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Every Quentin Tarantino Movie Climax, Ranked

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  • Posted on 05th Aug, 2022 14:15 PM
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From Reservoir Dogs' armed standoff to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood's Manson bloodbath, Quentin Tarantino's movies tend to go out in style.

Ever since he burst onto the indie scene with his debut feature Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino has been known as one of the most daring filmmakers in Hollywood. From his darkly comedic crime caper Pulp Fiction to his ultraviolent slavery-era spaghetti western Django Unchained, Tarantino tends to make big, bold movies.

Oftentimes, the whole film feels like a climax, so the climactic sequences have a lot to live up to. From Reservoir Dogs’ intense armed standoff to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s alt-history Manson Family bloodbath, Tarantino’s movies usually go out in style.

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10 Kill Bill: Volume 2

The climactic sequence in Kill Bill: Volume 2 is an unusually action-free ending to a two-part martial arts epic. The big finale just boils down to a simple conversation in Bill’s backyard. And considering how renowned Tarantino’s dialogue is, it’s not a particularly riveting conversation. Bill’s monologue about superheroes’ secret identities feels forced.

The Bride earns her happy ending, but Volume 2’s climactic scene is a huge let-down after the explosive House of Blue Leaves set-piece that ended Volume 1.

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9 Django Unchained

On the whole, Django Unchained is one of Tarantino’s most thrilling movies. But it goes on a little too long. The real climax is the dinner scene; the final segment feels tacked on. Django races back to Candyland for essentially the same showdown all over again.

It’s wildly satisfying to see Django get retribution after everything Calvin Candie and his goons have put him through. But the movie has run out of steam by then.

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8 The Hateful Eight

The truth comes out at the climax of Tarantino’s snowbound whodunit The Hateful Eight. Major Warren assumes the role of Poirot and figures out who’s lying about their identity.

In true Tarantino fashion, the haberdashery quickly turns into a bloodbath as everybody pulls guns on each other. The climactic showdown in The Hateful Eight plays like an even bloodier, grislier version of the finale from Reservoir Dogs.

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7 Jackie Brown

Tarantino’s only adaptation of another writer’s work – Jackie Brown, based on Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard – culminates in one of the director’s quietest finales, which is befitting of his most mature movie.

Jackie’s double-cross comes together as she plays Ordell and the ATF against each other. It’s great to see Jackie win, but the movie’s ending is bittersweet as Max decides not to go with her.

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6 Pulp Fiction

The climactic scene in Pulp Fiction is similar to that of Reservoir Dogs. Tarantino ended his second movie with yet another armed standoff. This time, a couple of mob hitmen pull their own guns on a pair of gun-toting petty crooks holding up a diner.

This finale brings the movie’s nonlinear structure full circle, revealing that Jules and Vincent were sitting in the diner stuck up by Pumpkin and Honey Bunny in the opening scene.

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5 Reservoir Dogs

The finale of Reservoir Dogs delivered the first of many armed standoffs in Tarantino movies. Joe points his gun at Mr. Orange because he suspects he’s the undercover cop; Mr. White points his gun at Joe because he’s sure Mr. Orange is telling the truth; and Nice Guy Eddie points his gun at Mr. White to protect his dad. They all open fire and either wound or kill each other.

As Mr. White bleeds out and police officers storm the building, he’s heartbroken to learn that he was wrong and Mr. Orange really was the cop. This intense final scene is the perfect culmination of the whole story, playing on knowledge that the audience has and the characters don’t.

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4 Death Proof

Tarantino’s carsploitation slasher Death Proof is one of his most underrated movies. It’s straightforward genre fare, but it’s still damned entertaining. In the action-packed finale, Stuntman Mike targets another group of women, only to find that they’re ready to take him on.

What follows is one of the most thrilling car chases ever put on film. Bolstered by breathtaking practical stunt work, this chase sequence wraps up the movie nice and briskly. After the women beat Mike to death and rejoice over his blood-soaked corpse, a swift “THE END” title card ushers in the closing credits.

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3 Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Tarantino’s most recent directorial effort, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, is his least violent movie for the first two acts. Until the third act, the film has barely any violence at all, instead focusing on the antics of a movie star, a has-been TV cowboy, and a washed-up stuntman in ‘60s Los Angeles.

But there’s more than enough bloodshed to make up for it in the finale. The climactic showdown in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a classic example of Tarantino’s historical revisionism. This time, he turns his sights on the Manson Family.

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2 Kill Bill: Volume 1

The climactic sequence in the first half of Kill Bill is a heck of a lot more exciting than the climactic sequence in the second half. At the end of Volume 1, the Bride singlehandedly takes on O-Ren Ishii and her army of swordsmen at the House of Blue Leaves.

This is one of the most captivating action sequences in all of Tarantino’s filmography, with stylistic flourishes like cartoonish levels of bloodshed and switching between color and black-and-white.

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1 Inglourious Basterds

In the final act of Tarantino’s darkly comic World War II epic Inglourious Basterds, the two assassination plots against Hitler come together on the same night. This sequence provides a wildly unexpected turn of events that throws historical accuracy out the window.

The finale of Basterds established Tarantino’s latest directorial trademark: historical revenge fantasies. As Shoshanna burns down her theater and kills all the Nazi brass inside, the Basterds gun down Hitler himself and his closest confidants.

NEXT: Every Quentin Tarantino Movie, Ranked By Rewatchability

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