Quentin Tarantino's movies aren't for the faint of heart -- you're just as likely to see a bloody mess as you are an homage to 1970s film-making. But fans and critics alike flock to see each one, knowing Tarantino is a master of both style and substance on the big screen. Whether you're looking for a new take on a tired genre -- such as Westerns or heist movies -- or you're just in the mood for funny, remarkably profane dialogue, Tarantino's got you covered. Here are some of his flicks that earn their high marks.
'Reservoir Dogs' (1992)
"Reservoir Dogs" is the movie Tarantino honed his voice with -- the vulgar, clever tone would eventually become his trademark. "Reservoir Dogs" is a brilliant twist on the heist movie genre: We see everything before and after the crime, but never the actual heist itself, because the focus is on the relationships between a group of criminals who've never worked together before. There are plenty of reasons why the movie shouldn't work -- it's mainly monologues; the story is told out of sequence; the majority of it takes place in an empty warehouse -- but the movie uses these things as strengths, letting each actor play the character to the fullest. In the end, each thief is so easy to relate to, it's hard to know who to root for.
'Pulp Fiction' (1994)
The movie that resurrected John Travolta's ailing career, "Pulp Fiction" was Tarantino's first mainstream success to inspire catchphrases, copycats mimicking his disconnected storytelling, and a worldwide obsession with hearing Samuel L. Jackson swear profusely. Tarantino fanatics gush, and rightly so, over the movie's overlapping plots, mystery, and soundtrack. The ensemble cast -- which also includes Uma Thurman, Ving Rhames, Bruce Willis, Eric Stoltz, Tim Roth, Christopher Walken, and even a cameo by Steve Buscemi as a waiter -- makes every scene a thrill ride.
'Kill Bill Volume 1' (2003) and 'Kill Bill Volume 2' (2004)
A martial arts kill-fest that originally spanned more than four hours, "Kill Bill" was split into two separate theatrical releases dubbed "Kill Bill Volume 1" and "Kill Bill Volume 2." Part revenge story, part tribute to classic samurai cinema, "Kill Bill" follows The Bride (Uma Thurman) as she tracks down the leader of her former group -- The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad -- after he has left her for dead. "Kill Bill" stands alone among Tarantino's films for its carefully choreographed fight scenes that make a beautiful, violent ballet. Grossing nearly $200 million combined, both volumes were wildly popular, leaving fans asking for a rumored third movie.
'From Dusk Till Dawn' (1996)
Tarantino's script about fugitive bank robbers encountering Mexican vampires was helmed by then-fledgling director Robert Rodriguez. Taking the fun elements of Tarantino's previous work -- namely the sharp dialogue and funny gore -- "From Dusk Till Dawn" allowed Tarantino to explore his love for '70s horror movies. The movie's success eventually lead to DVD-only sequels, as well as theatrical follow-ups like Tarantino's tonally similar "Grindhouse." Later, "From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series" appeared on the small screen. Not all Tarantino fans loved this entire phase of his career, but "From Dusk Till Dawn" remains a classic. Who can resist watching George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, and Juliette Lewis slay vampires like Salma Hayek and Cheech Marin?
'Django Unchained' (2012)
A fan of revisiting and revising classic genres, Tarantino tackled the Spaghetti Western with "Django Unchained," a movie that upended the tropes of classic Westerns by placing a former slave in the hero role. While the script is rife with Tarantino's trademark wit, the acting is what makes "Django Unchained" a masterpiece -- Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz each turn in career-high, award-winning performances. Although fairly controversial, the movie's revising of the history of slavery enthralled moviegoers, and led Tarantino to stick with the Western genre for his follow-up movie, "The Hateful Eight."