Reservoir Dogs is a 1992 American crime thriller that shows the activities of the eight main characters and several minor characters before, during, and after a botched diamond heist. This film is the full-lenght debut feature of director Quentin Tarantino. It stars Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn, Lawrence Tierney, and Tim Roth. Additionally, director Quentin Tarantino and author Edward Bunker both hold minor roles. The movie has many themes that have become recurring features of Tarantino films, such as violent crime, pop culture references, large amounts of profanity, and nonlinear storylines.
Since its release in 1992, the film has become a classic in the genres of independent films and cult films. It was even names "Greatest Independent Film of All Time" by Empire. For the most part, reservoir dogs was received well by critics and the general public alike, and many of the cast members received praise from some film critics. The film was a relatove success in after its release, grossing $2,832,029 on a $1.2 million budget. The film performed slightly better in the United Kingdom, grossing almost 6.5 million GBP. It also gained popularity after the immense success of his next film, released in 1994, Pulp Fiction. Subsequently, a soundtrack was released, comprised mainly of songs from the 1970s.
Before beginning production on the film, Tarantino had been working at a video store in Manhattan Beach, California, called Video Archives. He was originally planning to shoot the film with friends on 16 mm film in black-and-white format, using a budget of $30,000 and having producer Lawrence Bender playing a police officer chasing Mr. Pink. At one point, though, Tarantino gave Bender a copy of the script; Bender gave it to his acting teacher, who in turn gave it to Harvey Keitel. Keitel liked the scipt so much that he agreed to be a co-producer to make it easier for Tarantino and Bender to find funding. With his help, the group raised more than $1.5 million, and Keitel even paid for casting sessions to be held in New York City, where Tarantino found and cast Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth, and Michael Madsen.
Tarantino stated that Reservoir Dogs was strongly influenced by several films. Stanley Kubrick's The Killing was an overall influence, while the 1952 film Kansas City Confidential contributed much to the plot, and Joseph H. Lewis's 1955 film The Big Combo inspired the scene where the cop was tied to the chain and tortured. Although some people have stated that Tarantino plagarized other films to make Reservoir Dogs, he has denied it, stating instead that he does homages. For example, naming characters after colors was first seen in the 1974 film The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, and there also many elements of the 1987 film directed by Ringo Lam, City on Fire.
Tarantino has been questioned on his decision not to show the actual heist going down. He said that it was initially a budgetary concern, he decided to stick with it even after he had sufficient funds because he said that the film is "about other things." This is similar to the stage play Glengarry Glen Ross.
On another note, the film's title came from a patron at the video store that Tarantino worked at. When he was working there, Tarantino would often recommend little-known titles to customers. One day, he recommended Au revoir les enfants, and the patron misheard it as "reservoir dogs."
Nowadays, Resrvoir Dogs is known well as the first film from the prolific director Quentin Tarantino, and holds an 8.4 out of 10 on IMDb's scale, putting it at place number 75 in their top 250 movies list.