every quentin tarantino character ranked

Welcome back. In part one of this series, we began counting down each and every single one of director Quentin Tarantino‘s 122 significant characters to celebrate the impending release of the The Hateful Eight. In today’s edition, the next batch of scoundrels and soldiers and thieves and the occasional innocent-caught-in-the-crossfire. Follow me after the jump…

In case you missed them last time, these are rules and regulations I followed to assemble this monstrosity:

  1. In order to be included, the character must play a role in the plot of the film or interact with a major character.
  2. In order to be included, a character must have a name. If the character doesn’t have a name, they must have enough screen time or be significant enough to overrule this command.
  3. In order to be eligible, characters had to be in a feature film directed by Quentin Tarantino. This means characters from True Romance and From Dusk Till Dawn are ineligible. Since it’s not a full feature, I also disqualified Tarantino’s segment from Four Rooms.
  4. Any of those rules can be broken at any time, for any reason, if it means making this list worth reading.

And now, without further adieu, here is part two of this three part series, where we’ll examine Tarantino characters #60 through #26.

ranking tarantino characters marcel

60. Marcel

The Movie: Inglourious Basterds

The Actor: Jacky Ido

Noteworthy Quote: “Oui, Shosanna.”

There’s probably a version of Inglourious Basterds where Marcel plays a larger role. In the version released into theaters, he stands out despite his limited screen time because he’s one of the few genuinely good people in the entire cast. Tarantino doesn’t dwell on any details when it comes to Shosanna’s lover and confidant, but we can put two and two together thanks to context and Jacky Ido’s performance. Here a man so loyal to the woman he loves that he helps her burn down a movie palace full of Nazis. As far as showcases for undying love go…

Pulp Fiction - 1994...No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/REX (2249121d) PULP FICTION (1994) Rosanna Arquette Pulp Fiction - 1994

59.  Jody

The Movie: Pulp Fiction

The Actor: Rosanna Arquette

Noteworthy Quote: “That was pretty fucking trippy.”

While Lance and Vincent Vega struggle to resuscitate a dying Mia Wallace, Jody can’t believe what’s happening. She can’t believe that her husband let a customer drag an overdosing woman into their home. She can’t believe that they’re about to shoot adrenaline into the heart of woman on her living room floor. She shouts and screams and lends her emotions to the cacophony scoring this already unbearably tense sequence. Every element of this scene is perfect and Rosanna Arquette’s performance is one of those elements.

ranking tarantino characters gogo

58. Gogo Yubari

The Movie: Kill Bill Vol. 1

The Actor: Chiaki Kuriyama

Noteworthy Quote: “How about now, big boy? Do you still wish to penetrate me? Or is it I who has penetrated you?”

Killer Japanese girls in schoolgirl outfits are a common trope in genre cinema and Tarantino leans hard into the stereotype with Gogo Yubari. There’s honestly not much going on with Gogo. She’s just a violent maniac whose deadly skills are hidden behind a seemingly innocent exterior. Still, we’ve got to hand it to Chiaki Kuriyama, who brings a special flavor of unhinged to this tired character type. She most certainly ranks in the upper echelon of killer Japanese schoolgirls.

ranking tarantino characters bag head

57. “Bag Head”

The Movie: Django Unchained

The Actor: Jonah Hill

Noteworthy Quote: “Well, if all I had to do was cut a hole in a bag, I coulda cut it better than this!”

In one of the greatest scenes in Tarantino’s career, a group of proto-KKK types gather to ambush Django and Dr. King Schultz. However, their plan is put on hold when everyone starts to argue about the logistics of wearing a sack over your head while riding a horse and shooting. The resulting conversation, spearheaded by Jonah Hill in a brilliant cameo, ranks up there with Blazing Saddles as one of the greatest eviscerations of racism ever committed to screen.

ranking tarantino characters budd

56. Budd

The Movie: Kill Bill Vol. 2

The Actor: Michael Madsen

Noteworthy Quote: “That woman deserves her revenge and we deserve to die.”

Unlike the other characters that Beatrix Kiddo targets during the Kill Bill saga, Michael Madsen’s Budd is a total loser. Like a former athlete gone to seed, he’s a sad, desperate mess whose glory days are a distant memory. Madsen lets us see the sparks of the old Budd – like when he gets the drop on Beatrix with a shotgun loaded with rock salt – but he’s the sole major character in these movies who isn’t a near-unstoppable badass. In context, that actually makes him pretty unique.

ranking tarantino characters big daddy

55. Big Daddy

The Movie: Django Unchained

The Actor: Don Johnson

Noteworthy Quote: “Oh, well shitfire! If you don’t wear ’em as you ride up, that just defeats the purpose!”

Give Don Johnson that facial hair, put him in that suit, and just stand back and let him do his work. This is a broad performance (you can see the bite marks on the scenery), but Johnson is obviously having a blast with his limited screen time, taking the stereotypical “southern gentleman” archetype and gleefully running it through.

ranking tarantino characters wilhelm

54. Master Sgt. Wilhelm

The Movie: Inglourious Basterds

The Actor: Alexander Fehling

Noteworthy Quote: “I’m German, you idiot!”

He may be wearing a Nazi uniform, by Master Sgt. Wilhelm just wants to enjoy an evening at the bar, where he can celebrate the birth of his son in peace. It’s not his fault that he happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Alexander Fehling runs the character through a gamut of emotions. Initially an irritating and drunk distraction, he sobers up quickly when the bullets start flying and his desperate conversation with Lt. Aldo Raine is the perfect capper to one of the most intense fiascos in recent cinematic history.

ranking tarantino characters marvin nash

53. Officer Marvin Nash

The Movie: Reservoir Dogs

The Actor: Kirk Baltz

Noteworthy Quote: “What the fuck are they waiting for? This fucking guy slashes my face, and he cuts my fucking ear off! I’m fucking deformed!”

No one who has seen Reservoir Dogs forgets what happens to poor Marvin Nash. In just a few scenes, Kirk Baltz ensures that we care deeply for the life of a man we have just met.

ranking tarantino characters lance

52. Lance

The Movie: Pulp Fiction

The Actor: Eric Stoltz

Noteworthy Quote: “Look, you brought her here, and that means that you’re giving her the shot. The day that I bring an OD-ing bitch over to your house, then I give her the shot. Give her the shot.”

All other movie drug dealers need to bow before Lance, the constantly dressed-for-bed heroin aficionado played to near-perfection by Eric Stoltz. Here is a portrait of your friend neighborhood narcotics specialist – the working professional who means no one any harm and just wants to run his business from the comfort of his living room. Watching this totally average, totally likable guy get in over his head and have to talk a panicking Vincent Vega through the process of giving an adrenaline shot is a stressful blast.

ranking tarantino characters broomhilda

51. Broomhilda Von Shaft

The Movie: Django Unchained

The Actor: Kerry Washington

Noteworthy Quote: [Puts fingers in ears.]

How much of Broomhilda ended up on the cutting room floor? The answer must be “a lot,” as she’s a little one-dimensional compared to other Tarantino heroines. And yet Kerry Washington is so magnetic and her chemistry with Jamie Foxx so strong that we totally buy Django fighting his way through hell-on-earth to get her back. If we don’t believe that, the entire movie sinks.

ranking tarantino characters hugo stiglitz

50. Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz

The Movie: Inglourious Basterds

The Actor: Til Schweiger

Noteworthy Quote: “Say ‘auf wiedersehen’ to your Nazi balls.”

Hugo Stiglitz is a pitch-black joke made flesh. Here is a brutal serial killer who just so happens to be a soldier in the German army during World War II. His murders get him tossed in the cell, but those murders also act as the perfect audition for the Basterds, who recruit him to help them do what he does best. Stiglitz is thinly sketched, but Til Schweiger is a dark joy to watch.

ranking tarantino characters beaumont

49. Beaumont Livingston

The Movie: Jackie Brown

The Actor: Chris Tucker

Noteworthy Quote: “Man, you must be out of your fuckin’ mind if you think I’m gonna get in this dirty-ass trunk.”

Years before he harnessed Mike Myers for the forces of cinematic good in Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino directed Chris Tucker to one of his best performances in Jackie Brown. It takes a very special breed of actor to match wits with Samuel L. Jackson in a Tarantino and Tucker is more than capable of keeping up.

ranking tarantino characters donny donowitz

48. Sgt. Donny Donowitz

The Movie: Inglourious Basterds

The Actor: Eli Roth

Noteworthy Quote: “After I kill that guy, you have 30 feet to get to that guy. Can you do it?”

Like many of the characters in Inglourious Basterds, Donny Donowitz, a.k.a. “the Bear Jew,” is more of an idea than a character. He’s a walking, talking tall tale. He’s the German army’s personal boogeyman. His actions, which generally involve beating unarmed Nazis to death with a baseball bat, are monstrous, but he’s working in the interest of righteous vengeance. You can’t blame him for his rage. Donowitz is compelling enough that you can’t help but wonder what would have happened if an actor with more range than Eli Roth was cast in the part.

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