Biography of Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, named by his parents after the character Quint Asper, played by Burt Reynolds, in the television show Gunsmoke. Tarantino spent most of his upbringing living in Los Angeles County with his mother and step-father. Tarantino wrote his first screenplay at the age of 14, called Captain Peachfuzz and the Anchovy Bandit, inspired by the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit, also starring Burt Reynolds. As a teenager, Tarantino dropped out of high school and worked briefly as an usher at the Pussycat Theatre in Torrance, California, which primarily showed pornographic films.

In the 1980s, Tarantino held various jobs, such as being a recruiter for aerospace technology companies and a video store clerk. After the Hollywood producer Lawrence Bender encouraged him to write a full-length screenplay, Tarantino wrote My Best Friend's Birthday, which he self-financed and produced between 1984 and 1987 while working at the Video Archives in Manhattan Beach, California, and which he would later expand into the script for True Romance. In the late 1980s, Tarantino worked as an actor and production assistant before being hired by producer Robert Kurtzman to produce the script for From Dusk 'til Dawn.

Lawrence Bender produced Tarantino's first feature film, Reservoir Dogs, which was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival, and made him a sought-after writer in Hollywood. Between the production of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, Tarantino sold two scripts: True Romance and Natural Born Killers. Following his early success as a director and writer, Tarantino received multiple offers to direct big-budget Hollywood films, but turned them down and moved temporarily to Amsterdam so he could finish the script that would become Pulp Fiction.

In 1994, Tarantino released Pulp Fiction, which was an immediate critical and commercial smash hit, winning the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and grossing over $200 million dollars. The film's highly stylized violence, non-linear storyline, and referential humor proved wildly popular with critics and audiences alike, turning Tarantino into a household name, and almost single-handedly reviving the career of John Travolta.

After Pulp Fiction, Tarantino adapted the Elmore Leonard novel Rum Punch into the 1997 film Jackie Brown, a Blaxploitation homage starring Pam Grier and Robert Forster. Tarantino shelved his next project, a World War II drama, in order to make Kill Bill, a sprawling two-part revenge epic starring Uma Thurman, heavily influenced by martial arts and Spaghetti Western films. Tarantino's next project was a collaboration with Robert Rodriguez, who has previously directed Tarantino's script for From Dusk 'til Dawn. An ode to exploitation films, the project was called Grindhouse—a collection of two feature films directed by Tarantino and Rodriguez, called Death Proof and Planet Terror respectively, which were stitched together with trailers for fictional movies.

After Grindhouse, Tarantino produced his World War II drama Inglorious Basterds, followed by a post-Civil War action film about a runaway slave called Django Unchained. Tarantino's upcoming projects include a film about the Manson Family murders called Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and an un-produced Star Trek script.


Study Guides on Works by Quentin Tarantino

Django Unchained is the highest-grossing film of Quentin Tarantino's career—an explosive, nearly three-hour Western epic that forces audiences to confront the brutal legacy of American slavery in a way rarely, if ever, glimpsed in Hollywood...

After the critical and commercial success of Reservoir Dogs, and garnering considerable studio interest in scripts like Natural Born Killers and True Romance, Quentin Tarantino was one of the most sought-after directors in early-to-mid 1990s...

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...