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We here at FKMG think Quentin Tarantino is one of our greatest living directors. Detractors can argue that he’s little more than the sum of his influences - and they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong - but it’s what he does with those influences that make his work special.
Having written & directed only ten films over 30 years (we consider Kill Bill 1 & 2 two separate films), he ain’t the most prolific guy on Earth. But while not every movie is a home run, he’s never cranked out any junk, either. What ultimately makes him great is he never appears to be resting on his laurels and coasting on auto-pilot. Even the “worst” film on this list has unique qualities which make it worthwhile.
The following list ranks only the theatrical films Tarantino directed. True Romance is great, but he only wrote the screenplay. I’ve also excluded any film in which he directed just a segment (Four Rooms, which sucked anyway) or was billed as a “guest director” (Sin City).
10. DEATH PROOF
It’s first hour is meandering and relentlessly talky, but the film is ultimately saved by Kurt Russell and a climactic car chase that’s arguably the best action sequence Tarantino ever directed.
9. KILL BILL, VOLUME 2Whereas Volume 1 drew most of its influence from Asian action cinema, Volume 2 plays more like an homage to spaghetti westerns. There’s a lot to love here, but the final act is unnecessarily protracted.
8. THE HATEFUL EIGHTThe Hateful Eight is Tarantino’s longest film...and often feels like it. However, this epic western features another great cast, an effective score by the great Ennio Morricone (his last) and some surprising story twists.
7. KILL BILL, VOLUME 1The director at his most playful. Outlandish and unapologetically gory, Volume 1 is certainly a lot of over-the-top fun and Thurman is a formidable ass-kicker, though style quashes anything resembling substance.
6. JACKIE BROWN
This might be Tarantino’s most under-appreciated film, anchored by affecting, charismatic performances from Pam Grier and Robert Forster.