To say that few filmmakers love movies as much as Quentin Tarantino is a stunning understatement. Few people he loves movies as much as Quentin Tarantino, and the cinephile’s tastes continue to shape Hollywood.
The video rental clerk turned filmmaker has spent decades astounding interviewers and fans alike with his unparalleled knowledge of film history, with tastes ranging from universally acclaimed classics to more obscure and even low-key fare. While his love of spaghetti westerns and exploitation films has always been well documented, Tarantino isn’t afraid to publicly embrace the modern or the mainstream. He proudly endorsed “Top Gun: Maverick” in the summer of 2022, as did so many others. Not to mention, he’s a fan of rom-coms, particularly long-haul flights, and once dubbed Kate Hudson “the queen of the skies.” The man only loves cinema, and if a film amuses him, he will tell the world.
From Reservoir Dogs to Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino’s filmography draws directly from the films he likes best. He was inspired by blaxploitation (see elements of “Jackie Brown”) and samurai epics (as in the “Kill Bill” duology). When he’s not paying homage to the history of cinema in his direction, Tarantino continues to talk about cinema both in the veins of the critic and the geek.
In 2022, the director and his “Pulp Fiction” co-writer Roger Avary launched the Video Archives Podcast, which sees the duo revisit many of the films they watched on VHS when they worked together at the iconic video store. This has given Tarantino a new outlet to share his thoughts on movies, and the world is richer for it. He decided to do something similar in his book “Cinema Speculation,” which hit shelves that October.
Immersing yourself in Tarantino’s favorite films is a wild journey, but one that will undeniably leave you with a more complete knowledge of cinema. At the very least, it’s a great place to go when you’ve finished reviewing his old work and are once again twiddling your thumbs in anticipation of news of the author’s legendary tenth film. Read on for a rundown of 55 of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite movies. Then, check out a list of movies he doesn’t recommend.
Zack Sharf contributed to this article.
(Editor’s note: The following list was originally published in May 2019 and has been updated several times since.)