Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood was released one week ago, so now is a good time to rank his nine movies. Where does the brand-new summer hit based on the 50-year anniversary of the eventful year of 1969 rank among Tarantino’s best? These rankings do not include spoilers, so don’t worry if you haven’t seen every movie.
9. Death Proof (2007)
Everyone has their own personal preferences in terms of favorites, but not many people would debate that Death Proof is the “worst” movie from Tarantino. The longtime filmmaker admitted as much himself in a roundtable with The Hollywood Reporter a few years ago. It’s also the most inconsistent compared to his other movies in terms of genre, as he gave a slasher-type film a shot, and it was released in theaters alongside Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror. But Death Proof being the worst of Tarantino’s nine films is impressive.
8. Jackie Brown (1997)
Jackie Brown isn’t Tarantino’s longest film, but it feels long (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) because there was so much going on. Following up Pulp Fiction must have been incredibly difficult, but Tarantino went in different direction by focusing more on the characters and relationships in Jackie Brown. The cast including Pam Grier, Robert Forster, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda, and Michael Keaton was excellent, delivering spontaneous moments and Tarantino’s usual funny lines with skill.
7. The Hateful Eight (2015)
Set in a blizzard-hit small town of Red Rock, Wyoming in a post-Civil War United States, The Hateful Eight is the longest movie Tarantino has directed. The Hateful Eight includes mostly Tarantino regulars (known as “The Gang”, as credited in Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood), with Channing Tatum notably cast in a bit of an unknown role. Overall, The Hateful Eight is a mystery film that unsurprisingly includes the violence you’d expect from a Tarantino story with a bunch of mean people stuck in one location.
6. Kill Bill (2003, 2004)
Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2 are both awesome, but they’re rightfully considered one movie among Tarantino’s nine films. Uma Thurman, who of course initially starred in Pulp Fiction, was back with Tarantino in a lead role as former assassin “The Bride”, seeking revenge on the Deadly Vipers and Bill (David Carradine). The fight scenes are epic, but there were many different genres within both volumes and superb cinematography throughout.
5. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
The directorial debut of Tarantino could not have gone much better, as Reservoir Dogs became a cult classic that—while it didn’t happen for most until after the release of Pulp Fiction two years later—became highly-acclaimed by both fans and critics. They don’t make heist films like they used to, and Reservoir Dogs sets everything up nicely from the start. It should probably be noted that the profanity and rude language might be the worst of any of Tarantino film.
4. Django Unchained (2012)
As we journey through a pre-Civil War south and follow Django (Jamie Foxx) and Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) trying to find and free Django’s wife, Broomhilda Von Shaft (Kerry Washington), Django Unchained is arguably the most dramatic movie from Tarantino. The adventure aspect of the film is great, as is the main villain (Calvin Candie, played masterfully by Leonardo DiCaprio) and his butler, Stephen (played by Samuel L. Jackson).
3. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Considered one of the greatest and most impactful films of all-time, Pulp Fiction won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1994 and was subsequently exalted by nearly everyone that viewed it. For a film like Pulp Fiction, which includes plenty of violence and strong language, to be nominated for Best Picture shows how impactful it was. John Travolta (who had his career rejuvenated), Bruce Willis (who gained more acclaim from critics), and the entire cast helped make Pulp Fiction a classic, and Tarantino’s transitions between the multiple storylines and timelines was perfectly executed.
2. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
This top three is probably Tarantino’s clear top trio and could go in any order (and some will understandably disagree with the top two being ahead of Pulp Fiction), but Inglourious Basterds is worthy of the No. 2 spot. Awards from critics certainly aren’t everything, but the revisionist war film received eight Academy Award nominations (the most of any Tarantino movie, slightly edging out Pulp Fiction, which had seven nominations). Inglourious Basterds might have the best Tarantino hero (Lt. Aldo Raine, played by Brad Pitt) and villain (Hans Landa, played by Christoph Waltz), and Waltz’s portrayal of Landa makes the Nazi colonel one of the greatest villains in the history of cinema. Meanwhile, Melanie Laurent, Daniel Brühl, Michael Fassbender, and Waltz himself were all fantastic in their roles and all had major breakouts in Inglourious Basterds.
1. Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (2019)
Leonardo DiCaprio finally won a well-deserved Oscar in his previous movie (2015’s The Revenant), and he was arguably even better as struggling actor Rick Dalton in Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood; and Brad Pitt deserves every ounce of praise he’s received for playing Rick’s stuntman, Cliff Booth. The two stars are both worthy of winning an Oscar for Best Actor this year (Pitt likely more so because he’s never won one), and they have amazing on-screen chemistry that makes them one of the best duos ever in film or television. Also, Margot Robbie was spectacular as usual—and left you wanting to see more time with her character—playing the real-life actress Sharon Tate, who was tragically killed by members of the “Manson Family” in August 1969, the year this film is set. Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is relatively tame compared to some other Tarantino films in terms of language, but it beautifully looks back on Hollywood’s Golden Age while placing the viewer into the time, giving them characters, settings, and memorable lines (as all Tarantino movies deliver) to grip to within Tarantino’s world.