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Get ready for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with these 8 definitive Quentin Tarantino moments


Quentin Tarantino's new movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood arrives in Cineworld on 9th August.

Known for his unique, idiosyncratic dialogue, stylish, B-movie inspired violence and pitch-perfect soundtrack choices, multi-Oscar-winning auteur Tarantino is unquestionably one of the most celebrated film-makers of the century. It's therefore no surprise that we at Cineworld are very excited to see what he has in store for us in his ninth feature.

Set in Los Angeles in 1969, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood mixes fact and fiction, and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. Tarantino's latest creation follows Western TV star Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt) as they contemplate their future on the small screen, an odyssey that takes them to the home of the Spaghetti Western: Italy.

While the era of Flower Power and the hippy movement starts to wane, Dalton's neighbour, actress Sharon Tate (Robbie), becomes one of the victims of the notorious Manson Family cult.

The astonishing ensemble cast also includes Al Pacino, Damian Lewis, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning and the late Luke Perry. As we wait for our first proper look of the film, we can't think of any better way to pass the time than to look at eight of the moments that helped define Tarantino as one of the greats.


1. Reservoir Dogs (1992) – 'Stuck in the Middle With You'

A non-linear story of a heist gone horribly wrong, Tarantino's debut feature film Reservoir Dogs made an enormous impact upon its release. The story follows a group of colour-coded criminals as they attempt to figure out how to make it out of their predicament alive, while also discovering which one of them could be the undercover cop who tipped off their plans.

If there are two things Tarantino's best known for, it's violence and bold song choices. Both of which were prominent in his first film during the now-infamous torture scene that sees Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen) sever a kidnapped policeman's ear to the upbeat tune of Stealers Wheel's 'Stuck in the Middle With You'. It's gruesome (even though, masterfully, we don't see the act), its unforgettable and it's pure Tarantino.

2. Pulp Fiction (1994) – Jack Rabbit Slim's

Widely considered to be Tarantino's masterpiece, literally every scene from Pulp Fiction would qualify for this list. But there's one scene we think deserves this spot: Mia (Uma Thurman) and Vincent's (John Travolta) dance.

The pair throwing some groovy shapes to Chuck Berry's 'You Never Can Tell' as part of a dance contest may have little to do with the interconnecting plot, but thanks to Tarantino's unique style it's a whole lot of fun to watch.

3. Jackie Brown (1997) – Are you sure?

Inspired by the Blaxploitation films of the 1970s, Jackie Brown is a taut crime thriller based on author Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch. It sees the titular air hostess (Blaxploitation icon Pam Grier) become entangled in a plot to double-cross violent weapons dealer Ordell (Samuel L. Jackson).

Full of delicious Tarantino pulpy goodness, our pick from his third feature goes to Melanie's (Bridget Fonda) unceremonious death at the hands of irritable gangster Luis (Robert De Niro). It's sudden, unnecessary and brutal, but with Tarantino's writing and direction, it's also one of his funniest film moments as well.

4. Kill Bill (2003) – Crazy 88

Although Kill Bill's tale of bloody revenge is technically in two parts (released in 2003 and 2004), it's still considered one film, which makes picking just one moment even harder. However, we have to go with the sword fight between The Bride (Uma Thurman) and an army of 88 yakuza.

Paying homage to classic Japanese movies including Yojimbo, Tokyo Drifter and Lady Snowblade, this sequence is over-the-top, ultra-stylish, and very, very gory. In fact it was so violent that grayscale had to be implemented to tone down the violence. In other words, it's everything we love in a Tarantino film.

5. Death Proof (2007) – Crash

Part of the Grindhouse double feature co-produced with Robert Rodriguez, Death Proof stars Kurt Russell as a masochistic former stuntman with bloodlust, who torments two groups of young women. Taking cues from old 'grindhouse' horror films you'd see in American drive-ins, Death Proof is Tarantino's love of schlock turned up to 11.

And no better scene exemplifies this more than when Russell slams his "death proof" car into his first group of unsuspecting victims. Complete with film grain, obscure rock music, feet and gore, it underlines Tarantino's enduring love of violent B-movie exploitation.

6. Inglourious Basterds (2009) – Under the floorboards

Tarantino's take on the World War II movie, Inglourious Basterds posits an alternate version of the conflict, in which an elite US military group, known as the 'Basterds', and a French-Jewish theatre owner plot to assassinate the Nazi high command. Although the whole film is brimming with the director's signature quirks, we need to highlight the opening scene in which S.S officer Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), aka the 'Jew Hunter', searches a rural French farm for a Jewish family.

Centering around an Oscar-winning performance by Waltz, the opening isn't just Tarantino's dialogue at its best, it's a masterclass in creating suspense. As the scene goes on, the tension slowly builds to the inevitable, nerve-shredding climax.

7. Django Unchained (2012) – Eyeholes

Mixing up the Western and Blaxploitation genres with cheerful, blood-splattered glee, Tarantino's Oscar-winning epic refuses to play nice. It's the tale of a two bounty hunters, slave-turned-sharp-shooter Django (Jamie Foxx) and suave European Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), on a mission to free Django's wife from repulsive racist plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

While it doesn't pull any punches when it comes to depicting the racial attitudes of segregated 19th century America, Tarantino still has some fun along the way, notably with a group of racists bickering over bodged eyeholes in their masks prior to raiding our heroes' wagon.

8. The Hateful Eight (2015) – 'Silent Night'

It wouldn't be a list of definitive Tarantino moments without a memorable monologue by Samuel L. Jackson. What better example of this than in claustrophobic thriller The Hateful Eight where bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (Jackson) confronts Civil War general Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern) about what happened to his son.

As ever, Jackson is simply outstanding as he spins his yarn of how he allegedly killed the man's son, getting more malicious as he goes. Throw in a perfectly timed piano rendition of 'Silent Night' and we're left with one of Tarantino's most memorable moments.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood reaches us on 9th August, so tweet us your essential Quentin Tarantino moments @Cineworld.

Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.