If Top 10 lists tell us more about the person or persons making them than the films themselves, Quentin Tarantino’s favourite movies confirms he is the true nerd of modern cinema. He loves cult films that operate away from the mainstream and generally below the sort of critical appreciation offered by his contemporaries, and prefers niche genre tactics over classical Hollywood narrative (apart from his inclusion of “His Girl Friday”).
John Walker, who compiled a list of the greatest 1000 movies ever made, said of Tarantino’s choices, “he lives up to his image as a geek by including movies that nobody else ever would have voted for”. He observes that, having interviewed Cameron Crowe and noted that the “Almost Famous” director rates “Pulp Fiction” in his favourite films, Tarantino fails to return the favour.
Of his individual choices, Walker says that Bogdanovich’s “They All Laughed” was largely a failure for audiences and critics alike. He says, it “contained one of Audrey Hepburn’s least-loved performances and confirmed Mr T’s lack of a sense of humour.” He also says the “Five Fingers of Death, the martial-arts movie that began the kung-fu craze in the US in the early 1970s, was regarded as bog-standard stuff in its home-town of Hong Kong.”
Like Tarantino’s own movies, his favourite films are cloaked by dark undertones, many featuring graphic violence and characters, operating lawlessly, forced into some kind of vengeance. Walker notes Tarantino’s inclusion of “Rolling Thunder” is more an early prototype of the Rambo movies with a less appealing action-hero, but it fits with the Reservoir Dogs director’s penchant for the obscure. Another one of Tarantino’s choices – “Coffy” – a blaxploitation movie (a genre Tarantino loves and has borrowed from for his own films) features an early role for Jackie Brown star Pam Greer (remember the trailer: “Pamela Greer is Jackie Brown”). It tells the tale of anti-hero Greer who sets out to kills the drug dealers and pimps who destroyed her sister’s life. The ideas seen in “Coffy”, along with other Tarantino faves like “Five Fingers of Death”, “Rolling Thunder”, “Rio Bravo”, and the “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” can clearly be seen in the “Kill Bill” films.
Questin Tarantino’s Top 10 Favourite Movies:
If you’d like to watch any of these movies I have placed a simple link to the DVD on Amazon.co.uk next to each film.
1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Leone, 1966) | Amazon.co.uk: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – 2 Disc Special Edition
4. His Girl Friday (Hawks, 1939) | Amazon.co.uk: His Girl Friday
5. Rolling Thunder (Flynn, 1977) | Amazon.co.uk: Rolling Thunder [Spanish Import]
6. They All Laughed (Bogdanovich, 1981) | They All Laughed [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
7. The Great Escape (J Sturges, 1963) | The Great Escape [DVD] 
8. Carrie (De Palma, 1976) | Carrie [DVD] 
9. Coffy (Hill, 1973) | Coffy [DVD] 
10. Five Fingers of Death (Chang, 1973) | Five Fingers of Death [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]