Happy 21st birthday Pulp Fiction: Here are 21 reasons why we love Tarantino's masterpiece
"I said, Goddamn!"
Ever since the creation of cinema in the 1890's, there have been countless debates about what makes a great film. A brilliant story, interesting characters and a cast of talented actors working from a superb script are just some of the essential ingredients and they all come together in this seminal classic.
Quentin Tarantino's '94 masterpiece Pulp Fiction has all of the above but it also manages to add bullets, blood, briefcases and burgers into the mix and the results were nothing short of superb.
When the film was released, it gave a much needed shot of adrenaline into the heart of cinema as Tarantino's combination of pop-culture dialogue and a non-linear plot, along with his unique mixture of dark humour with violence, instantly made him one of the world's most famous directors.
21 years on from its release here are 21 reasons why we love Pulp Fiction.
1) The script and the films narrative structure
Tarantino had already used a non-linear timeline in his blistering debut Reservoir Dogs but he perfected the style here.
You probably won't be shocked to learn that he wrote Pulp Fiction in Amsterdam, hence the frequent references to the city in the film. For example; Vincent had just returned from the place, presumably after drinking a few beers in the cinema, while Mia says that's where she likes to go and chill.
The script is a masterpiece in the art of screenwriting because it effortlessly balances those hilarious discussions on pop-culture with an ominous aura of imminent violence.
The majority of the main characters in Pulp Fiction are violent, dangerous and essentially the scum of the criminal underworld yet we're still empathising, laughing and caring about them. That takes a genius to pull off.
Despite having to juggle multiple story arcs and plots, Tarantino never allows his audience to switch off or feel bored. How could you be?
The writer/director rightfully won the Oscar for best original screenplay in '94 because despite the mesmerising plot and sparkling dialogue it still manages to give every character, no matter how big or small, their time to shine.
Chronologically speaking, the last scene in the movie sees Butch and Fabienne driving away on their motorcycle and for those that are curious, The 'F word' is said 265 times during Pulp Fiction.
We have to include this iconic scene, the Kerry version isn't bad also.
2) A soundtrack that defined the 90's
Only Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson really come close to matching Tarantino's unique one-two punch of having an incredible eye for a shot with an even better ear for a tune.
Every song on the soundtrack is an instant classic but we have to go for this one. Effortlessly cool.
3) One iconic poster
Be honest, every guy has this poster on their wall. If this didn't decorate your abode then we're certain that the famous image of Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta both aiming their guns did
4) The most perfect casting
In the original screenplay Butch was intended to be an up-and-coming boxer, with Sylvester Stallone, Matt Dillon and Mickey Rourke all considered for the role.
Yes, Rocky himself could have been in a Tarantino while Rourke actually passed on the role, good news for Bruce Willis who originally auditioned for the role of Vincent Vega.
Wow all these actors auditioning, it's even harder to follow than the film whenever you see it for the first time.
As for the role of Mrs Mia Wallace (said in our huskiest Uma Thurman voice into the Jack Rabbit Slim's microphone) Halle Berry, Meg Ryan, Isabella Rossellini, Daryl Hannah, Joan Cusack and Michelle Pfeiffer all auditioned for the part but Tarantino had his heart set on Thurman.
Surprisingly, The Bride herself also turned down the part but the director was so desperate for her to star in his feature that he read the script to Thurman over the phone and convinced her to take the role.
Sam Jackson was on the director's radar already having auditioned for Reservoir Dogs but the role of Jules was specifically written for him.
Producer Richard Gladstein told Vanity Fair that when Jackson showed up for his audition, he brought along a burger and chips as props. The actor ate the the meal so menacingly that Gladstein said, "I thought that this guy was going to shoot a gun right through my head."
Jackson got an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor as did Uma Thurman in her category while John Travolta was the only person nominated for a leading role.
Do you know who beat Jackson to the award? Martin Landau for Ed Wood.
5) One of the funniest moments of dark comedy in any film
Never before has cleaning up bits of some poor lads brains and skull been so funny. Vincent’s nonchalant reaction to Jules’ sheer panic over the brain chunks that were left in his jheri curls still crack me up. Sorry Marvin.
6) What's in the briefcase?
Alfred Hitchcock first coined the term McGuffin, which is essentially a plot devise that serves little or no actual purpose other than moving the story forward, so basically it's like that guy who gets shot after appearing out of Brad's apartment firing at the Jules and Vincent.
Seriously, did he even get more than one line?
The contents of Marsellus Wallace's briefcase is the catalyst that set in motion the burger eating, Chuck Berry dancing and bible quoting adventures of Vincent and Jules.
Various theories have been put forward about what was actually in the briefcase, some people believe that it contains Marcellus' soul or the diamonds from Reservoir Dogs.
Want to know what's really inside? Two batteries and a lightbulb, not that amazing really.
7) He hid the watch the only place he could...
Only Christopher Walken can almost effortlessly steal a wonderful ensemble film by telling a story about hiding a watch up someone's ass.
We'd be damned if it was any other way though.
8) Keeping up the Irish end
Did you know that Bronagh Galagher's character Trudi wears a T-shirt of The Frames during the film?
Of course you don't need reminding that she appeared alongside the bands lead singer Glen Hansard in The Commitments. Apparently she promised the future Oscar winner that she would wear their T-shirt in the film if she got a part.
9) The dancw sequence
We always thought that Vincent and Mia had a thing for each other, I mean Marsellus goes the whole movie without talking to his wife even once, plus he also threw Tony Rocky Horror out of a window for giving Mrs Wallace a foot massage.
Did you know that Uma Thurman didn't like the choice of song used in this iconic scene because she felt that it didn't work. The actress pleaded with Tarantino to change it but he stuck to his guns.
Well Uma, you never can tell.
10) These timeless quotes that we haven't featured in our tribute
Jules - "But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd."
Honey Bunny - "Any of you fu'*ing pricks move, and I'll execute every motherfu#*ing last one of ya!"
Mia - "Why do we feel it's necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable?"
Marsellus - "I''ma get medieval on your ass."
The Wolf - "That's thirty minutes away. I'll be there in ten."
11) You have to pierce the breastplate
So what was more shocking, this or the ear slicing in Reservoir Dogs?
12) The resurrection of John Travolta's career
We're fairly certain that some people probably advised Tarnatino against casting John Travolta in the film to which we really hope QT replied with the following, "I don't remember askin' you a Goddamn thing! You were saying?".
Tony Manero himself earned less than $150,000 for the role but it was the best career move that Travolta ever made, after Battlefield Earth of course.
He went on to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Actor and returned to the elite of Hollywood.
Daniel Day Lewis and Bruce Willis were overlooked for the part, we're sort of glad that the Wicklow native didn't get the role. Method acting for that character would have been really bad for his health, plus he probably can't dance like JT can.
Odd fact but whenever Vincent Vega goes to the toilet something bad happens in the film. For example; Mia Wallace overdoses on heroin, the diner gets robbed and Butch shoots him.
See lads, that's what happens when you break the seal.
13) The dynamic between Jules and Vincent
There are so many amazing characters in Pulp Fiction but the on screen chemistry between John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson is just superb.
Tarantino wrote a fantastic script but his two lead actors really made it come to life.
This is probably my favourite scene of the deadly and hilarious duo.
14) Did you know?
There is a wealth of hidden easter eggs in the film. Did you know that Steve Buscemi is the 'Buddy Holly' waiter at Jack Rabbit Slim's or that Mia Wallace's Fox Force Five character, Raven McCoy, takes inspiration from the character names of Mystique and Beast from the the X-Men films?
Also Fabienne’s line that “Any time of day is a good time for pie” is a quote directly lifted from True Romance which Tarantino also wrote.
Plus we all know that Michael Madsen's character from Reservoir Dogs, Mr Blonde aka Victor Vega, is Vincent Vega's brother in Tarantinoland?
What a place that must be to live in.
15) Won't someone please think of the children
Tarantino wanted to use 'My Sharona' by The Knack as the song to soundtrack the gimp scene but the rights were already bought for Reality Bites.
Keeping up the grand tradition of Tarantino violence, Pulp Fiction features samurai swords, blow torches, gun fights, brutal fights, car crashes and brain splashes. Just some of the gory delights that the film has to offer.
Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead.
16) This 8-Bit tribute
17) One iconic image
18) This epic moment from Tarantino after he was heckled upon winning Best Film at Cannes
19) That monologue
Did you know that only the final two lines from this monologue actually feature in Ezequiel 25:17?
20) It's legacy
What's the matter? Oh, you thought we were finished! Well, allow us to retort. What does the films impact and legacy look like?
Pulp Fiction only cost a relatively modest $8m to make, with over $5m going towards actor salaries. The film went on to make over $210m.
We don't have enough words to describe it's influence in terms of narrative structure and dialogue (Memento, Brick, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Go, Out of Sight, Amores Perros, Get Shorty, Very Bad Things, Intermission and lots more owe it a debt of gratitude)
Is Pulp Fiction one of the greatest films ever made? Correctamundo.
21) An Oscar
It won for best original screenplay.