Ranking Tarantino… The Characters


As these past couple of posts have and will continue to show; Tarantino has a lot of trademarks. The particular trademark on which I am bringing my ranking skills to bear at this moment is his ability to create some really colorful characters. His films make use of large groups of characters, each one more interesting than the last. Even if they are not personally appealing; they’re characters all right. “Just because you are a character, doesn’t mean you have character.” But it sure does help. Keeping this in mind, here are my top ten Tarantino-created characters.

Coming in at number ten is…


Film: Death Proof 

Played by: Zoe Bell

Finest Moment: the car chase at the end. She manages to stay on the hood of a speeding car that’s getting rammed by a psychopath and even when she does finally fall off she’s completely fine. She picks herself up, and goes after said psychopath and beats him with a metal pipe. Yup.

Quote: “I’m okay!”

Basically her finest moment says it all. I also really like her accent, and the lack of really good characters in Death Proof makes her stand out. Stuntman Mike’s okay, but he’s got nothing on Zoe.

Coming in at number nine is…


Film: Kill Bill Vol.1, Kill Bill Vol. 2

Played by: David Carradine

Finest Moment: This one’s pretty hard because he’s technically a bad guy and doesn’t have any “good” moments. I’ll have to go with all of his flashback moments though, where we can see how much he actually cared for The Bride, which really complicated my feelings towards the end of the film. I didn’t like him until the flashbacks in Vol. 2.

Quote: “I was very sad. And that was when I learned, some things, once you do, they can never be undone.”

I still think it’s kind of weird that I have Bill on here, but I really do like him. Once we went back to the flashbacks in Vol. 2 I got pretty attached to him. I was genuinely sad when The Bride finally killed him, and probably even more so because I knew it was coming. He has a really cool voice too, and I love how he plays his flute for dramatic effect.

Coming in at number eight is…


Film: Jackie Brown

Played by: Pam Grier

Finest Moment: when she steals Max’s gun and then threatens Ordell with it. That guy’s gross, and at this moment I didn’t know if she had it in her. She does; don’t even worry about it.

Quote: “I put a cherry on top. Booh-yah! What the fuck did Ordell ever do for us, huh?”

I love how Jackie Brown works against the odds to succeed at the end of the film. It’s great. She’s such an underdog, and I love underdogs (most of the time). Plus she rocks that suit.

Coming in at number seven is…


Film: Inglourious Basterds

Played by: Michael Fassbender

Finest Moment: When it looks like he’s going to kill that obnoxious Nazi guy that crashed their secret meeting. He was really close. Sooo close. Well, he tried and that’s all that counts.

Quote: “Now, about this pickle… we find ourselves in. It would appear there’s only thing left for you to do…”

Hicox doesn’t have a lot of screen time, unfortunately, but in the time he does have he almost runs away with the film. I love his accent, too. Man, I really wish he wasn’t killed off. He was so great.

Coming in at number six is…


Film: Pulp Fiction

Played by: Uma Thurman

Finest Moment: when she finally tells Vincent the Fox Force Five joke.

Quote:  “Now I wanna dance, I wanna win. I want that trophy, so dance good.”

I love Mia because she’s so weird. She just does things because she wants to, and they’re usually pretty strange, but also pretty cool. I don’t have a really good reason other than that, and hopefully I don’t need one.

Coming in at number five is…


Film: Reservoir Dogs

Played by: Tim Roth

Finest Moment: when he shoots Mr. Blond while lying in a pool of his own blood. Not only does he save an innocent cop but the moral center of the whole film.

Quote: “They believe every fucking word cause you’re super cool.”

Mr. Orange is here because he literally saves the movie. Morally, I mean. Before his moment of glory, it’s just thieves and psychopaths running around in various states of panic. Once Mr. Orange shoots Mr. Blond, we have someone to root for. This really helps because although a lot of the characters were colorful (ha ha), I couldn’t really get behind them, especially Mr. Blond. Reservoir Dogs got so much better for me when Mr. Orange revealed his true colors (I’m on a roll), and for that he wins a place on this list.

Coming in at number four is…


Film: Django Unchained

Played by: Christoph Waltz

Finest Moment: The opening scene of the film; where Schultz rides in and liberates everyone. I guess he doesn’t technically liberate Django, but eventually that will happen so he’s getting there I suppose. All of the other slave are completely astonished that someone like Schultz exists. It’s great, and a really great intro to his character.

Quote: “I’m going to make this slavery malarkey work to my advantage. But, having  said that, I still feel guilty.”

Part of me really wants to swap Schultz and Hans Landa, because to be honest Schultz is a more interesting character. He always opposes slavery, but you can see in the beginning that he still has some trouble accepting Django as an equal. It’s tempting just to forget about this or try to explain it away because Schultz is so awesome, but the fact remains that he does actually own Django for a short period of time, and even after he does free him he only gives him a third of his bounties, instead of splitting it straight down the middle. It’s hard to tell if this is because Django’s black or if Schultz would do this to anyone he partnered up with; he starts off the story completely alone so maybe he just doesn’t like working with other people. Still, once they get to Candyland Schultz is forced to accept that Django knows more about the situation that he does, and that he isn’t superior to him at all.

Coming in at number three is…


Film: Kill Bill Vol. 1, Kill Bill Vol. 2

Played by: Uma Thurman

Finest Moment: You’d think I’d pick when she kills bill, since that’s the whole point of the films and everything, but I’m actually going with her punching her way out of a pine box buried under six feet of dirt. That was pretty dang awe inspiring.

Quote: “I roared. I rampaged. And I got bloody satisfaction.”

The Bride is the very definition of badass. And that’s why she’s here.

Coming in at number two is…


Film: Inglourious Basterds

Played by: Christoph Waltz

Finest Moment: when he saves himself by making a deal with the Allies and coincidentally ends up saving the entire world! Of course it turned out not to matter because of Shoshanna, but whatever. I was still pretty happy he did that. If I was that awesome, I’d save myself too.

Quote: “Caught you flinching!”

Hans Landa is evil, and I kind of feel bad about putting him this high on the list. He’s so awesome though! I can’t help it! In terms of Christoph Waltz characters, Schultz undeniably the better person and goes through more of an arc than Landa, who doesn’t go through one at all, but I can’t help liking Landa more somehow. I thinks it’s because he can get away with so much. Of course, he doesn’t completely get away with everything in the end, but he succeeds more in this way than Schultz does. So I guess that’s why I put him ahead of Schultz.

Coming in at number one is…


Film: Pulp Fiction

Played by: Samuel L Jackson

Finest Moment: when he saves everyone from bank robbers and reinvents himself all in the same day, but really all of his moments are great.

Quote: “The truth is you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd.”

Jules is a really great character to begin with; he’s funny and really tough. Unfortunately, he’s also a criminal. But he decides to end his life of crime after experiencing a miracle, and then there is absolutely no excuse not to love him. None.

Honorable Mentions: Max Cherry from Jackie Brown, Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction, Elle Driver from Kill Bill, Mr. Pink from Reservoir Dogs, and Calvin Candy from Django Unchained.

Tarantino has a lot of characters; it was hard to keep it down to ten, and in some cases it was hard to justify their placement. I actually had Max Cherry at ten, but I had to take him off because I couldn’t figure out what his finest moment would be! I’m sure he has one, but I couldn’t think of it when I was making the list. I realize now that I like a lot of these characters, Hans Landa and Jackie Brown specifically, just because they get away with stuff that normal people can’t. That’s pretty cool. Tarantino knows how to create some good characters, and develop them really well. There are probably even more honorable mentions, but I had to cut myself off somewhere!

14 responses to “Ranking Tarantino… The Characters

    • yeah I really wanted Max Cherry on there, but sadly I couldn’t justify it.
      I kind of hated Mr. Blond, which of course was the point, but I couldn’t put him on there.
      and thank you!

  1. An admirable effort… especially as everyone is bound to have their own faves! For my own list I would have left off Zoe Bell and Michael Fassbender, and would have chosen someone else from Dogs than Roth. I would have had to work Vincent Vega, Aldo Raines, Aldo Raine, and maybe O-Ren Ishii…

    But I know how it is. These lists are a tough racket. Hard to please everybody! 😮 Nicely done! Definitely agree with #1-4 😀

    • Lists are tough, that’s for sure. Pretty fun though!
      No Fassbender! Ahhhh, granted Raine had way more screen time but… I don’t know. I didn’t like him that much, especially at the end. I basically hated him at the end. He does have some great lines though.
      I like Vincent Vega too, but I couldn’t get him on. He was an HM though! O-Ren is nice one, though. “Now, if any of you sons of bitches got anything else to say, now’s the fucking time!” She’s great, I love that part. I think I still like Elle better though, because she kills Budd and I didn’t like Budd. Which a black mamba nonetheless.
      Yeah, my top four are pretty solid. Same as my top four films…. I didn’t even do that on purpose so that kind of reaffirms everything.

      • Gee…….you seem to have something against Michael Madsen……..don’t worry, I’m not that big on him either. Mr. Blonde was a revolting cool character, but Budd, I think, could really have been played by anybody. Fassbender however, is just brilliant in “Inglorious Basterds”. I totally agree and was extremely disappointed, when he was ‘taken out’ in that fabulous nerve shattering bar scene. He was terrific, but then again, when isn’t he?
        Tim Roth practically stole “Reservoir Dogs” away from all those other brilliant actors/performances in that film. An extraordinary achievement from a pretty much British ‘unknown’ (at the time)! I loved the part when he was telling the guys about the cops in the toilet with the German Shepherd barking in slow motion. One of the many simple scenes that Tarantino turns into greatness!

        • I mean this list is devoted to characters so technically it’s not Madsen that I object to…. just the characters he ends up playing. He’s great at playing total sleezebags that I don’t like at all!
          You’re right about Fassbender always being good, that’s so true. This was one of the first movies I saw him in, and really almost does steal the whole movie. I wasn’t even sure I liked it until he showed up.
          That is a great scene, how he’s imaging the cover story he’s making up. He knows it so well at that point that he can picture it in his mind. Roth was so great in that movie.

    • Why thank you! They match up with my top three films, so it wasn’t that surprising I guess, but whatever! It just reinforces their positions on both lists!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s