettling way. The other controversy was aesthetic: Tarantino, a former video store clerk, quoted movie history so ostentatiously—even working pop culture rants into his dialogue!—that detractors accused him of being more of a gifted mimic than a real artist, a charge that has followed him throughout his career.

Funny thing, though: when you look back on the late '90s and early '00s, you see plenty of films that desperately wanted to be Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction. Truth or Consequences, N.M., Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, The Usual Suspects, Two Days in the Valley, Mad Dog Time, and many others channeled what was presumed to be the Tarantino formula. Yet none of them has had the staying power of Reservoir Dogs. Why? The answer is contained in Reservoir Dogs' opening monologue about Madonna's "Like a Virgin"—delivered by none other than Tarantino himself—and in the scenes of the undercover cop, Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), getting into character as one of the crooks. Put these images together—a lover so good that he makes a sexually experienced woman feel like a virgin, and an actor so good that he fools hardbitten crooks into thinking he's one of them—and you have Tarantino's early career: a performance so extraordinary that it stops being performance and becomes an emotional event.

How does Tarantino do it? Press play to find out.

San Antonio-based film critic Aaron Aradillas is a contributor to The House Next Door, a contributor to Moving Image Source, and the host of “Back at Midnight,” an Internet radio program about film and television.

Matt Zoller Seitz is one of the founders of Press Play. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, he is currently the TV Critic for New York Magazine.

Ken Cancelosi is a writer and photographer living in Dallas, Texas. He is the co-founder of Press Play.