ranking tarantino characters trudi

80. Trudi

The Movie: Pulp Fiction

The Actor: Bronagh Gallagher

As Trudi, Bronagh Gallagher has one job: look stoned and curious as everyone else in the scene flips out over an overdosing-on-heroine Mia Wallace. Its a thankless task, but her reaction shots have more humor and character than entire characters in other movies.

ranking tarantino characters mark dargus

79. Mark Dargus

The Movie: Jackie Brown

The Actor: Michael Bowen

Noteworthy Quote: “Cut to 13 years later, you’re 44 years of age. You’re flying for the shittiest-little-shuttle-fucking piece of shit Mexican airline that there is.”

As the “bad cop” to Michael Keaton’s Ray Nicolette, Michael Bowen’s Mark Dargus is a fairly top-notch “crude cop who doesn’t give a shit about your feelings” type. His early scenes with Keaton are a ton of fun, but he plummets down this list because he all-but-disappears from the film’s second half.

ranking tarantino characters leonide moguy

78. Leonide Moguy

The Movie: Django Unchained

The Actor: Dennis Christopher

Noteworthy Quote: “Yes, he is a bit of a francophile. Well, what civilized people aren’t?”

Calvin Candie’s gentlemanly lawyer is the kind of human garbage who goes on about law and order and civilization while negotiating slave trades. His ludicrously over-the-top death (used as a human shield by Django until he’s practically liquified by bullets) seems too kind.

ranking tarantino characters karen kim

77. Karen Kim

The Movie: Kill Bill Vol. 2

The Actor: Helen Kim

Noteworthy Quote: “Not that I have to be at this range, but I’m a fucking surgeon with this shotgun.”

Karen Kim’s one scene in Kill Bill Vol. 2 plays like a great short story. One assassin comes to kill another. The target turns out to be pregnant. The two killers negotiate how both can back away from pulling the trigger given the new circumstances. In just a few minutes, Karen movies through a complete character transformation. More importantly, she’s the perfect foil for Uma Thurman as she plays one of the most important scenes in either Kill Bill movie.

ranking tarantino characters ed fenech

76. General Ed Fenech

The Movie: Inglourious Basterds

The Actor: Mike Myers

Noteworthy Quote: “We have all our rotten eggs in one basket. The objective of Operation Kino: blow up the basket.”

Who casts Mike Myers as a straight-laced British military commander and then just has him play it as straight as possible? Quentin Tarantino, apparently. Why Myers doesn’t pursue more weird small roles for great directors is beyond our understanding – his General Ed Fenech is a surprisingly strong performance from a guy who could be a fascinating character actor if he had the inclination.

ranking tarantino characters holdaway

75.  Holdaway

The Movie: Reservoir Dogs

The Actor: Randy Brooks

Noteworthy Quote: “An undercover cop’s gotta be Marlon Brando. To do this job, you got to be a great actor. You’ve got to be naturalistic. You’ve got to be naturalistic as hell.”

Freddy Newandyke, a.k.a. Mr. Orange, reports directly to Holdaway, the detective who has placed him undercover to take down Joe Cabot’s criminal organization. We don’t get to see him do much police work, but we do get to see him training Freddy in the fine art of acting, acting as director for an actor whose performance can literally mean the difference between life and death.

ranking tarantino characters hitler

74. Adolf Hitler

The Movie: Inglourious Basterds

The Actor: Martin Wuttke

Noteworthy Quote: “Nein, nein, nein, nein, nein, nein! How much more of these Jew swine must I endure?”

Tarantino’s riff on History’s Greatest Monster walks a fine line between parody and a serious portrayal. He’s silly enough that we can laugh in his face but realistic enough that it actually feels like it matters when a machine gun gets emptied into his face. It’s a tricky balance, but Martin Wuttke pulls it off.

ranking tarantino characters edgar mcgraw

73. Edgar McGraw

The Movie: Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Death Proof

The Actor: James Parks

Noteworthy Quote: “Don’t know. The name on the marriage certificate is ‘Arlene Machiavelli.’ That’s a fake. We’ve all just been calling her ‘The Bride’ on account of the dress.”

Edgar McGraw really exists as a sounding board for Michael Parks’ Earl McGraw, which means he exists so one of the best actors in Tarantino’s stable of regulars can talk at him. That makes him invaluable. James Parks being the son of Michael Parks is a nice bonus.

ranking tarantino characters earl mcgraw

72. Earl McGraw

The Movie: Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Death Proof

The Actor: Michael Parks

Noteworthy Quote: “Shit. Two tons of metal, 200 miles an hour, flesh and bone and plain old Newton… they all princess died.”

In two movies, Tarantino has summoned Texas Ranger Early McGraw to the aftermath of two grisly crime scenes to provide expositional commentary on what happened and what will happen next (his scene in Death Proof is a deliberate riff on the infamously tacked-on conclusion to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho). On both occasions, the great Michael Parks makes those scenes funny and weird far more enjoyable than they have any right to be. There’s a reason Parks pops up so many times across these movies – the man is incapable of not being interesting on camera.

ranking tarantino characters shanna death proof

71. Shanna

The Movie: Death Proof

The Actor:  Jordan Ladd

Noteworthy Quote: “Remember: no hooking up tonight. You can hang with ’em, you can make out with ’em, but no hookin’ up with ’em, because we are driving to Lake LBJ tonight, and my daddy’s pretty clear on one thing. He said ‘Ah am lettin’ you and your girlfriends stay at my lake house. Not you and some horny boys tryin’ to get their fuck on with my daughter.'”

The girls in the first half of Death Proof exist simply to ride around Austin, have extended conversations, and then die horribly at the hands of the film’s villain. Shanna may not have the flash required to be a truly iconic Tarantino character, but we certainly like her well enough that we feel bad when she bites the dust.

ranking tarantino characters jungle julia

70. Jungle Julia

The Movie: Death Proof

The Actor: Sydney Tamiia Poitier

Noteworthy Quote: “Black men and a whole lotta motherfuckin’ white men have had plenty fun adoring my ass. I don’t wear their teeth marks on my butt for nothing.”

Read the entry for Shanna. Find and replace “Shanna” with “Jungle Julia.”

ranking tarantino characters arlene

69. Arlene

The Movie: Death Proof

The Actor: Vanessa Ferlito

Noteworthy Quote: “You got two jobs: kiss good, and make sure my hair don’t get wet.”

Arlene is the most interesting of the three women who dominate the first half of Death Proof by default. We see most of the action through her eyes and the scene where Stuntman Mike encourages her to perform a playful lap dance is genuinely sexy stuff. But like the other characters in the first half of the film, she mostly exists just to die horribly. Arlene pales in comparison to the characters who enter in the film’s second half.

ranking tarantino characters omar ulmer

68. Pfc. Omar Ulmer

The Movie: Inglourious Basterds

The Actor: Omar Doom

Noteworthy Quote: “I don’t speak Italian.”

Omar gets ranked this high simply because he’s one of the two Basterds who actively participates in the execution of Adolf Hitler and his closest associates. However, Omar Doom is also legitimately funny and his interplay with Eli Roth’s Donny lends a lighter touch the climactic massacre.

ranking tarantino characters d'artagnan

67. D’Artagnan

The Movie: Django Unchained

The Actor: Ato Essandoh

Django Unchained is a fun movie… but it’s a fun movie that refuses to shy away from the horrors of slavery, occasionally pausing to rub the audience’s face in muck. The death of D’Artagnan is the most grueling moment in the film and he serves as a reminder that we simply should not, and cannot, have mercy for the slavers Django takes down in the back half of the film.

ranking tarantino characters esteban

66. Esteban Vihaio

The Movie: Kill Bill Vol. 2

The Actor: Michael Parks

Noteworthy Quote: “I must warn you, young lady, I am susceptible to flattery.”

Michael Parks gets away with two things in the Kill Bill movies. First, he gets away with playing two completely separate characters. Second, he gets away with playing a Mexican. What should feel like a politically incorrect disaster actually works. Esteban is a charismatic but cruel gentleman – you believe that this man was instrumental in transforming Bill into the charming, near-perfect killer that puts a bullet in Beatrix’s head.

ranking tarantino characters pam

65. Pam

The Movie: Death Proof

The Actor: Rose McGowan

Noteworthy Quote: “Are you sure it’s safe?”

It turns out that Rose McGowan is pretty effective as the typical “first girl to die in a slasher flick.” That the weapon of her demise is the interior of a “death proof” stunt car only makes her small role and fast death all the more memorable.

ranking tarantino characters maynard

64. Maynard

The Movie: Pulp Fiction

The Actor: Duane Whitaker

Noteworthy Quote: “Zed? It’s Maynard. Yeah, spider just caught a couple of flies.”

Let’s just be honest with ourselves here. Maynard is barely a character, but the unanswered questions surrounding who he is and why he’s doing what he’s, uh, doing make him into a black hole of inexplicable evil.

ranking tarantino characters zed

63. Zed

The Movie: Pulp Fiction

The Actor: Peter Greene

Noteworthy Quote: “Bring out the gimp.”

Somehow, Zed is even worse than Maynard, mainly because he seems to be the one in charge. Once again, he’s less of a character and more of a stomach-churning idea, but what an idea!

ranking tarantino characters the gimp

62. The Gimp

The Movie: Pulp Fiction

The Actor: Stephen Hibbert

Noteworthy Quote: “Mmmmmphhh!”

Nobody likes to talk about the gimp. Nobody wants to even think about how the gimp ended up in his current position. But nobody forgets about the gimp.

ranking tarantino characters billy crash

61. Billy Crash

The Movie: Django Unchained

The Actor: Walton Goggins

Noteworthy Quote: “Da-jango! You son of a bitch!”

Walton Goggins’ role in Django Unchained was originally much smaller. When Kurt Russell departed the project during filming, Tarantino opted not to recast and gave all of the necessary business to Goggins’ character instead. The result is a small showcase for one of the best actors working today. Billy Crash is one of the least complex villains in the film, but Goggins can do menace like no one’s business and he supplies it in spades.

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