Tarantino's favorite films

From The Quentin Tarantino Archives

The following is a compilation of lists, interviews and other information that sheds some light on Tarantino's favorite films in several genres and categories, from several years and published in several forms.

Top Lists Published in Various Magazines & Books

Empire Magazine's 500 Greatest Movies of All Time (September 2008)

  • 1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966, Sergio Leone)
  • 2. Rio Bravo (1959, Howard Hawks)
  • 3. Blow Out(1981, Brian De Palma)
  • 4. Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese)
  • 5. His Girl Friday (1940, Howard Hawks)
  • 6. 5 Fingers of Death (1972, Chang-hwa Jeong)
  • 7. Pandora's Box (1929, Georg Wilhelm Pabst)
  • 8. Carrie (1976, Brian De Palma)
  • 9. Unfaithfully Yours (1948, Preston Sturges)
  • 10. 5 Graves to Cairo (1943, Billy Wilder)
  • 11. Jaws (1975, Steven Spielberg).

Choices 2, 3 and 4 are marked as "interchangeable".

Favorite Death Scenes (from FHM-August 2007)

1. Tenebre (1982, Argento)

  • in which a victim paints the wall with blood after her arm is chopped off.

2. Jason X (2001, Isaac)

  • where a fiend solidifies a woman's face by forcing it into liquid nitrogen, then slams it against a counter so it shatters like glass.

3. The Prowler (1981, Zito)

  • in which a girl showers while her boyfriend lies in bed. "There's a terrific slasher movie called The Prowler, it was out right after they'd come down hard on those movies, but they got X-rated violence in. I don't know who got a blowjob to get it done, but someone must have. There's a girl in the shower, with her boyfriend lying on the bed, and the prowler comes up and sticks a bayonet through the top of his head so it comes down through his chin. It's really slow. And he goes into the shower, where the chick is naked, and he stabs her with a pitchfork and as she's screaming, he lifts her up the wall".

Coolest Movies of All Time (September 2007)

From Wensley Clarkson's Tarantino - The Man, the Myths and His Movies book.

  • 1. Rio Bravo (1959, Howard Hawks)
  • 2. Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese)
  • 3. Blow Out (1981, Brian De Palma)

Not in order and not a definite list :

  • One-Eyed Jacks (1961, Brando) ; Breathless (1983, James McBride) ; His Girl Friday (1940, Hawks) ; Rolling Thunder (1977, Flynn) ; Badlands (1973, Malick) ; Casualties of War (1989, De Palma) ; Used Cars (1980, Zemeckis) ; It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963, Kramer) ; The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972, Huston) ; Where Eagles Dare (1969, Hutton) ; The Dirty Dozen (1967, Aldrich) ; Bringing Up Baby (1938, Hawks) ; The Killer (1989, Woo); The Driver (1978, Hill) ; Blood Simple (1984, Coen) ; The Long Good Friday (1980, Mackenzie) ; Mona Lisa (1986, Neil Jordan) ; The Hit (1984, Frears) ; The Killers (1964, Siegel) ; Comfort and Joy (1984, Forsyth) ; Local Hero (1983, Forsyth) ; Le Petit Soldat (1963, Godard) ; Vivre sa vie (1962, Godard) ; A Bout de Souffle (1964, Godard) ; Bande A Part (1964, Godard) ; Pierrot Le Fou (1968, Godard) ; Shaft (1971, Parks) ; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966, Leone) ; The Killing (1956, Kubrick) ; The Asphalt Jungle (1950, Huston) ; Rififi (1955, Dassin) ; The Taking of Pelham 123 (1974, Sargent) ; City on Fire (1989, Lam) ; Kiss Me Deadly (1955, Aldrich) ; Pope of Greenwich Village (1984, Rosenberg) ; A Clockwork Orange (1971, Kubrick) ; Fandango (1985, Reynolds) ; Days of Thunder (1990, Tony Scott) ; Night Call Nurses (1972, Corman) ; Jules et Jim (1962, Truffaut) ; A Girl in Every Port (1928, Hawks) ; The Guns of Navarone (1961, J.Lee Thomson) ; Dead Poets Society (1989, Weir) ; Frogs (1972, McCowan) ; Willard (1971, Mann) ; Night of the Lepus (1972, Claxton) ; Dark Passage (1947, Delmer Daves) ; The Last Boy Scout (1991, Tony Scott) ; Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (1984, Spielberg) ; Year of the Dragon (1985, Cimino) ; Scarface (1984, De Palma) ; Topkapi (1964, Dassin) ; The Thomas Crown Affair (1968, Jewison) ; Once Upon a Time in America (1984, Leone) ; Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948, Barton) ; Abbot and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955, Lamont) ; Hi Mom! (1970, De Palma) ; Back Street (1961, David Miller) ; Maniac Cop Two (1990, Lusting) ; Intruder (1989, Spiegel) ; The Vigilante: Fighting Hero of the West (1947, Fox) ; Perfect (1985, Bridges) ; Mad Love (1935, Freund) ; The Trip (1967, Corman) ; The Last Seduction (1994, Dahl) ; Ed Wood (1994, Burton) ; Salvador (1986, Oliver Stone) ; For a Few Dollars More (1965, Leone) ; Le Doulos (1962, Melville) ; They Live by Night (1949, Ray) ; The Long Goodbye (1973, Altman) ; Coffy (1973, Hill) ; Magnificent Obsession (1954, Sirk) ; The Savage Seven (1968, Rush) ; The Thing (1982, Carpenter) ; Caged Heat (1974, Demme) ; Silver Bullet (1985, Attias) ; Kansas City Confidential (1952, Karlson).

Top 10 from The Independant (June 2005)

  • 1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966, Leone)
  • 2. Rio Bravo (1959, Hawks)
  • 3. Taxi Driver (1976, Scorsese)
  • 4. His Girl Friday (1940, Hawks)
  • 5. Rolling Thunder (1977, Flynn)
  • 6. They All Laughed (1981, Bogdanovich)
  • 7. The Great Escape (1963, J. Sturges)
  • 8. Carrie (1976, De Palma)
  • 9. Coffy (1973, Hill)
  • 10. Five Fingers of Death (1973, Chang)

Top 12 from Sight & Sound Top 10 Poll 2002

  • 1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966, Leone)
  • 2. Rio Bravo (1959, Hawks)
  • 3. Taxi Driver (1976, Scorsese)
  • 4. His Girl Friday (1940, Hawks)
  • 5. Rolling Thunder (1977, Flynn)
  • 6. They All Laughed (1981, Bogdanovich)
  • 7. The Great Escape (1963, J. Sturges)
  • 8. Carrie (1976, De Palma)
  • 9. Coffy (1973, Hill)
  • 10. Dazed and Confused (1993, Linklater)
  • 11. Five Fingers of Death (1973, Chang)
  • 12. Hi Diddle Diddle (1943, Andrew L. Stone)

QT's Top 20 Favorite Spaghetti Westerns


  • 1. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966, Leone)
  • 2. For a Few Dollars more (1965, Leone)
  • 3. Django (1966, Corbucci)
  • 4. The Mercenary / A Professional Gun (1968, Corbucci)
  • 5. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968, Leone)
  • 6. A Fistful of Dollars (1964, Leone)
  • 7. Day of Anger (1967, Valerii)
  • 8. Death Rides a Horse (1967, Petroni)
  • 9. Navajo Joe (1966, Corbucci)
  • 10. The Return of Ringo (1965, Tessari)
  • 11. The Big Gundown (1966, Sollima)
  • 12. A Pistol for Ringo (1965, Tessari)
  • 13. The Dirty Outlaws (1967, Rossetti)
  • 14. The Great Silence (1968, Corbucci)
  • 15. The Grand Duel (1972, Santi)
  • 16. Shoot the Living, Pray for the Dead (1971, Vari)
  • 17. Tepepa (1968, Petroni)
  • 18. The Ugly Ones (1966, Martà­n)
  • 19. Django, Prepare a Coffin (1968, Baldi)
  • 20. Machine Gun Killers (1969, Bianchini)

The runners up in not so strict order: Hellbenders(1967, Corbucci) ; If you meet Sartana, Pray for your Death (1968, Parolini) ; God forgives, I don't (1968, Colizzi) ; Companeros (1970, Corbucci) ; Four of the Apocalypse (1975, Fulci) ; Ace High (1968, Colizzi) ; Boot Hill (1969, Colizzi) ; Duck, You Sucker; Minnesota Clay (1965, Corbucci) ; Arizona Colt (1966, Lupo) ; Ringo and his Golden Pistol (1966, Corbucci) ; Adios Gringo (1965, Stegani) ; and to quote Quentin "all the Calvin Jackson Padget films with Giuliano Gemma" (One Silver Dollar - 1965, Ferroni ; Fort Yuma Gold - 1967, Ferroni ; Wanted - 1967, Ferroni ); The Trinity movies (They Call Me Trinity; Trinity Is Still My Name); This man can't die (1967, Baldanello) ; The Deserter (1971, Niksa Fulgosi, Burt Kennedy) ; Five Man Army (1969, Italo Zingarelli & Dario Argento) ; Chino (1973, John Sturges, Duilio Coletti) ; Requiescant (1967, Lizzani); Red Sun (1971, Terrence Young).

QT's Top 20 Favorite Grindhouse Films


  • 1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, Hooper)
  • 2. Dawn of the Dead (1978, Romero)
  • 3. Night of the Living Dead (1968, Romero)
  • 4. Halloween (1978, Carpenter)
  • 5. Coffy (1973, Hill)
  • 6. Rolling Thunder (1977, Flynn)
  • 7. Five Fingers of Death (1973, Chang)
  • 8. The Mack (1973, Campus)
  • 9. The Girl from Starship Venus (aka The Sexplorer) (1975, Derek Ford)
  • 10. The Last House on the Left (1972, Craven)
  • 11. Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976, Wang Yu)
  • 12. Wipeout (1973, DiLeo)
  • 13. The Streetfighter movies ("You just have to kinda consider all three of them together." - QT) (1974, Osawa)
  • 14. The Psychic (1977, Fulci)
  • 15. The Lady in Red (1979, Teague)
  • 16. Thriller: A Cruel Picture (1974, Bo Arne Vibenius)
  • 17. Suspiria (1977, Argento)
  • 18. Hammer of the Gods (1970, Wang Yu)
  • 19. The Savage Seven (1968, Rush)
  • 20. The Pom Pom Girls (1976, Ruben)

Top 7 exploitation movies (Cinescape Magazine)

QT's Random Favorites (Entertainment Weekly, April 2004)

QT's Dream Team

A look at the director's all-time would-be favorite actress to work with, monster to center a movie around, director to promote, and imported cut of meat to savor on his day of execution.

  • ACTRESS As much as I want to live a long time -- like, I want to live to 100 -- I would give up five years of my life to work with Tura Satana [circa her starring role in 1965's Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!]. She is Japanese, Cheyenne, and something else -- awesome.
  • OBSCURE DIRECTOR I'm a big fan of Brian Trenchard-Smith. He did a Vietnam movie called The Siege of Firebase Gloria [1989], starring Wings Hauser. He also did a really terrific movie, Dead End Drive-In [1986], based on a Peter Carey short story.
  • DESERT-ISLAND DATE Pauline Kael [the late New Yorker film critic] -- if we'd have enough movies to watch and talk about.
  • LAST SUPPER, GUESTS Of creative people I know who like me and get me: [left to right] Paul Thomas Anderson, Robert Rodriguez, Sofia Coppola, [producer] Stacey Sher -- those in particular.
  • LAST SUPPER, FOOD Kobe beef.
  • MONSTER I have an idea for a Godzilla movie that I've always wanted to do. The whole idea of Godzilla's role in Tokyo, where he's always battling these other monsters, saving humanity time and again -- wouldn't Godzilla become God? It would be called Living Under the Rule of Godzilla. This is what society is like when a big f -- -ing green lizard rules your world.

Tarantino: Testing His Tastes

On the Pulp Fiction DVD (Collector's Edition), one of the special features is a deleted scene in which Mia conducts a Barbara Walters-style interview of Vincent -- camcorder in tow -- before their date. The line of questioning centers on his preference for certain pop-culture staples: The Partridge Family or The Brady Bunch? Betty or Veronica? Her goal: To get him to reveal things you normally wouldn't. Just like we do here with Tarantino himself.

[X] Star Trek OR [ ] Star Wars

[ ] Larry David OR [X] Jerry Seinfeld

[X] Pizza OR [ ] Doughnuts

[X] Strip Club OR [ ] Massage Parlor

[ ] Bugs OR [X] Daffy

[X] Suspicion OR [ ] Notorious

[ ] Gun OR [X] Sword

[X] The Great Escape OR [ ] The Getaway

[X] Electric Chair OR [ ] Hanging

Killer Movie Moments

Tarantino's off-the-top-of-his-head best-of list: bullets, baseball bats, a bitchin' score, and the bodaciously batty

  • 1. The last shoot-out in Michael Cimino's Year of the Dragon "You forget to breathe during it!"
  • 2. Joe Don Baker in the bar with the baseball bat in the original Walking Tall.
  • 3. "All the early stuff by William Witney [On the Old Spanish Trail; Adventures of Red Ryder], who, for all intents and purposes, created the modernized, choreographed Western fight scene we see today. He came up with the cinematic language by watching Busby Berkeley musicals."
  • 4. Sonny Corleone getting it in The Godfather.
  • 5. Dean Stockwell and Dennis Hopper singing In Dreams in David Lynch's Blue Velvet. "You're like, Is this even happening? Am I watching this?"
  • "There's a Japanese movie, All About Lily Chou-Chou, by a really terrific director, Shunji Iwai. He has my career in Japan -- he did a movie called Swallowtail Butterfly that was to Japan what Pulp Fiction was to America. The Lily Chou-Chou soundtrack is really cool to make out to."

Random Quotes about His Favorites Movies

Rio Bravo (1959)

  • Director: Howard Hawks
  • Starring: John Wayne, Dean Martin
  • When I'm getting serious about a girl, I show her Rio Bravo and she better fucking like it

Taxi Driver (1976)

  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Starring: Robert DeNiro, Jodie Foster
  • Scorsese's classic set the blueprint for Tarantino's fascination with ultra-violence

Blow Out (1981)

  • Director: Brian dePalma
  • Starring: John Travolta, Nancy Allen
  • De Palma is probably Tarantino's favorite director (he cites De Palma's Casualties of war as 'my favorite war movie'). This, before Pulp Fiction, also marked John Travolta's best screen performance.

Abott and Costello meet Frankenstein (1948)

  • Director: Charles T. Barton
  • Starring: Bud Abbot, Lou Castello, Bela Lugosi
  • When I was a little kid that was my favorite movie of all time. It's not like thy make comedy now. The scary parts are really scary and the funny parts are really funny. Frankenstein actually kills people. He throws the nurse through the window, and she's *dead*.
  • I remember the first movie I saw on television when I was, like, "Oh wow, you can do this in a movie?" was Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. That was my favorite movie when I was five years old. The Abbott and Costello stuff was funny, but when they were out of the room and the monsters would come on, they'd kill people! And the big brain operation when they take out Costello's brain and put in Frankenstein's Monster's brain was scary. Then this nurse gets thrown through a window! She's dead! When's the last time you saw anybody in a comedy-horror film actually kill somebody? You don't see that. I took it in, seeing that movie.

Abott and Costello meet the Mummy (1955)

  • Director: Charles lamont
  • Starring : Bud Abbot, Lou Castello, Marie Windsor
  • I saw Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy [1955] and I remember thinking, These are the greatest movies ever made. You get a great comedy and a great horror movie--all together.

Big Wednesday (1978)

  • Director: John Milius
  • Starring: Jan-Michael Vincent, Gary Busey
  • don't like surfers; I didn't like them when I was growing up. I lived in a surfing community, and I thought they were all jerks. I like this movie so much. Surfers don't deserve this movie

The Big Sleep (1946)

  • Director: Howard Hawks
  • Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely
  • There is no "can't," no "have to." But what I'm doing is like in The Big Sleep [1946], where there's a guy waiting outside the door for Bogart, and Bogart makes this other guy go out. The guy is, like, "I'm not gonna go out," so Bogart shoots him in the hip, in the hand. Finally, the guy goes out and he gets shot, all right? It's tough stuff, and that's what I'm trying to do with my violence.

Where Eagles Dare (1969)

  • Director: Brian G. Hutton
  • Starrring: Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood
  • This is my favorite guys-on-a-mission movie. I'm gonna do a guys-on-a-mission movie one day

Fandango (1985)

  • Director: Kevin Reynolds
  • Starring: Kevin Costner, Judd Nelson
  • Kevin Reynolds is going to be the Stanley Kubrik of this decade. Fandango is one of the best directorial debuts in the history of cinema. I saw Fandango five times at the movie theater and it only playd for a fucking week, all right?

Breathless (1983)

  • Director: Jim McBride
  • Starring: Richard Gere
  • Here's a movie that indulges completely all my obsessions - comic books, rockabilly music and movies

Days of Thunder (1990)

  • Director: Tony Scott
  • Starring: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman
  • It's like a fucking Sergio Leone movie with cars

Rolling Thunder (1977)

  • Director: John Flynn
  • Starring: William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones
  • Most movies let you down but this is ass-kicking nirvana

Random Quotes about His Favorite Directors

On Jean-Pierre Melville

  • It's like the films of Jean-Pierre Melville, "Bob The Gambler," "Le Doulos," which is my favorite screenplay of all time, with Jean-Paul Belmondo; it's fantastic. He did "Le Samourai" with Alain Delon. He made, like, the coolest gangster films ever. They're, like, fantastic. His films were like he took the Bogart, Cagney, the Warner Brothers gangster films, all right, he loved those, and a lot of times he just took the stories from them and did them with Belmondo or Delon or Jean Gabin and just gave them a different style, a different coolness, you know, they had this French Gallic thing going through it, yet they were still trying to be like their American counterparts, but they had a different rhythm all their own.

The QT Film Fest

  • To know more about Tarantino fav flicks, check out The QT Film Fest annual movies lists.
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