There’s no shortage of great characters in the world of Quentin Tarantino films. The legendary director is set to officially run off into the sunset with his tenth and final movie, but until the last chapter in the Tarantino universe is released, we’ll always have the last nine films that have shaped the filmmaker’s career. This list focuses on the heroes that have carved a memorable path in one of Tarantino’s nine films. However, the article will only focus on the movies that was both written and directed by Tarantino, so while True Romance and Natural Born Killers are the definitions of entertainment, neither of those films are eligible for this list.
Tarantino’s characters blur the line between hero and villain. While we can’t exactly call Vincent Vega a good guy because he’s a hitman, he’s generally a likable character in Pulp Fiction, thus the audience is able to connect with him despite his profession. However, if you’re one of those people who believe Vega purposely killed Marvin, then it’s understandable to label him in the bad guy category. Vega talks with his partner Jules is highly entertaining, but it’s also his “dinner date” with Mia Wallace that really showcases his charm and how much of a decent guy he actually is. Unfortunately, Vega dies in the end, but he leaves a memorable impression before he’s gunned down. It’s a shame that Tarantino didn’t make that feature by diving deeper into the characters of Vincent and Victor (Mr. Blonde) Vega. That would’ve been a wild and bloody fun feature.
It’s amazing to think that Samuel L. Jackson almost lost this legendary role. Easily the more memorable character than Vincent Vega, Jules Winnfield’s cool, but remorseless killer has the most quotable lines in Pulp Fiction. His scene where he recites a bible verse from Ezekiel was actual made up by the actor, and the other iconic moment of his standoff with Pumpkin and Honey bunny showcases his morals of his character. Winnfield is a killer, but he’s a human being who’s able to feel compassion and forgiveness. It’s actually surprising that a feature about Winnfield’s character has never been discussed as the juxtaposition regarding his religion and profession could’ve made for a compelling movie.
The Bride aka Beatrix Kiddo
There are three assassins on this list, yet the cool thing about these characters is that Tarantino didn’t simply copy and paste them. The Bride is more of the sympathetic figure. A woman who’s brutally beaten and nearly killed in cold blood by her own ex and her assassination squad members. The Bride is a great character because she’s able to be kind, warm, caring, ruthless, cold, and unforgiving. This is the strength of the incredible talents of Uma Thurman, who slips into the role like a glove. Her badassery is definitely exaggerated, but Kill Bill is just as much about style and substance. Her fights throughout both features are a fun thrill ride and the curve ball of having her daughter still being alive was great. It allowed for her battle against Bill to be more emotional and helped carve out Beatrix Kiddo as a layered human being.
The most sympathetic of Tarantino’s heroes yet Jackie Brown still fired on all cylinders because of her compelling situation that wasn’t all too seen in films from the 90s. Of course, we’ve seen badass female action heroes like Sarah Connor and Ripley, but a woman using her smarts to manipulate and play both sides was a nice change of pace. Jackie Brown had no issues firing off a gun, or in Ordell’s case, pressing one against his dick, but to see a character using their brains instead of violence is a great contrast to the world that Tarantino usually presents.
Dr. King Schultz
Jamie Foxx does fine in his role as the title character; however, he’s greatly outclassed by Christopher Waltz’s dentist-turned-bounty-hunter. It’s crazy to think that Waltz originally turned down the role of Schultz, but thankfully he changed his tune after Quentin Tarantino agreed to his one condition. Just like Waltz’s stole the show as Colonel Hans Landa, the actor proves his versatility as the charismatic bounty hunter who chews up the scenery with his colorful dialogue and honorable deeds. Going back to the one condition that Tarantino agreed to, Waltz stated that his character had to be pure and never once act in a negative or evil manner. That’s the true strength of Schultz, who actually treats Black men and women like human beings and is disgusted by the slavery rule. Him getting the honor to kill Calvin Candie after the evil bastard threaten to shoot Broomhilda von Shaft dead even after signing her over was the perfect sendoff for his character. Sure, Schultz dies in the end, but he goes out with a bang. Paula Schultz would be one happy woman.