When Django Unchained opens on Christmas Day, we’ll be introduced to a brand new bunch of memorable Quentin Tarantino characters. From vengeance-seeking former slaves to likable bounty hunters to clueless clansmen to psychotic slave owners, get ready for your new favorites. It’s no small task to choose favorites when it comes to Tarantino’s film creations, so the honorable mentions go on and on. But we took our best crack at choosing the seven greatest characters from Quentin Tarantino films.
Often overlooked on QT superlative lists, how could she ever be missed? Gogo Yubari makes the list based solely on style and kitsch. The top assassin dresses like a schoolgirl, wields a spiked meteor hammer, and disembowels pervy businessmen. That leaves quite an impression with me.
The French-Jewish cinema owner who lost her family at the hands of Hans Landa bides her time and plots her revenge. She holds a deep hatred for Nazis and commits herself to their downfall. When a young SS soldier takes a liking to her, she uses this influence to lure the fascists into her trap. Melanie Laurent’s Shosanna is the backbone of Inglourious Basterds and the face of Jewish vengeance.
Michael Madsen portrays Vincent Vega’s brother with a psychotic cool. Most famous for the scene that put Tarantino on the map, Vic Vega (aka Mr. Blonde) shows extreme cruelty while torturing Marvin the cop – all to the hip-swinging soundtrack of Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck In The Middle With You.” A song that is now synonymous with hacking off ears and dosing people with gasoline. Probably not Stealers Wheel’s intent when they wrote the song.
In a film with so many great characters and strong performances, sometimes less is more. Amongst the cameos from Christopher Walken, Eric Stoltz, and Parker Lewis, stands out Harvey Keitel‘s unforgettable performance as “The Cleaner,” Mr. Wolf. When you’ve got a corpse in a car in a garage minus a head, who else can you depend on to solve that problem? I’m sure there are a handful of folks you can trust in that industry, but will they all show up wearing a tuxedo at 8:50am? No. That’s the Winston Wolfe difference.
You don’t get a wallet touting the status of “Bad Motherfucker” by not being a bad motherfucker. Well, I guess you could just buy one at Spencer’s Gifts but, c’mon. You wanna earn a distinction like that.
Pulp Fiction essentially introduced the world to Samuel L. Jackson and the world has been a better place since. Though he’s played many memorable roles since, the mushroom cloud-layin’, scripture-quoting hitman Jules Winnfield remains a standout. His delivery of Ezekiel 25:17 actually makes church seem awesome. Ball’s in your court, the Pope!
After Pulp Fiction, Uma Thurman reteamed with Tarantino to help co-create his most ass-kicking character. Beatrix Kiddo aka Black Mambo aka The Bride awoke from a coma with a list and a mission — to kill her former boss and co-workers who put her in that state. The highly trained assassin, marksman, swordswoman and the self-proclaimed “most dangerous woman in the world” travels the world armed with Hanzo Steel, killing all who stand in her path. Including an entire dojo full of bloodthirsty Yakuza swordsmen.
Tarantino’s most engaging and memorable character to date. Brought to gleeful life by Christoph Waltz, the Jew Hunter exudes an easy charm that makes his existence grotesque and haunting. Yielding great power and an ever-turning mind, he injects terror and tension into something as everyday as adding creme to strudel.