Top Ten Quentin Tarantino Scenes

Quentin Tarantino is one of the greatest filmmakers to have ever graced the silver screen with art. He is arguably the greatest writer of film ever and he writes and envisions perfect scenes which he executes with prowess. Making this list was like making a list of short films because that’s what a great scene is. It tells a story. It has a beginning and it has an ending. They ways Tarantino gets to those endings are always breathtaking. This is my list of the greatest scenes Tarantino has constructed.

10. Django’s Revenge (Django Unchained)

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It’s a solemn image that begins the scene. Silhouettes of a group of people walk away from a funeral, they finally make it to Candyland where they find Django. He offers them their comeuppance. The scene offers a perfect end to a perfect movie. After all the blood and carnage, it’s a happy ending, an ending where bad people are triumphed over and love prevails. It’s fun, it’s cool and it is glorious.

9. Stuntman Mike Meets His Match (Death Proof)

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When you watch Death Proof, what you’re watching is a slasher movie. The killer at it’s heart doesn’t use a knife, a chainsaw or an axe however, he uses his car. The film just builds and builds to its explosive ending, arguably the greatest car chase in film. Quentin Tarantino has a way with villains and Stuntman Mike is one hell of a villain. He gets quite the unexpected surprise when he chooses his latest victims.

8. Sicilians (True Romance)

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True Romance wasn’t directed by Quentin Tarantino, but he did write it. The movie as a whole, and especially this particular scene, have Quentin’s brilliant dialogue written all over it. Tarantino has a way of creating these almost one-act dramas with some of his scenes. In this scene, the tension rises at perfect pace as it always does and the characters take hold. Both Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper perform off of each other flawlessly.

7. Showdown at House of Blue Leaves (Kill Bill)

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Kill Bill is one movie and story told in two volumes. Volume 1 has quite the satisfying conclusion in House of Blue Leaves. This is where she’ll find the first name on her Death List, Oren Ishii. The samurai sword fight between the two of them is epic but it’s the lead up to their fight that makes this scene amazing. Alone and vicious, The Bride cuts her way through Oren’s personal army, The Crazy 88s. The scene is one of Tarantino’s most incredible undertakings and one you can’t take your eyes off.

6. Dinner in Candyland (Django Unchained)

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Prior to this scene, Django Unchained is about the loving plight of Django and his friend Dr. King Schultz. This scene is Calvin J. Candie’s show and what a show he puts on. Like all psychotic and sadistic villains, Candie can switch on a dime and that’s just what he does here along with the scene. Everything seems to be going swimmingly for Django until Calvin pulls out a skull and begins to muse about his dead slave, “Old Ben”. We then begin to understand just how despicable this man truly is.

5. La Louisiane (Inglourious Basterds)

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The classic  drama that plays out in the tavern, La Louisiane, is a miracle of a scene. The first three chapters of Inglourious Basterds introduce its the characters that will play their parts in the cataclysmic fifth chapter. The fourth chapter introduces another character, Lt. Archie Hicox. There are a few scenes in this fourth chapter involving Hicox but it’s the scene in La Louisiane that takes the cake. Quentin Tarantino knows tension and as a result, scenes like this are relentless in their excellence.

4. Killing Bill (Kill Bill)

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With a title like Kill Bill, it stands to reason there’s going to be quite the scene involving someone killing Bill. In entirety of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, that just so happens to be the greatest scene in the blood-soaked revenge masterpiece. The relationship between Beatrix Kiddo and Bill is one of love and bloodlust. It’s got the music, it’s got the dialogue and it’s got the emotional baggage. This is the scene with the greatest death in film. The movie builds to this single moment and it’s one of the most satisfying moments in film.

3. Candyland Massacre (Django Unchained)

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As Dr. King Schultz and Calvin J. Candie verbally square off, Django quietly sits on the side lines waiting to burst. This is just another one of Tarantino’s classic tension oozing scenes. It’s a scene dedicated to the three best characters in the movie. Calvin Candie once again proves what scum he is, while Schultz once again proves himself to be a good man, a hero. The scene then escalates into the phenomenal gun fight this masterpiece deserved. It’s the greatest scene in Django Unchained and one of the greatest scenes in film.

2. Diner (Pulp Fiction)

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In Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino literally defines pulp before your eyes and then gives you the fiction and it’s fiction of the literary variety. The final scene in the movie takes place in a diner and it’s easily one of the greatest scenes in film. Jules Winnfield is the best character in the film and the final diner scene utilizes him to exemplify the very idea of a bad man turning good. There’s never a dull moment in this masterpiece, but this is far and away the greatest scene in the film. This final diner scene is what makes Pulp Fiction the movie it is. It may be a cliché, but this is one of the most perfect examples of a story being brought full circle.

1. Once Upon a Time in Nazi-Occupied France (Inglourious Basterds)

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Watch Inglourious Basterds and witness Quentin Tarantino’s greatest feat, Inglourious Basterds. The first chapter is a single scene and it’s simple enough, a one-act drama if you will, that consists of a Colonel in Hitler’s Third Reich and his conversation with a cow farmer who may or may not be hiding enemies of the state in his house. This scene unveils one of the greatest characters and villains in cinema, Col. Hans Landa.

The first chapter of Inglourious Basterds is just an example of perfect writing. A central character to the real drama that’s unfolding is introduced and developed as the scene tells a story in and of itself. Denis Ménochet is able to play off a masterful actor in magnificent ways. Christoph Waltz gives a flawless portrayal of a flawlessly written character, Tarantino’s best. The scene exemplifies Tarantino movies as a whole. A beautiful piece of art and always a good time at the movies.

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Top Ten Gangster Movies

There will also be a special place in my heart for the Gangster genre because it was films like Goodfellas and The Godfather (among other movies on this list, but I don’t want to give the whole thing away) that in all honesty got me into the art of film in general. When done right a good gangster movie is filled with rich and vibrant characters, stories and pieces of dialogue. This is my list of the best Gangster movies I’ve ever had the honor to watch.

Before getting into this, I’d like to clarify what I mean by Gangster movie. I considered any movie that involves gangsters driving the central drama of the film. That means I could use movies that didn’t necessarily star gangsters as the protagonists. For the list, I could use movies like The Untouchables and The Usual Suspects because even though the main characters weren’t mobsters, there would be no drama with out them. I could however not use a movie like The Dark Knight because even though gangsters play a part, they most certainly do not propel the plot of the film. Well, here we go…

10. The Untouchables

There were a lot of movies battling for this tenth spot; Miller’s Crossing almost made it, as did Gangs of New York and if I had an eleventh slot on this list it would be the complex drug drama, Layer Cake. It ended up being The Untouchables if only for how gratifyingly fun the movie can be from beginning to end. Robert De Niro is fantastic as the antagonist, but what makes this one of my favorite gangster movies is Sean Connery as Malone.

9. True Romance

True Romance is a beautiful love story as only Quentin Tarantino could write it. It’s filled with violence, course language, drugs, tense scenes (particularly one of my favorites in film including Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken), but at it’s heart it is a full fledged love story. It was unfortunately not directed by the man himself, but his brilliant writing is all there making True Romance undoubtedly one of the most incredible stories of crime ever told.

8. RockNRolla

Other than the sequel to Sherlock Holmes, I’ve loved every movie Guy Ritchie has ever made. It goes without saying that Snatch is just an awesome movie, while Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is even better, but for  me my favorite will always be RockNRolla. It has all the fast-paced direction and zest of any other Guy Ritchie movie, but with the added bonus of the greatest and most compelling characters Guy Ritchie has ever created.

7. A Prophet

A Prophet is simply a magnificent film that never fails to captivate. What sets A Prophet above most other crime dramas is a sense of brutality and realism. A Prophet is unbelievably epic and from beginning to end, it never fails to leave you speechless from scene to scene. And it’s not just the tense violence the director never fears or fails to utilize, but also the tense and dramatic scenes that propels the beautiful plot of a man raising through the ranks in a crime-driven French prison.

6. The Usual Suspects

I don’t think much needs to be said about The Usual Suspects and that right there is a testament to how truly spectacular of film it is. The writing is unbelievably intelligent and never spoon feeds you. While The Usual Suspects is an enjoyable and fascinating tale of thieves and criminal masterminds, it is also an enthralling mystery. It’s the kind of film you have to pay attention to. You have to take the time to examine every detail and by the end, what you find is simply an incredible film.

5. Goodfellas

Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest directors who ever lived and Goodfellas is just one of the many films that showcase his prowess. Goodfellas is a masterpiece through and through and while never failing to be completely entertaining, it tells a tremendous tale that envelops everything you’d ever want to know about a life of crime. Ray Liotta is fantastic, Robert De Niro is just as amazing as ever and Joe Pesci gives an Oscar-worthy performance. It’s Scorsese that deserves the most praise for directing such an amazing movie.

4. The Godfather (Part I+II)

I’ve always had a constant argument with myself as to what I loved more the first two Godfather films or Goodfellas. It wasn’t until just recently when I realized that I have to give it to The Godfather (Part I+II) if only  for its beautifully epic tale of not only crime, but also family, loyalty and change. Francis Ford Coppola, with the first two Godfathers, creates one of the greatest movies of all time. It would be an absolute sin not to put The Godfather (Part I+II) on a list of my favorite gangster movies in existence. I mean, it’s The Godfather!

3. Drive

There was a dilemma for me on whether or not I should put Drive on this list. Yes, Drive is so much more than a gangster movie, but without the involvement of organized crime the film would have nothing to drive the plot or our protagonist to do the things he does. Drive is, to put it as plainly as possible, extraordinary.It’s the retro feel, it’s the tremendous music, it’s the stylized violence, it’s the minimized dialogue, it’s the spellbinding direction that takes its time  to tell its story, and it’s the way that regardless of how much tension, action and blood is in the movie, it never fails to have a pleasant moment of realistic affection. Drive is a profound film in its flawless creation and its relentless entertainment.

2. The Departed

It’s practically unbelievable that Martin Scorsese has made as many masterpieces as he has. He made the raw and rugged Raging Bull, he made the grotesque and hellish Taxi Driver and he even made another entry on this list, Goodfellas, but The Departed is Scorsese’s magnum opus. There are a lot of different opinions as to what Scorsese’s best movies are and that’s understandable, but for me it’s The Departed and I seriously doubt that will ever change. Scorsese holds nothing back, he pulls all the punches and the result is something miraculous. The Departed tells a fantastic intertwining tale of cops, criminals and grit. It is and forever will be a masterpiece.

1. Pulp Fiction

Take what may be the greatest writing in cinematic history, a handful of characters that individually could have their own movies centered around them, the direction of a mastermind, some of the stories that inspired said mastermind to make movies in general and then throw in that magical twist that Tarantino adds to all of his films and what you get is the greatest gangster film in existence. Pulp Fiction is and will always be one of my favorite movies that will ever be created.

What Pulp Fiction offers isn’t just beautiful, but refreshingly original. And this originality isn’t in the case of the stories that are being intertwined, the film is original in the way that the stories are told and the characters that are being followed. In Pulp Fiction, what you get are days in the lives of the kind of low-lives you wouldn’t expect to see as protagonists whether they be a pair of talky hit men, the wife of a crime boss, a low-rent boxer or even a couple whose hobby is robbing restaurants and liquor stores.

With Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino taps into a the vein that is the gangster genre to make something truly extraordinary. Pulp Fiction offers an experience that is nothing short of breathtaking from start to finish. Every single aspect of Tarantino’s crime masterpiece is not only a gorgeous piece of art, but it’s also a consistently entertaining piece of pulp. It is one of the greatest movies ever made and nothing short of the greatest gangster movie of all time.

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Top Ten Movie Gun Fights

Bullets, hand guns, shotguns, machine guns, snipers, shootouts, showdowns and more bullets: add these things in film and what you get are sometimes the best action scenes ever created. Whether the battle involves many people or just two, this is my list of my favorite gun fights in film. I found when making this list that, while a lot gun fights are extremely entertaining, there are many films that used violence and gun fights to emphasize or establish the morals of the story at hand. I like to think I found a good balance between the entertaining gun fights and the powerful ones when I made this list.

10. The Good, the Bad, the Weird

Of the gun fights on this list, this one is the least meaningful for me. I just couldn’t help putting it on this list because it’s so insanely fun. Even more fantastic than the showdown at the end that pays homage to Sergio Leone’s masterpiece is the ridiculous bullet fest through the desert that leads to the climax. The music and the added bonus of it being a chase scene makes it unforgettable.

9. Hot Fuzz

In a brilliant attempt to satirize buddy cop films and action movies in general, Hot Fuzz ends up having one of the greatest action scenes ever filmed in it’s finale. Throughout the film, laughs are had, blood is splattered and the idea that being a cop isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in the movies is established. Then that idea is turned on its head and Hot Fuzz becomes a balls-to-the-wall shootout.

8. The Matrix

I don’t think anything really needs to be said here. I can’t think of the idea of gun fights in cinema with out thinking of the lobby shootout in The Matrix. It was probably the first truly great movie gun fight I ever saw and I love it still. I’ve always had an attachment to The Matrix as movie. I will watch it any time I get the chance and enjoy it every time. The lobby shootout is just one of the many reasons the film is awesome.

7. Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver is a Martin Scorsese masterpiece that is brilliantly punctuated by a bullet-filled and blood-soaked gun fight. Taxi Driver is one of the greatest character studies ever created. Travis Bickle is an incredibly dark and layered character and the examination of this complex character and the hell that surrounds him eventually leads to his baring arms and one of the most disturbing and yet glorious gun fights ever filmed.

6. L.A. Confidential

L.A. Confidential is simply an incredible movie all around filled with rich characters and memorable moments. The most memorable of which is the end of the film and the shootout that takes place. The greatest moment in L.A. Confidential though is the end of the shootout where Dudley says “Hold up your badge, so they know you’re a policeman.” Then protagonist Edmund Exley does the most honorable thing he’s done in the entire film.

5. Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan is brutal, it’s honest, it’s epic, it’s inspiring and it’s one of the greatest war movies ever created. The D-Day scene in the beginning is nothing short of perfect, however my favorite sequence in the film and the one that makes my list is the finale. While exemplifying the idea that war is hell, Saving Private Ryan manages to tell an excellent story of honor and duty. This story reaches it’s peak when it’s realized what our protagonists will do to actually save Private Ryan.

4. Once Upon a Time in the West

Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the most phenomenally epic westerns ever created and one I would easily call the greatest western ever made had it not been for the creation of a couple other masterpieces. Some might say the best scene in the film is the tense opening scene, which is amazing, but for me the greatest scene of the film is the showdown between protagonist “Harmonica”  and antagonist Frank. Truthfully, the scene speaks for itself.

3. Inglourious Basterds

It is simply common knowledge at this point that Quentin Tarantino loves cinema and always shows his love for his favorite movies in the movies that he makes. Inglourious Basterds drew many allusions from the films of Sergio Leone and like a great Sergio Leone movie Inglourious Basterds has one hell of a showdown. In the La Louisiane  scene, Quentin Tarantino crafts an extraordinary gun fight by building tension not with the music, editing and cinematography that Sergio Leone would use, but with dialogue. Then he ends his showdown in an instant, not with a single bullet, but with a quick and bloody shootout.

2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

This is it. This is the showdown that epitomizes the idea of showdown and there was never a doubt in my mind that it would be right here as my second favorite gun fight in film. No film on this list is as beautifully epic as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It’s a dramatic, fun and enthralling adventure through the west and it all culminates into one of the greatest gun fights in film.

It’s almost indescribable how incredible this scene actually is. The film was already amazing, but it’s this showdown that makes it a masterpiece. We get to know these characters throughout this adventure and when the inevitable occurs, it’s nothing short of breathtaking. The dialogue is had, the music swells, the characters move and stare strategically, the shots change spastically and BAM!

1. Unforgiven

Unforgiven is the western masterpiece. It’s Clint Eastwood’s best film, it’s the greatest western in existence and it’s one of the greatest movies ever made. Unforgiven tells a simple tale of a ruthless murderer who has long since retired but ends up taking one last job. Unforgiven shows the violent west for what it is and establishes profound ideas of violence and what makes us who we are. What you find in the finale of Unforgiven isn’t just the greatest gun fight, but also one of the greatest scenes in film.

Little Bill Dagget makes for a deliciously ruthless antagonist where as William Munny is simply one of the greatest characters in film. When Little Bill Dagget and the well-known and feared William Munny finally meet what results is with out a doubt one of the most flawless pieces of filmmaking ever. “I’ll see you in hell William Munny,” Little Bill says with as much dignity as he has left and what Munny replies with a cock of his gun and a simple, powerful, and shameful “yeah”. Unforgiven offers a lot of things one which is the greatest gun fight cinematic history.

 

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Top Ten Quentin Tarantino Movies

Ranking the films of Quentin Tarantino is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Once I heard word of Inlgourious Basterds I decided to hold off on this list. Quentin Tarantino certainly has his own style of directing, no one, absolutely no one can produce scenes as good as he can. I’m going to be releasing a list of my favorite movie scenes soon and a lot are from the great mind of Quentin Tarantino. It seems that every single scene is nurtured and treated with respect, making each of his films quite magnificent.

Also, obviously any fan of Tarantino knows that he hasn’t directed ten films, only six. So to fill up the other four spots I’ve decided to include the films that he’s also written or created the “story” for or “special guest directed” (whatever that means). This made the list even more difficult to design because Some of the films he’s written I believe stack right up there with his other masterpieces. Well, here it is. Hope you enjoy.

10. From Dusk Till Dawn

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From Dusk Till Dawn is just down right fun. Tell you the truth, its not a very good movie. It’s pretty darn corny (on purpose). I could pick up and watch this movie any time. You just have a blast with it. Its hard not to. It starts off as a crime caper, following a spree of the fictional Gecko brothers played by George Clooney and Tarantino himself. Half way threw, the movie takes a completely unexpected turn into chaos. I don’t want to go into detail because the less you know, the better the outcome.

9. Jackie Brown

Jackie Brown is a fantastic film about the double crossings that occur when $500,000 in gun runner money is up for grabs. This is the only Tarantino movie he directed that isn’t an original script. And though it’s great it is the worst film Tarantino directed. Its based off a book and I believe that’s the reason it doesn’t stack up to the caliber of his other movies. Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie, its just not nearly as amazing as a lot of the other movies on this list.

8. Sin City

Quentin Tarantino was the “special guest director” of Sin City. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I could certainly see some of his style in this film. Sin City is probably the most visually appealing movie I’ve ever seen. It’s quite the beautiful film about not so beautiful crooks. It tells three violent tales involved in the same brutal city. I love every one in this star studded cast and I can never get enough of the film itself. I could and have watched this film an outlandish amount of times.

7. True Romance

True Romance is the first script Quentin ever wrote. Its also one of his best written scripts. I love True Romance it offers a story of violence, drugs, criminals, cops, but most of all, true love. Its the story of a loser who falls mutually falls in love with a call girl. When he accidentally steals a suit case full of cocaine, it sets off a chain of events that lead to chaos. Also, there is a particular scene shared between Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper. It is literally one of the greatest scenes ever put on screen. Don’t take my word for it though, you have to watch for yourself.

6. Reservoir Dogs

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Reservoir Dogs is the first movie Quentin Tarantino ever directed and it is nothing short of amazing. It tells the tale of a heist gone wrong with out actually showing the heist. Its really a brilliant film showing the aftermath of a heist gone wrong. The fact that one of them just so happens to be a cop offers a bit of fun to the mix. One character I particularly love is the downright sadistic Mr. Blonde. Watch for a scene where he cuts off a mans ear while listening to “Stuck in the Middle With You”.

5. Death Proof

Most people didn’t like the Grindhouse experience or Death Proof for that matter. I for one wasn’t a huge fan of Planet Terrror, I did how ever love every moment of Death Proof and I mean every moment. Death Proof is “the” guilty pleasure movie for me. I look at it and can see that its not that great of a movie. To me it’s a masterpiece though because of how much enjoyment I get out of watching it and trust its been a large amount. I love Kurt Russel, but I never enjoy him as much as when he plays Stuntman Mike. I also love a good car chase, but no car chase is as enjoyable to me as the one at the end of this film. I absolutely love Death Proof and I always will.

4. Kill Bill

If any of Quentin Tarantino’s films can be considered epic, it’s Kill Bill. Kill Bill is a four hour masterpiece driven by the greatest female hero ever put on screen and a fantastic antagonist played to perfection by David Carradine. Kill Bill is the greatest story of well -deserved revenge ever. We know exactly what she’s after, we can’t wait till she achieves in her actions and when she finally does, there’s not much else that is as satisfying. There is an incredible amount of memorable moments from the battling of an entire army of ninjas to a fight between a one-eyed nemesis. I’d also like to mention that Kill Bill has the greatest beginning in film.

3. Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction is one of the greatest films ever made. A masterpiece made up of amazing characters, writing and directing. Has the most quotable script of all time. It’s really amazing how wildly entertaining and amazing a film that Pulp Fiction is. It tells many different stories with many different characters and many memorable moments. Its almost impossible to compete with the palette of awesomeness that is Pulp Fiction. Its hard to express into words my love and admiration for this piece of art. You really have to see this brush stroke in originality for your self. Pulp Fiction basically defines great filmmaking.

2. Django Unchained

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Quentin Tarantino knows characters, he knows writing and he sure as hell knows how to make a film. That is a perfect combination and Django Uncahined is a perfect movie. Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson make a savage team as the slithery and horrible Calvin J. Candie and his house slave Stephen. Standing against them are the cunning and friendly Dr. King Schultz and the freed slave Django, a hero through and through.

With Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino has crafted a spaghetti southern surrounding the dark tragedy that is slavery. Along with his new found friend, Django is the stuff of legend. he’s a hero filled with love and rage. His journey is one of purpose and vengeance. Purpose being the rescue of the woman he loves with vengeance against the onslaught of slavery. Django Unchained manages to surpass the greatness that is Pulp Fiction. Django Unchained offers a folk tale of a movie that is unstoppably gripping.

1. Inglourious Basterds

Back in 1992, with the release of Reservoir Dogs , Tarantino showed that he’s a force to be reckoned with. Than he released a masterpiece in 1994 entitled Pulp Fiction. A film so utterly amazing that no one thought (including me) it could ever be topped. He came close in 2003 and 2004 with the release of the epic samurai tale, Kill Bill. Even that wasn’t  able to top Pulp Fiction. It took him 15 years, but he finally did it. He created one of the greatest movies of all time. A film I’m sure he’ll never be able to top. What he created was a spectacle of everything that makes a movie fantastic. I can honestly say with out a doubt in my mind that Inglourious Basterds is Quentin Tarantino’s greatest piece of cinema.

It’s the story of three very memorable characters whose stories intertwine and collide within the darkest time in history (WWII). One character is a young jewish woman (Shosanna) bent on avenging her slaughtered family. Another charcter is a renegade American Lieutenant ,with a penchant for scalping Nazis, who’s hired to lead a band of jewish soldiers whose intentions include causing as much damage as they can to the Third Reich. The last character is one of the greatest ever put on screen. Colonel Hans Landa, played pitch-perfectly by Christoph Waltz, is a nazi detective whose motives are clear to him and him alone.

In the film Inlgourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino has a blast telling the exact story he wants to tell. He holds no punches and has fun with it and as a result I have fun. I love every moment of Inglourious Basterds because Quentin cares about every single moment of this film. Each moment is pivotal to the tale at hand and you never want to take your eyes off the screen. Inglourious Basterds is a masterpiece in every single sense of the word.

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